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Old 12-03-2012, 10:06 AM   #1
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Question Lug nut torque

When I remove, & install the tires on my pickup the lug nuts get torqued to factory spec. In a couple of hundred miles, I torque the lug nuts again, & it's good to go. Why then do the lug nuts on most of our 5th wheels require attention with a torque wrench so often?
JOHN
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:40 PM   #2
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My opinion thus it is only worth $0.02.
Is that the trailer when backing and turning is subjected to side loading more than the tow vehicle is so rechecking of the rim torque is required. Also the trailer manufacture wants to protect its self from being sued. So if the tire/rim where to loosen and cause a failure to the axle. The manufacture can examine the wheel assembly and see if there has been thread distortion or bolt hole distortion in the rim do to the rim not being torque.

Jim W.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:22 PM   #3
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Another $.02 opinion here. I don't think trailer lug nuts would need to be re-torqued any more than your truck tires. I've been tightening lug nuts since I was 14yrs old, and I'm 63 now. I've never, NEVER, had one come loose, so I guess I just can never understand all these stories about loose lug nuts.
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:07 PM   #4
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Loose lug nuts on trailer are common for the reasons jimscumminsw says.

I would add .... weight on a truck wheel is carried by the wheels centers. The front wheels turn around a corner and the rear follows. The lug nuts simply clamp the wheel to the hub.

The trailer wheel is located and held by the lugs (lug centered). The wheels centers are cleared and contact nothing. Now add the trailers tires side scrubbing issues and over a short time it can work a lug nut loose.

Some trailer axle on heavier trailers, can be hub centered and loose lugs are rare.

I use a 4 way on my steel wheels and a torque wrench on all aluminum wheels.
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:22 PM   #5
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I happen to be in the group that doesn't have a problem with lug nuts coming loose. Checked mine twice and forgot about it after that, never anything loose. Guess if you are anal about it, go put the torque wrench on it every morning and you are good to go.
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:27 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by JIMNLIN View Post
Loose lug nuts on trailer are common for the reasons jimscumminsw says.

I would add .... weight on a truck wheel is carried by the wheels centers. The front wheels turn around a corner and the rear follows. The lug nuts simply clamp the wheel to the hub....................
Well, that is an interesting thought and seems to make sense. I guess I've just been fortunate to never had a lug nut come loose on cars, trucks, RVs or trailers of all kinds.
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:30 AM   #7
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I'll generally check the lug torques once or twice after they've been disturbed. Once they're stable, I've never had any loosen.

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Old 12-04-2012, 08:55 AM   #8
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It takes all of about one minute per rim. I always check them before departure. Occasionally there will be one or two that take a slight tweak. It also forces me to look at the condition of the tires for anything unusual. Considering the abuse rims and tires take on a fiver, time well spent.
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:39 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Vette Racer View Post
I happen to be in the group that doesn't have a problem with lug nuts coming loose. Checked mine twice and forgot about it after that, never anything loose. Guess if you are anal about it, go put the torque wrench on it every morning and you are good to go.
I usually check the lug nuts on the trailer when we are towing that day, in the morning right before we break camp. Have found flat tires from nails left in the camp site to underinflated tires. I have also found loose lug nuts on one or two rims every time I check. What I also like to do is inspect the tires for carcass damage when checking for loose lug nuts. I have had to change out one tire for that on my first 5er, that we owned back in 09 due to a bulge in the sidewall after traveling 350 miles the day before.

What is an extra Ĺ hour of your time to inspect your tires and lug nut torque in the greater scheme of things when towing your trailer? You check to make sure you are hitched up correctly donít you??
Jim W.
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by JIMNLIN View Post
Loose lug nuts on trailer are common for the reasons jimscumminsw says.

I would add .... weight on a truck wheel is carried by the wheels centers. The front wheels turn around a corner and the rear follows. The lug nuts simply clamp the wheel to the hub.

The trailer wheel is located and held by the lugs (lug centered). The wheels centers are cleared and contact nothing. Now add the trailers tires side scrubbing issues and over a short time it can work a lug nut loose.

Some trailer axle on heavier trailers, can be hub centered and loose lugs are rare.

I use a 4 way on my steel wheels and a torque wrench on all aluminum wheels.
Then how do you explain the FRONT wheels on a truck staying tight? They are subjected to side loads while turning.

My trailer wheels are not centered by the lugs but by the center cutout engaging the axle hub center. The lugs just clamp the wheel on.

IMHO folks who lose wheels either 1) overtorque the lugs, or 2) don't get them clean and tight.
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:20 PM   #11
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Then how do you explain the FRONT wheels on a truck staying tight? They are subjected to side loads while turning.

My trailer wheels are not centered by the lugs but by the center cutout engaging the axle hub center. The lugs just clamp the wheel on.

IMHO folks who lose wheels either 1) overtorque the lugs, or 2) don't get them clean and tight.
Truck wheel stay tight for reasons I gave above. Read what I said.

Truck front tires turn into a corner unlike a tire on a trailer that slides sideways around the corner. Apples vs oranges in stress issues on the lugs and amount of wheel flex.

If your trailer wheels are indeed hub centered then your ahead in the game of lost wheels.
If you haven't had loose lugs your ahead even farther.

I could add several more reasons to your opinions of why lugs nuts come loose or a wheel is lost.

I haven't lost a wheel either and thats with over 800k mile towing equipment trailes for a living (commercially). Loosing a wheel happens .......... for many reasons including mechanical and operator errors.
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:10 AM   #12
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Another $.02 opinion here. I don't think trailer lug nuts would need to be re-torqued any more than your truck tires. I've been tightening lug nuts since I was 14yrs old, and I'm 63 now. I've never, NEVER, had one come loose, so I guess I just can never understand all these stories about loose lug nuts.
I've been driving and tightening since 15 yrs old and I'm 60 now. Never had one come loose--until I did.

We hadn't had the tires on the fiver off in about 5000 miles. Heading down the freeway and lost a wheel on the rig. Tow driver that was sent out from Phoenix indicated it was his 4th one that week.

He asked if wheels had been off recently as this was most common cause. I told him no. He then indicated the other common cause, primarily on aluminum wheels as on the rig, occurs in the desert where there can be significant expansion and contraction due to the temp swings. This did fit our situation as it was 100 degrees when it occurred, but nights had been still cooling down into the high 50's.

In any case, the lesson I took from the experience is that the little sticker that the mfr places above the wheelwell-including "---then check periodically thereafter"---means you should check them periodically. LOL
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:06 PM   #13
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As I said earlier, I've never had anything loose in all the years of towing but I do walk around and visually check the tires, axles, springs, and all that stuff as well as feeling the tires and wheel hubs every time I stop to make sure it all looks right. But if it makes you feel better then go ahead and torque them suckers every day. Just make sure you do it right, that is to say the correct method of torquing a lug nut is to back it off and then re tighten to correct torque. If you just try and tighten it you may end up over torquing it.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:02 AM   #14
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As I said earlier, I've never had anything loose in all the years of towing but I do walk around and visually check the tires, axles, springs, and all that stuff as well as feeling the tires and wheel hubs every time I stop to make sure it all looks right. But if it makes you feel better then go ahead and torque them suckers every day. Just make sure you do it right, that is to say the correct method of torquing a lug nut is to back it off and then re tighten to correct torque. If you just try and tighten it you may end up over torquing it.
No. You use a static torque value to check the bolt/nut to insure that it has been correctly torque. The static torque has a lower torque value than dynamic torque which has a higher value this is what you use tighten the rims too. Torque has been checked this way in the automotive and heavy equipment industry since the early 80ís and what I use to check them.
Jim W.
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