Weld on wheel nut?

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Weld on wheel nut?

Postby Ducked » 23 Jan 2012, 23:05

Trying to take a wheel off yesterday I noticed what looks like a bead of weld on the conical face of one of the wheel (lug) nuts.

Due (l assume) to being tightened onto the wheel, with consequent wear and galling, it forms an oblate semi-speroid dimple on the cone surface.

Don't remember noticing it before, but I'm not certain I've had that wheel off. Can't remember seeing anything similar on any other car either.

I'm inclined to file it off, but I wonder why its there in the first place. Any suggestions?

I suppose it might have a "locking" effect. It seems unlikely to be accidental.

Coincidentally AFAIK, the wheel seems to be stuck (rusted?) on, which I don't remember happening before either, though I've had it happen to brake disks.

I'll have another look at it tommorrow, weather permitting. Perhaps I just need a bigger hammer.
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Re: Weld on wheel nut?

Postby mabagal » 23 Jan 2012, 23:52

Get a can of brake cleaner and some Liquid Wrench or if you can't find that, WD40. Clean the crap out of this area it with the brake cleaner and paper towels so you can see what's actually going on. If it is in fact a tack weld then you done got yourself a previous owner's kludge. If it's not just hit it with an impact or get a big enough breaker bar and it should come right off. This is a wheel lug nut we're talking about, not an exhaust stud nut or something.
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Re: Weld on wheel nut?

Postby sulavaca » 24 Jan 2012, 10:02

Lug nuts are generally simple to replace. You simply hammer them backwards and they pop out. You then pop your new one in from behind and then tighten a new nut onto it with some spacers in between or use the wheel instead. This is just to pull the lug into its seat. You can then rebuild the assembly.

As far as your wheel being stuck on, this is normal corrosion build up between the hub and inner wheel. You should rub this corrosion off both mating surfaces with some Emery paper and WD40. You should then put a slight layer of grease, preferably brake grease onto the hub area which mates with the wheel. This should reduce and further chance of sticking again in the future. Also use a slight amount of brake grease on your wheel nuts before tightening. Any low melting point grease will generally fly off and become very messy at high temperature so try to use specific grease wherever possible. Brake grease is generally either copper or alluminium compound
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Re: Weld on wheel nut?

Postby Ducked » 24 Jan 2012, 18:52

I got the nuts off OK, using a couple of bits of steel pipe as breaker-bar lever extensions.

I didn't mean to imply the wheel nut was welded on, just that one of them had what looked like a bead of weld on its conical mating surface, which I thought strange.

Perhaps I could have been clearer, but I've lost/mislaid my camera accessories so couldn't upload a picture.

Don't have my club hammer to hand, so the wheels still on. Don't have any brake grease either, but I'll give the mating surfaces a clean when/if I get it off.
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Re: Weld on wheel nut?

Postby mabagal » 25 Jan 2012, 09:04

Still unclear as to the actual issue. Can you shoot a pic with your phone and link it? That should suffice. If it is a little ball there is a possibility that it's actually a rolled up shard of thread, in which case it makes sense to at least replace the nut and if there is any visible damage on the lug, the lug itself.

As sulavaca pointed out, if the lugs need replacement, they should press or hammer or press right out.

If they are studs (ie: threaded in rather than press in) and are being tough, heating the area with a propane torch (MAAP is OK if you are careful but not OxyAcetelene unless you are extremely careful) and melting wax into the interface will help. You can use almost any wax, but there is also a specific wax that is used for exhaust manifold studs that can also help with a stuck wheel stud or lug. You can also use PB Blaster or Liquid Wrench if you don't have a torch.
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Re: Weld on wheel nut?

Postby Ducked » 25 Jan 2012, 10:55

Interesting. Didn't know about the melted wax trick. I didn't see any damage to the studs, though, so I'm not sure I'll need it, though I'll have a more carefull look, with a mirror, later.

I'm not sure there is an issue. I just thought the "bead" (which is what it looks like) was odd, and I thought I'd canvas expert opinion before I tried grinding it off.

I don't think its a rolled-up thread fragment. Looks too substantial.

I'll pocket the pimpled nut and smooth one for comparison, and see if my gf fancies taking a picture of them (ooer Mrs)

Bit cold and nasty today so I'll wait for better weather for further fiddling, and maybe do the tappets at the same time.(I'm clearly getting soft, given that I've lain under cars with snow around my ears back in the Old Country)
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Re: Weld on wheel nut?

Postby mabagal » 25 Jan 2012, 13:13

Ducked wrote:I'm not sure there is an issue. I just thought the "bead" (which is what it looks like) was odd, and I thought I'd canvas expert opinion before I tried grinding it off.


Don't do that, just replace the lug nut. They're really cheap and are not a place you generally want to do anything that might keep them from seating correctly.
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Re: Weld on wheel nut?

Postby Ducked » 30 Jan 2012, 17:29

Couple of unclear photos.

Camera (Canon IXUS 115) is a minimal point-and-shoot. It has a macro function but no manual focus AFAIK. The auto-focus seems to "hunt" in macro mode and , if its focused on anything when I take the picture, its never the point of interest.

Image

Image
weld-beaded wheel nut? by ed_lithgow, on Flickr

Image

Image
upload30_01_2012 088 by ed_lithgow, on Flickr
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Re: Weld on wheel nut?

Postby mabagal » 30 Jan 2012, 18:07

If it doesn't look like the other ones, just replace it already.
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Re: Weld on wheel nut?

Postby sulavaca » 30 Jan 2012, 22:44

mabagal wrote:If it doesn't look like the other ones, just replace it already.


I would agree with this, assuming there is also no damage to the wheel rim and stud. It doesn't seem like a biggie at this point from the images I have seen.

To be honest, and not to sound disrespectful, as I know many of my customers sometimes worry about all kinds of things, and especially if they are not mechanically minded, but this kind of issue is really a non issue and offers little or nothing to worry about if this is the extent of it.
If there are no other components affected, then simply change the nut.

On another note here, and I could be wrong as I can't see clearly with no focus on the target in the picture, but that doesn't appear to be weld from my perspective. From here it looks to be a transparent, or translucent bulge. If so, then that could simply be resin or some kind of glue. Either way, it still shouldn't be an issue.

From your picture, that looks like a narrow taper, possibly a 19mm nut. I'm guessing the car is a small car, and likely Japanese, less likely Korean. I imagine its quite an old car from the size of the nut and wear to the nut surface. I also imagine its been quite a long time since that nut has been removed judging from the corrosion to the side surface, and the fact you mentioned the wheels were difficult to remove.
If I am right at all, then I would suggest you also remove the rear wheel drums [as its likely to have them] and inspect the rear brakes. You will possibly need to do some cleaning and adjustment back there. I would also strongly suggest you remove the rear shoes and clean the backing plates, and lubricate those backing plates with brake grease. You can also double check your handbrake cables and levers at the same time. If I am right so far, then I can give you further pointers on what to look out for.
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