FYI, just posted this to Yahoo-Scampers in response to same question:
Altho torque is important, it has become more so lately because the
automotive industry is using lighter components all around in order
to get the overall weight
down (and fuel efficiency up). This means
that on modern car wheels, overtorquing by the gorilla with an air
gun results is things like warped discs and drums.
My *personal* opinion is that the construction of the typical trailer
wheels, hubs and brake hubs is such that overtorquing by hand should
not be a problem (but that's my personal opinion and I think I just
might have been wrong once or twice before).
I don't use a torque wrench (if you do, the torque specs should be in
the owner's manual for your truck and on the Dexter site for your
trailer), however, I do tighten the lugnuts in a pattern (tighten a
nut, skip a nut, tighten a nut, etc., with 5 hole and tighten
opposites with 4 hole) and in three stages (actually four, as I start
with finger tight), applying light
pressure all the way around to
seat the nuts into the chamfered holes in the wheel), then around
medium and finally around hard (last might be several times around,
going until nothing moves for a full round of tightening). I put
pretty good pressure on my ratchet handle, but do not use the pipe
extender (except for disassembly).
Do NOT lubricate studs or nuts, as the torque specs are set up for a
dry fit -- Lubing them WILL be likely to overtighten. I have a small
wooden-handled wire brush in my toolbox and usually clean the stud
threads before reassembly.
The reality on our trailers is that, lacking a bent or improperly
, the tires
will chemically deteriorate and need
replacement long before they wear out.
Pete and Rats
Here's the skinny from the PDF I downloaded from the Dexter site on
lug nut torque:
Wheel size 1st Stage 2nd Stage 3rd Stage
13" 20-25 35-40 50-75
14" 20-25 50-60 90-120
15" 20-25 50-60 90-120
All in foot-pounds (one pound of pull on a one-foot lever, 1/2 pound
of pull on a two-foot lever, two pounds of pull on a half-foot
lever). As you can see the actual torque isn't so critical because
the range is pretty wide (62 +/- 12; 105 +/- 15). It is important,
IMHO, to tighten in a pattern and in stages to seat everything
Recently reinstalled wheels should be rechecked after about 50 miles
in case something has moved a little.
Pete and RatLadies who get torqued when Pete isn't on time with treats