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Old 04-14-2018, 03:35 AM   #1
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Re-torquing Trailer Lug Nuts

Ever since I nearly lost a wheel due to loose lug nuts, I re-torque the nuts on my 24' car hauler at each and every fuel stop. The nuts on the front axle wheels are always tight. However, one or two nuts on the rear axle wheels invariably need to be re-tightened every hundred miles or so. They are still snug, but they are not at the original 80 ft lbs of torque.



Is it normal that the rear axle wheels lug nuts need to be re-torqued more frequently than the front axle wheels? Could I have an alignment issue?
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Old 04-14-2018, 05:45 AM   #2
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On my 26 ft Trailer I torque the lugs @ 100 lbs each time I pull the wheels for service. Never had one come loose. I might add that I have Aluminum Wheels.
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Old 04-14-2018, 09:05 AM   #3
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On a new one I would check torque by setting the torque wrench to 70 pounds when the correct torque would be 80 just to check and every lug nut would turn and several would. Then re-torque than to the correct 80 pounds.

When I was had pull behinds both TT and 5er I would check my lug nut torque at the beginning of each season and once or twice during the year. Yes, I have added a few pounds of torque to at least one wheel every spring.

My Motorhome first 6,000 mile service was a requirement re-torques of the lug nuts plus a bunch of other re-torques.
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Old 04-14-2018, 09:13 AM   #4
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Normally, when a lugnut needs retightening like that it means the stud is stretching and needs to be replaced.
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Old 04-14-2018, 09:28 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkfrazee View Post
They are still snug, but they are not at the original 80 ft lbs of torque.
IMHO, 80 lb/ft torque is not tight enough for trailer wheels. I keep mine at between of 100 lb/ft and 110 lb/ft, and I never have any problems with the lug nuts loosening. on long trips, I don't even check them more often that about every thousand miles.

Quote:
Is it normal that the rear axle wheels lug nuts need to be re-torqued more frequently than the front axle wheels?
Not if the lug nuts are torqued to at lest 100 lb/ft. I don't know about when the lug nuts are torqued to only 80 lb/ft.

I keep a torque wrench in the trailer and use it after changing wheels for some reason - or if a shop removed a trailer wheel and then put it back on. Most so-called techs that work in tire shops don't have a clue as to how to torque lug nuts. At best they just use a "torque stick" on an air-powered impact wrench. So I always double check after I leave the shop. Works for me, as I've had no lug nut problems for the last 30 years and a few hundred thousand towing miles.

Quote:
Could I have an alignment issue?
Tire wear will quickly tell you if you have an alignment issue. Keep a tire tread depth gauge in the glove box and use it frequently across the width of the tread to let you know if you have an alignment issue.

Tire balance might contribute to loose lug nuts that are tightened to only 80 lb/ft, but axle alignment should not. You do keep the trailer tires balanced, right?
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Old 04-14-2018, 09:41 AM   #6
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Are you using any type of lubricant on your lugs? Don’t.
If not, it may be time to replace the lug nuts, they sometimes will losen if they’ve lost too much friction between the nut and stud threads.

If this is the same wheel you almost lost, that wheel (rim) needs replacement. I learned this the hard way years ago when I had the same problem on a van. Could not drive the dam thing more than fifty miles without losing lug nuts.

Lost the wheel one day, and had to replace it. New wheel, studs, and nuts, never had a problem since. It was the wheel the whole time.

Two types of wheels if you don’t know.

The hub pilot wheel, and the stud pilot wheel.

The hub pilot wheel is centered on and by the hub at the center of the wheel. Lug nuts only hold it on the hub, and the hub carry’s the load.

The stud piloted wheel, is centered by the studs, and the studs hold the wheel on, and carry all the load.

Stud piloted wheels are notorious for losening lugs.

Sorry for the long drawn out explanation, but I thought it mite give you some insight on posible causes for what you’re experiencing.

DTW
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Old 04-14-2018, 09:58 AM   #7
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I have to agree. With 1/2 inch studs the nuts should be torqued to AT LEAST 90 lbs with aluminum wheels and no more than 120 with steel wheels. I have always had aluminum wheels and have always used 100 lbs on my car trailers as its easy to remember.

When I get a new trailer I drive it 30 to 40 miles and re-torque then do it again at 150 to 200 miles. I will admit that I only do it once each spring after that but I have yet to have a problem and my typical 3 axle trailer will maybe have one or 2 lugs that need less than a quarter turn at that time.

I think your lugs are coming loose because they are too loose to begin with.... BUT.......... That's just my opinion.......... Which is free by the way and comes with a full money back guaranty .
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Old 04-14-2018, 01:09 PM   #8
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I starting torquing mine to 110 after I did lose a wheel on I-40 in Arkansas. Lost 5 hours that day on the roadside. Before coming off, the wheel managed to shear off the studs down to the hub. Never again...torque them down and check every 1000 miles or so. To be fair though, mine stay tight now at that torque.

As for the amount to torque them, well I just talked to a few trailer service places and 110 seems to be the number most use. My older RAM suggested 140 for the truck wheels though so my wrench goes up to 150.

I guess if they aren't staying tight, tighten more. Then if they still don't stay tight, have new studs put in and get a new set of lug nuts designed to that spec.

Good luck!

Ken
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Old 04-14-2018, 01:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khuffmanjr View Post
My older RAM suggested 140 for the truck wheels though ...
Yeah, my '99.5 SuperDuty required 140 lb/ft for the truck wheels, but car and trailer wheels are different because of the size of the lug bolts:

Click on the following link, then click on the image and it will get big enough for even an old man to read.

Torque specs for lug nuts
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Old 04-14-2018, 06:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post
Yeah, my '99.5 SuperDuty required 140 lb/ft for the truck wheels, but car and trailer wheels are different because of the size of the lug bolts:

Click on the following link, then click on the image and it will get big enough for even an old man to read.

Torque specs for lug nuts
Yep- I'm an Old Guy ! Your chart verifies that my Torque Specs are correct for my Wheels and according to Dexter !
I need to mention that I always use Anti-seize to lube the Studs prior to using a Torque Wrench. 100 ft-lbs and over 200,000 miles on my Race trailer Never a Wheel issue = can't be wrong !
But I'm just an Old Gut !
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:58 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeyWren View Post
Yeah, my '99.5 SuperDuty required 140 lb/ft for the truck wheels, but car and trailer wheels are different because of the size of the lug bolts:

Click on the following link, then click on the image and it will get big enough for even an old man to read.

Torque specs for lug nuts
Nice one, thanks! I might be a hair over that spec for my setup with my 110ft-lbs, but I have to say that when I first started tightening with a torque wrench to 110, sometimes I'd check after a few hundred miles and need to tighten a couple lug nuts a bit more to get back to 110. 20,000 miles later and I hardly ever have to turn the nuts at all to keep 110.

I'd say your chart checks out in my case, though I give mine a few extra ft-lbs anyway.

Thanks again!

Ken
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:36 PM   #12
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Funny, there really don't need to be opinions on this. The torque it should be is what the torque spec says. For my 5 lug 14" tires, they are spec'd to be tightened to 95 ft/lbs, then tightened to 115 ft/lbs with an acceptable range of 90-120 ft/lbs.

From the manual: don't tighten lower or higher than the acceptable range.
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:34 PM   #13
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As others have already mentioned, 80 ft-lbs is much too low for trailer lug nuts. If no easy access to the actual manufacturers specifications typically I would set the wrench to about 115 ft-lbs.
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:42 PM   #14
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Where did you get the 80 ft/lbs torque number from?????
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