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How to Prevent Wheel Separation

How to Prevent Wheel Separation

Past researches have shown that inadequate maintenance results in safety hazards and incidents. To avoid wheel separation or any associated incidents, it is important for truckers to keep their wheels fixed in place. However, this is a complete process and each manufacturer provides an instruction manual to perform the procedure.

According to the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council, there are several practices and procedures that are recommended for maintaining wheel ends and preventing any wear and tear, which cause wheel separation. Here are certain principles, which you must keep in mind, if you are responsible for the servicing and maintenance of truck tires to make sure that they are not separated from the vehicle.

Installation and Adjustment of Bearing

There are several companies which produce ball bearings and hub systems. Therefore, it is inherent that the technicians use the correct, specialized procedures. Bearing manufacturer, Timken, emphasizes the importance of accurate and correct wheel bearing installation and adjustment systems, if the fleet company wants to ensure consistency and performance. The dial indicators can be used for adjustment verification as stated in the 9-step adjustment system of RP-816A.

SFK national sales manager John Heffernan said that incorrect installation of pre-set or LSM hub systems will damage the spacer and the bearings. He said in his statement, “That’s a recommendation for an ideal situation. Getting techs to use torque wenches was a huge step for the industry. Use of dial indicators is growing and more fleets are adopting the practice, but we still have a long way to go.”

Wheel and Hub Composition

Before the truck is fitted with the tires, it is imperative that the contact surface is thoroughly checked to ensure that there is no dirt, rust, dust or grease between the hub and the inner/outer wheels.

Brandon Uzarek, Accuride’s field engineer for wheels emphasized this point by saying, “A buildup of foreign material on the wheel end mounting surfaces causes extra thickness in the joint. The foreign material may settle or work its way out of the joint, causing the tension in the bolt to decrease, resulting in a loss of clamping force. Excessive coating thickness can lead to a loss of clamping force and eventually loose nuts and possibly a wheel loss.”

As per his instructions, it is inherent to take extra care with the painted wheels to prevent flaking, which occur over time and decrease the clamping force and torque.

Correct Fastener Torque

One of the misconceptions, concerning wheel installation, is that the tighter it is, the better. Many technicians try to accomplish maximum clamping force by implementing more than 500 ft-lbs of torque force. What they don’t realize is that it can have devastating effect on the nuts.

Uzarek said, “If a wheel stud is subjected to excessive torque, it is possible to stretch the stud past its yield point. If this occurs, the joint will act as if it is under-torqued and there will be low clamping force. The best way to avoid this condition is to snug the nuts and then bring them up to their final torque with a calibrated torquing device. Impact guns are not recommended.”

These are some of the major principles which will help you avoid any unnecessary disasters in the future. So take care of how you install and adjust your wheels and enjoy safer load transfers.
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