PSA: Replace Those Old Wheel Bolts - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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PSA: Replace Those Old Wheel Bolts

After 10 years of street use and HPDE fun I had one of my wheel bolts break as I was torquing it down. Got super lucky in that it snapped just as it entered the threads of the hub so it needed just a little love to clean up and be sure not to cross-thread the next bolt.
Sent an inquiry to GRP and great customer service, I had a response within a couple hours even on a Sunday. New GRP wheel studs installed and really happy with the results. Big thanks to Greg for the quick turn around and excellent service!

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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And a few pictures
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Blackhawk Farms, Gingerman, Nelson Ledges, Road America, Grattan, Mid-Ohio, Waterford Hills, Putnam Park, Autobahn Country Club, Barber, Virginia Interational Raceway, Milwaukee Mile, NCM Motorsports Park, Road Atlanta, COTA

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 07:07 PM
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Just so everyone is aware studs are a annual or semi annual maintenance item... not 10 years!

2007 Exige S with almost every track mod...
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 08:28 PM
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Just so everyone is aware studs are a annual or semi annual maintenance item... not 10 years!
I'm always shocked at how many people don't realize wheel bolts are wear items. I'll make it easy for everyone. If the component is stressed in any way under normal use, it's a wear item! Yes, exhaust hangers, engine and transmission mounts, suspension bushings, etc., all wear items. And yes, they all eventually fail if left unaddressed.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-04-2018, 08:48 PM
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Annual? really.....

I mean I know it's a wear item, but I never planned to swap my studs (not bolts) out annually. Everyone else doing this?

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-05-2018, 02:35 AM
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After 10 years of street use and HPDE fun I had one of my wheel bolts break as I was torquing it down.
The broken bolt shown in your picture has all the signs of a classic fatigue failure. It was most likely loaded while under insufficient tension. This led to a fatigue failure that produced a crack across most of the bolt cross-section while it was still in service and before you removed it. When you reinstalled the bolt, it was already cracked: your application of torque finished the job and separated the two pieces. The very small crescent atop the bolt closest to the observer is the section you broke while installing it.

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Originally Posted by kfennell View Post
Just so everyone is aware studs are a annual or semi annual maintenance item... not 10 years!
Without some very specific qualifiers, this statement is nothing more than hyperbole. When fasteners are properly torqued, protected from corrosion and other physical damage, and subjected to loads within their design limitations, they have lasted for centuries. There are literally millions of severe duty vehicles on the road today that prove your assertion that ”studs are a . . . semi-annual maintenance item” to be absolutely false. Example: freight haulers frequently operating at maximum GVWR 12 hours or more every day seven days a week. They don’t replace wheel studs every 6 or 12 months.

The qualifier your statement is missing would be something like
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Originally Posted by someone
If you operate wheels studs or bolts under conditions that exceed their design parameters by large margins, you can expect them to fail frequently. This, of course, will necessitate frequent replacement.
Glen
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Last edited by Glen; 04-05-2018 at 02:55 AM. Reason: comment on KenRK’s post
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-05-2018, 04:36 AM
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I don't know how so many people here on LT use the annoying bolts that require the special Lotus tool. Screw that! Studs were the very first thing that I modified on my Elise. So much easier to work with!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-05-2018, 07:53 AM Thread Starter
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Maybe because I'm old, maybe because I'm a dad... But I'm happy to share my mistakes in the hope that others can learn from them. Glen is absolutely right about torque exceeding recommended specs. Nine or so years back as I first picked up the car I had researched appropriate torque specs and found everything from the OEM 77 ft. lb's to 90 if the car is to be tracked. I settled on 88 since the car would see some track time, it fell within the range and seemed to be good feng shui for the track (I know probably not the best for making technical decisions!)
Anyway moving forward, I will be using the OEM recomended 77 ft. lb's on the GRP wheel studs and replacing them on occasion (probably not annually but also not waiting 10 years). Again posting up this experience with additional details in the hope that other can adjust their habits if need be.
Happy motoring!

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-05-2018, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
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...
Glen is absolutely right about torque exceeding recommended specs. Nine or so years back as I first picked up the car I had researched appropriate torque specs and found everything from the OEM 77 ft. lb's to 90 if the car is to be tracked. I settled on 88 since the car would see some track time, it fell within the range
...
I wanted to make sure you understood the likely failure mechanism. The damaged bolt you show almost certainly failed from fatigue. That occurred because the bolt was under less tension than the load on it produced, i.e., it was loose. The bolt was bending back and forth under load. With enough cycles, the bending fatigued the metal and caused the bolt to crack. If you match the bolt up with the wheel, you'll probably see that it cracked and broke very near to where it exits the wheel and enters the hub. That portion of the bolt was unsupported, so that's why it broke there.

Over-torquing the OEM wheel bolts by 11 lbs ft (88 vs 77) is not enough to damage the bolt or cause the crack and break you show in the pictures. A failure from over-torquing will start with the bolt stretching and necking down. When it finally breaks, the mating surfaces are usually rough with sharp protrusions. ARP has a very brief explanation of some common bolt failures - click on the Common Failures tab of this page to see their examples.

Glen

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Last edited by Glen; 04-05-2018 at 10:28 AM. Reason: gr
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