Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Need help for 2003 dodge neon, hub nut

Someone working on my car overtightened the hub nut, when working on the rear hub bearing assembly, now the nut spins in place (forward and backward) and won’t back off, any ideas how to get it off without cutting it off

Even if you get it off, it will not tighten down again. I think you are gonna have to get a new hub.

Elly, the 30mm nut that sunshine is referring to screws onto the end of the axle and holds the hub & bearing assembly in place. What sunshine may need is a whole new axle. But the first challange is going to be getting the nut off to examine the threaded portion of the axle. The only way I can see to do this is to break the nut off. That’ll probably require two drilled holes that span the distance from the nut ID to the inside surface of the hub, a small shop chisel, and a 3lb sledgehammer. perhaps even three holes. And one large barrel of elbow grease. You may want to start with drilling small pilot holes to guide the larger bit.

Or perhaps the other guys here will have a better suggestion. Guys?

Get something thin and strong behind the nut and pull it toward you as you try to get it off. Could be they just stripped the last bit of thread, and if you can get the nut to pull back far enough you’ll get enough grip to get it off.

You may have to cut the nut off.

That nut is called a prevailing torque nut. This means when the nut is torqued to the proper ft/lb’s it resists lossening from vibration or torque. However, these type of nuts can only be used once. The repair procedure for your vehicle states that the old nut cannot be reused and a new nut must be installed.

So, if someone reinstalled the old nut, and then over-torqued it, the nut isn’t coming off.


If you do get the nut off, see if you can restore the threads using one of these
You have nothing to lose at this point.

I think you are probably going to have to remove the nut in a destructive way; i.e. the nut will be ruined. Nut-breaker tools (sometimes called “nut crackers” or “nut splitters”) available. Google can find them for you. I have one, but the one I have isn’t big enough for a 30 mm axel nut. But I imagine they are made for nuts this big. Whacking it with a cold chisel might work too, or a rotory tool with a cut-off wheel is another possibility. A machine shop might be able to reinvorgate the threads on the axel. If not, a new axel ass’y is probably in your future.

When Ihave occassion to tighten the axel nut on my car, I use a long breaker bar, give myself a weigh, then stand (not bounce) on the breaker bar at the correct distance to get the spec’d torque. That has always worked for me.

I like to start with the least destructive approach and work my way up as necessary. I use the method shadowfax suggested first. Applying pressure to the back side as I try turning it off. Many times, the remaining threads can catch and then it comes off. More destructive methods risk damaging the mating threads which may be fine right now so cutting, pounding, splitting are a last resort.

It’ll be impossible to get behind the nut with the hub/bearing assembly there. And the nut is in a recess, so the traditional Nutbuster would noe work.

However, if the OP has an angle grinder aith a cutting blade perhaps the metal around the recess can be but out and the nut cut off from the side. Either way, I think he’s looking at a new axle. The challange will be to get the parts off so that he doesn;t have to replace the brake components etc, which require removal of the nut to take off the axle.

You might be able to use a Dremel and cutting wheel to get into the small working area. Cut most of the way through and then try using a chisel to crack the nut to loosen it. The metal of the nut might be too soft to crack it though. If so, you may have to cut all the way through which will damage the end of the axle but at least the nut will be off.

If the axel is going to be replaced anyway, another method would be to drill out the axel shaft. Drill the metal out right through the middle of the nut in other words. I doubt that part is hardened steel, as hardening would make it brittle, which would be no good for an axel. It’s worth considering as an option anyway, if all else fails. Like mentioned above, a good auto machine shop would have all the tools and skills to deal with this, no problem.

I came up with an alternative idea last night.
Pick up some stainless steel salad tongs at the dollar store, cut the ends off, slip it around the hut, and clamp it with a C-clamp. Then you’ll be able to pull on the nut while turning it, and if you get lucky and can get the first thread to catch, you may be able to unscrew the nut with a socket.

How about using a puller of sorts to get some pulling tension on it while your turning the nut?
Desperate times call for desperate measures: At HomeDepot/Lowes they sell this tiny puller that’s made to pull knobs off valves and other recessed plumbing related stuff.
You can probably get in there with that, put some tension on it and still get a wrench around it.

this one: