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Old 04-03-2008, 08:51 PM   #1
Scooby Guru
Member#: 37359
Join Date: May 2003
2003 WRX

Default Tightening the axle nut - what did I do wrong?

I could hear a clunk when letting off the gas and saw a bunch of posts saying it could be a loose axle nut.

I jacked up the car, removed the relevant wheel, set my torque wrench to the appropriate setting, straighten out the 'ding' in the nut (not sure what else to call it), and had someone press the brake. When I tried to tighten it, the t-wrench clicked before the nut moved. All was well, I assumed, and banged the 'ding' back to lock the nut, but I still had the clunk.

I assumed that meant a bad CV and took it to the dealer.

I just got the car back from the dealer and they said the noise was in fact just a loose axle nut. They tightened the nut and now the noise is gone

What did I do wrong?
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Last edited by leecea; 04-03-2008 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 04-03-2008, 10:34 PM   #2
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 120002
Join Date: Jul 2006
Chapter/Region: RMIC
Location: Colorado
2000 2.5 RS, '95
Legacy w/325k mi (RIP)


Did you replace the axle, did you get a new nut, what did you do to the car. If you reused any of the parts I'm sure the threads are slightly gauled (my spelling sucks, but read messed up). Also the axle nut is designed to dig into the threads of the axle to act as a lock to keep it from backing out in addition to the "tab". I don't mess with torque wrenches when putting the nut back on, I just use the impact to seat it, and then another good 5-7 blows to 'torque' it down.
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Old 04-03-2008, 10:58 PM   #3
Scooby Guru
Member#: 37359
Join Date: May 2003
2003 WRX


I didn't do anything to the car.

My point is that I checked the axle nut, as suggested, and found it to be at the correct torque spec. Therefore I assume that was not the problem. The dealer said it was the problem and when they tighten it the clunking went away.

Makes me feel dumb that I can't even do such a simple thing, but I don't know what I did wrong. Maybe the dealer ignores the torque spec and just cranks it down some more anyway.
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:07 PM   #4
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 158006
Join Date: Aug 2007
Chapter/Region: TXIC
Location: San Antonio
2003 WRX IdleWagon
1992 GVR4 379/1000


We had a similar issue on an axle nut, which turns out that the axle was in the bearing/spindle and not seated fully. It torqued down all the way, we even hit it with an impact, pressed the "ding", as you call it, back into place but the wheel still had about 1-2mm of travel in it.

We took the wheel back off, and rattled it around a bit, hit it with a hammer a few times to let it know we meant business, and re-torqued it down. The bolt clearly went in a few more threads and the wheel had no play.

I know there isn't some magic retainer on the axle, but there is some way to have it not seat fully. We were proof of that.

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Old 04-04-2008, 12:09 PM   #5
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 36369
Join Date: May 2003
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Location: Rochester, MN
2004 WRX STi
Java Black


They could have hit it with a much more powerful impact wrench.. I don't know if I trust dealerships even use a torque wrench.
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Old 04-04-2008, 06:18 PM   #6
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 144465
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Palo Alto,CA
2004 STi


Go to iwsti.com--"How-To/Install"--"How To Install Axle Nuts" . All the details with pictures. Use new nuts (they are cheap,F and R are different),torque properly with axle unloaded.

Last edited by kimball; 04-04-2008 at 06:26 PM.
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