Toyman01 ( + Sized and...)
Toyman01 ( + Sized and...) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/12/21 7:25 a.m.

I took a ride through the countryside yesterday with the XJ to ride some more of the SCAR. It's the first long trip since the gear and brake updates. About 40 miles in I started getting a slow speed squeak/grinding noise from the rear axle. It sounded like a brake issue so I pulled over and checked to make sure everything was where it was supposed to be. Seeing nothing obvious I headed on down the road. Throughout the day the sound gradually got louder. I pulled over and looked for issues 5 times to no avail. 100 miles later, as I reached my turn around spot to come home, it got significantly louder. A heavy click/grind that goes away at any speed over 40 mph.

Once again I pulled over and pulled and pried on the brakes. Nothing. At this point, I have no clue what is going on. Do I have an axle bearing that is failing? Something in the differential that is broken? 

Just as I'm about to climb in the XJ to hit the interstate headed home I notice a lug nut that is sticking out farther than the other! Sure enough, it's loose. As are the other 4 on that wheel. And the 15 on the other 3 other wheels. surprise

I usually run them up to the first ugga with the impact and put a torque wrench on them when the vehicle hits the ground. Apparently, when I put it back on the ground, I skipped the final step of torquing the lug nuts. One ugga is not tight enough for lug nuts. Whoops. 

In 40 years of working on cars, that a first for me. So, check those nuts guys, they can get you in trouble.



gearheadmb SuperDork
4/12/21 8:02 a.m.

I went on a tow call to a guys house once, the guy said his car was making weird noises on the way home. I get there and notice right away a loose wheel. The owner comes out and he's about 90 years old and 100 pounds soaking wet. I tell him about the loose wheel. He says "Some shiny happy person is loosening my lug nuts!" I ask why he thinks that. He says, "I know they were right, I tightened them up myself." I had a hard time not laughing, he didn't look strong enough to wind a watch. I tightened the rest of the wheels and I doubt he had any more problems.

rslifkin UberDork
4/12/21 8:42 a.m.

At this point, I'm a bit on the fussy side about lug nut torque.  I usually snug the nuts, then torque to 1/2 of spec, then to full spec.  If at all possible, I torque to at least half spec, if not full spec before putting the thing back on the ground, as they seem to hold torque better if torqued in the air.  After the first drive, they get checked again.  And I usually check a second time in a few days. 

iansane Reader
4/12/21 9:14 a.m.

I tatoo'd some lug nuts on my forearm because I repeatedly and consistently forget to tighten the lug nuts on cars I'm working on. For awhile I was just throwing a torque wrench on the passenger seat when I started working on the car so when I got halfway up the block on the test drive I wouldn't have to run back down the street on foot. I have my ditzy moments.

EvanB GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/12/21 9:18 a.m.

I recently bought a XJ. On the first drive I decided to go to the gas station about a mile away to fill up. On the drive there the front end was a bit loose and clunky. I hadn't looked closely at anything so I was wondering about what it could be. After filling up I start driving through the parking lot of the shopping center and go over a speed bump. The whole front left corner drops down and starts grinding. I pull forward to park somewhat out of the way behind a restaurant and get out to see what has happened and notice that the left front wheel is no longer attached and the brake rotor is resting on it.

I found a few lug nuts in the glove box that I figured were spares but they were spline drive and I couldn't find the spline socket in the Jeep. I walked home and got my van and loaded up the floor jack and grabbed my spline socket. Drove back and got 3 lug nuts on the wheel and drove back home slowly. 

A couple days later I found 5 lug nuts under the driver seat. I had successfully made it all the way to the gas station with no lug nuts on that wheel. Luckily it fell off at very slow speed in the parking lot and not on the road and I was close enough to walk home. 

stanger_mussle GRM+ Memberand UberDork
4/12/21 11:17 a.m.

A few years ago, my BIL bought a nice 3rd gen Ram 1500 from a smaller dealership. The dealer had a deal with a small independent tire shop just down the road and they would take all of their vehicles there for tires and alignments.

Shortly after taking ownership of his truck, my BIL kept having this weird vibration in the front of his truck. My sister would call me and explain the symptoms and I would try to diagnose it over the phone. They were in Texas and I was in Florida so it's not like I could just pop over there and check it out. They both are not car people and my BIL, while incredibly intelligent, lacks any sort of mechanical ability.

Anyways, after a couple of days of trying to figure out what is going on with my BIL's pickup, he calls me and says that every single lug nut was loose. He was able to get them torqued down again but they loosened up a few days later. Something is definitely wrong. I asked him to send me a pic of the wheel. The tire shop had installed the wrong type of lug nuts.

My guess is that the truck had custom wheels when the dealership got it and they took it to the neighboring tire shop to have stock wheels and tires swapped on but they used the lug nuts from the custom wheels on the stock wheels. The seat was the wrong shape and size and it was causing the lug nuts to loosen.

He took it back to the dealership and they accused him of trying to rip them off and that he had over tightened the lug nuts and damaged the wheel studs. He stood his ground and the dealership finally realized their mistake and paid to have every lug nut and wheel stud replaced. They also replaced the front driver's side wheel because the mounting holes where no longer round.

The shop put locking lug nuts on this time but they were still the wrong type. Luckily, I had a full set of stock lug nuts off of my 4th gen Ram as I had just put custom wheels and black lug nuts on. I sent them to my BIL and he never had an issue after that. He kept the truck about another 3 years. 

Antihero (Forum Supporter)
Antihero (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
4/12/21 11:38 a.m.

I had a tire fall off because the tire place didn't tighten them.


In my case I got a helicopter sound and no vibration. Got out and checked the normal things.....nothing. I shook the tires but they didn't move because of the weight of the car. Since I didn't have vibration I assumed it wasn't too terrible and started limping back home. The tire came off as I was slowing down and turning into a gas station. I had to sue the tire shop in small claims to get them to pay my deductible.


I check my tires after I drive a bit and usually one more time after more driving now

outasite HalfDork
4/12/21 12:12 p.m.

I remove the wheels and tires from the utility trailer for the winter. Last month I reinstalled them and snugged with the electric impact planning to torque LATER. Saturday I loaded the trailer and hit the road. A couple of miles on the highway  later I remember not torquing the wheel studs. Turned around and found them all loosening up. 

02Pilot UltraDork
4/12/21 1:22 p.m.

A million years ago I had a local shop put some tires on my 73 Challenger. They hammered the lugnuts on so hard that they mangled the holes on the wheels. Discovered it when the car started to shake soon after I got it back from them. Figured the nuts might have been loose, but I couldn't remove a single one. Went back, they hammered them off, and we discovered the problem. Thankfully they didn't fight me when I suggested I go find a similar set of wheels and they pay for them (the original wheels were cheap, but E-Body Mopars were thin on the ground even then). Lucked into a nice set of OE Rallye wheels as a result, so it ended up being a small win.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/12/21 1:43 p.m.

Also, a million years ago, I had new tires put on my car. The shop person backed my car out of the garage and handed me the keys. That's when I noticed the extra camber thanks to loose lugs. Um, dude....

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