View Full Version : Wheel studs

08-16-2013, 04:21 AM
Today, Robin I gave the Galaxie a good bath. It really hasn't gone anywhere since last year, so it's about time.

Incidentally, the Woodward Dream Cruise in in two days, so we're ready.

We cruised our local A&W root beer drive-in, had all our favorite foods there then decided to head toward Woodward. Man, it's been alive all week with classic cars, muscle cars and cops crawling everywhere.

The car looks great, it starts at the flick of the key, the Y-block runs nicely with no heat issues, the COM shifts in all three gears like it should, power disk brakes are phenomenal, the power rack and pinion steering really pays off in those drive-in restaurants and the Ford electric fan/alternator that Ray sent me from his Texas bone yard kicks @$$!

Ok, so we did a few miles on Woodward, cruised through downtown Royal Oak then headed home. Weather is gorgeous and our windows are down when about 1/4 mile from the house Robin says, "I hear a high pitched squeaking noise coming from the RH rear wheel area.

I'm running Cragar SS mags and new 15" meats so, I'm not too concerned. I'll check it in three blocks, when we get home.

We got three houses from our driveway when the rear tire started violently jumping up and down. I could barely pull to the curb for fear of doing major damage. This doesn't feel anything like a flat.

I got out and looked... The tire and wheel were ok but ALL of the lug studs were sheared OFF except ONE! I couldn't believe my eyes. This could have been a very serious and expensive disaster.

Remember those Granada spindles I put on the '55? I still have the original spindles and drums, so I hammered the studs out. They're exactly the same 1/2"-20 size as the ones on the '59.

What a sight... Robin & I wheeled the floor jack, carried a jack stand, a short three pound sledge (I call Percy), and a cross-iron down the sidewalk passed three of our neighbors' houses. The car was sitting cocked and kinda parked with the rear end sticking out in the street, away from the curb. That gave me room to work.

I used to be good at this work but now it kicks my butt. I got the drum off and the broken studs out. Then I started cranking on the 'new' studs with the cross-iron to press them in. I thought I'd die, and had to take this task in small steps with 'breaks' in between each stud. Finally, puff-puff, eureka... success!

It was two o'clock in the morning when I finished wrenching on this car using a flashlight. I pulled the spare out of the trunk and put it on. Two minutes later, it was on the ground, FLAT. Hey, I don't care. I'm only going three doors down to my house and this is a junk bias-ply tire. The rim is nothing special and cannot be used for disk brakes.

I stored the wheels and tires in the garage from when we bought the car. I bought the Cragar SS mags with new radial tires as a set. In the morning, I'll put one of the old tires on and grab another for the trunk spare.

Now, I can exhale and count my blessings because there are many. For anyone else, this would have cost plenty in so many ways. Thank God nobody got hurt and there was no property damage. Thank God I was close to home when Robin flagged out a problem so I could slow down in time. Thank God I had no towing bill, I had good parts, good tools, and good tee shirt weather. From what I can see, this will cost me a bag of Cragar SS lug nuts and washers. Also... Thank God I found out the spare tire was no good. It was pumped up when I put it on, but went flat in two minutes. We could have been out in Timbuktu or on the expressway with a car full of family when all this happed.

I didn't take any pictures but I saved the broken stud nubs. One of them had rust in the middle of the diameter, indicating it had a fatigue crack and water had been there long enough for rust to develop. The other three were just sheared off clean, flush with the drum. - Dave

08-16-2013, 08:12 AM
Dave, Geez, glad to hear you got that pesky situation taken care of. When I was reading your narrative, I was thinking to myself, this is something similar that would happen to me (sittin' out on the curb in the wee hours of the morning wrenching on one of my vehicles). Also recall back in '74 I had a '65 Mustang that I put on aluminum deep dish wheels with L60 meats on the rear. Didn't re-tighten the lugs properly and was driving down I35 at about 80mph when the same thing happened to the rear left wheel losing lugs and breaking studs.

Hope your Crager wheel didn't get damaged to badly and is still usable. Hmmm, betcha this kinda makes you think what the condition of the studs on the other rear side are like. Don't imagine one can readily check the condition of a stud. What ya do then, wait for them to break too or just replace them now before they break later?

Well one thing you can be thankful for is that both you and Robin are OK and came thru the ordeal. Dave, you know that you were the right man for the job. Probably good that it happened when and as it did.

Thankful that you perservered thru the repair process and didn't succumb to the physical hardships. Dave, you know you're not a young buck any longer!

08-16-2013, 10:58 AM

After reading your post, I just wanted to say first, that I'm glad nothing more serious occurred. But second, and the real point of my response is to say that I love your attitude of gratitude for all of the things that DIDN'T happen in this story. I'm not sure if the same thing happened to me that I'd have kept that perspective. You're a great example for us all.

Oh, and kudos to Mrs. Simplyconnected for being so in tune with the vehicle. She sounds like a keeper. ;)


08-16-2013, 11:16 AM
Wowww! Thanks for the account of what happened, Dave. It is good that you have an excellent "co-pilot" in Robin who was able to hear that noise and let you know where it was coming from! As you described what happened and the course of action you took, I realized one thing... Before I was able to take any further action I probably would have had to go home and change my underwear first!:eek: I am glad you were able to get it home and I hope it will be ready for the weekend activities. The suggestion to check the left hand side is a good one, but I bet you have already done that.

08-16-2013, 02:15 PM
Thank Jed, Scott and Ray. The Galaxie is Robin's car, but she likes me to drive it (I don't know why). She's very particular about her baby. She's the one who put the fire under me to wash it, take it out for a cruise, etc. I wanted to put it off until today but I'm glad I didn't.

Preventive maintenance? Only one suggestion keeps ringing in my ear. The tire store always suggests mag wheels be checked for tightness at certain intervals. I don't know if this was the cause, but it might have been. I admit, I'm baffled (and on aspirin from being sore all over).

Thanks for the responses, guys. - Dave

bird 60
08-16-2013, 09:30 PM
Very glad to hear the end result Dave. It could have been a major problem had it been on the highway at high speeds.

Also good to see your very positive attitude.

Chris.....From OZ.

08-17-2013, 05:41 AM
Sheesh Dave - you sure know how to live!

Glad it all panned out pretty good - do some invetigative engineering and let us know you knowledgible opinion as to WHY the studs sheared-off.

Ian M Greer
08-17-2013, 09:11 AM
Dave I experienced a similar episode years ago with my 63 hardtop bird , only at that time the mechanic that worked on the car forgot to properly tighten the right rear wheel and it destroyed the wheel . I know in todays day and age the Ford dealers always writes on their work orders ( to cover their but ) to return to have the wheels retighten after another 100 km. or so . I'm glad it didn't turn into a more serious incident, and Robin and yourself are safe. And yes I hate to say it but we are all ageing , and jobs that were a breeze when we were younger are no longer the case, as we all very quickly find out as much as we don't want to accept it. Ian M Greer (REMEMBER NOT ALL BIRDS FLY SOUTH )

08-17-2013, 01:25 PM

Did you check the other three wheels. I'm hoping it was just the lug nuts coming loose rather than fatigue. That would really be scary.


08-19-2013, 10:08 AM
Dave, could the problem be related to wheel/ hub compatibility? OEM wheels are hub-centric and rely on a tight fit over the hub center flange for alignment and structural support, and the studs keep the wheel clamped onto the hub outer flange. Most aftermarket wheels don't even contact the center flange, instead rely solely on the studs for centering and support.

I had exactly one set of after market wheels on a car that were set up like that, and I'll never have them again. Although I never had a structural failure, and I ran that car very hard, I never could get those wheels to run true.

08-19-2013, 04:30 PM
Without re-reading Dave's original post I believe it was his right rear passenger rear wheel that fell apart. Something else to consider is what many of us in the salt belt have realized about cars. Salt on the streets drains to the curb or shoulder of the road where the right passenger side of the car is always at. It is therefore inevitable that the right side of the car retains more salt over time, thus rust and fatigue are more readily apparent to that side of the vehicle.

08-19-2013, 05:49 PM
Thanks for all the responses, guys. I can give you a little more background. Since the mishap, Robin & I attended our son's wedding and really haven't had a lot of time to wrench. I'm going to order Cragar nuts and washers today. In the mean time, the Galaxie is wearing a (newish) 7.50x14" bias ply Firestone tire on the RH rear, where the studs were replaced. Those original rims do not touch the axle center, and easily slip on and off.

Ok, everything in this wheel area was clean and painted, showing no rust at all. Cragar SS mags have an aluminum alloy center 'spider' section that is welded to the steel rim. So, the mounting is like any mag wheel that uses straight lug nuts.

These tires and rims are less than two years old and the car has only been used for cruising. When I purchased the new tire set, they only had three Cragar wheels, so they mounted three tires, wheels and spinners. Guess which one was the last to get a new wheel... yep, the RH rear axle.

When the rim came in, a different tire guy mounted the new tire and spinner. He wasn't careful, and gorilla-ed deep score marks into the aluminum alloy section, using a thick impact wrench to tighten the wheel. Ok, new wheel is on its way (again).

The 2nd new wheel came in, and the third tire guy mounted the tire and spinner on that one. I showed him that a Craftsman 13/16" deep well socket works best because the wall is thin. The guy was new and probably gun-shy because he knew the history. Everyone there was well aware of what happened before.

Maybe he didn't torque it to spec's. Maybe he didn't turn the spinner to access the hidden nuts properly. Maybe one stud gave out, causing the others to flex. <--This is my gut feeling. Since there is no taper on these nuts, they depend on each lug stud to be there to center the wheel. I don't know the true answer to this mystery. Whatever the cause, I'm sure it makes sense IF I ever find out. All I know is, the other wheels are just fine.

I noticed that disk brake dust tends to corrode the front wheels much worse than the rear drum wheels. That's the only difference. - Dave

08-20-2013, 03:58 PM
I'm just now reading all of this Dave- SCAREY!! :eek:

I'd be replacing at least 3 lugs on the remaining 3 wheels- Just for safety/peice of mind.

-Jon in TX.