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Wheel falling off close call....

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  • Wheel falling off close call....

    I'd not driven my Subaru since last Thursday until this morning's commute. After getting on the interstate, I noticed some significant vibration from the rear of the car. It was making stuff rattle back there and I could feel it in the floor too. Probably was doing it earlier on the county road but I attributed it to ruff road. Getting into Fargo where the speed limit drops down, it was better but still significant.

    Immediately, my brain is going: Rear axle CV joint fragmenting, wheel bearing grenading, driveshaft bearing or U joint, wheel weight fell off. In order of $$$$$$ to $$.

    I called and got a appt to have it looked at tomorrow as temps tonight to about 0F and all the possible causes listed above are more than I have time or tools for.

    So, after work, I am thinking I should take the long slow way home and stay off the freeway in case whatever it is really gets exciting. So, before it got too dark, I was taking a look around and under the car in case I saw anything.

    Well, the lugnuts on the right rear wheel caught my eye. 2 of them were about 1/2 unscrewed with visible loose threads showing. I had a 8" adjustable wrench in the car and snugged those and a 3rd loose one up. Then, I went back into work to see if I could find a socket set in one of the lab tool boxes. Finally found one (ratchet only) and went back and went over that wheel and also the other 3. (the lug wrench for this car is a joke).

    I started taking the slow way home all the same to see if symptoms had abated before I did go onto the interstate. When I got home, I got the breaker bar out and went over all the wheels again. Only this RR wheel was ever loose.

    Coincidentally, I had this wheel off a couple months ago to replace the fuel filler pipe and some vent hoses and a fill valve as it was rusting out and kept giving me check engine lights. I certainly thought I tightened this up but I guess not so much.

    I think I am going to keep that shop appt anyway and have them check the wheel didn't get bent or cracked or something.

    I've been working on my own cars for 35yrs and helped Dad with the farm machinery growing up before that and this is the first time I ever had this happen.


    Jeff in ND

  • #2
    I hope you took it all the way off. Cleaned the backside of the wheel, and the flat part, round center it seats on.
    It is common on newer cars if dirt is in there, wheels come loose- especially with cold and grit in the Winter.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Jeff_H View Post
      I've been working on my own cars for 35yrs and helped Dad with the farm machinery growing up before that and this is the first time I ever had this happen.
      A similar situation happened to a guy I used to work with who owned a fairly new F150 4X4 at the time. It had the factory styled steel wheels on it and he drove to work one morning with the same event as yours. He thought he lost three of the lug nuts on the road, but when he slowly drove it home from work that evening, he found the 'missing' lug nuts were in a neatly together with a universal star wrench and a bottle jack that didn't belong to him beside his driveway where he parked behind his house.

      He suspected whoever tried to remove that wheel removed the three lug nuts and loosened the other two were maybe about to raise the truck and remove the last two nuts got 'spooked' by some noise or a dog barking, etc., and left the scene with the rear wheel dangerously hanging on by a thread, you could say.

      Craig

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      • #4
        For "mag" style or chrome plated wheels, it is important to not just tighten them, but to torque them down to the proper spec., drive at least 100 miles and then re-torque them.
        Gary L.
        Wappinger, NY

        SDC member since 1968
        Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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        • #5
          Whenever alloy wheels are removed they absolutely must be handled with proper procedure. That is, tightened in a star pattern and torqued to manufacture specification. Then at 30 to 40 miles, every nut rechecked for proper torque. We have a rubber stamp that says this that we use on every invoice where a vehicle with alloy wheels has had a wheel off.
          Proud NON-CASO

          I do not prize the word "cheap." It is not a badge of honor...it is a symbol of despair. ~ William McKinley

          If it is decreed that I should go down, then let me go down linked with the truth - let me die in the advocacy of what is just and right.- Lincoln

          GOD BLESS AMERICA

          Ephesians 6:10-17
          Romans 15:13
          Deuteronomy 31:6
          Proverbs 28:1

          Illegitimi non carborundum

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Bob Andrews View Post
            That is, tightened in a star pattern and torqued to manufacture specification.
            You do that with ANY wheel.

            Ford recommends 150 miles before retorquing their alloy wheels.

            Craig


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            • #7
              Makes me wonder how many new cars are retorqued 150 miles after they leave the dealership!!!!!???????? Just saying.

              Bob

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              • #8
                These are plain steel aftermarket with winter tires. I think this is the 4th winter I have run them. The regular set for this car are also steel as this is a base model and does not have the alloy type. My normal practice is to diagonally tighten in 2 passes. Not sure what happened here but the fact this wheel was off separately to fix the fuel filler makes me think I messed up somehow back around November when I did that.

                Jeff in ND

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                • #9
                  I always have a "cross" bar in every car & I also always leave it on front passanger floor to not forget to re-torque, but sometimes I've had my cars touched by others & I've almost lost a wheel once on my wifes Citroen GSA & actually also did once on my -62 Valiant on the way to race it with the car full of tools & people... & it happend in a curve, car just went across the lanes to opposite side where it stopped. & just after a long line of cars came from the other direction & there was a police car among them but they didn't stop! & we were in an "old rockers car" facing the wrong way. That was in the summer -79 & the car hadn't even passed test with its Red Ram Hemi...
                  sigpic

                  Josephine
                  -55
                  Champion V8
                  4d sedan

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                  • #10
                    When I drove tow trucks we would get a few of those 'wheel fell off' calls every seasonal change of snow tires on-snow tires off.

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                    • #11
                      My John Deere tractor came with instructions to re torque lugs after a number of hours (which i don't remember),, when it was new.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Noxnabaker View Post
                        I always have a "cross" bar in every car & I also always leave it on front passanger floor to not forget to re-torque, but sometimes I've had my cars touched by others & I've almost lost a wheel once on my wifes Citroen GSA & actually also did once on my -62 Valiant on the way to race it with the car full of tools & people... & it happend in a curve, car just went across the lanes to opposite side where it stopped. & just after a long line of cars came from the other direction & there was a police car among them but they didn't stop! & we were in an "old rockers car" facing the wrong way. That was in the summer -79 & the car hadn't even passed test with its Red Ram Hemi...
                        My Dad owned three Citroen DSs. They would supposedly drive with one rear wheel removed. I never tried it, though!
                        Chip
                        '63 Cruiser
                        '57 Packard wagon
                        '61 Lark Regal 4 dr wagon
                        '50 Commander 4 dr sedan

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                        • #13
                          Yep, you can probably search on youtube for that. Sonja has had 2 (or 3?) Ds's & I've had one that I shortend to a Rallye Coupe, that one lives in Paris now, owned by a DS collector. I could go on quite a bit about these cars...
                          Click image for larger version  Name:	Bjørn Waldegård.jpg Views:	0 Size:	100.5 KB ID:	1820780
                          It's a factory car above, driven by the swede Bjørn Waldegård who usualy drove Porsche (& just about always won) & this is the 1972 Chamonix race; they started 12 cars in couples, two side by side & Bjørn was in the second last couple... In the third curve the right rear tire went flat! (You can see the empty rim!)
                          If I don't remember wrong he finnished in second place...
                          (If there's any interest I can post a photo of the one I built.)

                          Last edited by Noxnabaker; 02-11-2020, 01:25 PM.
                          sigpic

                          Josephine
                          -55
                          Champion V8
                          4d sedan

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                          • #14
                            Please post the picture. I'd love to see it.
                            "Every man I meet on the street is superior to me in some respect, and from that I can learn."
                            R.W. Emerson

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                            • #15
                              Okidoki, I fall for that...
                              Click image for larger version  Name:	Noxroen.JPG Views:	0 Size:	43.8 KB ID:	1820899
                              (The Acadiane is also ours with a extra hood upsidedown welded on for a nicer face, that was also a fast one, we started from London 11:00 & arrived in Kirriemuir, Scotland 23:00 with stops to eat, not a big deal in a normal car but that's a 2cv...)
                              sigpic

                              Josephine
                              -55
                              Champion V8
                              4d sedan

                              Comment

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