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Can you overtighten axle nuts?

22035 Views 32 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  amc49
Hey guys just replaced my axles. im curious as if you can over tighten the axle nuts because im hearing some sounds that sound like a bad bearing but my wheels didnt wobble last weekend when i checked right before doing my axles.
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· Premium Member
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No. Over tightening won't put more of a strain on the bearings in this sort of design. You should've torqued those nuts down quite a bit. It took a 4' long cheater for me to loosen mine, and so I put them back on with a 4' cheater.
 

· Thats What She Said
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You need to TQ them down to some 210 foot lbs I think. Most TQ wrenches I have seen don't go that high, so after you max out your TQ wrench put a a regular wrench with a breaker bar on and give it some more love.
 

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The spec I remember is 280. Even if it's 210 like Magus says, it's basically as tight as an average person can get it with a decent sized breaker/cheater bar.

The thing I remember about it though, you want to have torqued the axle nuts with the car on the ground and the suspension loaded.

EDIT: I just checked my Chiltons manual because 280 sounds way high, the torque spec for 00-01 is 173, 02-04 is 233, and 05 and later is 199.
 

· Captain Retard
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Suspension loaded would be car on the ground, suspension unloaded would be car in the air. Back to the OP, can you give a better description of the sound? When does it happen? In a turn, over a bump, etc.....
 

· Hmmmmm
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
no just a whirring sound while driving... i think it is my bearing... but im not positive. hopefully nothing is wrong with my new axles... lol.

and yes i took a 3/4 inch i believe breaker bar about 2 feet and put all my 230 pounds on it... lol
 

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That will be fine. It could be bearings, buuuuut why not check? Hub bearings don't act like bearings on a spindle, so I think the best way to check is to jack up the vehicle by the frame, put trans in N, and spin the wheel. Listen for sounds. A bearing sound will be a low sort of grumbling or gravelly sound at the outer edge of the wheel. You'll hear brake scrape- of course, so ignore that. Now if you hear a rapid clicking from under the car somewhere, then yes, whomever installed your axles put too much force on the axle to push it in, and now the inner CV is broken. I've not heard of whirring with this particular failure, and I had it on my car for like 120k some miles before I got around to fixing it.

Whirring.... I think I should know that one, but just can't think of it ATM. Have you double checked to see if something is rubbing under there? AHHHH..... have you checked the passenger side carrier bearing to see if it is held down by it's strap?
 

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"whirring" in my experiences with the focus is 90% of the time due to rear wheel bearing failure. The bearing is pressed into the rear drum and you can buy brand new drums already setup with new bearings and dust collars for about $50/side.
 

· Hmmmmm
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
hmmmm... ya it sounds like a bearing... ill check it sometime during this 4 day break lol. as you can tell im not too worried about it.
 

· Vince your Moderator
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Mine are doing the same thing! Well one side for sure. I'm wondering if the 1.5" drop put them over the edge.
 

· Vince your Moderator
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The rears I mean LOL
 

· Registered
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I've heard bad ones that whirring would be a perfect description of the noise they made, no grind or rumble, just a smooth whir that got louder and louder over coming days, bearing change fixed it. Thinking they can make several sounds there on back or front. Whir means you got some time to fix it, grind or rumble, fix it now or walking in a short time. The grinding means bearing is eating itself.

You jack up vehicle by SUSPENSION not frame, jacked up by frame the suspension is overextended and CVs are not supposed to be cycled under those conditions, the angle will be one not normally seen in use and it SHOULD click if any wear there on an older car. Means nothing if it does, mine all do it. You should never motor car like that under power, can tear up axles.
 

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First of all, it is possible to overtighten anything; that's why they make torque wrenches. Likely not the problem here, but we had a crankshaft failure in a 6000 hp diesel because the factory (over) tightened the connecting rod bolts to the same torque as the main bearing caps and distorted the bearing caps. Most threaded fasteners will develop some adhesion in service; rust, corrosion, heat cycling such that the disassembly torque is likely higher than the assembly torque. In this case if there are any residual stresses or minute fractures from manufacturing/rolling threads, gross overtightening could precipitate a fracture failure.
 

· REVOLT.BUILD.RISE
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Bearing will expand when heated up from the motion of the car I thought you had to tighten just enough to expect the tolerance for that.

I haven't needed to change the bearings in the focus, but in my ranger I went through a few sets.
 
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