Lug-nut torque - Fiberglass RV

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Old 12-15-2002, 11:28 AM   #1
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Lug-nut torque

:chin How many FP should the lug nuts be torqued to on a trailer. I'm told by my friend with an automotive bent that they should all be torqued properly, mainly to insure that they are torqued evenly. If they are not torqued evenly then it can affect the balance and wear of the tire. He claims that the impact
wrenches used in garages do not torque evenly as it also depends on how
many hits the lug nut gets. Therefor you should use a manual torque wrench.
Additionally the wheels as they come from the factory (not only from our glass houses but from any travel trailer company) are not balanced. Apparently the feeling is since no one will be riding in the trailer while traveling that vibration
from unbalanced wheels is not important.
So...I just took the wheels off my Scamp and had them balanced, but now I am wondering how many FPs to torque them to.
Any one have any opinion on these points, one way or the other?

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Old 12-15-2002, 11:56 AM   #2
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Good point, Larry. A shop that uses only an air impact wrench on lug nuts is nuts. They are usually way over torqued making it difficult to remove with a lug wrench on the side of the road.

The only place I go for tires or tire work is Discount Tire and that's partly because they started using torque wrenches years ago.

It's a good question to ask when you go in for balancing or rotation.

Scamp should be able to tell you the torque specifications.

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Old 12-15-2002, 02:19 PM   #3
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The Dexter manual lists torquing specs.
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Old 12-15-2002, 10:14 PM   #4
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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
installed axle, 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
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Old 12-16-2002, 01:30 PM   #5
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On my way.

Thanks for your input, Pete, Jim, & Morgan. I'm on my way to Menards to buy a torque wrench. :steer
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