Wheels won't come off car hubs

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by WisJim, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Recently got a 2000 Metro and decided to check the front brakes. Problem is that the wheels won't come off the hubs. The center hole in the wheel is a close fit to the hub, and there is enough rust that I can't get either front wheel loose. Among the things I have tried:
    *tapping around the center of the wheel
    *lots of penetrating oil in the affected area (this was done first, of course)
    *prying between the wheel and the brake disc
    *pounding on both the inside and outside of the tire and rim
    *driving a short distance with the lug nuts slightly loosened
    None of these have had any noticable effect.

    Any suggestions? I am hesitant to use heat (torch) because I don't want to damage the front wheel bearings--is it possible to heat enough to break the rust loose without damage to the bearings?

    Thanks for any help!!
     
  2. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My son has a Mercury Mistque and I had to use a sledge hammer repeatedly in order to get the tire off. I just hit on the rim about 10 times and it finally came of. We then cleaned up the hub and put a little grease on where it was sticking.

    Bobg
     

  3. danb98577

    danb98577 Well-Known Member

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    Heat, within reason, won't hurt. Heat the wheel on lower side of hub and use some penetrating oil a few times. In years past I have also used a piece of 4X4 and a scissors jack from wheel to wheel. Just make sure the wheel opposite the one you are working on is bolted down. It can be aggravating, but patience, a little pressure, and mother nature will do the trick. Luck, Dan
     
  4. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Loosen the lug bolts just a little and move the car around in the YARD. They should work loose on their own in this manner if you turn the steering wheel quit a bit..
     
  5. chuckhole

    chuckhole Born city, love country

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    If you use too much heat, you can liquify the grease and melt the grease seal in the well hubs.

    Can you remove the wheel bearing cap, take out the cotter key and remove the rim with the hub still attached? Then, can you knock out the grease seal and remove the bearings? Put the nuts back onto the studs to protect the threads and then you can really get at it without running the risk of damaging the bearings or the front wheel drive shaft.
     
  6. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'll have to try the 4x4 and scissors jack between the wheels, and then if that doesn't work, a bit of heat. I've done the rest of the suggestions with no luck.

    Thanks again!!
     
  7. Dubai Vol

    Dubai Vol Well-Known Member

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    When you do get them off, put some copper anti-seize grease on them before to put them back on.
     
  8. BD

    BD Active Member

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    hi, a hydraulic bottle jack designed to work horizontal might be easier wiith better control.
     
  9. Gideon

    Gideon Well-Known Member

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    With the tire slightly raised off the ground stand a 4X4 against one side of the rim and smack it very hard with a sledge hammer. I would not actually hit the rim with the hammer as you may warp it. The 4X4 will distribute the blow's force but still apply it to just one side. Do one side of the rim and then the other-back and forth--it will come. After removing use a steel brush and sand paper to clean it. Spray a light coat of paint on it afterwards to prevent it from rusting again as badly.
     
  10. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I tried, again, all of the suggestions of hitting, jacking, pounding, etc., after letting the penetrating oil work another day, and nothing did it. So, rather than dissassemble the hub, bearings, etc., we gently heated the rim with a torch, and the wheels fell right off. I wirebrushed and sanded the offending surfaces, and put neversieze on them when I reassembled things. It doesn't even look like the paint on the wheels was damaged by the heat.

    Thanks for the suggestions.
     
  11. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Did you try using A file and opening the center hole up A small amount,To keep them from rusting tight again..
     
  12. Dubai Vol

    Dubai Vol Well-Known Member

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    Just in case anyone reads this and has a similar problem:

    The one thing you do NOT want to do is file the hole in the wheel larger. While older American cars' wheels tend to center on the lugs, most foreign cars (and some newer domestics) center the wheel on the hub. That's why it's a tight fit between the wheel and hub. Making the hole larger will stop[ the wheels being centered and cause a vibration that feels like a balance problem, but will only be cured with a new set of wheels.

    The moral of the story: if your wheels are hubcentric, use anti-seize grease on them but DON'T enlarge the hole! :)
     
  13. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    could this scenario sometimes be the result of bent rims?
     
  14. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My rims all look fine, and the car drives fine, but there was obvious rust holding all 4 rims to the hubs. Now that I have gotten them off, cleaned off the rust, and put never-sieze on the offending surfaces, they should come off okay the next time I need to remove the rims.