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Wheel bolts on '50s Buicks


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This may have been brought up before, and if so, sorry for the repeat.<P>What is the engineering principal behind Buick's use of tapped drums and bolts to mount the wheels as opposed to studs thru the drums with lug nuts as in most other makes? <P>On a car equipped with wire wheels it makes it a bear to change a wheel beside the highway as I have had to do twice recently. mad.gif" border="0 Maybe it's my age. I don't remember it being so hard back in the '50s. rolleyes.gif" border="0 ~ hvs

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Guest Skyking

HVS, don't know the logic behind that idea, but they added a pin threaded into the drum to aid in the mounting of the wheel. Without the pin it was a juggling act to put the wheel on the drum. I was young when I had my 55, and it was a chore for me too...

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Thanks Skyking. I have the aligning pins in mine, but it still requires juggling the wheel until you get at least one wheel bolt started. The method I use is to put the pin at 12 o'clock, sit on the ground, put one leg in front of the tire and the other to the rear. Then lift with the legs to try to align the holes. Makes me nervous as hell having my legs under there with the car up on a bumper jack beside the road. shocked.gif" border="0 <P>I do believe it would not be as hard with the steel wheels since you are not also having to thread your fingers in the spokes while doing all the other stuff.<P>The whole arrangement makes no sense to me. Cross thread one bolt and you have to replace a drum. Cross thread a lug nut and all you have to replace is the lug. That is why I asked if anyone knew of a sound engineering principal for Buick doing it that way. Maybe they started doing it that way a long time ago back in the days of wooden wheels and iron rims and nobody dared to suggest changing it. <P>"No good reason for doing it that way, it's just company policy." rolleyes.gif" border="0 <P>Another trick I have used is to get two bolts of the same diameter and thread as the wheel bolts, but about 2'long. Cut off the heads. When changing a tire first screw in the bolts, slide the wheel over them and then put in the other three. You will have no trouble in removing the two guide bolts once you snug up the 3 wheel bolts. ~ hvs<p>[ 04-22-2002: Message edited by: hvs ]

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Guest scott mich bca # 6619

I like that idea of the 2" threaded bolts, that makes a lot of sense.<P>I would not sit under the car with my legs under the tire for ANY reason. Especialy with a bumper jack!!<P>I have another engineering question:<P>Why did Buick and some others have left handed threads on the driver's side wheels?<P>And why did they all of a sudden decide to change them to all right hand therads?<P>Did it have something to do with the thniking that if the wheel was turning counter clockwise, that maybe the wheel nuts, may loosen up?<P>Scott Mich<BR>Assistant Director<BR>Chicagoland Chapter<P>1955 76-C Roadmaster Conv. (wire wheels)<BR>1959 Olds SS-88 Holiday Sport Sedan (left hand threads on driver's side)<BR>1960 Corvair<BR>1978 Pontiac Bonneville Brougham

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scott ~ Here is another variation on the 2" bolt idea. Recently I looked for my bolts and they have disappeared from the face of the earth. I found that a pair of 3" or 4" pipe nipples 3/8" will also work. The thread and diameter are close enough to do the job almost as well as the bolts.<P>As for the right/left thread, I do believe that it had to do with the idea that tightening the bolt in the direction opposite the direction of rotation [or is it the other way around confused.gif" border="0] would cause it to tighten when in rotation and thus would prevent bolts or lug nuts from working loose. It still seems to make sense, but I suppose the engineers decided it really wasn't necessary. <P>An interesting related fact is that on the '14 Buicks, the front wheels are held on by right and left hand threaded nuts on the opposite spindles. BUT, outside of those nuts is another locking nut with the opposite thread from the inside nut. Sounds like belt and suspenders engineering to me. rolleyes.gif" border="0 ~ hvs<p>[ 04-22-2002: Message edited by: hvs ]

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The fear of a bumper jack collapse is why I have bought inexpensive small 2-ton hydraulic floor jacks for all the cars. Sears has them on sale every so often complete with molded plastic storage case. That and folding wheel chocks give me ever more peace of mind in event of a roadside tire change. I keep a short length of 1x4 plank with the jack to give it a reasonably solid surface to bear on- soft dirt or gravel don't work too well. <P>Also learned long ago to keep an 18" breaker bar and appropriate 6 point socket in the trunk. I never could break a lugnut loose with a jack handle.

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