31 May 2017

The Torque Wrench It Does Nothing

A week and a half ago, I replaced the wheel-hubs on The Precious.

Starting last night, the rear started feeling loose.  Like the rear suspension was steering the car a little bit.  On the way to take The Boy to meet Harvey for Zumba it was getting very bad, especially under acceleration.

Since my friend, JT, was closer to where I was than home I took it to his place.  My theory was that the rear tie-rods hadn't been tightened enough and he has the big metric wrench for those I don't.

That theory was proven false when the hub was moving and the knuckle wasn't.

Panic began to set in as I worried about making a warranty claim and how long I'd be without a car while that was processed.  Grasping for any straw, I wondered about the axle nuts being loose since they're mentioned about 18 times on the manufacturer's warranty page.

The axle-nuts on The Precious, according to my service manual, require 151 ft-lb. of torque.

My torque wrench, set to 151 ft-lb. does not apply that much torque to the fasteners.  They were even more loose than when the UAW had done them.

JT has a much newer wrench and we added a whole turn and a half to the nuts to get to 151 ft-lb.

The movement is gone and all appears to again be well.


  1. Whew... Glad you caught it!

  2. Just finished a similar job on my hobby car.
    In my case, the nuts take 340 ft-lb, and my torque wrench doesn't go anywhere near that high.

    I figure that I'm 220 lb, so I measured a foot and a half along the breaker-bar from the nut, stood on the mark, and consider it done.

    1. We've done some comparison now. My torque wrench is still good for 100 ft-lb. because none of the wheel lugs needed more torque using the JT's wrench.

      I think I shall get a new wrench for the cars and relegate the old one to AR barrel nut duties.

  3. Just did the axle nut on the VW today. Complex process - torque to 157 lb ft with tire on pavement, back off nut 180 degrees,raise car spin tire a few times, lower car and torque to 57 lb ft, then turn the nut an added 60 degrees. Let me tell you, that 60 degrees required a breaker bar and a 4 ft extension and all of my body weight (near 290 lbs) to make that nut move that much. No way any of my torque wrenches would reach that without splintering, nor my air impact hammer. VW shows a special breaker bar for the socket that appears to have a force multiplier of some sort. No way am I going to spend on something I may use once every 5 years. A dial in torque impact hammer would be nice, also spendy beyond reason.


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