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Old 10-01-2007, 05:26 PM   #1
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Default Wheel Hub Bolts

Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. I have spent all day on something that looked like it was going to take me an hour. My front passenger tire started making some noise a couple days ago. I took it off to look at the wheel, brakes, etc. Well, before I had it off I already knew the problem. I must not have torqued the lug bolts enough the last time I took it off and they were all loose. Well, at least the 4 that were still there were lose- the fifth was gone as the stud had sheered off.

So today I finally get around to getting the car up, taking the wheel off, etc. I try to losen the bolt nut in the front and it won't budge. I spray some T9 on it and it spins off about 3 minutes later without a problem. I'm psyched at this point- this should be easy. I put a 13 mm wrench on the lower right screw in the back, and hit it twice with a hammer and it pops loose. I go to the top screw, won't budge. Finally the wrench slips and I know I've rounded the head. The left lower bolt, same thing- only the head may not be rounded since I was more careful.

I have sprayed the snot out of both sides of the two bolts with T9, CRC Freeze Off, etc. I have torched it with a propane torch (only one I own). I have torched it and put cold water on it. I have torched it and put Freeze Off on it. I have tried EVERYTHING. I cannot get my socket extractors onto the bolts because I have NO room to swing a hammer in there.

I have spent a good day on this now and am extremely frustrated. Any thoughts? I know it should have been simple, but my luck is like this. I figured it'd take 2 hours, and was at these two bolts in 20 minutes. At that point I wasn't thinking it would take all day..... I don't mind drilling, sawing, etc. to get it out at this point- just need to know how to do it.

Thanks in advance for the help.
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Old 10-01-2007, 05:35 PM   #2
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I had same problem but after many tries half day later it came off with ratchet and pipe on it.The pipe was tricky to fit in small area but I got it finally.Broke 1 ratchet and 2 socket.
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Old 10-01-2007, 05:42 PM   #3
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I tried the pipe, the problem is that the bolt has been rounding more and more- now it'* not just a torque problem, it'* a slippage problem too.

Thanks...
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Old 10-02-2007, 08:40 AM   #4
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Remove the nut holding the axle to the hub. (probably already done) Remove the cotter pin on the ball joint and the ball joint caslte nut. Use a 4-5 foot bar and pry down on the lower control arm.. maybe have a friend push down while you hit the side of the ball joint to loosen it. (this keeps you from destroying the ball joint with a normal pickle fork). Now remove the axle from the hub by pulling the strut assembly toward the back of the car. If your friend holds the strut assembly for you..it'* easy to get at all the bolts.

I'd firmly suggest all bots of this torque that are into aluminum etc are removed with a 6 point socket.
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Old 10-02-2007, 10:27 AM   #5
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Bill, thanks for the reply.

I looked, but I do not see any cotter pin- I am assuming by the "Castle nut" you mean the nut the threaded nut that sticks through the center of the hub?

It seems that the CV boot is what'* in the way- the bolt on the top is in such a position that I can't even get a small 6 pt. socket on it squarely- the CV boot pushes the wrench out as I spin. I was using a 12 pt. box wrench, but that wasn't any better in the end, obviously. The bolts are pretty much destroyed now, and I'm going to try to hack off the old ball joint with a sawzall- since the threads in the hubwill be replaced and the bolt will be replaced, and the threads on the bolt seem to be at least 95% in the hub at least. Maybe your way would be better, but I'm missing something (you obviously know a ton more than I do....I only know about things I've had to fix on my car)....

The one bolt I did get out (which came right out), had some red lock-tite on it.

At this point I would pay someone just to get these two bolts out, but I can't even get it towed somewhere because there are no studs to slide the wheel onto.....
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Old 10-02-2007, 12:18 PM   #6
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The cotter pin and castle nut that Bill was referring to would be what holds the ball joint to the lower control arm. If you ball joint is original, which is likely, it probably doesn't have that type of nut on it. The newer ones using a locking type nut instead of the castle nut.

If you haven't tried this already, turn the wheel all the way to the right while working on the hub bolts. That will get you extra room, both for leverage on the wrench, and get you past the Cv boot. Then see if there is enough left on the bolt to use a six point socket. Those will often still bite when a 12 point won't. Tap the socket on with a hammer, if necessary, to get it on past any shavings left behind.

If you still have problems with the CV boot, use either an extension or a universal to get you the room you need.

If all else fails, a sawzall may work - but you will have to be careful with it so you don't damage the steering knuckle. I'd suggest first trying to drill out the bolts from the outside. I think that the large hole in the hub will still line up with the ends of the bolt.
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Old 10-02-2007, 12:28 PM   #7
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Archon,
Thanks. I've been trying to drill/sawzall all day now. I've killed one blade, and the drill bit I think dulled pretty quickly. That bolt is just crazy hard I think. I'm waiting for the GF to get home and I think I'll need about 3 more blades for the sawzall.

I called the GM dealership to see if they had the bolts, and there are some about 40 minutes away that I will go get. While I was on the phone, I had the guy ask a tech what the deal was, and he said use an air hammer and push the nut back into the CV joint, that will allow it to swing free. I think this is what Bill was trying to tell me. I don't have an air hammer, and a rubber mallet got it in quite a bit, but no where near close enough to pop it free. I didn't want to do any shock damage, so I'm leaving it for now and going with the sawzall and 3 more blades I think....

Such a pain...
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Old 10-02-2007, 12:40 PM   #8
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In order to get enough room, you'd also have to pop the ball joint which is also what Bill was talking about. Let us know how it all turns out. Good luck with it.
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Old 10-02-2007, 02:10 PM   #9
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The tech was basically telling you to remove the axle from the knuckle. Which is done by removing the bit nut on the axle itself. Then give the axle a couple whacks with a hammer (leaving the nut on to ensure you don't mar threads is a good idea). Then undo the ball joint as mentioned and the strut assembly will swing back and allow the axle to be removed. From there..you have great clearance to all three bolts.
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Old 10-02-2007, 02:48 PM   #10
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SUCCESS! Well, kind of.

I kept up with the sawzall. Some lessons learned-

1. Those bolts are REALLY hard.
2. Milwaukee Sawzall blades are FAR superior to Lennox or DeWalt.

I went to home depot and bought a single lennox metal blade for my saw last night. It was dead about half way through the first bolt, maybe 3/4 of the way. I felt the blade with my finger and I would have been suprised if it would have cut me nevermind the hub. Anyway, went to go get 3 more lennox blades- figuring I have two bolts, and one blade made it half way through....

While there, I looked at the Milwaukee blades, but they didn't sell them singly, only a 5-Pack for $20. 3 Lennox were $9. I finally broke down and spent the extra $10. I used two blades and had both bolts cut through- but even the first blade still has a lot of life in it. The Torch Blade is the way to go.

Anyway, thanks for all of the advice and help- as always. I cut a little past the center of the casing, so I didn't hit anything I didn't want to with the exception of the metal plate that goes between the hub and the steering frame- which just got some minor nicks/bends. It sits smooth still and I don't think it will make any difference unless one of you guys points something out that I am not thinking of.

I have the new hub on with one screw (not completely tightened) and I am on my way to get the other two ....should be back in about 2 hours and I think I can have it wrapped up by 5.

Thanks again!
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