Axle nut problem

ford
explorer

#1

So after my inspection the inspector tells me I need to replace my serpentine belt and my front driver side wheel bearing and hub assembly. I’ve changed the wheel bearing and hub assembly on my passenger side front and I know you have to remove the axle in order to remove the wheel bearing and hub assembly and change it out however the axle nut on my front driver side is fubar. It is not only rusted but it is also rounded and potentially seized to the axle itself. How can I remove this so I can be able to replace the axle as well as the wheel bearing and hub assembly so on and so forth?


#2

Cut it off. Easy to say, may be very hard to do. If you can cut most of the way through the side of the nut on a single flat and then Crack it the rest of the way with a cold chisel so you don’t ruin the threads.

An alternate way to crack the nut is to drill through the face of the nut and try to crack it in that direction with a narrow chisel.


#3

Often a chisel will get a frozen nut to break loose. Is the nut extended out from the rotor? If so striking a few solid licks on a chisel across the outer edge can produce a ledge to rest the chisel on to tap the nut loose.


#4

Another option is to use a big pipe wrench. Pipe wrenches have an advantage over other wrenches in that they get tighter the harder you push on them. Axle nuts can be partially shielded by the hub but most I have encountered have enough sticking out that you could use this approach. You can also increase your leverage with a pipe over the handle of the pipe wrench if you do not have a giant version handy…


#5

I like the pipe wrench idea if you are going to salvage the axle, but not the end of the world if not. But use some pub blaster on it for a couple days first to break the rust. I’ve used about a heavy five foot pipe on those before to break it loose enough for the air gun. You can turn the wheel a little to get the pipe to clear the fender. Also needed someone to stomp on the brakes to keep the wheel from turning.


#6

Is there room to use a nut buster. It has a round open end with a hardened screw and chisel end extending out to a hex head. I got mine decades ago from Craftsman.


#7

These are fairly large nuts though. I wanna say something like 22 or 28 mm so doubt you,be got a nut buster that large. You even have to look to find sockets big enough and take a lot to break them loose.


#8

Use a diegrinder to cut the nut.


#9

There’s a special type of socket that sort of grabs onto the nut or bolt by hook or by crook. I think they are called “bolt extractor sockets”. Take a look at this link

I’d be inclined to try a chisel, hack-saw, nut-cracker, dremmel tool w/cutoff blade before going that route.