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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Tracking, Autocrossing, Dragstrip, Driving Techniques > Changing tires at the track, impact wrenches etc



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      10-14-2010, 10:30 AM   #1
kuvesh
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Changing tires at the track, impact wrenches etc

Just bought some new rims with semi slicks and now considering what is the easiest way to change my tires at the track.

Thinking about investing in a cordless impact wrench to reduce the amount of elbow grease.

Have done some research but looking for some advice on the below:


1. What should be the minimum torque rating of the impact wrench required to break loose lug nuts?

I read recommended torque on most cars is +/- 100 ft lbs for tightening the lugs. But some people have recommended impact wrenches need to be at least 200 ft lbs torque to be effective in removing nuts... but that is way higher than the initial torque they are tightened at....


2. Can i use the impact wrench to tighten the lug nuts?

Common feedback is that using an impact wrench to tighten nuts will risk over torque or stripping the lug nut. This risk is probably greater if you have a very powerful impact wrench.

I see Snap-On selling a torque stick which i think can be attached to the impact gun to reduce the risk of over torque but mixed reviews on this.


3. Recommendations on specific brands / models for cordless impact wrenches being used by other trackies


4. Any other advice for changing tires at the track


thanks in advance.
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      10-14-2010, 12:10 PM   #2
The HACK
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You're going about this the wrong way...

What you really need to worry about, is a light weight aluminum jack. You need something light, and with a handle that can be removed and disassembled to take up as little space as possible since the majority of your available space will now be used to carry full-sized tire and wheels.

As for impact wrenches, I personally would look at the form and weight of the impact wrench rather than it's torque capacity. I went for the lightest 18v cordless I can find (a Hitachi). While it doesn't carry enough charge for me to change out a full set of rims more than twice, it carries enough for a weekend. I carry a 24" long breaker bar just in case the impact wrench struggles to break the nut.

I would love to pick up an Ingersal/Rand or a Snap-On for home use since I don't have air compressor, but at this point, I spend more time working on cars at work and we've got compressed air and an I/R air driven impact wrench.
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      10-14-2010, 12:25 PM   #3
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If you have bolts and not studs I wouldn't risk the impact wrench on them. Such a short amount of threads to get through and they are designed to expand. The impact wrench seems like overkill.

With studs there is such a long way to go - and they are tougher then normal wheel bolts - a good impact wrench is great. I always break the nuts loose first though and I only spin the bolts on with the IW. I do final torque with a torque wrench.

I only bought a 14V Bosch so it couldn't loosen and torque the bolts anyway.

Just my reasoning and way of doing it.
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      10-14-2010, 12:59 PM   #4
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1. There's no hard and fast rule but my Sears 200ft/lbs impact wrench can't break loose my 88 ft lbs torqued lugs anymore as the battery is too old. It used to be fine though for a year or so.

2. Don't do that please, there's no reason to risk it. Use your extended 17mm adapter to turn in-place, then use your torque wrench to tighten to spec.

3. Snap-on for worry-free operation (says the person that has to use a breaker bar because he thought snap-on is overrated)

4. invest in a low-profile jack and also 2 jack stands, you'll need them.
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      10-14-2010, 01:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbass524 View Post
If you have bolts and not studs I wouldn't risk the impact wrench on them. Such a short amount of threads to get through and they are designed to expand. The impact wrench seems like overkill.

With studs there is such a long way to go - and they are tougher then normal wheel bolts - a good impact wrench is great. I always break the nuts loose first though and I only spin the bolts on with the IW. I do final torque with a torque wrench.

I only bought a 14V Bosch so it couldn't loosen and torque the bolts anyway.

Just my reasoning and way of doing it.
where did u get it and are there other choices ? im shopping around for an electrical one . So many times would it have been useful..
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      10-14-2010, 01:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zsapphire7 View Post
where did u get it and are there other choices ? im shopping around for an electrical one . So many times would it have been useful..
I got it on Amazon for $156.00. Comes with 2 batteries, charger and a case. I love it. It's a little more expensive now: http://www.amazon.com/Bosch-22614-14...=pd_ys_iyr_img
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      10-15-2010, 07:10 AM   #7
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I do not track as often as most folks in here, but since I have 3 cars and 3 sets of winters, I do lots of wheel changing in a year.

So I have:

24" Torque wrench
24" Break bar to loosen nuts
Light aluminum low profile jack, with removable handle bar
18V Impact wrench

I wouldn't recommend using the IW to loosen the lugs/bolts. For one, it puts lots of stress on the lugs/bolts. Second, you wouldn't have enough juice to undo 20 of them.

I might get a wheel studs/nuts kit when I start tracking more often, but for now I am ok.

A little trick I have to rotate the spare set of track wheels/tires, is to mark the carry-on tote bags as FR, FL, RR, RL. After each track event, I put the wheels/tires in the appropriate tote bag for the next event. e.g. FR Wheel I used for an event, I put in the RR tote bag and so on!
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      10-15-2010, 10:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
I wouldn't recommend using the IW to loosen the lugs/bolts. For one, it puts lots of stress on the lugs/bolts. Second, you wouldn't have enough juice to undo 20 of them.
What do you suppose dealerships and professional mechanics use then?
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      10-15-2010, 12:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
What do you suppose dealerships and professional mechanics use then?
It is just an opinion, you may totally disagree with it, that's ok. Just because dealerships/professional mechanics use it doesn't, again IMHO, make it less stressful for the nuts/bolts. Same folks won't be using a torque wrench either.....
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      10-15-2010, 03:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
It is just an opinion, you may totally disagree with it, that's ok. Just because dealerships/professional mechanics use it doesn't, again IMHO, make it less stressful for the nuts/bolts. Same folks won't be using a torque wrench either.....
Every mechanic I know use a torque wrench to tighten a lug nut/bolt.

I also don't know a single mechanic or professional that would hesitate using an impact wrench on a lug nut or bolt to loosen. What puts MORE stress on a bolt or nut is the actual tightening process, whereby the threads are stretched to provide the actual clamping force. Loosening it via impact is actually far less stressful to the nut/bolt than actually tightening it with a torque wrench.

I don't care if you agree or disagree. I'm just merely point out that opinions not grounded on facts, are just wife's tales.
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      10-15-2010, 04:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
Every mechanic I know use a torque wrench to tighten a lug nut/bolt.

I also don't know a single mechanic or professional that would hesitate using an impact wrench on a lug nut or bolt to loosen. What puts MORE stress on a bolt or nut is the actual tightening process, whereby the threads are stretched to provide the actual clamping force. Loosening it via impact is actually far less stressful to the nut/bolt than actually tightening it with a torque wrench.

I don't care if you agree or disagree. I'm just merely point out that opinions not grounded on facts, are just wife's tales.
It could well be wife's tales, and I also don't want to argue. From my perspective, rightly or wrongly, an impact wrench does just that, it loosens or tightens by impacting the head of the bolt with twisting force. Twisting itself might not be damageable if done with constant smooth force, but hitting repetitively the head with force is what I have a problem with, not if it was done only 1-2 times a year. But if you track many times a year......

I know of NO mechanic, professional or otherwise, in our region who uses a torque wrench thereafter to torque to spec. They basically tighten with the impact wrench, no torque check. For that I envy you folks!
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Last edited by kenneth; 10-15-2010 at 04:23 PM.
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      10-25-2010, 04:07 PM   #12
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I sort of accidentally ended up with a solution that I think works pretty well for me. I just use an 18v Dewalt drill with a bolt attachment. I use a small breaker bar to loosen, and a regular torque wrench to finish torqueing, and with proper settings of the drill, you won't risk overtightening. I purchased the drill recently for track use, not realizing the normal thing was to use an IW, but after changing wheels several times this way, I've been pretty happy with this method. Unless there's an issue I'm not seeing, I'm surprised more people don't use this method.
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      10-30-2010, 04:47 PM   #13
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DeWalt Impact w/ battery, ALuminum Jack with at least 1 jack stand (for safety), and torque wrench.

Loosen with impact, LIGHTLY tighten with impact or hand tighten, then torque wrench it.
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      10-31-2010, 09:24 PM   #14
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I've got these two:

http://www.makitapowertoolsonline.co...ch-BTW251.html

http://www.makita.com/en-us/Modules/....aspx?ID=24056

These are by far my favorite tool purchase recently. The 1/2 inch is great...it can't break loose dealership-tight lugs, but plenty strong for my half tight lugs. I can't remember the last time I've torqued down lugnuts on my own vehicles (obviously always on others' vehicles)....just get them moderately tight with a 1/2 inch ratchet. Personally I see no reason or benefit for torquing the lugs with a 9 foot breaker bar.
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