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How tight should I torque my lug nuts?

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Old 11-03-2009, 11:16 PM   #1
Adam
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Question How tight should I torque my lug nuts?

I'm installing some 1" aluminum "wheel adapters" as spacers to my rear wheels. My rear is 5-lug and has drum brakes. The wheels are aluminum American Racing Torq Thrust Ms. Summit says 75-85 ft/lbs with 1/2" studs. Does this sound about right for torquing the wheel adapter to the drum, as well as the wheel to the adapter? Thanks,
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Old 11-04-2009, 12:17 AM   #2
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Sounds about right.
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Old 11-04-2009, 07:21 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ_68 View Post
I'm installing some 1" aluminum "wheel adapters" as spacers to my rear wheels. My rear is 5-lug and has drum brakes. The wheels are aluminum American Racing Torq Thrust Ms. Summit says 75-85 ft/lbs with 1/2" studs. Does this sound about right for torquing the wheel adapter to the drum, as well as the wheel to the adapter? Thanks,
Doesn't sound right to me at all. I have been in the automotive maintenance/repair industry for the past 25 years and in my auto centers, vehicles with aluminum wheels typically have a lug nut torque specification of over 100 ft. lbs. There are O.E. factory specifications for this that any competent auto center will have. Pull out the phone book/yellow pages/auto/repair and call around to a few places and ask them what the torque specs for your vehicles lug nuts are.

Secondly and more importantly, in my professional experience and opinion, wheel adapters/spacers are very dangerous. They put a lot of stress on the wheel studs, can actually cause the studs to snap and then you can watch your wheel/tire pass you as you are driving down the road. That can tend to ruin your day. These things are so dangerous that the auto centers I have worked for/managed, per company guidelines refuse to install them because of the legal liability involved.

Further, these wheel adapters/spacers move the center of the load either positive or negative on the wheel bearing and this can cause the wheel bearings to wear out before their time.

Lastly, aluminum wheels need to have the lug nuts re-torqued after 25-50 miles of driving, for safety reasons. What happens is we have a steel lug but being torqued down onto an aluminum wheel and since steel is a harder metal than aluminum, this can microscopically stretch the aluminum that steel lug nut is being torqued down onto and this can cause the lug nut to work loose, with the result being you can again watch your wheel/tire pass you as you are driving down the road.

I hope this has been of help.

Last edited by RogerDodger1; 11-04-2009 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 11-04-2009, 08:31 AM   #4
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Secondly and more importantly, in my professional experience and opinion, wheel adapters/spacers are very dangerous.
I thought the consensus is that Spacers are ill-advised but Wheel Adapters (seen below) are safe. Spacers don't bolt to anything, they just go in between the hub and wheel. This puts extra stress on the studs. However, wheel adapters bolt to the hub and then the wheel bolts to the adapter. This shouldn't be stressing anything more than normal.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 11-04-2009, 09:36 AM   #5
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I have 17x7s and they said to torque them 75-85
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Old 11-04-2009, 12:04 PM   #6
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i do 95 ft/lbs on my aluminum wheels
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Old 11-05-2009, 07:39 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by wumarshall82 View Post
I have 17x7s and they said to torque them 75-85
Who is, "they"?

Find out the correct torque specs and stick to 'em.
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Old 11-05-2009, 10:13 AM   #8
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Summit is correct in saying 75 to 85'/lbs for 1/2" lugs. I have the aluminum 10 spoke Shelby wheels which are made by Vintage Wheel Works. Their FAQ says the following.
Quote:
Q: What is the proper torque rating for my lug nuts?
A:
  • 1/2 (75 - 85 lbs. Torque)
  • 7/16 (55 - 65 lbs. Torque)
  • 12MM (65 - 75 lbs. Torque)
I've had a few people tell me thats not enough but after putting 2500 miles on our car in the last month, including an 1100 mile 4 day trip, the lug nuts stayed tight and didn't need to be tightened afterwards.

I torque in 3 steps btw.
  1. Torque each lug to about 55 to 60 ft/lbs following the star pattern.
  2. Re-torque to spec 85 ft/lbs.
  3. Finally I re-re-torque them all once again to the final spec.
Its always easier on the part to torque up in steps. This spreads out the force. The star pattern is basically every other nut. Starting at the top I torque 1, 3, 5, 2, 4 then continue back at 1 for the next step.
Code:
     1
  5     2
   4   3
Hope this helps.
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:06 PM   #9
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I have worked at America's Tire Co. for the past 2 years as an apprentice technician, so all I do all day is bolt and unbolt wheels and tires. FYI, all foreign and domestic car manufacturers recommend their own stock torque rating for their lug nuts. When you throw aftermarket wheels into the mix it starts to complicate matters but the general rule of thumb is as follows:

Japanese/German/foreign cars: 80-85 ft/lbs of torque
American/Domestic cars: 100-110 ft/lbs of torque
Standard trucks/6 lug: 125-135 ft/lbs of torque
Heavy Duty trucks/8 lug: 150 ft/lbs of torque

Most domestic cars (Ford, Chevy, etc) have a stock torque rating of a flat 100 ft/lbs of torque for a 5 lug bolt pattern. 4 lug hubs in general tend to belong to less powerful vehicles and therefore don't require as high a torque rating. I have a V8 engine in my car, and therefore 5 lug wheel hubs, and torque my lugs down to 100 ft/lbs, and wouldn't be comfortable with anything less.
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:07 PM   #10
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Thanks lefty!
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Old 01-08-2010, 12:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lefty3382 View Post
I have worked at America's Tire Co. for the past 2 years as an apprentice technician, so all I do all day is bolt and unbolt wheels and tires. FYI, all foreign and domestic car manufacturers recommend their own stock torque rating for their lug nuts. When you throw aftermarket wheels into the mix it starts to complicate matters but the general rule of thumb is as follows:

Japanese/German/foreign cars: 80-85 ft/lbs of torque
American/Domestic cars: 100-110 ft/lbs of torque
Standard trucks/6 lug: 125-135 ft/lbs of torque
Heavy Duty trucks/8 lug: 150 ft/lbs of torque

Most domestic cars (Ford, Chevy, etc) have a stock torque rating of a flat 100 ft/lbs of torque for a 5 lug bolt pattern. 4 lug hubs in general tend to belong to less powerful vehicles and therefore don't require as high a torque rating. I have a V8 engine in my car, and therefore 5 lug wheel hubs, and torque my lugs down to 100 ft/lbs, and wouldn't be comfortable with anything less.


O.K. not to complicate things but,...I have to say BS to this. I have been turning wrenches for going on 30 years and work for a MAJOR delivery service currently. A good majority of our vehicles are light trucks and .....the "factory spec" on these is 70lbs. The "cars" we deal with is pretty much the same. It may not seem like a lot but, it is more than sufficient to hold a wheel on.

I would check with whoever made your "adapters" and see what they have to say.
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Old 01-08-2010, 01:14 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stepman View Post
O.K. not to complicate things but,...I have to say BS to this. I have been turning wrenches for going on 30 years and work for a MAJOR delivery service currently. A good majority of our vehicles are light trucks and .....the "factory spec" on these is 70lbs. The "cars" we deal with is pretty much the same. It may not seem like a lot but, it is more than sufficient to hold a wheel on.

I would check with whoever made your "adapters" and see what they have to say.
Here is a link to the wheel torque chart on the America's Tire website:

http://www.discounttire.com/dtcs/infoWheelTorque.dos

You'll notice that most of the Chrysler, Dodge, Ford and Mercury car torque ratings are between 95-110 ft/lbs. Acura, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda and Toyota car ratings are 80. Besides the S10 and Tracker, Chevy doesn't have a truck torque rating under 100. Same with Dodge and Ford. If you want to talk about light trucks like a Mazda B2000 then you can refer to my Japanese/foreign rating. I did say just rule of thumb, but its not like I'm making this stuff up.
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Old 01-08-2010, 01:41 AM   #13
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With just a quick look at those "torque specs" that you put up, I would say that most of them are well below 100...except those with 9/16's studs.
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Old 01-08-2010, 08:32 AM   #14
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I was torquing mine to 100 foot pounds, and was told that can warp the rotors. I currently use 70-75 foot pounds of torque on my car and have had no problems over the last four years or so.
I've read that the relative torque between the lugs is the most critical...
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Old 01-08-2010, 07:03 PM   #15
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This kinda humors me because the "torque spec" I have always use for my wheels is RT (Real Tight) and I have never had a problem with any of my wheels.
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Old 01-09-2010, 03:46 AM   #16
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This kinda humors me because the "torque spec" I have always use for my wheels is RT (Real Tight) and I have never had a problem with any of my wheels.

Nice..
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Old 01-09-2010, 03:01 PM   #17
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This kinda humors me because the "torque spec" I have always use for my wheels is RT (Real Tight) and I have never had a problem with any of my wheels.
+1, I don't fee like finding my torque wrench so I take my breaker bar and go in steps with a star pattern. First I just spin it on, all 5. Then I torque till decent tightness all the way, Then start back at 1 which is now loose and do it again, then usually 1 more time. The 3rd or 4th time is mostly a checking tightness thing, if the 1st one isn't loose now after tightening the other 4 then that means they're all torqued on evenly. So I usually go through it one more time to be sure they are all real tight then I'm done, no problems for years.
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Old 01-09-2010, 04:32 PM   #18
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yeah I used to feel the same about it as you guys. Then one day I was driving home from work behind this Suburban and driving down the road a shiny flash caught the corner of my eye. A few seconds later I saw it again, skipping down the road I thought it was a rock. Then another one after another few seconds, skipping down the road a few times and then off into the bushes on the side of the road. A few more seconds and the last lug nut on their front left wheel came off and so did the wheel. My horn doesn't work so I had no way to warn them. They slid on their brake disc for a few feet with sparks flying everywhere and a dazed look on their face. Ever since then I've taken no chances.

Plus I've seen way too many broken studs occur as a result of overtightened lug nuts. Thats what I really worry about since I have a tendency to overtighten things.
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Old 01-09-2010, 04:50 PM   #19
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i always did the 'RT' torque spec as well but then one day i decided to actually grab the torque wrench and torque them down to 100 ft lbs.

when i did i noticed 1 lug nut didnt tighten as quick as the others and actually had yet to 'snap' due to being at the correct torque.

looked at the wheel and the lug nut had actually sunk into the wheel and the hole was flared out.

oddly though i found a set of 4 steel wheels off a 66 mustang from a guy for $100 and they were pretty solid.

only thing was 1 had a REALLY slight wobble to it but you dont even feel it when driving and only see it when its on the balancer
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Old 01-09-2010, 06:38 PM   #20
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This kinda humors me because the "torque spec" I have always use for my wheels is RT (Real Tight) and I have never had a problem with any of my wheels.
THANK you. i was beginning to be amused by this little debate too. just get the b!tches on there tight and forget about it.
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Old 01-09-2010, 06:38 PM
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