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Old 05-31-2005, 11:45 PM   #1
abq focus
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Alloy Rim Frozen

Tonight I tried to remove the right rear wheel from my 2001 ZX-3 to check the build date which is suppose to be stamped on the inside sidewall. The car came from Ford with the optional 205-50-16 tires on the 16 aluminum rims.
I have hated those rims and wheels since the day I bought the car because of their low height (sidewalls) and ruff ride, but that is another story.


I tried two different times to remove this tire/wheel in my garage but it is as if the wheel is frozen to the brake drum. The lug nuts were on super tight but they eventually came free. I guess one should never let the Ford dealer rotate your tires as they must give that job to the most inexperienced tech who thinks air guns are to be set to max setting.

Other than the two 10,000 mile rotations, the wheels have only been off the car once at that same dealer when they had to replace the rear brakes at 8000 miles because they were squealing. They also might have taken them off to check the wheel bearing recall.

Anyway, the other three wheels came off fairly easy. The left rear lugs were also almost welded in place but I was able to break them free. The front lugs were what I would consider normal for their tightness. I have always heard that you need to tighten your lug nuts to the specified torque and then to recheck in a week or so. This is supposed to really be important for the softer alloy type rims, yes?

The reason for the entire tire removing/checking is because I heard on the news that tires more than 6 years old no matter how few miles (21,000) should be removed before they can kill you. I was trying to find the build date number on the inside sidewall. They are now 4 years old and starting to show signs of weather cracking on the sidewalls. Things tend to dry out faster here in the high desert of New Mexico and years ago I had several tire treads nearly came off due to dry rotting.


This is the second set of factory tires and wheels to be on this car as the originals had extreme vibration at anything over 55 mph. The dealer’ service department had tried to balance the tires and even checked the cars alignment to make sure that was not the problem. Finally the service guys said it was a “Tire” problem and I would have to take it to Firestone. I said a car with only 1200 miles should not be doing things like this and a customer should not have to figure out how to fix the car, especially when it is under warranty. That is when I got the dealer’s general manager to test drive the car. He said it was un-drivable and what would I like for him to do. I said if they could change out the tires and wheels for the stock 195-60-15s I would be very happy. He said he could not because the car came with the larger size tires. That is when he said he could change them out for the same size off another ZX3.

With what I have written down, should I take the car to the dealer to complain about his tire rotation 4000 miles ago or just go over to Discount Tires and let them fight with it when they install the new BFG TAs? My big concern is if they happen to break something trying to get the wheel off, how do I get it to Ford to be fixed? The way this wheel is right now, if I were to have a flat tire, I would not be able to put the spare on that position.

Terry

PS: The car is still under the extended warrenty so if something is messed up with the wheel it should be a Ford fix I hope.



Last edited by abq focus; 06-02-2005 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 06-01-2005, 10:53 PM   #2
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I really thought that with this vast body of Focus knowledge (forum), someone might have had a similar problem.

As I said earlier, I have not been happy with those wheels and tires since the day I bought the car but that was the only way I could get a hatchback Focus. It seemed that the optional wide wheels were the only ones this dealership seemed to order. I guess I should have done my homework first to have found out if there was another wheel tire combination.

I realize from reading this forum that most of the readers want their tires to be the widest, lowest, and stickiest tires to make their cars handle as if they were running at Indianapolis or Daytona. I on the other hand, I am looking for economical transportation and a pleasant (softer) ride. That is why I would be happy if I could go to the factory original 195-60-15s without having spending over a $1000 for new tires and rims. With only 23000 miles and a 2 years left on the extended warranty, I really do not want to trade off the Focus just because of a mistake in excepting factory optional tires at the time of purchase.

Terry

Last edited by abq focus; 06-02-2005 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 06-02-2005, 11:39 AM   #3
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I will trade you my 2005 SES wheels/tires, with 400 miles on them...for your svt? wheels tires...


and how old are you? Looks > soft cushy ride....but thats just my 2 cents.
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Old 06-02-2005, 02:48 PM   #4
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My Focus is a plain Jane white 3 door ZX3 that just happen to come with the optional wheels. In 2001 I do not think Ford started putting extra letters behind the Focus name plate. (i.e. SES)

As for my age I am 52 and have had my share of ruff riding performance cars and 4x4s. If I could change out the seats in the car to the ones from the sedans, I would do that too. I basically bought the car for the mileage and the hatchback since they had no station wagons available and the sedans trunk opening is very small.

Terry
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Old 06-02-2005, 03:16 PM   #5
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Sorry I didn't respond earlier.
The "stuck" wheel is a very common problem.
Some folks have used a pry bar between the hub and wheel,
and others have used a dead blow from the back of the wheel to pop it off.
The dead blow with some sort of "cushion" between it and the wheel is probably the saner way to go.
One hint that's been passed around, is to leave 2 opposing lugnuts on...but loose.
That way, it won't go flying out 10' when it does finally pop off if you're using the dead blow method.

To prevent it in the future, use a little anti-seize or grease between the hub and the wheel center.
You shouldn't have a problem after that.

As for wheel/tire size, 195/60/15s would fit just fine, and not throw your speedo off.
I have no idea why the Dealer wouldn't swap the 15s on, since the 16" package is a more expensive option.
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Old 06-02-2005, 05:14 PM   #6
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WD40,

Thanks for the suggestions.

I pulled, tugged and gently hit the tire/wheel as much as I dare to since it was sitting on the car jack. On several of the rims, the hubs had a rust or reddish in color as compared to the painted gray paint of the alloy 6 spoke factory rim. Since the lugs were so tight on that wheel, I wonder if the softer alloy rim got pressed into the harder steel brake drum?

Why they did not do a wheel and tire swap, I do not know but bet it was because they would have had to adjust the paperwork on the car they pulled them from.

Terry

PS: I checked the price of 15" rims from Motorcraft parts and they would run me around $160 each before I spend another $60-$100 each for some BFG TA or similar size 195-60-15s that hopefully will soften the ride. I was trying to keep this tire change as inexpensive as possible

Last edited by abq focus; 06-02-2005 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 06-02-2005, 05:56 PM   #7
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Ok, sorry to respond late too, but I had the same on the Explorer on the rear wheel as well.We got a hammer and from the back hit it forward, it came off. This was when we first bought it.
Sorry, I hope and of course by now it's fixed. So nevermind.
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Old 06-02-2005, 06:04 PM   #8
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Thanks CKA,

Do you still need the hammmer or has it losen up with age? Any ideas why they stick in the first place? The bolt pattern on the rim looks large enough so not to not bind on the lug bolts

Terry
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Old 06-02-2005, 06:32 PM   #9
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It's not binding on the lug studs.
It's binding where the wheel bore meets the hub.
fOCUS wheels, being "hub centric" fit tight to the hub, and therein lies the problem.
What exaggerates that problem, is you have two dissimilar metals contacting each other,
which causes electrolysis and corrosion.
(Aluminum wheel, on Iron hub.)

That's why a little anti-seize or grease will solve the problem.
It acts as a barrier between the two metals, and limits the electrolysis effect.
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Old 06-02-2005, 09:21 PM   #10
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This "hub centric" wheel design, is that why the hub on the inside has those strange looking pockets that appear to have small slots in them for what looks like possible drainage?

It is funny how the front wheels nearly fall off when you take off the lug nuts but then I heard the front rotors are aluminum so that would mean no dissimilar metal stuff, right?

Terry
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