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OT: Impact wrench vs. breaker bar

boslab

Titanium
Joined
Jan 6, 2007
Location
wales.uk
As far as I know it’s a legal requirement to set lug nuts by torque over here, I haven’t checked that’s what the local tyre centre told me, I watched them setting the nuts with a torque wrench, they did run them on with an impact gun I asked the guy who said it was set to minimum, well below what it should be.
You may need a torque multiplier to shift bad ones, think mines 10:1, I haven’t failed to shift a nut, I saw a section of a stud once that was the wrong steel, it had flowed plastic flow the thread was really wonkey, cheap studs?
Mark
 

michiganbuck

Diamond
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Location
Mt Clemens, Michigan 48035
Here is a bad lug nut story.
My buddy told the mechanic that he wanted to finsh torque the lug nuts, so just make them snug tight, and then forgot to do that. We made a three hundred-mile trek to fish camp. Returning one block from home a tire and wheel came off and went on it's own. Very lucky nothing was harmed.
 
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john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
Back in the day (1970s) used to buy WW2 trucks with 10 stud Budd wheels......to undo a nut (inner and outer nuts) you would make a bar from a car torsion bar spring ,slip a bit of pipe over it ,and stand on the extended bar ,and bounce up and down......the wheel nuts would squawk and screech as they came undone .....these trucks would also break studs,and the rule was to replace all the studs if one broke in a hub.......I still have buckets of the Timken wheel studs and nuts,NOS.......Macks,Diamond Ts ,Federals,Reo s..all with Timken axles.
 

Big B

Diamond
Joined
Jun 26, 2009
Location
Michigan, USA
About two months ago I had to visit the local Discount Tire store. (Great folks, by the way)

After getting tires I required, I asked them to please use a torque wrench to tighten the lugs.

The guy told me that the corporate policy is to ALWAYS use a torque wrench for the finish operation.

Like I said, great folks, but they ONLY do tires.

I usually but my tires from Discount Tire but now have tenants that own a small tire store. I have bought four sets of tires from them in the last two years. The last set was on a winter beater vehicle and I was told that one of the studs was broken off. I went to replace it (not that I should have had to as I didn't break it", and when I put it back together two more of the studs broke and I was using a torque wrench.
I think one of the workers just hit them with an impact as and grossly over torqued them.

They have a pile of torque wrenches laying on the floor but I have a feeling that someone thinks they can torque them with an impact wrench. If I buy any more tires from them I'll be going back to watch them torque them.

Only having three of six lug nuts holding a wheel on seems like a bad idea.
 

Big B

Diamond
Joined
Jun 26, 2009
Location
Michigan, USA
Yep, which is why if using any kind of lubricant on lug studs one ought to reduce the torque. I use antiseize on lug threads but not on tapered seats. I also drop the torque about 20%. Using lubricant on the lugs without reducing torque might get you a front row seat to a wheel from your vehicle passing you on the highway. And I generally use a 1/2" drive impact on its lowest setting for putting the wheels back on, then final torque with a torque wrench.

That's what I do when I rotate tires. I just snug the lug nuts down with an impact and then torque them with a torque wrench.
 

1yesca

Stainless
Joined
Jun 1, 2004
If you have an adjustable impact wrench it can often get things loose without breaking.

First, any time something like that is "stuck" the first move should be to apply a good creeping penetrating fluid and let it sit for a while. Then, try loosening with the impact wrench. If after a few seconds it doesn't loosen switch the wrench to tighten on a wheel stud safe setting.

The drill is:

2-3 seconds on loosen, followed by 1-2 seconds on tighten. Repeat as necessary allowing breaks for things to cool. The idea is to "shock" the fastener into even micro movements, which also helps the fluid to penetrate. As things progress the micro movements will get larger and larger until the nut starts to move.

Using that method it once took me 15 minutes to remove a badly stuck bolt holding a fork lift counterweight on. I eventually got it out without breaking anything. A 1" impact wrench might have helped but all I had was a 3/4" one.

For wheel studs and nuts I use white grease such as Lubriplate. It eventually thins to an oil like consistency that stays put through multiple wheel changes. I also use the "3" setting on my IR impact wrench (max is 5) when tightening lug nuts. Tight enough but can be removed with a lug wrench if needed.


same thing on oil galley plugs [tapered pipe plugs] this guy told me if she winks she will screw . then there are boat trailers and

the rusted wheel stud and nut that is spinning in the hub [stripped out]well if you can remove the spindle nut and get the tire , rim

, brake drum and hub assy. off then you can weld the stud to the hub and get things apart and if the stud snaps at that point who

cares as your going to replace the hub assy. any way
 

Bill D

Diamond
Joined
Apr 1, 2004
Location
Modesto, CA USA
I used a one inch impact wrench to remove an 2" inspection plug on my air tank. A 3/8 airline would not do it. I had to cobble up a temporary 1/2 air line with no quick conencts to get enough flow to shift the plug.
Bill D
 

metalmagpie

Titanium
Joined
May 22, 2006
Location
Seattle
If you have an adjustable impact wrench it can often get things loose without breaking.

First, any time something like that is "stuck" the first move should be to apply a good creeping penetrating fluid and let it sit for a while. Then, try loosening with the impact wrench. If after a few seconds it doesn't loosen switch the wrench to tighten on a wheel stud safe setting.

The drill is:

2-3 seconds on loosen, followed by 1-2 seconds on tighten. Repeat as necessary allowing breaks for things to cool. The idea is to "shock" the fastener into even micro movements, which also helps the fluid to penetrate. As things progress the micro movements will get larger and larger until the nut starts to move.

This is an old millwright's trick, and it is a very good one.

When any mechanic monkeys with my wheels for whatever reason, I insist they put the lug nuts back on with a torque wrench. I make a big fuss about it beforehand, to make sure the mechanic gets an earful. That usually works.

metalmagpie
 

Pete Deal

Stainless
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Location
Morgantown, WV
My boys and I have 2014 f150’s. These are apparently sort-of notorious for problems with lug nuts. I have a 3/4” ratchet and have taken to ordering 3/4” 6 point impact sockets to use on bolts that are repeat offenders. Pretty easy to put a pipe on this ratchet. It seems that 6 point sockets are easier to get with impact sockets. Personally I hate 12 point sockets. Mcmaster is my source.
 

gwelo62

Aluminum
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Location
ga,usa
Impact wrenches are not good for tightening. My daughter's Honda transmission oil plug boss disintegrated when the mechanic loosed it by hand. Mechanic said a sure sign of impact wrench misuse.
 

JohnMartin

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jul 8, 2006
Location
Cumberland, Maine
Why didn't you simply buy the HF electric impact wrench ?

works great.

Simple - the idea of carrying around and maintaining the charge on an electric impact wrench, in the car, on the possibility that sometime over the next several years I might need to change a tire on the road has no appeal to me. Fine idea to keep one in the shop. Just not in the car.
 

boslab

Titanium
Joined
Jan 6, 2007
Location
wales.uk
Little bit of heat works, heat with a blowtorch, quench with penetrating liquid, my favourite is “plus gas” comes in a tin and actually works, we used gallons in the steel plant, unmistakable smell somewhat camphorated but does the business, it would creep in cold but slow just getting hand hot helps.
Mark
 

EPAIII

Diamond
Joined
Nov 23, 2003
Location
Beaumont, TX, USA
But aren't torque settings supposed to be LUBRICATED values? ?????????

Wouldn't tightening without a lubricant be just guess work? Even if you do use a torque wrench.

And then how much worse is unlubricated when using an impact wrench? It sounds like one guess on top of another guess to me.

I always figured that tightening as much as you can with the lever arm of a four arm lug wrench was just about the right amount of torque. Isn't that why they make them that size?



Personally I have no scientific proof to support my idea but my instinct says impact wrench less likely to break studs.
Try drilling a body hole in a piece of stock that will fit into the wheel counter bore and smack the living sh*t out of the nut. Lots of times this will free up a nut. Bolts too.

I've been on the side of the road at night with stuck lug nuts. Many bad words later and somehow finding a cheater bar I got them off.

Unfortunately lots of tire guys get little to no training. They are told, or think, tight is better. And never, ever, use any lubricant. Tightening a dry fastener as tight as you can into an alloy wheel is a bad deal.
 

EPAIII

Diamond
Joined
Nov 23, 2003
Location
Beaumont, TX, USA
"...apply a good creeping penetrating fluid and let it sit for a while."

Yea, try that on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere, on a hot summer day while the wife is sitting in the passenger seat with no AC.

Yea ...



If you have an adjustable impact wrench it can often get things loose without breaking.

First, any time something like that is "stuck" the first move should be to apply a good creeping penetrating fluid and let it sit for a while. Then, try loosening with the impact wrench. If after a few seconds it doesn't loosen switch the wrench to tighten on a wheel stud safe setting.

The drill is:

2-3 seconds on loosen, followed by 1-2 seconds on tighten. Repeat as necessary allowing breaks for things to cool. The idea is to "shock" the fastener into even micro movements, which also helps the fluid to penetrate. As things progress the micro movements will get larger and larger until the nut starts to move.

Using that method it once took me 15 minutes to remove a badly stuck bolt holding a fork lift counterweight on. I eventually got it out without breaking anything. A 1" impact wrench might have helped but all I had was a 3/4" one.

For wheel studs and nuts I use white grease such as Lubriplate. It eventually thins to an oil like consistency that stays put through multiple wheel changes. I also use the "3" setting on my IR impact wrench (max is 5) when tightening lug nuts. Tight enough but can be removed with a lug wrench if needed.


same thing on oil galley plugs [tapered pipe plugs] this guy told me if she winks she will screw . then there are boat trailers and

the rusted wheel stud and nut that is spinning in the hub [stripped out]well if you can remove the spindle nut and get the tire , rim

, brake drum and hub assy. off then you can weld the stud to the hub and get things apart and if the stud snaps at that point who

cares as your going to replace the hub assy. any way
 

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
Simple - the idea of carrying around and maintaining the charge on an electric impact wrench, in the car, on the possibility that sometime over the next several years I might need to change a tire on the road has no appeal to me. Fine idea to keep one in the shop. Just not in the car.

"Charge" ?
"Carrying around in car" ?

Your OP described working on them in your garage, NOT roadside.

Shirly you are cornfused....:skep:
The qty (2) I have from HF plug into the wall socket.

Your failure to compose a simple question, with proper details, is not my fault....:nutter:
 

Scottl

Diamond
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Location
Eastern Massachusetts, USA
This is an old millwright's trick, and it is a very good one.

When any mechanic monkeys with my wheels for whatever reason, I insist they put the lug nuts back on with a torque wrench. I make a big fuss about it beforehand, to make sure the mechanic gets an earful. That usually works.

metalmagpie

I've given up on torquing lug nuts. I even bought a set of torque bars but after testing with a torque wrench I found that the mid setting on my old USA made IR impact wrench is certainly close enough.
 

BT Fabrication

Stainless
Joined
Nov 3, 2019
Question: will an impact wrench remove fasteners without destroying them that a breaker bar cannot?

Here’s the background. 2005 Explorer went in to the dealer last summer for some exhaust work, dealer said all four struts needed to be replaced, I said OK. Dealer said he could not replace RR strut, as they could not get wheel off. Said they tried breaker bar with pipe extension, no luck. I found that a bit tough to take, as car had had tires replaced six months previously. Why they didn’t use impact gun to loosen I don’t know.

Next time car was in, I asked them to please make sure all lug nuts could be removed. Obviously, the last thing I wanted was to be stuck on the road in the middle of nowhere with a flat and no way to change it. They said they had loosened and re-tightened all lug nuts, and all were fine.

Month later, I wanted to check the emergency brake shoes. RR lug nuts again a problem. Too tight to loosen with a large four-way wrench. Tried a breaker bar with a pipe on it, but worried it would bend. So I went down to HF, bought their heaviest breaker bar - 36”, 3/4” drive. Had to turn down a six-point impact socket to fit into the wheel. Got the wheel off, but broke two studs in the process. Went back to the dealer. They were embarrassed and replaced the studs, no charge.

When I got the car back, I loosened and tightened all of the lug nuts just to be sure. I put Never-Seez on them. Yeah, I know they don’t recommend it, but I don’t mind checking them periodically.

Which all made me wonder - if I had used an impact gun rather than the breaker bar to remove the frozen lug nuts, would those studs likely have snapped?

yes and no, depending on the impact gun.
1" impact will snap them off all day. a weak 1/2" 500 ft lbs wont even budge them.
a breaker bar depends on the cheater pipe being used. as it pushes away and around and pulls the lug sideways.

either way, none should be that tight, its always the last guy to touch it that over torqued it and fucked the threads if that happened and they are doomed either way to break coming off due to the threads being pulled out, then its one massive cross thread.
ive had to purposely break them off once they become completely fucked. you find that out when it starts to come off 1/2 turn then stops solid. sometimes you can work it in and out 20 + times and it will strip all the threads off but come off, others, you need to just break or drill out.

either way, the last person to touch it probably used a fucken torque stick, and drove it on till it stopped thinking it will work but not realizing its fucking it up.
torque sticks are only there to run it in and not apply any more then 75% of final torque. then ALWAYS! Always finish with a proper torque wrench set to the specific torque only.

Remember one thing and one thing only from my mechanic teacher in auto shop.
EVERYTHING HAS A TORQUE SPEC! and he lost his shit if we didn't know what it was and if we didnt use it. that is how wheels fly off from too much or too little torque.
 

edwin dirnbeck

Hot Rolled
Joined
Oct 24, 2013
Location
st,louis mo
EVERYBODY DOES IT WRONG,EXCEPT ME.I work on mostly old equipment.All old stuf is warped or corrosion and or rust jacked. After you remove the first nut or bolt,the stress from warpage is transferred to fewer bolts.I have seen the last remaining bolt just spontaneously snap off.The answer is obvious. Remove the first nut or bolt,OIL IT UP AND RETIGHTEN. Do this with the remaining bolts.It is usual for a 40 year old exhaust manifold to be warped a half inch.Edwin Dirnbeck
 

Scottl

Diamond
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Location
Eastern Massachusetts, USA
Impact wrenches are not good for tightening. My daughter's Honda transmission oil plug boss disintegrated when the mechanic loosed it by hand. Mechanic said a sure sign of impact wrench misuse.

Disagree. The issue is not the use of impact tools but misuse of them by idiots who haven't enough sense to either turn them down, use a 3/8" or 1/4" model where appropriate, or even use an air ratchet or electric screwdriver instead.

Years ago, before I had a cordless (1/4" hex shank) impact driver I removed a ton of deck screws using a 1/2" air impact gun with a portable compressor set to 40 PSI instead of 90. I modified an old Snap-on 1/2" drive 1/4" socket by adding a setscrew to retain the bits.
 








 
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