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Old 08-11-2013, 05:43 PM   #1
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Default Wheel bolts

Please don't let this happen to you!

Basically a 2006 TIN owner and family driving their motor home and trailer rig to the Denver area.
Somewhere en route in Wyoming, metal road debris flew out from under a semi and tore through the side wall of his rear tire, mounted on a factory alum wheel.

Apart for the pucker factor to keep it straight and upright and stop at about 70mph (OMG)
He got the thing to the side of the road!
OK--now fit the spare--a steel wheel!!!

Forgetting the wheel bolts are LONGER for Alum wheel he bolts up the spare--then carries on!!
Well for a few feet!

In short, (excuse the pun!) the longer wheel bolts tore up the parking brake shoes, hardware, park brake cable, ABS tone ring, axle bearing carrier and ABS sensor. A right bloody mess.

Poor fellow limped it into our shop yesterday.
I managed to get enough stuff to fix it, the local Dodge dealer had some parts, and I had I did, the rest on the shelf. (luckily)
The Dodge parts guys asked if I had tried the local Benz dealers---Big chuckle--I stated they aren't even open on a Saturday gimme a break!
I should go work for them said Mitch the parts guy!

Anyway a few hours later they were motoring away "All ship shape and Bristol Fashion" but short of some holiday money. Tires for starters aren't cheap in commercial 10ply that was $420 before we got going! And he had just replaced them all round.

Anyway bon voyage and lets hope he has no more incidences going back home.
Don't forget you need shorter wheel bolts with "steelies"
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Old 08-11-2013, 06:13 PM   #2
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Default Re: Wheel bolts

I've had a similar experience, but it merely turned out to be 'inconvenient' since the bolt 'problem' was noted as soon as the steel spare came off the carrier.

See: http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23282
2007 Mercedes-badged Dodge 2500, GWV Legend RV
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Old 08-11-2013, 06:30 PM   #3
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Default Re: Wheel bolts

In my 2008 there is package of bolts in the jack compartment for the steel spare wheel. I assume MB supplied them.
If I need the spare I think it will be roadside service that changes it. I don't think I can get the spare out from its carrier.
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Old 08-11-2013, 06:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: Wheel bolts

I have read posts of this nature before viz a viz (bcislander)
In this case the spare was on an external swing out carrier held with nuts.

In reality its so easy to make this mistake in the panic to get a wheel on the rig especially on something like an Interstate with semis going by every few seconds (like on I/80 west eastbound). Just a few seconds of overlook/oversight and the damage is done!

For info
A few years ago in July with a clicker I counted 122 rigs going westbound in one minute near Laramie WY.

In any case the whole thing was a result of junk and debris on the highway, so easy to encounter.

A few weeks ago we were out and about up in the northern tier. Coming south on 1/25 between Casper and Cheyenne I started seeing chunks of rubber littering the road. Then a Dodge PU changing his tire--Oh that was it I thought!!---Then----
I could see a tri- axle trailer semi coming up-----The left hand inner tire flailing off the rim. Getting in front we managed to flag the Volvo FL semi tractor driving trucker down.

Going back to the rear of the rig, I pointed out the impending damage and the rear spring actuator about to be tore off. Very grateful the driver could see a possible disaster was averted. Carrying 40 tonnes of Mil ammo! A detachment of the spring brake actuator would have caused the brakes to go into emergency full application, with possible loss of trailer control.
For you folks out in your Sprinters doing a road trip take care and be careful stay safe.
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Old 08-11-2013, 06:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: Wheel bolts

If you devise some sort of a longer handle, or use the hydraulic jack judiciously, I'll bet you can get the spare tire down and the flat tire backup into the rack under the back of your Sprinter.
I've done it many times when rotating tires, and while it's not pleasant, it does not take as much strength as you might think.
The lever/handle can be a simple 1x2 board cut/notched so it catches the tire rack frame from the rear of your van.
If you have more leverage, the tire is pretty easy to lift.
If that does not work, the hydraulic jack, placed in the center of the rear rack bar will put your tire up where it belongs with
almost no effort beyond pumping the jack with the short (larger dia.) handle.
But, if you have some sort of roadside assistance service, why bother getting on your back under the back of the Sprinter.
That's what you pay for that coverage for, right?
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Last edited by sailquik; 08-11-2013 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 08-11-2013, 09:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: Wheel bolts

+2 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Had to change two tires in the last 2000 miles on the road..........both nailed by screws, one on the tire shoulder.

It's not as hard as one might think.............I had practiced in my drive several years back. The Sprinter jack works great, but the truck should be as level as possible, and I carry a 18" square pad for a jack support. The spare tire comes down and back up with little effort, the camp rug helps.

Lug nuts are at 175 ft. Lbs. the wench supplied will do the trick but a breaker bar is your friend.

Did I mention the truck needs to be absolutely level with all the wheels blocked!!!!!!!!!
2008 3500 chassis Class C built in 2010
Pulling 6x12 enclosed trailer
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Old 08-11-2013, 10:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Wheel bolts

Thanks for the info. We just had wheels installed on one of our conversions and the local dealer didn't provide enough long bolts for the second van. They did supply a dozen short ones which I thought was a mistake. I was going to give them a call tomorrow to get the extra long ones I need and to return the short ones. Now I know to put the short ones with the jack and let the customer know about the difference. I guess it's true that we keep learning new things.

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Old 08-11-2013, 11:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: Wheel bolts

After an unrelated screw up with wheel bolts last year, and discovering that the alloys my van came with were not rated for the gross weight of the van I changed them back to steel all round and had to buy a complete set of bolts. At least I now have 5 identical sets of bolts so I can't make that mistake (after the previous screw up I'm carrying a spare set for 1 wheel in each vehicle now!). Fortunately I am more concerned about my vehicles working than how they look but I actually think the standard steel wheels look nice!
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Old 08-12-2013, 03:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: Wheel bolts

To be clear, we are talking about the bolts for ALUM wheels being longer( due to wheel's thickness) than the stamped steel wheels? So those of us with the stock steel rim, the spare rim is the exact wheel, correct?
'06 140 SHC
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Old 08-12-2013, 03:36 PM   #10
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Default Re: Wheel bolts

Originally Posted by John484 View Post
To be clear, we are talking about the bolts for ALUM wheels being longer( due to wheel's thickness) than the stamped steel wheels? So those of us with the stock steel rim, the spare rim is the exact wheel, correct?
Correct. The spare is a full sized spare, often used as part of the rotation of the tires and is exactly the same as any of the other 4 steel, stock rims in use on the van. The tire itself may be a different brand or tread (but not size), depending on how many miles are on the van, but the steel wheels are all exactly the same, spare included.
Therefore, if you have stock steel wheels on your van, your wheel bolts will fit the spare exactly like they fit all the other wheels.
It's only when you start mixing in alloy wheels that you get wheel bolt length issues. Most people who have 4 alloys DON'T have a spare alloy for two reasons: cost and fitment under the spare tire cage. That's why they would need 2 sizes of wheel bolts. The longer size for the alloys and the shorter size for the steelies.
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