Has a solution to wheel-offs been found?

Truck News

TAMPA, Fla. –A series of four companies have joined together under the banner of Wheel Torque Solutions to unveil a wheel system that promises to maintain higher clamp loads and eliminate most of the traditional causes of wheel losses. And they have already found a fan in Rolf VanderZwaag, who oversees technical issues for the Ontario Trucking Association.

Chicago Pneumatic, Alcoa, ITW CIP, and B&D Cold Heading unveiled the system -a combination of components and tools -during recent meetings of the Technology and Maintenance Council. Pac-Sleeve laminated lock nuts are combined with strengthened B&D bolts and Alcoa aluminum wheels that are thicker than usual where the fasteners are applied. Related tools come in the form of sanders and polishers to properly clean mounting faces, metal sleeves to guide the wheels into position, specially designed nut-runners and impact wrenches. In designing a system for severe applications, the suppliers have addressed all the root causes of wheel losses, said VanderZwaag, who was instrumental in creating the program used to train Ontario wheel installers.

The Pac-Sleeve nuts incorporate a stack of five internal washers that will deflect 30 thousandths of an inch as they are pulled together, compared to a solid fastener that will deflect a maximum of 19 thousandths of an inch when the wheel components are tightened with 60,000 pounds of clamping force. The extra deflection is designed to compensate for the flexing, temperature changes, expansion and contraction that can take place during normal operation. There are wide variations in the quality of nuts and bolts in the marketplace, and some of the poorest offerings even deliver less than the 30,000 pounds of clamping force needed to hold a wheel in place, VanderZwaag added. “It’s the clamp force that holds the wheel on. Not the torque.”

After the mounting surfaces are properly cleaned, a half-inch driver is used to seat two or three long metal sleeves onto the wheel bolts. The wheels are slipped over the sleeves that ensure everything is seated in the proper position, nuts are lubricated and spun onto the bolts, and then everything is tightened with a Blue Tork electric nut runner using about 600 ft.-lb. of torque. The electronic tools scan and confirm the exacting torque values of each installation. While mounting surfaces are supposed to be clean, it can be difficult to get into the small areas on the face of a brake drum, VanderZwaag adds, referring to the importance of the cleaning tools.

The suppliers suggest that their solution even eliminates the traditionally recommended practice of rechecking torques after newly installed wheels travel about 160 km.

“If you assemble this thing properly, you don’t have to check it,” VanderZwaag says. “You’re absolutely covering every step.”

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