Has Wheel Torque Solutions found a solution to wheel offs?

Truck News

Four companies have joined together to unveil a wheel fastening system that they say will maintain higher torques and eliminate the need to re-torque wheels.

Chicago Pneumatic, Alcoa, ITW CIP, and B and D Cold Heading unveiled the system at meetings of the Technology and Maintenance Council.

The system is a combination of components and tools. Pac-Sleeve laminated lock nuts are combined with Alcoa aluminum wheels that are thicker where strengthened bolts are applied, increasing grip length. The tools come in the form of sanders and polishers to clean mounting faces, as well as specially designed nut-runners and impact wrenches.

“The key to strengthening the clamp force is maximizing the preload and grip length without comprising the structural integrity of the components,” explained Ross Hill, business development manager at ITW CIP. “Wheel Torque Solutions accomplishes this through the use of industry-leading components that have been tested to achieve maximum clamp force at torques greater than 600 ft.-lbs.

“You can’t just cherry pick,” he added of the components and tools. “You have to have tools that don’t let you over-torque.”

After the drum is prepared, a ½-inch driver is used to seat up to three long metal sleeves onto wheel bolts, reducing any potential tolerances between the hole and bolt. The wheels are slipped over the sleeves, nuts are lubricated and spun onto the bolts, and then they are tightened with a Blue Tork electric nut runner using about 600 lb.-ft. of torque. The electronic tools scan and confirm the torque values of each installation.

The specially designed nuts promise to be 30% stronger than conventional fasteners. Most important, they help to maintain the loads that hold everything together. The threads will even maintain their torque when exposed to more than the traditional three drops of oil.

The system has been in development for more than a year, with an unnamed fleet that had faced a catastrophic wheel loss.

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