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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Truth is I don't know for certain that there's a connection, but I definitely suspect it. And unlike what you might THINK I mean, it's not that the tight lug nuts are creating the bad braking; the bad braking is creating the tight lug nuts!! Let me explain; a while ago I replaced all brake components on the wheel end of things, and recently the master cylinder as well. But I'm still having poor braking and I can't figure out why. You can read about this issue in my other thread:

http://www.taurusclub.com/forum/82-maintenance-repair/225266-my-brakes-wont-give-me-break.html

The reason I'm starting this thread is because I noticed the past several times I took off the wheels the lug nuts on the front two wheels were extremely, EXTREMELY tight. This might not be so weird, except for the fact that I tightened them previously each time, and I didn't tighten them anywhere CLOSE to that tight. I do this all the time, and this has never happened before. And the front ones were ALL tight. A couple of them were so tight that I literally almost could not get them off with a four way lug wrench, and I'm 6'5'' 270 pounds, never had this issue in the past. The bearing/hubs are relatively new too (installed them at the same time that I put in the new brakes and had all these issues, like six months ago). Can poor braking or bad (new) calipers or bad (new) rotors or SOMETHING cause this issue? Thanks!
 

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Hard to say, but to rule it out you should tighten the lug nuts with a torque wrench and using the correct tightening pattern (skip one on a 5-lug). Also make sure all the lugs are hand tight (~10 ft lb) before putting the wheel back on the ground (I usually have to go around twice), then use the torque wrench with the car on the ground and the parking brake on.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I could do that to confirm, but I'm telling you I have no doubt. I have taken the wheels off and put them on many many times, and although I don't always use a torque wrench (I used to) I have a system by which I torque them pretty evenly and consistently (after I get them snug with the lug wrench I give three strong, even tightening thrusts to each one). I have been using this approach for a long time, and I also tighten with the correct pattern like you said, and in the way that you said. And this has never happened to me until recently the past few times. And they are beyond ridiculously tight. Not just a little tighter than one would expect...
 

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Lug nuts will not tighten on their own. Could be bad weather, road grime, salt, rust, electrolysis or maybe somewhere along the lines the treads on your lugs or nuts got stretched. (I hate it when that happens :lol2:)

I'm sure you don't use any lubricant, never seize or thread locker on your lug nuts. You can't torque them correctly if you do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This happened several times in a very short period of time, and has not happened before. There are no other unusual circumstances surrounding the occurrence. In fact, the car wasn't even driven much in between these times.

Is it possible that wheels locking when braking when they shouldn't, or vice versa, could cause this?
 

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Lug nuts will not tighten on their own. Could be bad weather, road grime, salt, rust, electrolysis or maybe somewhere along the lines the treads on your lugs or nuts got stretched. (I hate it when that happens :lol2:)

I'm sure you don't use any lubricant, never seize or thread locker on your lug nuts. You can't torque them correctly if you do.
I personally disagree on lubricant on lugs nuts. I will once in a great while but use one drop of heavy oil on them. I have had vehicles that try to gall up the threads over time without lubrication on them. I do not go crazy on the torque on a lubed thread.
 

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If you used oil or grease on the threads that might explain it, but otherwise we don't have a good explanation other than some type of corrosion (between rotor and wheel adding pressure?). Heat from a sticking brake might accelerate things, otherwise the function of the brakes should have nothing to do with it.
 

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I personally disagree on lubricant on lugs nuts. I will once in a great while but use one drop of heavy oil on them. I have had vehicles that try to gall up the threads over time without lubrication on them. I do not go crazy on the torque on a lubed thread.
Agree, threads need a bit of lube so the nuts spin freely on the stud. The torque is based on the taper of the mate surface, and only a small part on the threads. Taper torque is much different than bolt torque. There is a good reason to torque them. Without a torque wrench one can use the weight/distance rule. Say I'm 200# I can stand on a flex handle 6" out and it will give 100#ft. Just in the middle of the range. It is easy to over tighten, especially with X wrench.

Too tight can ruin a rotor. Very hard to break a stud, you will damage the rotor long before you twist one off.

-chart-
 

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I'm from Southern California and don't have to deal with the practical issues of road salts and corrosion that many of you do. That, and manufacturer's guidelines may influence my own decision to not use anti-seize.

However, I came across this engineering perspective and it has provided a good foundation for making your own choice.

For Me... Here was the most telling quote.

"They say that about 90% of the input torque of the torque wrench is consumed by friction, with 50% of the friction being between the bolt head and mounting surface, 40% of the friction being in the threads, & only 10% being the stretch of the bolt which produces the axial force or preload."

Conclusion: Do what you have to and feel comfortable with. Keep the lube off of the surfaces of the bolt head and mounting surface and you'll be fine. (practical experience of many indicates you'd likely be fine anyway)

Use of Anti Seize on Vehicle Lug Nuts
 

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If the lug nuts are coming off easily, what will keep them to come off while driving around? They need to be tight and stay torqued tight. Friction on flaks helps that.
Using anti-seize on wheel lug nuts is asking for trouble.
Also, you cannot break the disc by over-torqueing... come on, it's steel, doesn't compress! What happens is that the lugs will stretch and disc will start to wobble.

Now... Braking will try to stop the DISC. Rubber will try to continue moving. That puts a shearing force on the lugs and sides of wheel's conical holes. If those holes are not conical anymore (oval, stretched), then all the force will be on lugs and that can move the wheel against the optimal position. That move will eventually feel like "tightening" of the nuts... imagine a wedge being pushed between two surfaces.

Check the wheel holes for true conical shape.
 

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If the lug nuts are coming off easily, what will keep them to come off while driving around? They need to be tight and stay torqued tight. Friction on flaks helps that.
Using anti-seize on wheel lug nuts is asking for trouble.
Also, you cannot break the disc by over-torqueing... come on, it's steel, doesn't compress! What happens is that the lugs will stretch and disc will start to wobble.

Now... Braking will try to stop the DISC. Rubber will try to continue moving. That puts a shearing force on the lugs and sides of wheel's conical holes. If those holes are not conical anymore (oval, stretched), then all the force will be on lugs and that can move the wheel against the optimal position. That move will eventually feel like "tightening" of the nuts... imagine a wedge being pushed between two surfaces.

Check the wheel holes for true conical shape.
Eyeball inspection is OLD SCHOOL! still works.

Look at the tapered holes in the wheel.
Lug nuts should be good shape, the taper should not be galled or rough.

Alloy wheels need "bulge" nuts. Ford put them on.

I had a set of aftermarket Chrome lugs: they were eccentric. Thread them on and the taper was out of true, obvious. I tossed them. Not sure chrome taper to alloy wheel is a good thing. Chrome is noted for low friction.

-chart-
 

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Brake pedal pulsation is the #1 cause of brake complaints. It's usually caused by disc thickness variation (incorrectly called warp) and DTV is caused by lateral runout. Lateral runout is caused by two things: improper lug nut torque and rust/crud between the inside of the rotor "hat" and the wheel hub.

There is NO way you can properly torque lug nuts without a torque wrench. None. All you need is a difference in parallelism of more than .003" to induce lateral runout. A difference of 15% in lug nut torque is enough to do that.

Rust on the wheel hub or inside surface of the rotor hat can also do that. As the rust increases, it causes "rust jacking" which actually pushes the rotor away from the wheel hub. So that could be happening in this case. If so, the cause is lack of cleanliness when doing a brake job. You MUST remove all rust on the wheel hub and the inside hat area of the rotor hat.

For all you old timers who say "bah I've been doing it this way for decades", this is a new procedure. And it's required because most late model rotors are composites where the rotor face is cast iron and the rotor hat is stamped steel--whole different animal.

It's also the reason that EVERY car makers now says bench "turning" is no longer an acceptable method to machine rotors. If you're going to machine rotors, it must be done ON the vehicle with an on-car brake lathe. That's the only way to ensure parallelism.

Finally, on lube. Lug nuts are softer than the wheel studs. If you have trouble spinning the lug nuts onto the studs, and the studs aren't rusted, changes are you've stretched the threads on the lug nuts. New ones solve the problem. Rusty studs should be cleaned with a thread chaser, not oil. It's true that part of the torque is between the tapered surfaces, but once the tapers meet and you continue to tighten, THAT torque is between the threads. Add oil and it's a whole different ball game. Torque specs for lug nuts are for DRY fit.

BTW, you can buy a cheap torque wrench for $25 these days. Or, you can buy a digital torque adapter to use with any 1/2" drive ratchet. The cheap mechanical one aren't Snap On quality, but they're a LOT better than guessing.

Digital Torque adapter



Read this post on cleaning brake hubs

Avoid pedal pulsation
 

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Good article for reading Rick. Might have to add that 3M hub cleaning kit to the next Amazon order.
 

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You fell for the common situation where several parts are changed all at the same time. Now you don't know which caused or was causing the problem
Ever think of putting it back together the way it was?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
You ask a great question :):) And you are 100% right...Well I originally changed a lot of stuff...also you never know if instead of bad new parts, or parts not installed properly, if perhaps you CAUSED a problem during the installation, so perhaps all the old stuff back on again wouldn't help...originally I needed wheel bearings, and while I was at it I changed ball joints, tie rods and sway bar links. Plus quick struts. Then I noticed drivers side the back of the rotor was chewed up a bit and the inside pad (I think) was much shorter than the outside pad, so I replaced pads, rotors, rubber hoses. The calipers were also old and not in great shape so I replaced them too. Then I did all the rears (my braking issues really came about before I replaced the rears I think). Then because I was getting desperate to figure out what was going on I replaced the master. No help. Details are in the other post I linked too above. I'm kind of clueless at this point.

I guess I can put the old rotors back on and see if it helps or not. I just doubt it, because wouldn't bad rotors have other symptoms besides poor stopping power, such as grinding noises or screeches or whatnot? Also the Centric Premium rotors are supposed to be pretty decent (not that I put too much stock into any parts nowadays).

Otherwise maybe the Centric reman calipers are no good? I'm not sure what could make a caliper "no good" that wouldn't be obviously noticeable. I mean, they're not leaking, they do stop the car (I've observed them stopping the rotor nicely when the car was jacked up with the wheels off). I guess maybe they could be "frozen" but would that reduce stopping power? So I don't really know...

The only thing left in the system is the ABS. Is it possible that it's not letting brake fluid out of it to the wheels properly? (the way I understand is that brake fluid always passes through the ABS module en route to the wheels even if ABS is not engaged).?

Food for thought for you fellow Taurii. My main symptom is simply poor braking. Takes too long to come to a stop. Much longer than before all this work. Maybe air in the ABS? But can't imagine would effect the braking to this extent, though one never knows.

Sorry for hijacking my own post which started with the lug nut tightness, but I guess it really all comes down to the brakes at the end of the day. Very frustrating; I put a lot of time and money into this car and otherwise it's doing well...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I wonder if Motorcraft reman calipers are better than the rest? It seems like the only quality option because there's no such thing as an OEM caliper for this car anymore (except for paying through the roof on ebay)
 

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I trust Motorcraft more than I trust part store brands.

I have experienced air getting into the ABS unit and have fully experienced it do these exact symptoms excluding the lug nuts. Are you checking them with the car cold or after a drive? Mine was after a master cylinder replacement. For me I got lucky. I have a dealership that did an ABS bleed for cheap. They actually flushed the full system after they figured it out.

But there is one thing I think may be getting overlooked. Hows the adjustment on the rear drums looking?
 

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The remanufactured parts are not the same like new parts.
For calipers, essentially they check the cylinder run-off and if is close "enough" (that is not the same like new parts) they slap new gaskets on the pistons and... done.
This is how leaks happen.
 
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