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Care and treatment of lug nuts
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Dan
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 11:06 pm    Post subject: Care and treatment of lug nuts Reply with quote

I have been meaning to put a post in on this topic, and the article below was pretty much on topic, so I am using it as my motivation.

I have noticed that my lug nuts spin on with more difficulty now than when the van was new. Should I put oil on them so that they turn easier? I have heard that one should NOT do that as then it makes it too easy to overtighten the lug nuts.

The issue (if you don't want to read the whole article) is with truck wheels coming off while the truck is being driven, caused by improper tightening of the lug nuts even though the mechanic thinks he is doing everything correctly.

The article is from The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online.


Tires killed 7 this year
Mequon doctor is victim; truck upkeep, corrosion are concerns

By RICK ROMELL
rromell@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Nov. 10, 2007
The Mequon physician who was killed Thursday night by a wheel that came off a heavy truck is at least the seventh person to die in such an accident this year on the country's highways.

Three of the seven victims have been from Wisconsin.

The incidents are sometimes labeled freak accidents, but a University of Michigan safety expert says many stem from a common problem: Because of corrosion buildup on wheel parts, mechanics think they are tightening lug nuts correctly, but they actually are too loose.

"It's a very real problem, and it's a very serious problem," said John Woodrooffe, head of the safety analysis division at the university's Transportation Research Institute in Ann Arbor.

The latest victim is Krishna Chintamaneni, chief of staff at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-St. Francis. Chintamaneni, 55, was driving home on I-43 near Silver Spring Drive in Glendale when a tire flew off a southbound truck, bounced over a wall and hit Chintamaneni's windshield.

He died at the scene.

The truck driver didn't stop and may not have known what happened. Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department detectives continue to investigate.

The accident mirrors one March 16 that killed two University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students traveling through Georgia on a spring-break trip. Fatally injured were Jason Buchmeier, 21, of Mauston and Jason Schluter, 23, of Lyndon Station.

The death toll there easily could have been higher. Six men were in the van that was struck, and it was climbing the median barrier - with the driver unconscious - when one of the passengers seized the steering wheel and guided the vehicle to safety.

With the van still traveling at 70 mph, 20-year-old Ryan Wirth said, he grabbed the wheel with one hand and used the other to hit the brake. Fellow passenger Patrick Senzig, whose screaming had roused the momentarily dazed Wirth, gave a similar account.

"I've never seen anything like that in my life," Senzig, 22, said of the truck wheel crashing into the van. "That's a tragedy no one should have to deal with, ever."

In terms of overall truck accidents, wheel separations are rare. A 1992 study by the National Transportation Safety Board estimated there were 750 to 1,050 a year, out of 349,000 truck accidents annually at the time.

But that amounts to roughly two to three a day, and the incidents were troubling enough in Ontario in the 1990s that the province passed a law imposing strict penalties on truck owners when wheels come off.

Besides the deaths in Georgia and Wisconsin, flying truck wheels have killed people this year in Indiana, New Jersey, Texas and the state of Washington. The Washington fatality came amid a spate of wheel separations over several months.

"We had it happen at least a half a dozen times, and it resulted in some pretty catastrophic collisions," said trooper Jeff Merrill, a spokesman for the Washington State Patrol.

"It's a problem," said Clayton Boyce, vice president of public affairs for the American Trucking Associations, the largest organization representing the trucking industry. "It's a maintenance problem, and it's certainly a tragedy that anyone was killed by this."

Boyce cautioned that the cause of the Milwaukee accident isn't known. It's possible the wheel involved didn't spin off an axle, he said. Rather, he said, it may have been the wheel was being carried on a truck bed and bounced off.

"We are very concerned about maintenance," Boyce said. "We have an entire section of ATA involved in maintenance issues."

Wheels also can be thrown from a truck when bearings seize because of a lack of maintenance, said Gerald Donaldson, senior research director with Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

After its 1992 study, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that the trucking association take four specific steps to address wheel separations. The trucking group followed through in each case, safety board records show.

Woodrooffe said mechanics and drivers must be particularly careful about inspecting wheel nuts.

Typically, nuts are fastened with a specific amount of torque, or rotational force, which can be applied with a torque wrench, Woodrooffe said. Nuts must be tight, of course, but over-tightening can cause cracks.

The problem, Woodrooffe said, is that corrosion builds up on the fasteners over time. With the surfaces rougher, the torque wrench may show that the nut is appropriately tight when its actual holding power is half of what it should be, he said.

"That is a very, very disturbing result, because you have due diligence that's been complied with, but despite the mechanic's best efforts, unknown to him, the clamping force is not being achieved," Woodrooffe said.

Woodrooffe said he conducted his research as a private consultant on heavy-vehicle safety in Canada about five years ago, before joining the University of Michigan.

Heavy-truck wheels weigh 200 to 300 pounds, and when they spin off at highway speed, their velocity typically keeps them stable and rolling even when they hit a median, Woodrooffe said. That makes the likelihood of hitting a vehicle "fairly significant," he said.

And if the wheel crosses the median, "not only do you have to worry about the velocity of the tire, you also have to worry about the velocity of the vehicle coming in the other direction, so the energy of the collision is very, very high," he said.

Boyce said applying the correct amount of torque to lug nuts is indeed a key issue, as is corrosion.

"In the last 10 to 15 years, more and more, they've been using liquid corrosives to melt salt on the roads instead of the solid rock salt and other compounds," Boyce said. "These liquid ice melters stick to the undercarriage and the axles and the wheels of a truck much more readily than solid de-icers.

"Because of that, when they were first started being used, maintenance managers were shocked to see that trailers were wearing out and bolts were falling off after just a few years on the road."

He said materials have been improved as a result.

"But it's still a problem," he said.

Dan
2001 Rainforest Green LX (164,795 miles)--Minnie (The vacationator)
2006 Honda Civic EX with NAVI and 5sp MT (102,338 miles, new block at 89K) (Dan's daily driver)--Blue Car
Sold (scrapped) on 10/30/04 at 165,599.4 miles....1987 Honda Accord DX (165K miles)--Tan Car
Sold (scrapped) on 9/26/09 at 148406.4 miles and 24 years old....1985 Toyota Camry LE --Brown Car (Dan's former daily driver)
And more human powered bikes than I can count.....
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Dan
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 7:33 am    Post subject: Re: Care and treatment of lug nuts Reply with quote

Here is an interesting followup story on this subject, regarding a device that makes it easier to spot loose lug nuts.

From http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=687169


Bus company installs devices to detect loose lug nuts
Lamers exec says investment is worth cost in light of recent death

By RICK ROMELL
rromell@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Nov. 17, 2007
Spurred to action when a wheel spun off one of its vehicles about two years ago, a Wisconsin company that operates some 900 school buses has fitted most of them with a simple device that shows at a glance when a lug nut is loosening.

Lamers Bus Lines Inc., which runs school buses in 19 cities, has installed devices known as Wheel-Checks on about 80% of its fleet, Dean Brown, general manager of the firm's Milwaukee terminal, said last week.

"Granted, it takes a little time," Brown said. "But for the investment, it's next to nothing compared to what could happen."

A wheel that came off a semitrailer truck Nov. 8 killed physician Krishna Chintamaneni when it struck his windshield as he drove on I-43 in Glendale. It was at least the eighth death in the country this year caused by a truck losing a wheel.

Law enforcement and federal transportation authorities are investigating the accident that killed Chintamaneni. The truck believed to be involved has been impounded in Michigan. A lawyer for the firm that operated the truck, and for the firm that owned it, has said the vehicle was inspected a few months ago and approved for use.

Meanwhile, tape from a 911 call more than eight hours before the accident indicates that a motorist noticed a badly wobbling wheel on the truck as it traveled Highway 41 near Appleton.

Wheels can fail for many reasons, and a photo of the truck wheel involved in Chintamaneni's death suggests the lug nuts weren't a factor.

But lug nuts - the heavy fasteners that hold a wheel to an axle hub - have been implicated in other wheel detachments.

One expert, John Woodrooffe of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, believes a primary cause of those problems is nuts literally backing off their studs because they weren't tightened correctly.

Brown said no one was seriously injured when the Lamers bus lost a wheel.

"We just dodged a bullet with it, basically," he said.

Afterward, searching for ways to prevent such incidents, the company learned of Wheel-Checks.

The devices are made by a small Canadian company based on the design of an English inventor, said Stefni Walters, vice president of Toronto-based Wheel-Check Ltd.

Formed from bright plastic that stands out visually, they consist of a ring that fits tightly around the nut and another end that is pointed. A mechanic mounts the devices on the nuts so the points form a simple pattern. A driver checking his truck should be able to tell if a nut loosens because the pattern will be broken.

"When you walk up to that vehicle it takes little or no effort" to make sure the nuts are properly secured, Brown said.

Deaths by wheels spinning off make up a tiny sliver of the roughly 5,000 fatalities a year involving heavy trucks, and in any event, devices that show a nut is moving aren't foolproof. A 2006 study for the United Kingdom's Department for Transport found that some wheels equipped with movement indicators still had problems.

"This shows that adding these devices alone will not eliminate the problem, although it may well reduce it, and good maintenance will still be required," the study said.

Jim Tipka, vice president of engineering for the American Trucking Associations, said the wheel detachments he's familiar with stemmed from improperly adjusted bearings or problems with seals. Motion indicators on nuts, though, sound like a step in the right direction, he said.

"Anything that gives the operator a visual check is a good idea," Tipka said.

Like Lamers, trash hauler Waste Management Inc. uses Wheel-Checks on the several hundred trucks the firm operates in Wisconsin. Drivers must inspect their vehicles before and after their shifts, and the motion indicators tell them quickly if the lug nuts are tight, spokeswoman Lynn Morgan said.

Walters said Wheel-Check Ltd., which started about 10 years ago, expects to sell 3 million units this year. Last year, she said, the firm sold about 2 million.

"It's really starting to catch on," Walters said.

Dan
2001 Rainforest Green LX (164,795 miles)--Minnie (The vacationator)
2006 Honda Civic EX with NAVI and 5sp MT (102,338 miles, new block at 89K) (Dan's daily driver)--Blue Car
Sold (scrapped) on 10/30/04 at 165,599.4 miles....1987 Honda Accord DX (165K miles)--Tan Car
Sold (scrapped) on 9/26/09 at 148406.4 miles and 24 years old....1985 Toyota Camry LE --Brown Car (Dan's former daily driver)
And more human powered bikes than I can count.....
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2003MPV-LX
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 1:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Care and treatment of lug nuts Reply with quote

I know in the Military, we used to paint a small line from the lug nut to the wheel. Easy referance.

I have used a penetrating oil sprayed inside the lugh nut before to clean out rust. But I let the oil drain out first. Granted, not all will come out. Then torque as normal.

Never lost a wheel (knock on wood).


2003 MPV LX, Emerald Mica, Rear Spoiler, Auto-Exe Grill, Fog Lights, hitch, Concept DVD w/twin headrest mounted 7" monitors, K&N, visors, splash guards, LIMO tinting on all rear windows. silverstars. Mama's Zoom-Zoom
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Dan
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:04 am    Post subject: Re: Care and treatment of lug nuts Reply with quote

2003MPV-LX wrote:
I know in the Military, we used to paint a small line from the lug nut to the wheel. Easy referance.

I have used a penetrating oil sprayed inside the lugh nut before to clean out rust. But I let the oil drain out first. Granted, not all will come out. Then torque as normal.

Never lost a wheel (knock on wood).


So it is OK to put a little lubricant (thin coat of oil or a penatrating oil) on the threads? That is my original question and the basis for this thread. Sounds like you have done it and had no problem.

By the way, my impression of the military (never been in it) is that it is very procedure driven. Did they have a procedure for dealing with lug nuts? As in "Yes, you lubricate them." or "No, you don't lubricate them." AND THAT'S AN ORDER!!!

Dan
2001 Rainforest Green LX (164,795 miles)--Minnie (The vacationator)
2006 Honda Civic EX with NAVI and 5sp MT (102,338 miles, new block at 89K) (Dan's daily driver)--Blue Car
Sold (scrapped) on 10/30/04 at 165,599.4 miles....1987 Honda Accord DX (165K miles)--Tan Car
Sold (scrapped) on 9/26/09 at 148406.4 miles and 24 years old....1985 Toyota Camry LE --Brown Car (Dan's former daily driver)
And more human powered bikes than I can count.....
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bubba
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 1:08 am    Post subject: Re: Care and treatment of lug nuts Reply with quote

Dan, I put antiseize lubricant on every lug stud that I take a lug nut off of. It is the same kind of lubricant that should be put on every spark plug ever to be installed. It will greatly improve the ease of installing and removing the lug nut and will prolong the life of lug stud. They are removed quite often in order to rotate the tires or check the brakes and are often removed with an air gun. This very fast removal of the nut will often also leave traces of metal debris that is from the nut or stud. Off and On too many times and the threads get tweaked a little bit and make it harder to remove or install. The big trucks get this was more many times than your van ever will as some of these rigs have 500k to 1 million miles on them in a few years. How many times have those tires been removed?? Have been using anitsieze for now close to 20 years and never a problem. You are not looking at a problem of the lug nut going on too easy and reaching torque spec before being fully tight but problem of lug nut going on too hard due to corrosion or thread damage and reaching torque spec before nut is actually fully tight. Adding a lubricant to the thread would actually eliminate all of these problems but is just an extra step that is just not often performed.
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Dan
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Care and treatment of lug nuts Reply with quote

Thanks for the tips, bubba.

On our trip this Thanksgiving, we twice saw an eighteen wheeler with a left rear inside tire in the process of disintegrating. I don't know that I have ever seen it happening before, but twice in a week (about 2000 miles of driving) got my attention.

In one case the driver was obviously aware of it (Hazard lights on, driving at reduced speed, got off at first available exit) but I am not sure if driver #2 was aware yet.

Brings up a question. If a truck driver has a tire that is disintegrating, will he be aware of it? Can he tell by the way the truck handles or "feels", or does he have to be notified by someone that he has a problem?

Dan
2001 Rainforest Green LX (164,795 miles)--Minnie (The vacationator)
2006 Honda Civic EX with NAVI and 5sp MT (102,338 miles, new block at 89K) (Dan's daily driver)--Blue Car
Sold (scrapped) on 10/30/04 at 165,599.4 miles....1987 Honda Accord DX (165K miles)--Tan Car
Sold (scrapped) on 9/26/09 at 148406.4 miles and 24 years old....1985 Toyota Camry LE --Brown Car (Dan's former daily driver)
And more human powered bikes than I can count.....
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2003MPV-LX
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 2:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Care and treatment of lug nuts Reply with quote

They are usually pretty loud when they blow. Other than that, other truckers talk to each other and they usually get the word pretty soon.

If they are using their mirrors, they will see the pieces flying. But with a dual wheel, you generally won't feel a loss of one tire.


2003 MPV LX, Emerald Mica, Rear Spoiler, Auto-Exe Grill, Fog Lights, hitch, Concept DVD w/twin headrest mounted 7" monitors, K&N, visors, splash guards, LIMO tinting on all rear windows. silverstars. Mama's Zoom-Zoom
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Dan
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 10:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Care and treatment of lug nuts Reply with quote

2003MPV-LX wrote:
But with a dual wheel, you generally won't feel a loss of one tire.


That is what I was guessing.

Dan
2001 Rainforest Green LX (164,795 miles)--Minnie (The vacationator)
2006 Honda Civic EX with NAVI and 5sp MT (102,338 miles, new block at 89K) (Dan's daily driver)--Blue Car
Sold (scrapped) on 10/30/04 at 165,599.4 miles....1987 Honda Accord DX (165K miles)--Tan Car
Sold (scrapped) on 9/26/09 at 148406.4 miles and 24 years old....1985 Toyota Camry LE --Brown Car (Dan's former daily driver)
And more human powered bikes than I can count.....
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mikebai1990
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 8:39 am    Post subject: Re: Care and treatment of lug nuts Reply with quote

Hmm, this is pretty interesting! In NYC, all the buses are now fitted with the "device" that is mentioned in the article. I figured it was used to make sure the torque on the lugnut was kept proper.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Care and treatment of lug nuts Reply with quote

mikebai1990 wrote:
Hmm, this is pretty interesting! In NYC, all the buses are now fitted with the "device" that is mentioned in the article. I figured it was used to make sure the torque on the lugnut was kept proper.
if its the little round hub thingy that is loosely fitting on the hub (rotates about 2 o'clock then 10 o'clock per rotation), its to measure tire life. i.e. every time the tire's changed its reset to 0 then when it hits a certain mileage, its time for a change.

methinks.

on the matter of greasing lugnuts, I use antisieze lubricant every tire change (i.e. winter -> summer, vice versa). let them sit there for a few minutes to let the excess drain out. seem to work ok.

Then: '79 Plymouth Horizon, '88 VW Fox Wagon, '92 VW Jetta GL (DW), '96 VW Golf GL (DW), '97 Jetta GLX - Green, '03 MPV ES - Blue Mica (DW)
Now: '15 Hyundai Elantra GT - Titanium Gray Metallic (DW), '10 Honda Civic Si - Polished Metal Metallic blake
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