Torquing the Wheels

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Feb 27, 2009
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down in the park
Front wheels... when you shift into Park, the pawl limits the wheel rotation... but for rear wheels, people tend not to use the parking brake, so the rear wheel will spin as your torquing it.

Having the car on the ground, provides the counter weight so that one can get the torque to the right value without fighting a spinning axle.

No, the front wheels can turn with transmission in park, but while one spins forward the other spins backwards.
 
Joined
Feb 27, 2009
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down in the park
Huh? If you ever driven a car uphill with one wheel on ice and the other on dry pavement, you know one wheel keeps turning while the other doesn't.

The speed of both wheels combined must be the same as the speed of the differential. So one turns for 5 mph, then the other turns for -5 mph if the engine isn't running.

With a running engine, if the differential turns for 20 mph, it's possible one wheel turns for 25 mph and the other for 15, or even 40 and 0...
 
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So what torque do you all use? I've found 90 ft. lbs. to be a good value for most passenger cars. First clean it so you don't have corrosion or dust impairing perfect alignment of the wheel to the hub. Offset/star pattern, with a proper hand torque wrench, 2 rounds, first half the torque then full torque. I've seen shops torque them a lot tighter, or unevenly, which may cause damage like uneven pad/rotor wear and eventual brake shudder.
 
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Jan 3, 2020
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Ontario, Canada
When its in the air and I put on a tire, I always wire brush the studs etc and mounting faces and I roll the wheel around to make sure the first 3 lugs are 'centered' tapping the tire (you can feel the lug 'center' and tighten) hand snug them or zip them on just a hair. I'll torque mine with the tire just touching the ground so they don't spin to 100%, then lower all the way and go for a drive and do one click on the wrench to double check. Never had a loose lug/vibration/issue this way...
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2008
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Long Island, NY
No, the front wheels can turn with transmission in park, but while one spins forward the other spins backwards.
There are videos that show a car on icy driveway parked. Then it melts just enough to lose grip and car slides down the whole driveway with wheel spinning in opposite directions.

I know there were some on the Pilot and Ridgeline forums.
 
Joined
Jul 6, 2003
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121
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Boise, ID
How ya gonna hold a wheel with one hand and tq with the other?
I run the lug nuts in using the lowest torque setting on my M18 torque gun, then I torque to spec. I use a chunk of 4X4 and chock the wheel with one foot on the block, while I torque (the tire still in the air).

I autocross a lot, so I change wheels/tires many times per year and get a lot of practice. If I don't have the block handy, I lower the jack until the tire is in contact with the ground just enough to react the torque.
 
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Dec 4, 2021
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So what torque do you all use? I've found 90 ft. lbs. to be a good value for most passenger cars. First clean it so you don't have corrosion or dust impairing perfect alignment of the wheel to the hub. Offset/star pattern, with a proper hand torque wrench, 2 rounds, first half the torque then full torque. I've seen shops torque them a lot tighter, or unevenly, which may cause damage like uneven pad/rotor wear and eventual brake shudder.
Ummm, there's an actual torque spec for each vehicle / wheel combination. For OEM, it's usually stated in the owners manual.
 

Astro14

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I do what others do - a light seating with the impact while it's in the air. Probably close to 50 ftlbs.

Lower the car, torque to spec with a torque wrench.

Threads are clean and dry, so I know the value is not distorted by grease or dirt. If I'm worried about corrosion, and I generally am, then threads on bolts get a shot of pure zinc primer. That inhibits corrosion, without messing up the torque value.
 
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Jun 14, 2021
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East TN
Actually - it does.
One wheel is 'locked' due to being on the ground (friction)...the input to the differential is 'locked' due to the parking pawl inside the transmission...so, no 'differential' action is allowed on the wheel that is free. Now if you were to jack both wheels off the ground while in park, you can spin either wheel freely (in opposite directions), or if you put the transmission in neutral (disengage the parking pawl) then the wheel that is up in the air is allow to turn freely...differential action.
 
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Joined
Jun 14, 2021
Messages
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East TN
One wheel is 'locked' due to being on the ground (friction)...the input to the differential is 'locked' due to the parking pawl inside the transmission...so, no 'differential' action is allowed on the wheel that is free. Now if you were to jack both wheels off the ground while in park, you can spin either wheel freely, or if you put the transmission in neutral (disengage the parking pawl) then the wheel that is up in the air is allow to turn freely...differential action.
Now, this assumes you have an open differential...if you have limited slip or a locker...then it is going to act differently.
 
Joined
Feb 9, 2017
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Vancouver, Canada
It's much easier to torque them when wheel isn't spinning, I just drop the car so wheels touch floor and under some load and torque. When car is fully down, just double checking torque or after a day or two of driving if I'm not lazy and didn't forget.
 
Joined
May 6, 2014
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290
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La Salle, Illinois
Thread the lug nuts all the way to the hub by hand or impact while off the ground. The tires are flexible. Torque to spec with tires on the ground. I never have to re-torque. However, my Tempest has Weld wheels with shank lug nuts. You must re-torque at least twice after driving for a while. For some reason, they loosen but not dangerously. After a couple re-torques they set.
 
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