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Thread: Nuts. To grease or not to grease. That is the question....

  1. #1
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    Nuts. To grease or not to grease. That is the question....

    No.


    Not THOSE nuts!


    I've just had to deal with wheel nits and wheels that were seized re changing to winter wheels (existing not mounted by me! ). This lead to a conversation with my local garage.......

    Now for the past 15 years or so due to having this issue many years ago I've always lightly greased the mating surfaces re wheel\hub and wheel nuts to prevent this. Never had a problem and also do this with my race car. There are apparently conflicting views re this ............ :))))))). What are the thoughts out there?

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  2. #2
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    A light smear of copper slip on the hub / wheel mating surface, not on your nuts though.
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  4. #4
    Usually a smidge on the hub face and threads.

    I've never had anything come loose.

  5. #5
    Regular simonsaunders's Avatar
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    I copper slip faces and threads, having had an alloy firmly attach itself to the hub many years back.

    It can / does throw torque settings out, so donít go nuts.
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  6. #6
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    Faces, not threads.


    I've not come across a wheel bolt that's 'grown on'.


    I had to work the S8's wheels to get them off to do the brakes last weekend.


    They got a smear of slip on the faces of the hubs AND the back and centre bore of the wheels before that was re-assembled.
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  7. #7
    Regular Nige's Avatar
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    As said. Copperslip on the back face of the wheel.

    Lightest smear on the threads once a year just to keep them lubed.

  8. #8
    Depends what the mating faces of the wheel/brake are made from, aluminium bells and alloys I'd not bother, steel discs and alloys it's a fair shout to grease.

    I use this on studs/bolts:

    https://eshop.wurth.co.uk/Product-ca...but=%255B%255D

    It's a twat to get off anything though, I've still got some jeans with the stain in from years ago!

    Helps to achieve consistent clamping force for a given torque

  9. #9
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    The guy who came to change the tyres on the van recently said that they no longer recommend copper slip on either nuts or faces.

    When I took it for a service, the garage couldn't get one of the rear wheels off to repair the handbrake mechanism.

    I know what I'll be doing when I get it off.

    That's 3 euphemisms in one post...
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  10. #10
    Regular orsonbuggy's Avatar
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    I use a smear of copper slip on mating faces and bolt threads. +7% on the standard torque settings
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  11. #11
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    Ceramic grease is used instead of Copper Slip these days as the copper corrodes when it acts like a battery on differing metals. That's why they've stopped using it in brakes too.
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    Regular Neil Mac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Floyd View Post
    Ceramic grease is used instead of Copper Slip these days as the copper corrodes when it acts like a battery on differing metals. That's why they've stopped using it in brakes too.
    There is also the fact that ABS wheel speed sensors don't like the conductive properties of copper.
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  13. #13
    I'm a mechanic, and I always put a dab on the mating faces of hubs, alloy wheels, around wheel centre bores, and on wheel stud threads.
    Never had a wheel stud loosen yet.

    Some copper grease is rubbish I've found, and turns to mud.

  14. #14
    I’m an engineer and do the bolt calculations on safety critical joints and then go and test these to failure.

    Any change in the friction co-efficient will have an effect on the preload. So adding a lubricant will reduce the friction co-efficiency and therefore increase the preload for a given torque.

    Generally a preload will mean a 90% (some say 80%) of the strength of the material is used. 90% is used to ensure that the joint does not loosen but this means any changes in the friction co-efficiency mean you should apply a different torque.

    Rusty threads will need higher torque to achieve the same preload - using the same torque value as std could result in the joint failing or loosening because the forces are more than the preload.

    Likewise adding lubricant means the preload will increase from 90% if you use the same torque value - careful here incase you exceed the material strength because the joint may fail or stretch and then fail in service.
    Last edited by thesmudge; 13-04-2019 at 06:19 AM.
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  15. #15
    Did you ever use your engineering expertise to work out the best torque on a typical Golf wheel stud, Tom?

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Tristan View Post
    Did you ever use your engineering expertise to work out the best torque on a typical Golf wheel stud, Tom?
    No, you would need to measure the friction co-efficiency of the coatings on the joint to then calculate the correct torque, the best way is to measure the preload in the joint vs torque, this requires specialist equipment that then needs custom parts making for it to fit the specific joint architecture.
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  17. #17
    Regular Dave G's Avatar
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    Should one re-Loctite bolts for caliper carrier?

    I never have.....

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave G View Post
    Should one re-Loctite bolts for caliper carrier?

    I never have.....
    Loctite is not required if the joint is designed correctly and the joint design can achieve the correct preload of the service loads it sees in life - often slip in the joint causes it to loosen and is sometimes overlooked in the joint calc. Locking compounds help to stop the joint working loose if the service loads start to exceed the preload. Often added to safety critical joints incase the correct pre load is not achieved (workforce not trusted ie consumer fitting replacement part or had historic failures) or the joint is susceptible to NVH (such as brakes). Again locking compounds change the friction co-efficient, so if it was factory std make sure you add the same - adding different compound (liquid vs solid) or not adding any could change the joints characteristics and therefore the preload.

    This is a good read from Henkel.
    Last edited by thesmudge; 13-04-2019 at 08:32 AM.
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  19. #19
    I think you know the answer already. I remember discussing this with someone who was like, "GREASE WILL KILL YOU", so I asked how many people had their wheels fall off due to grease.

    Turns out, they didn't know any.

    Grease is a compromise, but not so much so that it leads to issues if you're mindful of it

    So:

    1. Do you care about seized nuts. If so, use grease, as I think there's plenty of threads like this where people have seized nuts

    2. 15yrs suggests the amount of grease you're using isn't leading to wheels coming off, and presumably you aren't seeing wheels fly off every race and people saying, "yep... too much grease for that dude"

    3. If you are using grease, and are mindful of the potential risk, then presumably you're tightening or checking nuts between sessions...


    No matter what level of engineering tests are done, there's always the caveat... "and routinely check..."

    Seems like a sensible thing to do. After all, the only thing touching the ground is the wheels and the only thing keeping them on are a few bolts, so it's probably worth just doing what you're doing and checking them a few times ...

  20. #20
    Regular Dave G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thesmudge View Post
    Loctite is not required if the joint is designed correctly and the joint design can achieve the correct preload of the service loads it sees in life - often slip in the joint causes it to loosen and is sometimes overlooked in the joint calc. Locking compounds help to stop the joint working loose if the service loads start to exceed the preload. Often added to safety critical joints incase the correct pre load is not achieved (workforce not trusted ie consumer fitting replacement part or had historic failures) or the joint is susceptible to NVH (such as brakes). Again locking compounds change the friction co-efficient, so if it was factory std make sure you add the same - adding different compound (liquid vs solid) or not adding any could change the joints characteristics and therefore the preload.

    This is a good read from Henkel.
    That is useful, thank you.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by hobbit View Post
    I think you know the answer already. I remember discussing this with someone who was like, "GREASE WILL KILL YOU", so I asked how many people had their wheels fall off due to grease.

    Turns out, they didn't know any.

    Grease is a compromise, but not so much so that it leads to issues if you're mindful of it

    So:

    1. Do you care about seized nuts. If so, use grease, as I think there's plenty of threads like this where people have seized nuts

    2. 15yrs suggests the amount of grease you're using isn't leading to wheels coming off, and presumably you aren't seeing wheels fly off every race and people saying, "yep... too much grease for that dude"

    3. If you are using grease, and are mindful of the potential risk, then presumably you're tightening or checking nuts between sessions...


    No matter what level of engineering tests are done, there's always the caveat... "and routinely check..."

    Seems like a sensible thing to do. After all, the only thing touching the ground is the wheels and the only thing keeping them on are a few bolts, so it's probably worth just doing what you're doing and checking them a few times ...
    Grease will lower the friction co-efficient and therefore increase the preload in the joint meaning it can withstand higher service loads than a dry joint (as long as you donít yield during tightening). A lubricated joint also generally gives a much more consistent preload vs torque value (on modern automative grade bolts a lubricant is often built into the surface coating).

    Why the wheels have not fallen off is probably because the joints have been designed with a % of the yield than 90% - the lower the better, this would be because a customer is expected to change a wheel on the road and their ability to achieve a torque is specific torque is poor, they may achieve with +/-35% of the specified torque (if it was a joint designed to 90% you would most likely see a failure).

    Therefore adding a lubricant does not take this specific joint past yield failure - if you every feel the bolt stretch thatís when you need to replace it as you go past the yield point and the grease may push closer to this point. Best to always use a torque wrench.

    Be careful with another joint adding lubricant as the joint maybe designed with at 90% and the lubricant could push it over yield and snap the bolt.
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  22. #22
    Regular Uncle Benz's Avatar
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    Sometimes a case of you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't. A VERY sparing use of lubricant on the thread and always using a torque wrench is my preferred option. Just as bad as passing the yield point is a rusty thread that reaches torque too early, leaving the wheel potentially unclamped. Inspect your wheel bolts/nuts/studs whenever removed and replace any that show signs of stretching or waisting. Never tighten your wheel bolts when hot. Always start the threads by hand. NEVER use a "windy gun" or similar tool to start the nut/bolt into its thread. I wince every time I see a Kwik Fit operative fit the bolt to the socket on his gun, then apply it to the hub.
    Last edited by Uncle Benz; 25-05-2019 at 08:56 PM.
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  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Benz View Post
    Sometimes a case of you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't. A VERY sparing use of lubricant on the thread and always using a torque wrench is my preferred option. Just as bad as passing the yield point is a rusty thread that reaches torque too early, leaving the wheel potentially unclamped. Inspect your wheel bolts/nuts/studs whenever removed and replace any that show signs of stretching or waisting. Never tighten your wheel bolts when hot. Always start the threads by hand. NEVER use a "windy gun" or similar tool to start the nut/bolt into its thread. I wince every time I see a Kwik Fit operative fit the bolt to his socket then apply it to the hub.
    I've always followed this, I use the socket with nut in and wind it in by hand, before it gets finished with the nut gun. I always torque to my hand specs and to date (touch wood) I've never had a loose nut/bolt.
    Tony at MM, was more impressed that I did the bolts on the opposite side too, rather than just tighten em up in any old order. I did the wheels on Jon Allen's M3 at the last MM day and to the best of my knowledge they didn't fall off.

    I once had a wheel fall off my 205 Grd on the way to Edinburgh, straight after it had come from quick fit. They paid me £250 to hush it up, worth half what the car was haha
    Last edited by Weeman; 01-05-2019 at 01:26 PM.
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  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Weeman View Post

    I once had a wheel fall off my 205 Grd on the way to Edinburgh, straight after it had come from quick fit. They paid me £250 to hush it up, worth half what the car was haha
    I had my wheels balanced once and on leaving the place,the car felt odd. The wheels were staggered fitment and he'd fitted the rear on the front on one side.

  25. #25
    TL:DR - use a very light smear of copper slip/ anti-seize on the hub/wheel mounting face and on the wheel bolt/stud threads


    (Ignore the packaging/tubs referring to "Copper Grease")

    Anti-seize =/= Grease


    Grease, like Oil, is a Lubricant, it's intended purpose is to reduce friction and encourage movement (hence you Grease wheel bearings, ball joints, things which move and spin as part of their normal function

    Anti-Seize is not meant for things which move in normal use - its job is to prevent seizing (rather patronizingly) on parts which are assembled and would need to be dismantled in the future.


    Use Anti-Seize on mounting faces, wheel studs/bolts, things like that (less is more, a little goes a long way) where they're not supposed to move but you don't want them permanently attached.

    Use Grease on things which are supposed to move as part of their function.




    (Caveat - some things must have oil/grease applied for assembly to get the correct torque, some must be assembled dry, some need to be smeared in chicken fat and some can only be carried out under a full moon)

  26. #26
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    A few things on an old thread.

    It can't be that important what torque wheel bolts go to as I can't recall ever seeing a figure or method for tightening in any handbook, or stamped into any car. If it was that critical it would be top of page one in red Shirley. It never is. So provided its not falling off...


    There is a report somewhere on the ARP website about the variance in torque deployed when tighteneing to 'workshop repeatable' operation. Eg us, with a torque wrench set the same, on the same size fasteners, one after the other etc. So not strictly super scientific, but totally real worldThe essence of the report was>Even applying the same lubricant to the same fastener allowed quite large variations in. ARP thread lube had the least variation. Noting there is quite specific instructions when torquind ARP rod bolts and its more involved than I've ever done with a wheel bolt or nut. I appreciate ARP have a vested interest in saying their stuf best...


    So after all that careful science. VLN pit stop. Team Grumpinator. Bmw comes in, and every nanosecond counts. Swop my side and afterward Karl advises I hold the gun on clack/clack/clack phase a bit longer as I was releasing the M12 fine copper slipped nuts as soon as I heard the first clack. 18v Snap On rattle guns set to full beans are rather powerful. I don't have a figure to hand, but waaaay more than the 130Nm the cars left the building with when set cold before driving. I would like to know how many uumphs the nuts really had, and how close to failure they were..... are.
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