Nushka Pt 4: Getting the wheels off

Following on form my previous posts on getting my lovely little mini back on the road this one relates to the first 3 attempts I’ve now had at getting her wheels off.

For most people removing wheels from cars is not something to write home about (or blog about for that matter)… but for me and Nushka this has turned into something more than a five minute job. The reason for this is simple… I don’t have the key-socket for the locking wheel nuts! I need the wheels off so that if (or when) I get a flat and am where a lot of mini owners time is spent (i.e. on the hard shoulder of motorways) I can very easily replace the wheel with the spare. Oh there’s also the added necessity so that I can service the brakes, replace the ball joints and correct the steering.

The Blasted Locking Wheel Nut
The Blasted Locking Wheel Nut

Attempt 1 – Impact Sockets

Well to start with my locking nuts had this tasty little metal collar on which span freely around the outside… this would have put stop to any attempts at just hammering on an impact socket over the top. So this was, and quite hastily at that, removed using a screwdriver and hammer combination. Next up I hammered an undersized (is that a real word) impact socket over the top of the locking wheel nut. Of course with this firmly in position I just attempted to unscrew the nut as normal. Sad to say all that happened was the locking wheel nut with it’s once perfectly cylindrical exterior now hexagonal returned to it’s circular shape and my impact socket just came free. Blast!

Attempt 2 : Special Tools!

Thanks to my boss I was able to get my hands on a special set of sockets which were specifically designed for removing locking wheel nuts. These had a fluted interior with a very sharp reverse thread. The idea being that you hammer them on and then as you turn the socket they ‘claw’ into the nut and eventually cause it to turn free.

Sadly this attempt achieved similar results to the first… the end product being a wheel nut with a smaller diameter due to the outer few millimetres being shaved off!

Attempt 3 : The Angle Grinder

Fair play, perhaps I was really looking for an excuse to buy such an exciting power tool… but nevertheless I was hoping that by cutting a nice grove lengthwise through the nut I could then use a long thin tool (such as a beefy screwdriver) to finally free up the nut and get it off (there are in fact 3 nuts I need to remove).

The cutting went fine… in fact more than fine as I had great fun as there were loads of sparks 🙂  Unfortunately once again, due to the softness of the nuts, this did not work. As I was pulling up on the lever (in this case a screwdriver) half of the nut – down to the depth of the slit – snapped off! The inner part of the nut is still attached fast. Attempt number 3… FAIL!

So What’s Next?

Well, I currently have 2 more options that I can think of:

  • Drill out the stud
  • Use a cold chisel to snap off the remainder of the nut

These will be explored in later posts.. wish me luck!

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