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I just replaced another broken wheel stud on the left rear. This is the third lug now on the same wheel and I'm only at 5K miles. The first two were replaced shortly after I took delivery of the vehicle. An analysis of the fracture indicates fatigue failure likely precipitated by over-torquing. It could also be related to the wheel stud not being perpendicular to the flange.

On the first failure I noticed a missing lug nut. This caused me to immediately check the torque on the other lug nuts. One that was adjacent to the missing one felt a bit mushy like it was starting to fail so I replaced that wheel stud too.

Today I had the tires rotated at America's Tire and they found another broken stud (not one of the new ones). The tech said it was just barely hanging on and came off in his wrench when he was removing the lug nuts.

There are three possible sources of over-torquing: 1) the factory, 2) Quigley when they did the 4x4 conversion and 3) Sportsmobile where the aftermarket wheels and tires were installed.

This has made me recall a friend who ran heavy equipment in the construction industry. Things he always kept on hand for his water trucks were rear axles and wheel studs as one or the other was always breaking (usually the left rear) when they were loaded and running on soft ground. I understand the axles breaking from too much torque on the driveline but I never understood how the wheel studs could also break from this.

Lucky for me the studs are cheap and easy to replace but it worries me that I really don't know the root cause.

Has anyone else experienced broken wheel studs?


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Is there something preventing your wheel from seating all the way on the hub?

That looks like it failed in shear, which would be more common with wheels not fully seated on install. Use a grease/anti seize on your lugs too to make sure you're achieving the appropriate torque.
 

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The factory is far less likely to have improperly torqued lugs than the other suspects.

One of my pet peeves back in the day was tire jockeys who felt they had to prove their manhood by over torquing everything. Always a lot of fun on the side of the road with just hand tools..
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Is there something preventing your wheel from seating all the way on the hub?

That looks like it failed in shear, which would be more common with wheels not fully seated on install. Use a grease/anti seize on your lugs too to make sure you're achieving the appropriate torque.
I checked the hub and wheel to see if there was anything preventing proper interface and did not notice anything. If it happens again I'll have to use a runnout guage to see if everything is really flat.

Definitely not a shear failure, this is a classic fatigue failure. Perhaps the pictures do not do it justice.
 
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I'd suspect the last place that took the wheels off. And the previous one. If they were over torqued, then trying to remove would weaken them more, and then the final time would really snap them. Having them on and off so many times in only 5k miles likely contributed, but they should be able to handle that if they were torqued correctly. I've also had the tire shops over-torque on trucks to the point I couldn't get the nuts loose with a regular lug wrench, had to jump on the handle or use a pipe as a cheater. Every time I have them off now I tell the shop to torque them to factory specs and no more. And then I check when I get home, and they're always too tight.

But yeah, get some spares. Tacomas were notorious for broken studs, so I always had spares.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
The factory is far less likely to have improperly torqued lugs than the other suspects.
Agree 100%

One of my pet peeves back in the day was tire jockeys who felt they had to prove their manhood by over torquing everything. Always a lot of fun on the side of the road with just hand tools.
And the idiots who use air guns for everything. One of the reasons I like America's Tire/Discount Tire is they never use air guns (at least the one I go to) and always use torque wrenches for the final torque.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
But yeah, get some spares. Tacomas were notorious for broken studs, so I always had spares.
Yup, at $3.50 for each wheel stud I went ahead and bought five more today from a local Ford dealer and threw them in the glove box. Also gotta get some extra lug nuts. Hopefully having the spare parts on hand will prevent future failures from occurring!

BTW, shopping around for the studs was beneficial. One dealer wanted $9 each, 150% more than the other dealer just a few miles away.
 

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If you do your own tire rotations I’d take that opportunity to replace them all. Who knows about any of them now? Looks like a crapshoot that needs to be dealt with sooner than later.
 

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Do your aftermarket wheels have the correct size center bore for the hub? If the hole is larger and they didn't install hub centric rings that would stress the lugs. Also make sure the lug nuts are specific to your wheel I. E. Tapered/conical/flat etc.
 

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I don’t see the typical fatigue fracture marks.

That said, I would replace them all, at least the ones on that hub.


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That is really odd...
I have Method wheels with 33in tires and wheel my van hard on rocks and washboard. All my lugnuts and studs have been great for 30k miles. And I rotate every 5k.
I agree with the cheap insurance of replacing and I would rotate to see if it is a wheel issue
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yup, wheels have been rotated to determine if it's related to the wheel or not. Three of the five studs are now replaced and will replace the other two very soon. I suspect the lug nuts on that hub were over torqued at some point. At least they have failed incrementally and not catastrophically!
 
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It's always the left rear?
You have rotated tires / wheels?
Typically the persons mounting the wheels aren't going to over torque just one of the four.
Check that rotor / disc / flange for run out or other issues with being true.
 

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Did you clean the area outlined below? If not, there's definitely something going on with that flange around that stud. Possibly extending one stuck CCW.
20200913_081714.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #20
All good points guys, thanks for your input. I've gotta check these things out. On a road trip right now so will check when I can.
 
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