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Old 02-13-2022, 09:05 PM #1
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So my wheel fell off, anyone else?

I had been driving earlier in the day and thought maybe the steering felt a little loose, but nothing crazy.

Then later that night starting a 2 hr drive to our cabin I get on the highway - sweeping right turn - and feel a wobble, but Iím unsure what to make of it.

Within 5 miles the truck really isnít feeling stable so I slow down to exit, thinking in the back of my head that my LBJ must be going, then sure enough on the exit ramp thereís a clunk and the truck drops. I thought for sure LBJ, but was surprised when I saw my driver rear wheel laying in the road!

I didnít take any photos, but hereís footage from my dashcam, you can hear me trying to keep it together, in my head Iím quietly panicking.

Shit happens - YouTube

The damage was minimal - the sliding ground down my brake drum, but not all the way through so itís fine. The holes where the wheel would mount got a little wallowed out, so thatís a permanent spare now.

The lug nuts apparently were loose because I found 5 of them next to the wheel on the ground - one stud snapped (must have been the only lug holding the wheel on) and another bent. I was able to hammer the bent lug straight enough to mount the wheel so I could get off the road and onto a flatbed for a short tow home.

The next day I replaced all studs with dormanís from advance auto and and drove the 100 miles to my cabin without issue.

óóóóóóóó-

So, Iíve been racking my brain trying to think of what could have happened. All other wheels lug nuts were tight. I last did a tire rotation in November - 3,000 miles ago, Iím absolutely certain I torqued them all down to 95lb/ft. Before this happened the truck had been parked in Brooklyn while I was out of town for a week. I drove it the day before 40 miles to NJ on the highway and didnít notice anything strange.

My friend suspects that someone tampered with my lug nuts. Iíd like to believe that, but my locking lug nut was also loose, and I find it unlikely someone would go through that effort and not steal my wheels. I also have VTX wheels and special lugnuts that you need a special tool to loosen, I didnít notice any signs of tampering on the lug nuts themselves and the threads looked fine (ie not stripped).

Other possibility is that no shop can seem to get my tires balanced - so there is vibration at certain speeds. Could that be enough to do this? I doubt it since Iíve been running this tire wheel combo for 2 yrs 20k+ miles.

Thing Iím thinking most likely - Maybe I got a little overzealous with my first round of tightening the lug nuts and tightened the first one too much, pulling that side too tight, unevenly. Thus, the wheel would not have been mounted flush and could have had some vibration. Then over time the lug nuts slowly worked themselves loose.

The only other thing could be these aftermarket wheels and lug nuts, maybe I need some extended lug nuts. Hereís my wheels ROGUE SL | GUNMETAL - VTX Wheels

And lug nuts 50MM SPLINE LUG NUT - VTX Wheels

I counted the turns on the lug nuts and Iím getting about 8-9 turns with my fingers, then a few more before theyíre fully torqued. Rule of thumb seems to be 7-8 turns, so it should be enough thread engagement.

Sucks because my wife really doesnít trust the runner anymore, and in the back of my mind Iím always worried about the LBJís failing (I replaced mine with OEM 50k miles ago).

I know this particular failure has nothing to do with the age of the vehicle, but I canít convince her the runner is a great, reliable vehicle, since it is old and has been through a lot.

Anyway - does anyone have any thoughts on what may have caused this? I know Iíll be checking my lug nuts before every trip
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Old 02-13-2022, 11:04 PM #2
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Are you torquing the lug nuts to 95 ft ibs because the manufacture of the wheel/lug nuts told you to or because you think higher torque is better? Factory torque on the wheels is actually 85 ft ibs but thats for factory wheel/lugs. Maybe the 10 ft ibs over limit + non OEM lug nuts = wheel coming off. Either way rough situation but at least the LBJ didn't fail.
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Old 02-13-2022, 11:56 PM #3
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Quote:
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Are you torquing the lug nuts to 95 ft ibs because the manufacture of the wheel/lug nuts told you to or because you think higher torque is better? Factory torque on the wheels is actually 85 ft ibs but thats for factory wheel/lugs. Maybe the 10 ft ibs over limit + non OEM lug nuts = wheel coming off. Either way rough situation but at least the LBJ didn't fail.


Well torque wrench is accurate to 4% so I figure Iíd rather be a little high than a little low. Maybe 10 lbs over torque could do it?




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Old 02-14-2022, 12:53 AM #4
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I torque to 100+ on mine. Aluminum rims need retightening, shops say at 25 miles and can come loose with uneven tightening as you said. I've had one come loose but not off my GS in less than 10 miles when driving it hard. I aim for one check at 10-25 miles and another at 100+ after swapping tires.

I prefer to use an impact on lowest setting to get them all snug, then drop the car and torque. If the tire is on the ground before lugs are snug you can often retorque them just after backing up 5' and get a turn, not good.
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Old 02-14-2022, 01:23 AM #5
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The only time I had lug nuts come loose were using torque sticks and Battey powered impact. I switched back to hand torqing to 90 ft lbs. Solved that issue. Granted this was on oem wheel and lug nuts.

I know you never antiseize or grease up the lug nuts or studs. As they need to be torqued and stay snug.


Another thought being these are aftermarket wheels and lugs. Is to lock tite the lug nuts on. Maybe that will help from the lugs coming loose. As some wheels and lug nuts are more prone come loose.

I would check would be to torque on the ground. Then verify torque in a few days to a week.

My brother had a Honda accord that would do this. Basically we just tighten the lugs every week. I know one the aluminum stud hole gets messed up. Best to get rid of the rim or like you Said make it a spare. As it will never tighten properly again.

Hoping other members have thoughts on your particular rims and lug nuts.







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Old 02-14-2022, 01:53 AM #6
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I wonder if the design of the wheel lug holes allowed the nuts to be tightened down on to a shoulder or lip, and then later slipped off under the repeated torque of putting in gear/pulling away from lights.

That would explain all the nuts one day suddenly coming loose enough for the wheel to fall off, kind of like a time bomb.
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Old 02-14-2022, 01:58 AM #7
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Sucks how the first thing being blamed is the LBJ, glad everyone is ok though. Really would like to know the cause of that issue. Keep us posted.
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Old 02-14-2022, 11:06 AM #8
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Do your aftermarket lug nuts have the washer same as the OEM ones? At least you were able to deal with it fairly easily from the sounds of it, could have been much worse. My method is I snug the lugs down in the star pattern with my knee stopping the tire from spinning. Then lower to the ground with not quite all the weight on it and torque to 85 ft/lb in the star pattern (I think the manual actually says 83 ft/lb). Then put the truck all the way down and go round and double check each one. Then I triple check them after driving it for a while, and occasionally randomly re-check when I'm drinking beer in the garage or before a trip.
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Old 02-14-2022, 11:34 AM #9
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Thanks for the replies and support.

No the aftermarket lugs do not have a washer.

My process has been like most of
You described - tighten in a star pattern while in the air as much as I can, then drop to the ground and do the final torqueing.

I think I just need to make sure Iím extra careful about making sure the wheel is nice and evenly aligned & torqued for the initial torquing. Then check again periodically.






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Old 02-14-2022, 12:26 PM #10
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Quote:
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Thanks for the replies and support.
If you should notice a vibration like tire out of balance be blaming it on brake drum that lil bit that got ground off is the culprit they are balanced.
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Old 02-14-2022, 01:45 PM #11
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Even though I have the tools, I always use the spare tire kit in the back. I finish tightening each lug by standing on the tool so that's like 175 lb/ft of tq. After getting rotations done from a shop, they are tightened over 200 lb/ft at times as I can't always get them loose by hand (more like my foot). I know that the FSM says 85, but in the real world with rust, dirt, debris etc. it may not be enough. It takes an insane amount of torque to strip a wheel stud so I have always verged on the side of being too tight.

There are no known issues with rear wheels falling off so this was a fluke.
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Old 02-14-2022, 02:20 PM #12
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Over torquing lugs repeatedly is not good.
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Old 02-14-2022, 03:28 PM #13
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Not directed at the OP but I torque my wheels to 85-90# feet.
Never had a lug nut open up or come loose, even when wheeling with E-rated tires.

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Old 02-14-2022, 03:31 PM #14
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Quote:
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Over torquing lugs repeatedly is not good.
I'd second this. I had a lug nut sieze up one time when removing them. I managed to snap the wheel stud off with hand tools and I'm not a very big guy.

I use the FSM torque and check them 2-3 times in the first few hundred KM after rotating. So far so good.
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Old 02-14-2022, 03:42 PM #15
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I always wondered how wheels can fall of with out tons of warning before hand and no-one noticing something was wrong.
Many many years ago I didn't tighten my lugs enough, though i thought i did. I knew there was something really wrong the very next day while driving. So I immediately pulled over and checked them. Sure enough passenger side was not tightened.

I have also wondered why tire places want you to come back in 25mi. I have had tons of new tiers mounted over the years and no-one ever told me this till about 10 years ago. I simply blamed it on bad installers and the incompetency of properly tightening so they were covering there butts.

I'm thinking someone started to steel them then realized it was a 6 lug and not a 5.

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