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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was trying to rotate the tires on my sister's Focus (sounds simple right?) but I spend the better part of a day just trying to get the wheels off! Car is driven through heavy salt and parked outside most of the year. As a result the aluminum wheels had all but welded themselves onto the hubs about in 25k! Here's what I tried:

Took all the lug nuts completely off and kicked tire a few times. Didn't work. :mellow:
Got a hammer+2x4 and pounded on rim alternating sides for a few minutes. Didn't work. :huh:
Hit even harder (AHAP) with hammer. Didn't work (2x4 started disintegrating). :angry:
Removed hub trim cap and spayed PB Blaster in every possible crevice and orifice (including around studs). Hit AHAP with hammer again after 30 minutes. Didn't work. :angry:
Got a 5 lb dent puller and hit backside of tire as hard as possible. Didn't work. :angry:
Attached dent puller through spoke in wheel to pull outwards. Didn't work (aluminum dents easily BTW). :unsure:
Got a 25 lb barbell and hit side of tire with a 4 foot swing. Didn't work (weights started to slide screw-on keeper off, left a big gouge on the solid steel bar). :blink:
Laid on back and kicked wheel AHAP with both feet temper-tantrum style. Didn't work. :angryfire:

At this point I pretty much decided just hitting it with any kind of hammer (even a 40 lb sledge) wasn't going to work. It wasn't just going to pop loose all at once. I needed to apply some serious pressure:

Borrowed a 2 ton bottle jack from a friend and got some longer 2x6s. Made a bottle jack sandwich with 2x6's that spanned the gap between the rear wheels. Held the boards flat against a jack stand (they will want to buckle) and started jacking. Kept jacking until the suspension compressed an inch or two. Yes, with horizontal jacking on the rim of the wheel the suspension was compressing rather than the wheel coming off! With suspension compressed, hit top of wheel AHAP with big hammer to further effect. Suspension gradually uncompresses with each hit and wheel starts to move :), but does not completely separate. :angry: Released bottle jack, rotated wheel 180º, and repeated jacking procedure (suspension compresses again). Hit top of wheel AHAP a few more times and then POP! SUCCESS! :rottenbanana: Only 3 to go! :(

Looking at the mating surfaces, there was a lot of rust and I also happened to notice some flakes of shiny aluminum stuck to the rotors. No wonder...

To do the other side, I had to bolt the wheel back on and turn the boards+jack setup around. Same procedure with the suspension compressing and a few good hits and another pop! When I got the front of the car up, I saw movement right away with the hammer method and was able to get the other two wheels off without resorting to the bottle jack. I guess the drums in the back are much worse than the disks up front. Well that only took 6 hours of frustration. But I won...

So two words--Anti-Seize! Goes on all the mating surfaces! I refuse to repeat this procedure on this car! Also, the tires WILL get rotated at least every 10k to prevent this kind of catastrophe from festering ever again. At lest the lug nuts came off easy. Sigh...

I know some people also recommend the driving-around-with-loose-lug-nuts method, but I feel it would have required some serious cornering to get these suckers loose based on how much pressure it took in the end. I'm in a residential area and I can't justify driving around like that here and possibly loosing control when the wheel pops loose. Well, if anyone can top this or share any more methods post away!
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