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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Axle Nut Problems

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6 replies to this topic

#1 Dj7291993


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Posted 13 September 2012 - 08:50 AM

so, my dad was driving to work this morning in his '88 GL FWD Sedan, when the Left (drivers's) axle nut flew off. Now, we've had issues with this side before, it's stripped out it's hub twice, and gone through more axles than the right side. I'm trying to figure out how it came off, though. I had this side come loose a couple months ago, and just figured I hadn't got it quite tight enough when I changed the hub. So, I tightened it down, tighter than the 140ft/lbs it calls for, and put a bigger cotter pin in it.

I have two questions. First, what would cause/allow it to come loose like that? Second, am I going to have to go to the junkyard to find the washers (flat and conical)? Unfortunately, the road it came off on it one of the busiest East/West roads in Colorado Springs, so I can't just go looking across three lanes off traffic to find the one that came off.

#2 O.C.D.


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Posted 13 September 2012 - 09:04 AM

Lose it on Woodmen out by Falcon? I lost a hammer out there but found it so you never know?!

So you are actually shearing the cotter pin as well? I am not an expert but if you can you should make sure that the spring washer is OEM and not some flat washer from wherever. The conical washer needs that outer ring support to properly torque the hub. Were these flat washers?

#3 O.C.D.


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Posted 13 September 2012 - 09:10 AM

I should add that I noticed my passenger's side washer was some random flat washer so I ordered a new spring washer from SubaruParts.com for like $8 bucks. Expensive but the right part......

#4 edrach


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Posted 13 September 2012 - 09:16 AM

Definitely get a few of the cone washers and flat washers from the wrecking yard; maybe even some spare nuts. The 140 ft-lb is good and a few extra ft-lbs doesn't hurt. However, my suggestion is to re-torque after 300 miles again. Sometimes the CVJ doesn't seat well and it seems to come loose. After the next 300 miles check it again and re-torque if necessary. If it still comes loose after the third tightening, then there's another issue that should be looked at.

Just an after thought (don't mind me, but I have to ask), you are tightening the axle nut to the torque setting after you have the suspension back on the ground. I tighten it when it's still in the air to a reasonable torque and then let the car down, and re-tighten to the 140 number.

#5 Dj7291993


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Posted 13 September 2012 - 10:06 AM

@O.C.D. Yeah, lost it just West of Powers. The car is sitting in the merge lane onto West-bound Woodmen from Duryea. I'll be getting it towed a little later. As for the cotter pin, it must have. No way it would have fell out. I know it had the two original washers, but they might have been worn out. I might end up ordering one, but I'll probably get one from the junkyard.

@edrach, I tightend it after it was on the ground, put a little extra since I was retightening it, then turned it tighter till the holes for the pin lined up. I snugged it in the air, torqued it on the ground, put a temp pin in it, test drove it to make sure it had fixed the noise, rechecked the torque, then put a nice beefy cotter pin in it.

I've never had an issue like this on my '87, I've had other issues, mostly engine, but never any touble aside from wearing the axle boots out. I'm gonna have it towed down to the shop, see if I can see something in the air that isn't as evident on jackstands.

#6 El Presidente

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 12:23 PM

Make sure the washer is on correctly too, as i recall, the cupped side should go towards the cone washer, if its on backwards, the spindle nut will shear the cotter pin and back off.


#7 djellum


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Posted 13 September 2012 - 12:54 PM

Dont forget to release the Ebrake before you snug it down. the rotor is bolted to the hub you want to tighten, so it might add some extra stress or resistance.

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