36mm axle nuts stuck...

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36mm axle nuts stuck...

Post by trscott » Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:09 am

Okay, this isn't the first time I've had to take off stubborn axle nuts, but this one takes the prize for stubborn.

I've tried all the tricks I've used before that used to work.

1) Jammed the brake drum from turning with a bar locked between a couple lug bolts, so it wouldn't turn

2) Used a large 1/2" T-handle with a 36mm socket, no go.

3) Soaked it over night with PB blaster and tried again the next day, no go

4) put a short pipe extension on the T-Handle, no go

5) Heated the nut for ten minutes or so with a propane torch, and then used the pipe extension on the T-handle, no go

6) Tapped the nut with a hammer, all the way around on the flats and on the end, not real hard, but just to try to break things loose, sprayed more PB-Blaster.

7) Finally exercised the Sears Craftsman tool exchange option, put my weight on the end of the pipe extension on the T-handle, roughly 400 foot pounds of torque applied, and it finally gave... The T-handle spud that is. I realized I was getting to that point and pretty well expected it.

8) I figure tomorrow I will try to get an impact driver and socket. I was thinking of one of those where you can hit the end of it with a hammer and it applies a twisting force to the socket.

Any other suggestions?

Should I pull out the Oxy Acetylene torch to get the nut hotter than a propane torch can?

It is soaking overnight again with a good bath of PB Blaster oil.



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Post by Marc » Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:48 am

If you don't have access to an air impact wrench, the "bang wrench" should do the trick. Set the e-brake hard (better yet, have someone step on the brakes) so that the outer wheel bearing doesn't have to take all of the impact force.
http://www.bfyobsoleteparts.com/Rear-Ax ... -p-17.html
You can also use a geared torque-multiplication tool like this:
http://www2.cip1.com/SearchResults.asp? ... arch2.y=17

After more than 30 years I finally encountered one that I couldn't turn off (I've got a 175psi compressor and a serious ½" impact gun - rated at 600lb/ft @125psi). I ended up resorting to chiseling the nut apart and peeling it away. The drum and stub axle ended up being junk anyway so I wouldn't have lost anything in that case had I just used the oxy-acetylene torch.

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Post by Bugfuel » Sun Mar 30, 2008 11:28 am

3/4 inch is the way to go, that can take a lot more force. Avoid sharp blows, if you can. A good 36mm impact socket and a 3/4 inch breaker bar with a cheater pipe extension, and you on top of it.. it will come off. I have met some real stubborn ones, but 6ft of cheater pipe always got them loose with ease.... I also bolt on a piece of heavy angle iron to the drum, 4ft long... works great. Only need to use one wheel bolt, the other stopper is the center hub.

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Post by Bruce2 » Sun Mar 30, 2008 11:46 am

I kept going longer with the cheater pipe until I was bouncing all my weight right at the front bumper (left side)! No go.

I took it into the local VW shop where the owner bragged that "big Red" had never let him down in the past. He hammered away with the impact gun until his 150 gallon/5hp compressor was drained. After waiting for it to catch up, he hit it again. It finally started to move. I timed it. It took 2 full minutes after it started to move before it zing'd off. He said that was the toughest one he'd ever seen. Oh ya, he wasn't thinking and when he went to put the impact gun away, he burnt his hand on the socket. That much heat was generated.

Take the car to a heavy duty truck repair shop. They have the big guns. Likely they won't have a 36mm socket, a 1 7/16" will do.

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Post by kevin1970beetle » Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:19 pm

I used a breaker bar and a 5 foot cheater bar and got mine lose

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Post by Scott Novak » Sun Mar 30, 2008 7:20 pm

I used to use an 18" long 1/2" drive Craftsman breaker bar and a 36 MM socket and jump on the end of the bar. I was out of town and found a Beetle that I bought and was going to drive home. I needed to do some service work on it before I drove it home. I bought another Crafstman 18" 1/2" drive breaker bar and tried to unbolt it. Didn't budge. I jumped on the end of the 18" breaker bar and it SNAPPED! Craftsman quality just ain't what it used to be.

But I decided that I should stop abusing my tools like that and bought a 3/4 drive breaker bar and use a pipe over the end. It always works for me now. Sometimes I stand on the end and bounce up and down a little to break the nut loose.

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Post by LeeVW » Mon Mar 31, 2008 2:26 pm

The best way to use the 'hammer tool' is to slip a 4' length of pipe over the breaker bar, attach the hammer tool to the breaker bar, then have someone grab the other end of the pipe and exert as much pressure as possbile as if trying to loosen the nut. While he's doing that, take the largest top mall sledge you are comfortable swinging and proceed to pound on the tool. Don't wail on it, just give it some solid, well placed blows. This generates an enormous amount of force, and should remove even the most stubborn axle nut. Once you get everything apart, replace the rear wheel bearings, because hammering on a shaft supported by bearings is a big no-no and it ruins the bearings.


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Post by toycar73 » Tue May 05, 2009 10:44 pm

This thing is making me question my grasp on reality. After trying all of the rational things like a two foot long S-K breaker bar with my 250 pounds jumping on the end of it, blaster, heat, hammering... I went and got a six foot cheater pipe. That just spun the wheel on the ground, wheel chocks, let air out of the tire, more heat and blaster, still nothing.

Check the forum, try the angle iron brace, stand on the end of the pipe, and it feels like it starts to move. But no, turns out that 1500 ft/lb is enough to bend the breaker bar, and the angle iron brace.

I am off to the heavy equipment dealer tomorrow in hopes that they have something that will keep me from needing to cut this accursed thing off, but knowing how things generally progress, the cold chisel has already been sharpened

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Post by jrandy » Wed May 06, 2009 12:05 am

I broke alot of tools and parts until I stepped up to a 3/4in breaker and a 4 foot+ cheater that slips over it.
But, sometimes it seems that someone has jammed the nut on with 1000 lbs of pressure, so, what to do?
I prefer splitting the nut, or at least grinding or cutting through it enough to let the metal yield a bit.
A 5 dollar axle nut is alot cheaper than broken tools and parts and various injuries.

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Post by Piledriver » Wed May 06, 2009 4:56 am

I had a 36mm socket welded on a 3' long piece of 3/4" x 2 1/2" mild steel, made it back in shop class... Someone borrowed that awhile back tho, it went undefeated for ~ 20 years. (Good to jump up and down on with my 250 lbs...)

Currently have a cheapo 3/4" drive setup from a garage sale, gets her done w/o much fuss.

I have never heard of one survive a sharp cold chisel if all else fails.
I, for one, regularly embrace our new robot overlords, as I am the guy fixing the robots...

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Post by toycar73 » Wed May 06, 2009 7:52 am

I forgot to include that it was a 3/4 drive breaker bar

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Post by Piledriver » Wed May 06, 2009 8:31 am

toycar73 wrote:I forgot to include that it was a 3/4 drive breaker bar
I have never had much luck w/breaker bars--- The pin area is weaker than a ratchet.
I, for one, regularly embrace our new robot overlords, as I am the guy fixing the robots...

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Post by Lew » Wed May 06, 2009 9:10 am

We all know about Never Seize right! A long time ago before I had the right tools, I had to do the cold chisel number on one.......Never again using Never Seize........A LITTLE heat sometime does wonders. A bang wrench can be a pain, since they don't stay on the nut to well after you hit it a couple of times......You can bet my stub axles will have Never Seize on the splines and threads when they go back in soon. :)

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Post by toycar73 » Wed May 06, 2009 1:46 pm

10 minutes, some good natured trash talk about the tool being more powerful than the car, and a 1600 ft/lb impact wrench was all it took.

this is what I bent

http://www.skhandtool.com/Default.aspx? ... &pid=47153

not the standard flex handle

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Post by rte592 » Wed May 06, 2009 8:18 pm

I've only had 2 that I could not get off with a 3/4 breaker bar and the floor jack handle for added leverage.....After about 5 minutes of fighting....I just break out the drill....I drill both sides of the nut (same direction as the stub) and then throw the 3/4 breaker bar at it again....the nut just falls apart :D

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