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  #51  
Old 02-11-2020, 04:12 PM
KneadToKnow is offline
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I installed a ceiling fan a while back. After fighting with it in every imaginable way to get it installed, and getting pretty riled in the process, it was all up and looking good. But it didn't work.

I called a handyman in to go behind me and check the wiring, figuring that was the most likely thing to have gotten wrong.

And it was, in a manner of speaking. I had, it turns out, actually run the right wires to the right places and done pretty much everything correctly except in my let's-get-this-maddening-project-over-with I had tightened one of the wire nuts so badly, it had actually severed the wire inside, thus causing the connection to fail.

Bad news: Not for the first time, getting angry at an inanimate object cost me money.
Good news: It was a quick fix.
Better news: Left unattended to, it could theoretically have caused a fire.

Also, we now have a running joke in our house whenever This Old House or a similar show has someone using wire nuts. "You know, you have to be careful with those things."

Last edited by KneadToKnow; 02-11-2020 at 04:13 PM.
  #52  
Old 02-11-2020, 04:38 PM
simster is offline
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Had a 79 Ford Granada - this was around 2002 or so - trying to change a tire I split two different 3/4
sockets applying all the muscle I had trying to change that tire in a parking lot. We limped over to a gas station that still had a lift/functioning service bay and asked the guy to help - he sat on it with an impact wrench for 10 minutes and the lug nuts wouldn't move.

In a bit of frustration, he stood up and kicked the tire - the tire - a-frame and all - fell to teh ground. (the top of the a-frame had rusted thru apparently, and the kick was all it took to finish it)

The look of shock on his face was priceless - we removed what little belongings were left in the car and pushed it into an empty spot and called the junk yard. As far as I know that tire is still attached ot whats left of that hub.

That was a great car - until it wasn't.

Last edited by simster; 02-11-2020 at 04:39 PM.
  #53  
Old 02-11-2020, 04:45 PM
simster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simster View Post
Had a 79 Ford Granada - this was around 2002 or so - trying to change a tire I split two different 3/4
sockets applying all the muscle I had trying to change that tire in a parking lot. We limped over to a gas station that still had a lift/functioning service bay and asked the guy to help - he sat on it with an impact wrench for 10 minutes and the lug nuts wouldn't move.

In a bit of frustration, he stood up and kicked the tire - the tire - a-frame and all - fell to teh ground. (the top of the a-frame had rusted thru apparently, and the kick was all it took to finish it)

The look of shock on his face was priceless - we removed what little belongings were left in the car and pushed it into an empty spot and called the junk yard. As far as I know that tire is still attached ot whats left of that hub.

That was a great car - until it wasn't.
-- that should have been 1/2" drive sockets above - -
  #54  
Old 02-11-2020, 11:52 PM
MarvinKitFox is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patch View Post
I installed a new toilet today, and the instructions say for the mounting bolts "Do not overtighten".

How the hell do I know if they're overtightened or not? What qualifies as tight?
RTFM

It will state the correct torque to apply to the bolts, in you favorite measure
Foot-pounds, Newton-meters, or whatever.
  #55  
Old 02-12-2020, 03:31 AM
Cleophus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarvinKitFox View Post
RTFM

It will state the correct torque to apply to the bolts, in you favorite measure
Foot-pounds, Newton-meters, or whatever.
What toilet instruction manual includes torque specifications?
  #56  
Old 02-12-2020, 03:33 AM
Cleophus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Door View Post
After repeated tire changes the threads can get worn. When the threads on a nut get worn you can toss it and put on a new one. If you're screwing a bolt in over and over again and the internal threads get worn you have a lot of not very good options. You can drill it out and retap for a an oversize bolt, you can drill it out and press in a plug which you then weld in and drill and tap for the appropriate bolt, or you can helicoil the damn thing. The right thing to do is to drill it out and press in a plug, but that's a huge nuisance.
How often do you remove your tires that your lug nuts are wearing out, and why wouldn’t the wheel studs wear out with them?

Last edited by Cleophus; 02-12-2020 at 03:35 AM.
  #57  
Old 02-12-2020, 07:34 AM
Machine Elf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarvinKitFox View Post
RTFM

It will state the correct torque to apply to the bolts, in you favorite measure
Foot-pounds, Newton-meters, or whatever.
No, it won't. These aren't connecting rods or cylinder heads, they're toilets. Here's an American Standard PDF manual for toilet installation, and in step 4, the spec is "Hand tighten only. Do not overtighten."

Here's another PDF manual for Toto. See step 2:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toto Manual, step 2
CAUTION: Do not move the bowl after the bowl wax ring is set. Thread nuts and tighten evenly until bowl is snug to closet flange. Install the bolt caps.

CAUTION: Do not over-tighten the nuts as damage to the china bowl may result.
The general idea when bolting down porcelain is pretty clear: snug up the nuts/bolts to remove slop, but no more than that. But I don't recall ever seeing a torque spec on this sort of thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleophus
How often do you remove your tires that your lug nuts are wearing out, and why wouldn’t the wheel studs wear out with them?
I swap out snow tires and summer tires every winter/summer, so the nuts and studs are getting loosened/tightened twice a year on my cars. I haven't had a problem with wear, but on my previous car something weird happened after several years of ownership. I found that after swapping tires, if I tightened the lug nuts to the torque spec in the manual, they would work loose after a week or so. I had to tighten them well past the torque spec to get them to stay tight for the long haul. The problem was solved when I bought new lug nuts after a few years of putting up with this. My suspicion is that a shop that had installed new tires on my rims had grossly overtorqued the lug nuts when putting the rims back on the car, forever compromising those nuts. Since new nuts solved the problem, it would seem that the studs themselves were OK. I don't know why this would have been the case, other than maybe the studs were deliberately designed to be stronger than the nuts so that tightening to yield/failure doesn't require an expensive stud replacement job.
  #58  
Old 02-12-2020, 08:43 AM
Bill Door is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleophus View Post
How often do you remove your tires that your lug nuts are wearing out, and why wouldn’t the wheel studs wear out with them?
Between tire rotation and snow tires maybe four times a year back in the day, throw in a flat tire once in a while and the occasional inspection a couple more, but they add up. I don't worry about studs wearing out, that's an easy fix. It's when those internal threads get buggered that you are well and truly fucked.
  #59  
Old 02-12-2020, 09:28 AM
excavating (for a mind) is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Door View Post
After repeated tire changes the threads can get worn. When the threads on a nut get worn you can toss it and put on a new one. If you're screwing a bolt in over and over again and the internal threads get worn you have a lot of not very good options. You can drill it out and retap for a an oversize bolt, you can drill it out and press in a plug which you then weld in and drill and tap for the appropriate bolt, or you can helicoil the damn thing. The right thing to do is to drill it out and press in a plug, but that's a huge nuisance.
I honestly do not believe any car company is worrying about wear on the threads of lug nuts/lugs bolts or the studs/rotors. I had always believed that the use of bolts was because of metal fatigue. If the nuts/bolts are not tight, the stud/bolt will suffer fatigue damage. A bolt is much easier to replace than a stud. The problem with this theory is the the German design philosophy, to me anyway, has always seemed to be against "idiot proofing" and more towards "use correct procedures and maintain it properly, and you won't have a problem." If the bolt/stud is designed properly and tightened properly, it will not see fatigue, and studs are much easier for routine maintenance (eg, changing tires. Replacing studs/repairing threads in rotors, while perhaps not totally uncommon, is not routine.)

Theory #2 is that the German engineers do it that way just to be dicks.

Finally, the best way to fix stripped internal threads, in general, is a helicoil. As has been proven many times over, helicoil threads are stronger than the original threads and do not require the use of oversized screws, which can affect the original design.
  #60  
Old 02-12-2020, 09:33 AM
Patch is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarvinKitFox View Post
RTFM

It will state the correct torque to apply to the bolts, in you favorite measure
Foot-pounds, Newton-meters, or whatever.
I did RTFM. In regards to the bolt installation it said "Do Not Overtighten." That's it. That's why I'm here asking this question.
  #61  
Old 02-12-2020, 10:22 AM
DesertDog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
If the porcelain cracks, you've gone too far
I had to replace a toilet tank once. I tightened one side down and started on the other when >chink< it broke in two. Back to Home Depot and this time a worker helped me pull the tank off the shelf. "You do know to tighten the two bolts evenly, right?"

"I do now."

He smiled.
  #62  
Old 02-13-2020, 12:53 AM
gotpasswords is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatterdemalion
The evolution of this thread has taken an unexpected turn.

I got nothing more.
Just waiting for a fat boy to yank on a wrench and snap a bolt?
  #63  
Old 02-13-2020, 09:19 AM
Xema is offline
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The specific answer to the OP's question is that you know you've overtightened when you encounter the consequent problems: failure of the fasteners or the things they are fastening.

The more general point is that everyone who hopes to use nuts, bolts, etc. effectively needs to develop a "mechanic's sense" about the nature of materials. Much of this will come from occasionally doing it wrong and suffering those failures. The time spent removing the remains of a broken bolt or a screw whose slot you mangled will (for most people) reduce the chance you'll do it again.

"Do not overtighten" is shorthand for "Warning to the ham-fisted: failure is a definite possibility here. Best to proceed cautiously."
  #64  
Old 02-13-2020, 09:27 AM
Tatterdemalion is offline
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Originally Posted by gotpasswords View Post
Just waiting for a fat boy to yank on a wrench and snap a bolt?
I am afraid my tail is not hard enough for a pun war today. In fact it is soft.
  #65  
Old 02-13-2020, 09:39 AM
bob++ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xema View Post
"Do not overtighten" is shorthand for "Warning to the ham-fisted: failure is a definite possibility here. Best to proceed cautiously."
It is also ass-covering. If you do cause damage by overdoing it, they can say "We warned you..."
  #66  
Old 02-13-2020, 02:50 PM
Tom Tildrum is offline
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The OP sounds like he might be a little tightly wound.
  #67  
Old 02-13-2020, 07:47 PM
Magiver is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patch View Post
I installed a new toilet today, and the instructions say for the mounting bolts "Do not overtighten".

How the hell do I know if they're overtightened or not? What qualifies as tight?

I ran into the same problem when I tried installing new shutoff valves for a sink. The instructions made it clear that if I overtightened the fittings on the copper pipes, I could damage the pipes and possibly lead to an expensive repair job to replace the pipes. I installed the valves, cranked them down tight, but could not stop them leaking. I called a plumber, and he just grabbed a wrench and really cranked them down. I could have done that, but I was afraid of making things worse.

So how the hell am I expected to know if I'm tightening things to the danger point or not?
You're asking a very good question applied to 2 different items.

Think in terms of what you're bolting together. If it's the head to a diesel engine then you'll be seriously torquing it down and there will be torque specs associated with it.

Toilets not so much. The toilet has a wax seal the needs to seat properly. That's your goal. You don't want it leaking and destroying the flooring. The weight of the toilet will do most of the work. You wiggle it a little as you set it down. The bolts are basically there to keep the toilet from sliding down the hallway. if it leaks after you've tightened it down they you have the wrong size wax seal. Where it gets interesting is a flange that is set at the wrong height.

tightening the faucet valves depends on what kind of fittings you have. The rule is to tighten until it stops leaking. If you're face is turning red then you're either really out of shape or you're tightening it WAAAAY to much. If it's leaking you can always tighten it some more.
  #68  
Old 02-13-2020, 08:17 PM
simster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum View Post
The OP sounds like he might be a little tightly wound.
He is a little torqued ...
  #69  
Old 02-14-2020, 05:04 PM
Patch is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simster View Post
He is a little torqued ...
Actually, I think I just have a screw loose.
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