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Author Topic:   Seized Rusted Wheel Lugs
fjjpal posted 09-11-2003 09:39 PM ET (US)   Profile for fjjpal   Send Email to fjjpal  
Is there anyway to dissolve this rust and get the lugs off. If they have to be cut off what tool will do the job?
arnereil posted 09-11-2003 10:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for arnereil  Send Email to arnereil     
Well, i'd start with an over night soaking with penetrating oil, then working the lug back and forth to see if it will loosen up. it won't take much to snap them off, the back and forth motion has to be minimal till the break the rust bond (if indeed they ever do)....
fina posted 09-11-2003 10:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for fina  Send Email to fina     
heat the nuts witha propane torch
Tom W Clark posted 09-11-2003 10:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Aerokroil from Kano Laboratories.
whalerron posted 09-11-2003 11:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerron  Send Email to whalerron     
Take the trailer to your local gas station or tire shop or find a friend who has airtools. Ask them to loosen the lugs with an air hammer. Then, retighten each lug by hand with a wrench. The air hammer will be the best way to loosen the lugs without breaking them off. A good soaking with penetrating oil the night before will help tremendously.

- ron

triblet posted 09-12-2003 10:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Half inch breaker bar. Stand on the end. If that doesn't
work, impact wrench.

You may want to think about replacing the studs (easiest may
be to replace the hub assembly).

And grease the threads before you put the nuts back on. Use
a good stiff grease so it doesn't migrate. I use disk brake
wheel bearing grease.


Tom2697 posted 09-12-2003 10:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom2697  Send Email to Tom2697     
My trailer had all the nuts "frozen" on the hubs. I tried a hacksaw, drill, and a torch. I was about to break out my acetylene cutting outfit when I decided on a last minute try with a lug wrench. It worked! But, I decided to replace the hubs since the cost of the bearings and new studs and nuts was not that much different from the cost of the hub outfit. My old hubs were rusted from years of saltwater use so I decided to replace the hole setup.

One thing on using grease on the threads...NEVER do this! This is the best way for the lug nuts to lossen and fall off at the worst possible time! It is recommended against by all wheel manufacturers and in most vehicle repair manuals. If you want to prevent corrosion on the threads, use a light duty thread locking compound (LockTite). This will protect the threads and prevent the nuts from seizing. Just don't buy the LockTite that requires impact or heat to dislodge...the 242 Blue works well...

andygere posted 09-12-2003 04:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
If the penetrating oild does not work them off with an impact wrench or a lug wrench with a big helper. Throw away the hubs and bearings and install new ones. If the lug nuts are so rusted you can't get them off, the rest of it is probably in bad shape too. Hubs and bearings are cheap, boats are not cheap. Replace the hubs and bearings and you won't destroy your boat because a wheel fell off doing 55 down the interstate.
oysterman posted 09-12-2003 04:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for oysterman  Send Email to oysterman     
Happens all the time in our business. Our trailers are in the water much of the time. Put some oil on the lugs and let it sit for a day. (May have to add some as the day goes on). Then use a torch to heat them up. Works almost everytime.
andygere posted 09-12-2003 04:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
If the penetrating oild does not work, break them off with an impact wrench or a lug wrench with a big helper.
fjjpal posted 09-12-2003 08:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for fjjpal  Send Email to fjjpal     
Thank you all. I will try the oil and heat trick and if the hubs look bad, which they probably will, I will replace them. I have a large + lug wrench that if all else fails I am sure I can use to snap them off. Is there much to replacing the hubs? Tom where do you get AEROKROIL? Is it a penetrating oil that I can soak the lugs with and then heat?
Tom W Clark posted 09-12-2003 08:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Aerokroil is a penetrating oil that is pretty remarkable in it ability to free rust frozen parts. It has been around for a long time but I had never heard of it until somebody here on the Forum recommended it a couple years ago. I didn't think much about it until a day or two later I found myself staring at a display of at a local hardware distributor here ion Seattle, Tacoma Screw Products. I have since discovered that it is not uncommon.

If you cannot find it at a better hardware store locally, do a Google search. Aviation supply houses seem to almost always have it. Do you live near a civil airport?

fjjpal posted 09-12-2003 11:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for fjjpal  Send Email to fjjpal     
Yes, there is an airport in Morristown. I will find it. You guys are a wealth of knowledge. I have learned so much from you all. Thanks again.
triblet posted 09-13-2003 02:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Tom, I've greased the studs on every vehicle I've ever owned.
Never had a problem with the lug nuts loosening up. That's
over about 500,000 miles. And there are those who say that
NO critical threaded fastener should ever be installed dry.


Tims_Tub posted 09-13-2003 02:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tims_Tub  Send Email to Tims_Tub     
If the lug nuts are really rusted to the studs, you may be able to unscrew the stubs from the hub flange with an impact wrench (applied to the lug nuts). The stud and lug nut will come out as one piece. This happened on my trailer. In many cases, the studs are threaded into the hub flage from the front. You can then replace the offending nuts and studs.

I, too have used *very* small amounts of grease on the lugs and studs to prevent seisure with good success. I do however always check the tightness of the lugs (along with other critical trailer points) prior to setting out on any kind trip that involves high speeds or distances more than a few miles.

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