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  #1  
Old 01-09-2013, 03:59 PM
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1991 SDL (W126) - Overtorqued and bent wheel bolts

During a recent fender bender from a 19 year old (my wife had borrowed the car that night for the first time in 5 years :-)) ... I had repairs done at local shop, including one of the wheels repainted - since it was there, I had the other three done, as well. They farm the wheels out to a mobile service so it was done on site, but not by the body shop. I know isn't the best way to have done it, but was the fastest and easiest.

So, I get the car back after a week or so and looks great. I start in on the ASD and ABS troubleshooting that you can see looks like a rash in this forum - was going to rotate the tires, anyway. Except, that my pneumatic gun wouldn't get close to budging even one of the bolts.

I convert to a three foot bar and stand on it, bouncing, in order to get one set off a front wheel. Three bent a bit. Examining the bolts, it was not the slight additional paint on the wheel, nor was there any overspray, etc in the threaded holes. Didn't go any further - other than swearing at the top of my lungs for a few minutes.

Took back and shop guy that does suspension stuff came out with an incredulous look on his face, holding one of the bolts - said he got all but one off with a more powerful air gun, but was amazed at how hard it was. Told me might bend the last since he had to convert to a 3' bar.

Body shop said the would get replacements for the bent bolts, but they turned out to be very short, unlike the 5" or so stock bolts that have extended shafts and chrome heads. Dealer confirmed this is all that is available, as MB has changed the part and others no longer available.

Did some looking fr MB bolts and indeed, it does appear there is an new bolt that is half the length, but to deal with the rather flush style wheels, there is also some sort of chrome cap that either friction fits into the wheel hole or is attached somehow to the short bolt. Some parts lists show a two bolts - one is shorter than the other ...

Anyone been through this?

Thanks!!

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George Stephenson
1991 350 SDL (200K and she ain't bent, yet)
former 2002 E320 4Matic Wagon - good car
former 1985 300 CD - great car
former 1981 300 TD - good car
former 1972 280 SEL - not so good car
a couple of those diesel Rabbits ...40-45 mpg
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  #2  
Old 01-10-2013, 09:03 AM
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George, as you learned MB stopped offering the extended head lug bolts because of bending and shearing problems with the extra shank length. In your case apparently the wheel vendor severely overtightened the lug bolts. I've had a MB tech overtighten lug bolts to much that I sheared off a 1/2" to 3/8" adapter that I use with a 17mm deep well socket.

I always apply a thin coat of Never Seize on lug bolt threads and torque to 80ft/lbs with a torque wrench to avoid any removal problems. If you needed to change a flat tire on the roadside with those overtightened lug bolts you would have been there awhile.

Sent you a Private Message.
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  #3  
Old 01-10-2013, 09:36 AM
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Thanks, Ferdman,

Yeah, I've always used just a drop of oil on the threads, and then later never seize ....even rubbed never seize in the hubs if steel wheel cars to keep them from rusting to the wheels.

So, should I take a chance on the aftermarket longer bolts? I can't imagine they would be same quality as originals ...and if it is rally the shank length that drives the failure mechanism, probably should just resolve issue now. Gah - but I like the look of the original heads being flush with the wheel ...


What have most people done? I am assuming it wasn't to replace one at a time with shorter bolts since the look will be pretty messed up ...the bolts, even with chrome covers will sort of disappear into the bolts wells, right? Given this, does some even need to put chrome caps on them - especially since the wheel itself is more of a matte finish?
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George Stephenson
1991 350 SDL (200K and she ain't bent, yet)
former 2002 E320 4Matic Wagon - good car
former 1985 300 CD - great car
former 1981 300 TD - good car
former 1972 280 SEL - not so good car
a couple of those diesel Rabbits ...40-45 mpg
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  #4  
Old 01-10-2013, 08:30 PM
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The long bolts are NLA for good reason, they can bend or even worse snap off making removal near impossible.

My 91 300SL parts car had very stuck long bolts, a few bent while taking them off. One way to help things along is to hammer on the end of the bolt, this compresses the ball seat and relieves some of the tension. It is up to you to protect the wheel and lug. ( Placing a socket on the bolt then hammering on it or perhaps a extension. ) The wheels on the parts car were all bent so I just hammered away.

Ball taper lugs can get very stuck even at low torque levels.

As for the person that was using a 1/2 to 3/8 drive adaptor, that is just asking to break the tool.
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  #5  
Old 01-11-2013, 07:48 AM
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George, as long as you use Never Seize on the lug bolt threads there shouldn't be a problem with the extended shank bending or shearing off. The lug nolts on our MB vehicles are never a problem to remove; however, I am a DIY'er and replace brake pads/rotors and take loose wheels to our local MB dealer for new tire installation. So I am the only one handling the lug bolts. When I take our MB vehicles for state inspection I request that the tech inspect the brake pads/rotors without removing the wheels. If for some reason the tech must remove the lug bolts I reapply Never Seize and retorque them as soon as possible afterwards.

Lug bolt removal becomes a problem for vehicles that are neglected or mishandled. Without a thin coat of Never Seize the threads can rust in place which requires tremendous force to break loose. Similar situation for lug bolts which are overtightened with an impact wrench.
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  #6  
Old 01-11-2013, 08:52 AM
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Thanks, Ferdman,

I agree re our circumstances the bolts should be no more of a problem now than they were when new ...key is making sure you keep never seized/lubed a bit.

My circumstance was an anomaly as I usually rotate them and do enough maintenance (brakes, etc) to ensure they get lubed pretty often.
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George Stephenson
1991 350 SDL (200K and she ain't bent, yet)
former 2002 E320 4Matic Wagon - good car
former 1985 300 CD - great car
former 1981 300 TD - good car
former 1972 280 SEL - not so good car
a couple of those diesel Rabbits ...40-45 mpg
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  #7  
Old 01-18-2013, 05:55 PM
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Received and installed new bolts today - alternative approach ...here are originals ...note the chrome cap ...
Attached Thumbnails
1991 SDL (W126) - Overtorqued and bent wheel bolts-image.jpg  
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George Stephenson
1991 350 SDL (200K and she ain't bent, yet)
former 2002 E320 4Matic Wagon - good car
former 1985 300 CD - great car
former 1981 300 TD - good car
former 1972 280 SEL - not so good car
a couple of those diesel Rabbits ...40-45 mpg
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  #8  
Old 01-18-2013, 05:55 PM
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And, the alternatives in chrome ...
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George Stephenson
1991 350 SDL (200K and she ain't bent, yet)
former 2002 E320 4Matic Wagon - good car
former 1985 300 CD - great car
former 1981 300 TD - good car
former 1972 280 SEL - not so good car
a couple of those diesel Rabbits ...40-45 mpg
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  #9  
Old 01-18-2013, 05:57 PM
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Attaching photo ...
Attached Thumbnails
1991 SDL (W126) - Overtorqued and bent wheel bolts-image.jpg  
__________________
George Stephenson
1991 350 SDL (200K and she ain't bent, yet)
former 2002 E320 4Matic Wagon - good car
former 1985 300 CD - great car
former 1981 300 TD - good car
former 1972 280 SEL - not so good car
a couple of those diesel Rabbits ...40-45 mpg
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  #10  
Old 01-18-2013, 05:58 PM
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And wheel with new bolts ...
Attached Thumbnails
1991 SDL (W126) - Overtorqued and bent wheel bolts-image.jpg  
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George Stephenson
1991 350 SDL (200K and she ain't bent, yet)
former 2002 E320 4Matic Wagon - good car
former 1985 300 CD - great car
former 1981 300 TD - good car
former 1972 280 SEL - not so good car
a couple of those diesel Rabbits ...40-45 mpg
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  #11  
Old 01-18-2013, 06:01 PM
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Location: Fairfax County, Virginia
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Last photo of original with measurement ...
Attached Thumbnails
1991 SDL (W126) - Overtorqued and bent wheel bolts-image.jpg  
__________________
George Stephenson
1991 350 SDL (200K and she ain't bent, yet)
former 2002 E320 4Matic Wagon - good car
former 1985 300 CD - great car
former 1981 300 TD - good car
former 1972 280 SEL - not so good car
a couple of those diesel Rabbits ...40-45 mpg
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  #12  
Old 01-19-2013, 04:13 PM
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Location: Fairfax County, Virginia
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So, a last bit of info I found while trying to come to grips with whether to use anti-seize on the threads ...the below thread discusses and then links to several other engineering resources discussing this.

In general, it appears OK and may even be a good idea to use anti-seize, but only on the threads, not the seat of the bolt interface to the wheel.


Use of Anti Seize on Vehicle Lug Nuts
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George Stephenson
1991 350 SDL (200K and she ain't bent, yet)
former 2002 E320 4Matic Wagon - good car
former 1985 300 CD - great car
former 1981 300 TD - good car
former 1972 280 SEL - not so good car
a couple of those diesel Rabbits ...40-45 mpg
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  #13  
Old 01-20-2013, 01:20 PM
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Location: Southeastern PA
Posts: 3,077
George, the replacement lug bolts complement your well-maintained wheels. Noticed from the side-by-side picture that the extended shank is a larger diameter than the threaded shank. You would think the larger diameter increases the strength enough to prevent it from bending/shearing.
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  #14  
Old 01-20-2013, 07:33 PM
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Hi Ferdman,

I think the issue is likely overblown in some respects ...I had never had any issues with my bolts until they were so way over torqued ...the combo of over torquing, lack of lube, and a car I drive very seldom probably all contributed.

Frankly, the single thing that everyone could do, based on a light reading, is to use anti-seize on the bolts. Won't solve gross incompetence by the Pneumotorquemeisters, but is pretty easy to insist on, along with a torque wrench.
__________________
George Stephenson
1991 350 SDL (200K and she ain't bent, yet)
former 2002 E320 4Matic Wagon - good car
former 1985 300 CD - great car
former 1981 300 TD - good car
former 1972 280 SEL - not so good car
a couple of those diesel Rabbits ...40-45 mpg
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  #15  
Old 06-10-2013, 11:18 PM
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I dealt with this issue three years ago when fitting the 15 hole wheels onto the '84SD.

The only good look is the chrome one piece design which you procured...........relatively cheap.

Unfortunately, you get what you pay for and their durability is about three years before the chrome deteriorates and won't restore with polish.

I suppose it's not a deal breaker to replace them every five years or so.

Also, if the bolts are torqued to the 80 lb.-ft. specification, I do not see any possibility of them seizing..........whether anti-seize is used or not. FWIW, I've never used it and never had any issue. It's not a very high torque for the size of the fastener.

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