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Old 04-21-2006, 05:58 PM   #1
Ontheroad
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Hard lesson about maintenance

While traveling along Highway 70 from Denver to Oakley, KS I pulled into a rest stop to take a break. During my usual visual inspection of the truck and rig I discovered that one of the rig's wheels had no lug nuts showing. YES, ALL OF THE LUGS HAD BEEN SHEARED OFF!! The only thing keeping the wheel upright was the weight of the hub riding on it. When I jacked it up the wheel simply fell over.
It had been that way for some time (I was doing 60 MPH) as the wheel had cut a groove in the hub. What kept the wheel from going it's separate way, I will never know. It must have been our travel angel.
Unfortunately, the blame rests with me. Checking lug nut tightness was not on my pre-trip checklist. I was also the one who put the wheel on in the first place. The tire had gone flat as a result of a valve stem leak while we were camped near Phoenix in January. From that day until today we had traveled 1,222 miles! I will now give lug nuts the once over before each long trip.
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Old 04-21-2006, 06:23 PM   #2
H. John Kohl
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Glad everyone is safe and the damage was not worse. Thanks for the lesson.
Developing the routine for set up and especially tear down is critical, as you have identified.

I use to offer to help and would chat with fellow campers as they were doing that. Now I stand back and wait until they are finished so they do not miss something on their list.

Good luck and tow safe.
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Old 04-21-2006, 07:36 PM   #3
campbud
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Wow I think your travel angel was really looking out for you! I am glad nothing bad happened. I am making sure I tell DH to put this on our list!
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Old 04-21-2006, 07:43 PM   #4
JH Sechelt
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WOW, Think of the what if?? Great news is, nothing else happened and most of all, no one was hurt.
A lesson for us all.

J & D
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Old 04-21-2006, 09:04 PM   #5
HamRad
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Steve and Ellie,
I am so glad to hear that no one was hurt. I can not imagine how scary that must have been. I would have probably passed out when I saw what you did. I would have had to go into the trailer to change clothes..... no doubt about it!

I did not check my lug nuts before we went on our last trip. Never again. I'm putting the torque wrench where it will be easily available. Maybe that way I'll be more apt to check!

Thank you for sharing. I'm not sure I'd have the nerve to do the same.

Dennis
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Old 04-22-2006, 02:36 AM   #6
Mac
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That's a great reminder to all of us. Glad you're safe!

mac
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Old 04-22-2006, 04:56 AM   #7
Montana_2913
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Travel angel is right! I am thankful you saw that before getting back on the road. Good reminder for the rest of us
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Old 04-22-2006, 05:03 AM   #8
stiles watson
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Confession is good for the soul. Ha Ha. Thank you for reminding all of us that cutting corners or taking things for granted never pays in the long run. So glad you and your unit are safe.
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Old 04-22-2006, 05:17 AM   #9
Ontheroad
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Thanks to all.
As far as admitting to our mistakes, there are only two types of people who never make a mistake. They are either liars or dead.
If you want to see what my wheel looked like, go to
http://www.conestogalife.com/wheel.jpg
Steve
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Old 04-22-2006, 05:55 AM   #10
trukdoc
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Someone mentioned a torque wrench. That is the only proper way to install a wheel.
As a professional mechanic I have seen more wheels come off due to overtightening than being too loose.
You said sheared off, leading me to believe they broke off from studs snapping. Most studs are rated at about 120 ft lbs of torque give or take depending on your mfg specs. If you used a impact gun you easily went over 200 ft lbs. I have a gun that puts out over 600 ft lbs in a 1/2 in dr. If you used a 18 in breaker bar and put your weight on it saying you weigh about 190 ( Guessing) you put 285 ft lbs on the studs. Plenty enough to stress the studs and break when you least expect it.
I never let tire shops install my tires with impact guns. I insist they use a torque wrench. If they do not I tell them to snug the nuts only enough to get out of their shop and I will tighten them myself.
I also recomend breakaway strength Locktight. It will keep the properly tightened nuts from backing off and sealing the threads from water causing rust. DO NOT USE HIGH STRENGTH Locktight!!! If you do not use Locktight, lube the threads with antiseize or grease.
One final note. If you have stretched your threads at all in the past due to improper tightening, proper torque now still leaves the studs stretched. Only way to fix it is to replace the studs. Better in the driveway than on the road.
Glad you did not have major damage to your trailer. Could of been much worse. Sounds like you are on good terms with your travel angel.
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Old 04-22-2006, 06:56 AM   #11
OntMont
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Excellent advice from truckdoc.

One slightly related thing that I noticed recently. I put air in the trailer tires one morning at a Flying J (while the tires were still cold). As I was replacing the valve cap, I felt a slight draft on my fingers. The valve stem had come loose as I was adding air, if I had not noticed it, I would have had a flat tire a few miles down the road. Just something else to check for!
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Old 04-22-2006, 07:12 AM   #12
Ontheroad
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ONTMONT
I've had three flats due to valve stem leaks. Each time I have had them replace with metal stems.
Steve
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Old 04-22-2006, 07:15 AM   #13
Ontheroad
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Thanks TRUCKDOC
A torque wrench is on my list to buy.
Steve
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Old 04-23-2006, 09:52 AM   #14
Montana Sky
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Glad to hear nobody was hurt and damage to the coach was minor. I have added lug nuts check to my pre trip inspection sheet. Thanks for the reminder.
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Old 04-23-2006, 10:26 AM   #15
sreigle
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Wow, Steve, that is really scary! I'm glad to hear you and Ellie were not involved in an accident because of this.

If I may ask, maybe this will help me avoid the same situation. You mentioned you had removed the wheel. Did you retighten the lugnuts every 50 to 200 miles until they no longer turned? If not, I wonder if the lugnuts loosened enough to allow the wheel to move enough on the lugs to eventually sheer them off?

You mentioned not having a torque wrench so is it possible in your estimation that they were overtightened, as Trukdoc mentioned?

If you feel you did everything right, then I'm probably going to remove each of those black nut covers and check the torque each time we get ready to take off.

Thanks, Steve. I appreciate your honesty in reporting this. You have probably saved some of us some future grief.
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Old 04-23-2006, 12:04 PM   #16
gkbutler
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I am so glad that no one was injured by that tire. I am adding torquing the lug nuts to my daily check list when we tear down. Like I posted on another thread, I just tightened mine today as we are getting ready to pull out next Saturday. I was really surprised when I had at least two lugnuts on each tire that needed at least three turns of the torqe wrench to hit 120 lbs.

Your travel angel was certainly with you that day, and thanks for letting the rest of us know so we can make sure we don't have that same problem.
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Old 04-23-2006, 12:08 PM   #17
Ontheroad
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Steve,
If I had to guess, I think they became loose over the miles of travel. I never checked them after I put the wheel on. If I had checked them once in a while I would have caught their loosening. Oh well, lesson learned.
Steve
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Old 04-23-2006, 01:58 PM   #18
emdavis
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I have been rving for 28 years and the one thing i forget to check is the lug nuts. thanks for reminding everyone about this very important check.
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Old 04-24-2006, 03:28 PM   #19
Sweetfire
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After looking at your picture I can only say "HOLY S%*&!!!" You should have gone right out and bought a lottery ticket, it was your lucky day.
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Old 04-24-2006, 04:09 PM   #20
richfaa
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Hummm.Our 3400 was delivered to the dealer in Clyde, Ohio Today a distance of @ 170 Miles from the factory in Goshen, Ind. I had better call tomorrow and see if any if the wheels fell off.
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