Video: Converting to lug studs is easier than you think

https://www.youtube.com/embed/UFYnIREmcwM

Lots of German cars left the factory with wheel bolts, but that doesn’t mean you have to deal with them every time you need to remove the wheels.

Instead, why not swap to lug studs? Here’s how we converted our 2017 Volkswagen GTI project car from wheel bolts to lug studs using a kit from 034 Motorsport.

Presented by CRC Industries.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/24/23 6:03 p.m.

 why not swap to lug studs?

Reasons.  laugh

 

If one is careful with the lug nuts, not overtorquing and not using lug nuts that are threaded all the way to the base, they are perfectly fine, but bolts are a lot more hamfist-tolerant.

 

Shanked lug nuts eliminate the thread damage issues but they introduce their own problems.

ddavidv
ddavidv UltimaDork
2/25/23 3:18 p.m.

Installing wheels onto my E30 sucked so much less when I changed to studs.

AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
2/26/23 5:28 p.m.

Nice video. I'm putting some spacers on and really prefer studs over bolts. No worry for having the right length bolts and easy to swap different wheel configurations.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/27/23 9:08 a.m.

I converted the M3 to studs. So much easier. 

adam525i
adam525i GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/1/23 2:28 p.m.

So last August at the Glen a number of cars broke studs that needed to be extracted and replaced. This was a BMW CCA event so lots of wheel bolts in the pits. I asked our group who had ever broke a wheel bolt and nobody had but breaking studs seemed almost commonplace. I'm sure part of that is more cars on the racier end of things are running studs and being pushed harder but there were still lots of heavy M3/4's rolling around on stock hardware with sticky tires not having any problems.

So other than it is slightly easier to mount a tire (which matters for a race car where super quick tires changes are important) why would I actually want to spend the money to convert to studs for my track/autocross only car? Seems like an expensive way to make an important system less reliable

MrJoshua
MrJoshua UltimaDork
5/1/23 5:15 p.m.

In reply to adam525i :

I'm curious how many of them went to studs because they were using spacers? That could be a contributing factor for breakage.

I plan to change my son's audi tt to studs. It has different width spacers front and rear with the appropriate length bolts. Some day either he, or someone else besides me is going to change the wheels and put the bolts in the wrong place.  Then, the wheels are going to fall off one end, and the bolts are going to go right into the abs ring on the other

repoman
repoman New Reader
5/1/23 5:21 p.m.

https://www.core4motorsports.com/gallery-of-broken-bmw-wheel-studs
 

My E46 is getting switched back to bolts this season. 

LanEvo
LanEvo GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/1/23 6:18 p.m.

I've converted all my BMWs and Benzes to lug studs. The only thing I would add is I run an ARP thread cleaning chaser bit through each hole before installing the new studs. With 30+ year-old cars, there's always some corrosion/dirt/junk in there. I feel better starting with clean threads.

LanEvo
LanEvo GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/1/23 6:48 p.m.

As for broken lug studs...here are some thoughts.

  • There's a huge quality differential. MSI studs have proven to be bulletproof. Good enough for NASCAR, IMSA, Pirelli World Challenge, etc. etc. anyway.
  • People tend to over-torque them when installing, which stretches them out and weakens them. You need to torque them to something like 18-20 lbs/ft. Barely more than hand-tight. The fact that broken studs always break right in the hub suggests this is the primary issue.
  • People tend to do stupid E36 M3 like slathering wheel/hub mating surfaces in anti-seize, which makes it harder to keep the wheel clamped in place.

 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
5/1/23 8:40 p.m.
adam525i said:

So other than it is slightly easier to mount a tire (which matters for a race car where super quick tires changes are important) why would I actually want to spend the money to convert to studs for my track/autocross only car? Seems like an expensive way to make an important system less reliable

It's a lot more than "slightly easier", IME.

200 track hours on my E46 M3 race car with studs and so far so good.  They do get replaced on the same interval as the wheel bearings, though.  Buy the good ones, install them properly, and then don't drive around with either overtorqued or (even worse) loose lug nuts.

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