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      07-13-2009, 04:10 PM   #1
///ajd
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Tips on getting stuck alloys off rusty E90/E91 hubs

I gave up trying to get my old alloys off my E91 yesterday after they had rusted to the hubs.

I had similar experiences with my E46 some years back but eventually got them off by leaving the wheel bolts in but 1/2 turn loose and rocking the car back and forth.

I always thought this was a pants way of doing it and was reluctant to do so on my E90. I found that the wheels were stuck onto the hubs far worse than they were on the E46.

I did a search on here and on the web and found a couple of tips that really worked. Apologies as I can't recall where they were now to give credit, but thought I'd post my experience as it really was helpful.

In summary I:

a) prised out all the centre caps from the wheels - you can do this carefully with a tiny flat screwdriver, and prise inwards to release the cap (i.e. insert the screwdriver at 90deg into the tiny gap, then push the end of the driver towards the centre of the wheel (rather than the outside, which will seem like the obvious thing to do)). This distorts the cap a little and prevents scratching the alloy.

b) You'll probably find quite a bit of rust flakes inside. Squirt WD40 using the provided pipe around the lip of the hub inside the cap hole, and also squirt a bit around where the alloy mates with the hub. A bit of WD40 should collect inside the cap hole - if its a front you can rotate the wheel to allow this to penetrate.

c) leave it for 5 mins to soak.

d) Lie down flat on the floor on a mat with your feet towards the wheel. Alternately kick the wheel at the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock positions - if its a front, you can rotate it too. Keep doing this until the wheel starts to show some movement. Eventually it will come off - bingo!

Again, thanks to whoever posted these tips originally - I thought it worth repeating as it really does work a treat, and fairly effortlessly. My wheels were stuck on so fast I'd decided to goto the garage until I saw these tips and tried them.

Has anyone any experience of putting silver smoothrite on the hubs? Did you avoid coating the part that mates with the wheel? If not, did you have any problems?
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      07-13-2009, 04:48 PM   #2
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I've not changed my tyres or taken wheels off.

But garage had no probs removing my wheels. The fronts have been on since factory - first time wheels were off were at 70k miles.

And I've got rusty hubs just like everyone else.
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      07-13-2009, 05:08 PM   #3
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...usually its not a problem to remove them as long as the hub centre lip is coated in a thin layer of copper grease as per the BMW TIS instructions - if this is done properly then the wheels do come off fairly easily next time.

Obviously this had not been done properly when the wheels on my car were last changed - with predictable results that I fear are all too common. This maybe due to the previous owner changing the tyres in e.g. kwikfit etc. and them not being replaced in the correct manner.

Once I had the E46 wheels off the first time several years ago, I always used copper grease when replacing them and they never got stuck on again.

The problem is not really related to rusty hubs as such - more the issue is where the alloy wheel and hub lip come into contact and they can bond / corrode to each other over time - the BMW TIS manuals clearly warn about the risk of this and hence recommend using Copper Grease.
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      07-14-2009, 12:40 AM   #4
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silver hammerite

Hi i wire brushed and sanded mine put a generous coat of silver hammerite smooth on including the front face works a treat .

The only thing i found was the drying time of the paint i didnt want to stick the wheel to the soft paint i also put plenty of grease on all is good now .
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      07-14-2009, 01:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scooba0010 View Post
Hi i wire brushed and sanded mine put a generous coat of silver hammerite smooth on including the front face works a treat .

The only thing i found was the drying time of the paint i didnt want to stick the wheel to the soft paint i also put plenty of grease on all is good now .
Exactly the same for me - no problem painting the face that makes contact with the wheel. The key is a liberal application of copper grease.
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      07-14-2009, 03:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ///ajd View Post
I gave up trying to get my old alloys off my E91 yesterday after they had rusted to the hubs.
Easy tried and tested DIY method:

Car on level ground. Undo all wheel bolts 1 turn only. Gently drive the car a few yards, preferably over a small dipped c

Last edited by doughboy; 07-14-2009 at 07:04 AM.
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      07-14-2009, 04:49 AM   #7
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Many years ago .... we used to find quite a few of the XR3is with alloys bonded to the hubs. Really bonded. Soaking with appropriate freeing oil was start.

Luckily I had the help of a ramp, but had to use blocks of wood and a large iron (heavy mass) pole to knock them off, applying sharp blows to the inside wheel face through the wood. Rotating and trying at 180 degrees. Sometimes resorting to a little applied heat.

Some were VERY tenacious.

Clean the inside of the wheel to remove any build up, and apply a little Coppaslip to the hub centre (if it mounts directly on that) when remounting. Wire brush and sand the hub face.

D.
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      07-14-2009, 04:50 AM   #8
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Don't grease the bolts either.
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      07-14-2009, 06:57 AM   #9
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Don't grease the bolts either.
Absolutely, of course greasing everything up makes it come apart very easily for servicing.

But that's the point - you don't really want your wheels to come undone / off easily! They need to be f##in tight and held that way by metal to metal friction.

And once you put grease on the centre lip, then it melts & centrifuges out all over the other parts, smooth faces, bolt seats and threads etc. Next time you take the wheel off its grease all over your hands and then it gets on even more surfaces it shouldn't be,

a slippery slope............

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_3 View Post
Many years ago .... we used to find quite a few of the XR3is with alloys bonded to the hubs. Really bonded. Soaking with appropriate freeing oil was start.
Indeed my 1982 Mk1 XR2 with pepperpots was where I learned the 'drive round with the wheel bolts loose' technique!
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      07-14-2009, 11:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ///ajd View Post

In summary I:

a) prised out all the centre caps from the wheels - you can do this carefully with a tiny flat screwdriver, and prise inwards to release the cap (i.e. insert the screwdriver at 90deg into the tiny gap, then push the end of the driver towards the centre of the wheel (rather than the outside, which will seem like the obvious thing to do)). This distorts the cap a little and prevents scratching the alloy.
Even better is to use a suction cup. My son has various suction darts/arrows/bath toys which come in handy for this. This avoids any damage to wheel or centre cap
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      07-14-2009, 12:40 PM   #11
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Copper Grease debate

Re the posts above about not using copper grease - note that the official BMW TIS servicing manuals mandate the use of this on the hub lips when refitting the wheels - I'm not making this up. It does warn about not getting it on the discs, and if this happens they need to be removed and cleaned.

Re the post about undoing the bolts and rolling the car back and forth to release the wheels - I did this on my E46 in frustration (it did work) and felt very guilty about it. I fear it is a fundamentally dangerous way to do it as you are potentially inducing nasty shock loadings laterally on the wheel bolts that they are NOT designed to take. Hence you run the risk of 1 or more bolts being damaged to the extent that they could fracture and fail during normal use due to stress raisers being induced in the bolt.

The beauty of the approach above is that you don't have to kick that hard really, just work away at it by firmly kicking after the WD40 has done its stuff. I did do it with a sturdy trolley jack however - wouldn't recommend on a bottle jack or normal car jack.
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      07-15-2009, 02:24 AM   #12
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Loose bolts....

Yes, grease only the hub lip with a tiny amount, you're right. But a lot of other people then put it all over the hub face, wheel face and bolt threads and taper seats too!

Loosening the bolts is just fine and quite safe. Loosened by just 1 turn means the wheel movement is minimal (less than 1mm) and the car stays fully supported on the wheel by the hub centre (the hub lip, not the bolts is what supports the cars weight anyway)

Done this way means there will be no lateral loading on the bolts in this case.

Of course, you have to loosen the wheel bolts before jacking a car anyway, so it must be deemed safe to sit the car down on loose bolts. A quick waggle of the wheel at this time is usually enough to shift a sticky wheel.

After you've greased them, in future the wheel will come away from the hub as you loosen the bolts before jacking, again sitting the car on loose bolts with the wheel away from the hub.
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      01-17-2012, 04:01 PM   #13
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Stand the car on axle stands and belt the offending wheel from the inside with a rubber faced mallet - my refurbished ellipsoids had significantly more paint on them than when they came from BM and were stuck fast = this got them off by rotating and tapping with some force after about 10 minutes - no rim damage.
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      01-17-2012, 04:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Stand the car on axle stands and belt the offending wheel from the inside with a rubber faced mallet - my refurbished ellipsoids had significantly more paint on them than when they came from BM and were stuck fast = this got them off by rotating and tapping with some force after about 10 minutes - no rim damage.
Yup, never had a stuck wheel or rotor that a BFH couldn't fix

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      01-17-2012, 09:37 PM   #15
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Wow! How did we get our wheels off our cars over the past two and a half years?
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      01-20-2012, 05:01 PM   #16
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Just looking at ShereKahns comment - how the hell does anybody get 70k out of a set of tyres??????
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      01-20-2012, 08:49 PM   #17
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He put the car on stands and practiced driving in his garage.
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      01-21-2012, 03:50 AM   #18
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Just looking at ShereKahns comment - how the hell does anybody get 70k out of a set of tyres??????
HAHA I was thinking exactly the same!!!
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      02-13-2012, 12:22 AM   #19
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It seems like such a PITA to have to do this. Also, how easy is it to re-install the wheel, with lining up the stupid bolts and all?

Is there a reason why BMW chooses to use bolts instead of studs on the hub?
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      02-13-2012, 11:47 PM   #20
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It's only a bit more difficult than with lug nuts. Use the ledge of the hub and rotate the wheel as needed.

If you want a simple means of realigning the bolthole go to the DIY and get a 12mm x 1.5 rod and some plastic tubing (duck tape works, too). Cut a six inch piece of the rod and slip the tubing over the thread so that about an inch remains. Then, when you're ready to install the wheels on the car, screw in the rod/tubing widget into one of the holes. Then the bolt hole of the wheel goes over that and you can then install the remaining five bolts. Remove the rod/tubing widget and install the last bolt.

A better tool would be assembled from a solid 12mm rod with 12mm x 1.5 threads cut only on the first inch. This would retain the 12mm diameter and fits better through the lug holes in the wheel.
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      02-14-2012, 07:26 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoYank View Post
It's only a bit more difficult than with lug nuts. Use the ledge of the hub and rotate the wheel as needed.

If you want a simple means of realigning the bolthole go to the DIY and get a 12mm x 1.5 rod and some plastic tubing (duck tape works, too). Cut a six inch piece of the rod and slip the tubing over the thread so that about an inch remains. Then, when you're ready to install the wheels on the car, screw in the rod/tubing widget into one of the holes. Then the bolt hole of the wheel goes over that and you can then install the remaining five bolts. Remove the rod/tubing widget and install the last bolt.

A better tool would be assembled from a solid 12mm rod with 12mm x 1.5 threads cut only on the first inch. This would retain the 12mm diameter and fits better through the lug holes in the wheel.
Don't know if they still do, but my old Merc clk from 1999 came with an Alu threaded bar just to help changing wheels. Good bit of kit. I guess you could buy 1 from a Merc dealer, I suppose it would work on a BMW?
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      02-14-2012, 07:42 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gixxer335iCoupe View Post
It seems like such a PITA to have to do this. Also, how easy is it to re-install the wheel, with lining up the stupid bolts and all?

Is there a reason why BMW chooses to use bolts instead of studs on the hub?
Any car with alloy wheels and steel hubs (most cars then) suffers from this, nothing to do with BMW, and the use of bolts rather than studs is common place these days, so its the same technique as with most other cars - just line up the holes by eye as you put the wheel back on - not rocket science! If its a bit of just roll the rim to move it round a little.

The sticking is excacerbated by long service intervals and no requirement to remove wheels unless brakes pads are being changed any more.

Lots of cars are 3 or 4 years old before they EVER have a wheel removed - thus they stick like shit to a blanket..

Still stick to my method, loosen the bolts 1 turn and put the car back on the floor and roll it back and forth, this will part the hub and wheel, and its what any mechanic or tyre remover would do, perfectly safe!
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