Road Wheel Bolt Removal
I suppose most of you are thinking why has this been documented as its a simple enough task – Right? Well I decided to share this one as this is a really useful and simple tip that may help you out. It could just get you out of a fix at the roadside, especially if you have to change a wheel and you find ‘as usual’ the wheel bolts or nuts will not budge, even if you do carry a breaker bar and 19mm socket !
There is often difficulty removing wheel bolts/nuts on the Mercedes Sprinter (or any other light commercial vehicle for that matter) as they are invariably very tight to remove. Manual force on a breaker bar is often just not enough. Use this simple technique to remove stubborn wheel bolts/nuts without pulling a muscle or damaging yourself jumping on the breaker bar! Very useful at the roadside if you have a puncture – first job is to remove the spare wheel and use it with this technique to aid the removal of the damaged/punctured road wheel. An often used and frowned upon ‘tyre fitters’ technique if the wheel nuts are proving very stubborn is to take the largest hammer from the box and strike the wheel nut squarely on the face taking your best and most powerful shot. This works by jarring the nut in the threaded hub and breaking the rust bond allowing wheel removal – This really does work ! It has limitations in that it can only work on steel wheels with ‘proud’ wheel nuts and not recessed fixings and of course the chances of an off centre strike or complete miss with the hammer causing other damage is quite high – useful however to know in a no-other-option situation.
There is just one cautionary note for Mercedes Sprinter owners that have Alloy Wheels fitted and a Steel spare. If you ever need to install the steel spare and mistakenly use the alloy wheel bolts there is a high probability that you could run into trouble. It has been known for a steel wheel to be installed with alloy wheel bolts (with longer threads) on the rear axle of a Sprinter and when moving off to totally rip apart the internal handbrake shoes, mechanism, ABS sensor and fixtures inside the drum due to the increased bolt projection within, escalating a simple puncture repair to major problems for the owner. You should have a set of the 5 correct length wheel bolts in the tool kit/roll if you have factory installed alloy wheels, if you have fitted your own aftermarket wheels make sure you keep a correct set of steel wheel type bolts handy if you intend to retain a 5th steel spare.
The correct wheel tightening torque is:
180 Nm for wheel nuts
Interesting video with insight into the wheel nuts of Formula One cars……