ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (July 19, 2004) — People by the thousands are making a living providing the rest of us with helpful tips on how to improve everything from the way we live to how we run our businesses.
Here's a tip for gardening I found: When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.
And here's one you guys can really relate to: If your hair needs conditioning, use Budweiser beer on it. (I think, though, that this may be considered alcohol abuse in some circles.)
Got arthritis? Just spray a little WD-40 on the achy spot and rub it in. And so it goes.
But what about tips for handling and servicing truck tire wheels? Much has been written in the industry about wheel and rims. But no one has put together a consolidation of the little pieces of information, tricks of the trade, best practices, etc. that you not only may find useful but need to employ as you service truck tire and wheel assemblies.
So at the risk of being labeled the Martha Stewart of the commercial truck tire industry, I've put together a list of tips you may find useful. See how many of these you are aware of.
Wheel assembly removal
If wheels or rims cannot be removed easily from the hub after the fasteners have been removed, a rubber mallet or dead-blow hammer can be used to loosen the assembly. Never use a steel or hard-faced hammer to strike a wheel or wheel component at any time.
You should also know that the use of heat on a fastener or wheel changes and degrades the properties of the metal, so any wheel or wheel component that is exposed to outside heat must be replaced. Don't use a torch on a fastener unless your only other option is to scrap the truck because you can't get the wheel off.
On demountable rim assemblies, the fasteners should be loosened but not removed from the studs until all the clamps are loose. A rubber mallet or dead-blow hammer may be used to strike the outer rim or clamps to loosen, but never use a steel or hard-faced hammer to strike the clamps.
Stud-piloted wheel assemblies can experience frozen inner and outer cap nuts when the stud and nut threads are worn, damaged or excessively corroded. If the impact wrench appears to labor when the outer cap nut is being removed, technicians should stop and move on to the next fastener. If the wheels are not loose, continuing to remove a frozen inner and outer cap nut can force the stud into the hub or drum.
To remove frozen inner and outer cap nuts, technicians may have to loosen each outer cap nut slightly several times while constantly checking to make sure the wheels are loose.
A cap nut (or “pork chop”) wrench can be used to remove frozen lug nuts. This wrench holds the outer cap nut while turning the inner cap nut.
Most tubeless truck tire and wheel assemblies utilize one-piece rims with a drop center well. On a steel wheel, one side of the drop center will be shorter than the other side. Steel wheels should always be demounted from the short side of the drop center well.
On most aluminum wheels, the drop center is symmetrical so the tire can be demounted from either side of the wheel.
Some 19.5-inch steel and also aluminum wheels have a reduced wheel well and should always be mounted and demounted from the disc side of the wheel.
Tubeless tires cannot be demounted until the beads have been unseated from the rim. A duck-bill hammer should only be used as a wedge and never swung to unseat the beads. Technicians should use a rubber mallet or dead-blow hammer to strike the flat end of the duck-bill hammer and drive the wedge between the bead and the rim flange. Slide-impact bead unseating tools also can be used.
Once the beads have been unseated, a non-petroleum based rubber lubricant should be applied liberally to both beads to ease the demounting process and prevent damage to the beads.
When replacing valve stems, apply anti-corrosive compound (such as Freylube, Rim Non-Rust or Tiger Grease) around the valve hole on the tire side of tubeless aluminum wheels. The valve should be torqued to 125 inch-lbs.
To protect aluminum wheels from being scratched during mounting, use a rubber mat or floor pad on the floor.
To avoid damaging aluminum wheels on tire mounting machines, do not use tire changers that clamp to the inside of the rim since the clamps may gouge the rim severely. Special tire changer adapters are available and should be used if necessary.
Special tools also are available from manufacturers of tire mounting machines that are designed to prevent damage to the wheel coating. These tools may be made from special materials or have special coatings that prevent marring, scuffing and other damage to the surface of the wheel.
Wheel assembly installation
To prevent hub-piloted wheels from sticking to the pilots, apply a little Freylube to the hub pilots, making sure that none gets on the mounting face of the drum or wheels.
To ensure that hub-piloted wheels do not cock during installation, rotate the hub so that one pilot is at the 12 o'clock position and then install the wheel(s). Screw the nuts on finger tight at the 12 o'clock position and then at the 6 o'clock position and then install the rest of the nuts finger tight. Using the crisscross sequence, snug the nuts up to 50 ft. lbs. and then tighten to the recommended torque again using the same crisscross sequence.
Never use anti-seize compounds on stud- piloted inner and outer cap nuts to prevent them from freezing together. This can result in overtorquing and loose wheels.
Wheel stud replacement
Broken studs must be replaced as well as each unbroken stud next to the broken stud. If two or more studs are broken, replace all of the studs.
A press or stud puller should be used to install studs. Stud heads can be bent from hammer blows. That will prevent the stud from fully seating flat against the back of the hub and can result in stud failure.
When replacing wheel studs, ensure the replacement wheel stud is equivalent to the original wheel stud being removed. There are four important areas of consideration when replacing wheel studs.
The first is stud standout. Ensure the overall length of the replacement wheel stud matches the length of the wheel stud being replaced. Wheel stud lengths are specifically designed to suit varying disc-wheel-mounting systems, brake-drum-mounting face thicknesses and disc wheel material types. Failure to use the correct length may lead to insufficient clamp load of the disc wheels.
You must have sufficient threads for adequate, full thread engagement of the nut.
Replacement wheel studs should be the equivalent material grade as the original wheel studs. Class 6, 7 and 8 truck and trailer wheel studs are made in various grades that indicate the fasteners' base material, strength properties and performance capabilities.
Most wheel studs will have a marking on the head of the stud indicating the material grade. Additional markings such as part number and manufacturer I.D. can be located on the head of the wheel stud, too.
Wheel studs are designed with a specific press-fit into the flange of the hub to prevent the studs from turning while tightening or loosening the lug nuts. Ensure the body diameter and serration, if any, of the replacement wheel stud matches the original body diameter to maintain the designed press fit into the hub.
Make sure the wheel stud thread size matches the original thread size and thread direction. Most English threads have left-hand or right-hand threads. Most metric threads are right-hand threads. Take care not to mix thread sizes as some thread sizes may appear the same (that is, ¾-inch English vs. M20 metric threads).
To respond correctly to fleets that ask how often lugs nuts and studs should be replaced, recommend that wheel fasteners—especially studs—be replaced during some maintenance cycle of the vehicle since it is a major undertaking to do this.
For benchmarking, fasteners should be inspected and replaced if required every five years. Some fleets may find that the life expectancy of their fasteners is shorter if they do a lot of tire work, brake work, have heavy hauls, work off-road or run in highly corrosive environments. Others may find that due to low mileage, light loads and ideal running conditions, the life of their fasteners is longer than five years.
To check for loose wheels on vehicles, look for variations in the number of stud threads protruding beyond the nuts—that may indicate loose, backed-off wheel nuts.
Checking how far the stud extends past the nut is the easiest visual method to use for finding loose lug nuts, although only a torque wrench will provide you with a definitive answer.
Aluminum wheels have many special considerations. As you are no doubt well aware, aluminum wheels are usually much thicker than steel wheels. Aluminum wheel disc thickness ranges from ¾-inch to 1 1/8 inches, which is about double the thickness of steel disc wheels.
As a result, special hardware may be required to accommodate these wheels. Otherwise the studs may be too short to provide sufficient clamp load on the disc wheels.
If a trucker asks you to put aluminum wheels on his tractor or trailer, or change the outside wheels from steel to aluminum, you may have some problems.
For mounting stud-piloted steel inner wheels with aluminum outer wheels, special longer length, not collared inner cap nuts, are required. For dual aluminum wheel applications, use only SAE Grade 8 collared inner cap nuts and standard out cap nuts.
To fit dual, hub-piloted aluminum wheels properly on a vehicle, longer hub pilots are required. The pilots should extend through 50 percent of the disc thickness of the outer dual wheel. If they don't, your Knight of the Highway will need new hubs. Use the same flange nuts as for steel hub-piloted disc wheels.
Both steel and aluminum wide-base-single wheels have thicker discs than conventional wheels.
To install hub-piloted, wide-base wheels properly, studs should be long enough to engage flange nut threads fully. It is recommended that the hub pilot extend through 50 percent of the disc thickness on these wheels, too.
To provide full engagement with the stud threads, stud-piloted, aluminum wide-base wheels require a special collared nut when used with ¾-16 thread studs.
Well, that's my list of helpful hints for wheels. Hopefully you'll find these more useful to you every day than most of the other tips you've seen.
But you'll never know when using Preparation H to eliminate puffy eyes or meat tenderizer to heal bee stings will come in handy.