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Are hand tools really necessary when changing tires?

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Firewired, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. Firewired

    Firewired Member

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    Do you really have to use hand tools rather than pneumatic tools when you change tires?

    I live in a city without a nearby Service Center. I have the staggered wheel setup and wanted to swap tires side to side to prolong tread life being I can't switch front to back. I had a broken valve stem several months ago, and Tesla had me go into Discount Tire for the repair. The Tesla rep told me to be sure to ask for hand tools only and to have the lug nuts tightened to 129 Lb/Ft. I now have 6k miles on my car and wanted to go back for the balance, and side to side swap and didn't want to seem like an anal retentive jerk unless it really needed to be done that way.

    Any info would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
     
  2. Fezzik

    Fezzik P67429

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    Use hand tools because the lugs will start to round off.
    also with staggered setup can you switch tires. Are they not unidirectional and have an inside and out
     
  3. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    I just swapped seasonal sets over last night, and forgot what the proper torque was so I set them to 100 lb/ft. I see now, I will be adding 30 more tonight. Timely post as a reminder, thanks.

    I enjoy hand turning and tightening lug nuts on cars I love. Besides, there's no other maintenance to do on the car!

    I bought a second jack just so I can raise one whole side of the car at a time for doing rotations. Costco $120 I think for 3.5 ton jack, low profile.

    Of course, I don't have the staggered problem.
     
  4. Firewired

    Firewired Member

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    Good point. Just called discount and looked up the PS2s. The are indeed unidirectional and asymmetric, meaning that inside would have to stay inside, so swapping side to side would do nothing to increase tread life. That makes it unfortunate, but simple, there is nothing to do. I fortunately don't have any vibration, so there would be no benefit to getting a balance.
     
  5. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    Discount Tires as well as most tire stores nowadays do final torquing by hand using a proper torque wrench.
    --
     
  6. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Can you safely do that? I'd wondered about that myself since I don't like the idea of going around the car with a 5th wheel (one of my winters) as I lift one corner at a time.
     
  7. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    You mean will the air suspension fight you if you raise the whole side? Answer is no, air susp has never done anything while I've been jacking or blocking up. Kindof expected something but it seems to approve of my shenanigans.
    --
     
  8. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    One thing I've been wondering about, which might be dangerous to test, is whether you even need a jack...If you set the suspension to very high, then put blocks under the frame points with almost no clearance and then set the suspension to low, something interesting will happen. That might be the car picks up all four wheels like the Citroen. It might be the wheels stay on the ground but are unloaded so they can be lifted by hand. Or it might be that attempting to drop the pressure below safe limits to achieve the lowered suspension will damage the air springs. I don't know, but I was wondering if someone did. :)Walter
     
  9. ZsoZso

    ZsoZso Member

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    That is an interesting idea Saghost, I would be curious to find out too if someone is brave enough to experiment... I am not volunteering ;)
     
  10. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    In my fairly extensive tire-changing experience, the number of times a nut ever sees a wrench over its lifetime is so low that rounding off its edges not only is not much of an issue that I would not use that as a criterion for not using a pneumatic wrench.
    HOWEVER, you should consider using it only to take nuts off. When re-seating them, they cannot be relied upon not to over-torque the nut on its lug - bad for the nut, bad for the lugs threads, which can stretch (really!), and potentially very, very bad for an aluminum rim. Always use a hand torque wrench for tightening lug nuts (I cheat, and zip 'em on - loosely - with the hammer gun and then hand torque-tighten them).
     
  11. invisik

    invisik Member

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    There's a jack mode you can put the car in.
     
  12. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    The manual (RTFM) says put it in jack mode to keep it from trying to compensate and destroying itself which is what I do. Interesting that you haven't had problems.
     
  13. tga

    tga Active Member

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    I would have no qualms about using air tools on a Tesla's lugs. As with any car, when re-installing, start the nuts/bolts by hand to make sure they aren't cross threaded, then tighten with a torque stick or other torque limiter (set below the car's specs), and do the final tightening by hand with a torque wrench.

    If you are rounding off lug nuts with an impact gun, you're doing it wrong (wrong sized socket and/or not seated all the way). I've removed/installed dozens, if not hundreds, of tires with impact guns and never damaged a lug nut.

    I watched the guys at BJ's remove/install my truck's alloy wheels when they were installing a new set of tires (they used the bay next to the window, so I could watch from the waiting area). They used an air wrench to remove the lug nuts. When installing them, they tightened first with the impact gun using a grey torque stick (120 ft-lbs), and then used a manual torque wrench. I think this is standard procedure these days with alloys.

    I would mention the 129 ft-lbs spec to the tire shop, since the Tesla may not be in their database/charts.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I used to cheat, too - you can pulse the gun and let inertia spin the nut down, without much torque applied.

    Once I got a set of torque sticks, I always use them, and they consistently slightly under tighten a bit below their spec (I tested the whole set), even if you just sit there and hold the trigger on the gun.

    A torque stick is basically a 1/2" square drive extension (~6" long). The shaft's diameter is set such that, once the nut tightens, it twists, absorbing the torque at each impact, and springs back between blows. Once tightened, you'll see the gun end vibrate back and forth, with the socket not moving.
     
  14. mwulff

    mwulff Member

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    What he said +1000. Most tireshops will just use power tools and hammer the nuts in like there is no tomorrow. I have seen a cracked rim from that. Just zip them up with the powertool and then tie down with a torque-wrench.
     
  15. beeeerock

    beeeerock Active Member

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    I agree with these comments.

    I'm also still trying to get my head around the original number of 129 lbft. That seems like a lot of cranking. 129 Nm I could see and would be typical of pretty much every car I've owned. Frankly, removing those nuts without an impact wrench would be a job at that much torque with a bit of rust added to make it interesting.

    Obviously I don't have the information from Tesla on the recommended torques so it's not really for me to say, but the value of 129 seems high to me... and is almost exactly 95 lbft if assumed to be Nm and converted, making me wonder if the torque was spec'd at 95 lbft and a hard conversion done to get 129 Nm (not 130)...
     
  16. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    #16 FlasherZ, Apr 20, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015
    I used to work in a service facility for vehicles, among other things. It's very complex and highly depends upon the tools they're using. If your lugs are over-tight, and/or they have a high-speed, super-high-power impact driver, and/or they're a bit aggressive on the air pressure, and/or the tech leaves the gun on "high" all the time or doesn't break the nuts loose by hand, it's easy to cause damage (in my experience, it's always been to the lugs or the wheel face, the lug nuts not so much, although they were usually steel and not this aluminum cap stuff we have now). And, as AudubonB says, beware the shops that use impact wrenches to put the lugs on, not only because of over-torquing but also screwing up lug threads by cross-threading.

    I've always broken them loose by hand and done final tightening by hand. I used pneumatics to pull the nuts off, and to run them down the threads once convinced I had them straight, but never to hammer them in place. Low setting only on the hammer.

    - - - Updated - - -

    It's 175 Nm or 129.5 lb-ft:

    IMPORTANT: New Model S torque specification for mounting wheels
     
  17. beeeerock

    beeeerock Active Member

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    Wow, I stand corrected... but what an insane amount of torque! Just as well you don't have a spare in the car, because you aren't going to get those nuts loose with a typical 'cross' lug wrench... :crying:

    I have to wonder why they want them so tight. I'd be worried about rim damage. The Hellcat is only 110 I understand (which is still really tight!). Blame it on an abundance of motor torque I supposed, but still... that's frickin' tight! I might need to invest in a bigger torque wrench - seriously, I don't think mine goes that high.
     
  18. Kandiru

    Kandiru Member

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    Amen to that, I will add that battery DeWalt or SnapOn are the best.
     
  19. tga

    tga Active Member

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  20. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    Just to emphasize what tga wrote and I had forgotten to mention: ALWAYS hand-start a nut onto its lug to avoid cross-threading.

    One final point - I was taught not use anti-seize on lugs, because of the possibility that could permit the nuts to back off over time. I do, however, use anti-seize on the rim-hub interface.
     

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