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Remove axle nut to replace wheel studs?

Hi folks, I hope you can help because this car is driving me insane. After having the tires rotated at the local ford dealership they didn’t tighten the lug nuts on a rear wheel which naturally snapped while my wife was driving the car. I took the wheel off and the drum brake looks like it’s held on by the axle nut. I don’t see any other way for it to come off. Does anyone know if it is? Searching for drums for this vehicle online I can’t find a single drum that looks like the one on there.

Please look at the only photo I’m allowed to include and let me know if I must remove the axle nut. It appears as though taking it off will result in there no longer being any threads because it’s so badly rusted. The drum looks like all one piece to me.

Thank you.

Nope, that’s a conventional drum setup. Just need to remove the 3 clips on the wheel studs. Looks like you might need some penetrant and a few hammer strokes though.

What year is your Escape? By the amount of rust I see the car might be old enough that it should have had the drums off for routine brake inspection.


+1 to@asemaster. Do not remove the nut. Take the small clips off the other studs. Spray a little penetrating fluid like PB Blaster on the area between the drum and axle nut area. Let it sit for half an hour. If you cannot wiggle the drum off by hand, try beating it with a hammer from behind. Make sure the car is very securely supported with solid stands, not just the jack. Wear eye protection and carefully hit the edge of the drum from behind. Work your way around the drum and it will start to come off. You may have to hit it, wiggle it, hit it, wiggle it etc until it comes off. Sometimes they pop loose sometimes you have to grunt them off the entire way.


Thanks folks. Apparently posts are moderated so mine didn’t show for some time. My frustration finally peaked and I took my maul and just beat the damn thing and it popped right off. As with everything else with this car, it rusts so badly that everything just fuses together and looks like it’s one part. I can’t get over how badly this car rusts.

Anyway, the fun and games didn’t stop once I got it off unfortunately, having to visit 5 automotive stores just to get two lugs and two studs. But, everything is installed and it’s over now. I appreciate the time you guys gave me.

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You mentioned rust . . .

I’m not sure exactly what year your Escape is, but if you live in the rust belt, and your Escape is fairly old, I suggest you make sure your rear shock towers are not rusted out. Sadly, this is somewhat common in certain areas

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Good for you. With stuck drums, the whack it with a big hammer method often seems works wonders, given the reports here anyway. Next time you run into this stuck-drum problem, be sure to first back off the manual adjustment on the brake shoes, if that’s possible w/your car… On my truck anyway I remove a rubber plug on the back side of the brakes, then – with a bent screwdriver – turn a little toothed wheel a few revolutions. That retracts the drums enough that they aren’t contacting the surface of the brake shoes, making removing the drum a little easier.

Not to pry, but why are you doing this work instead of the shop that screwed up?
I recognize, of course, that you’d be fully justified in not trusting them to do the job right.

By the way, I’d recommend changing all of the studs while you have the drum off. Chances are good that the ones that look okay aren’t. I hope you’ve also checked all the other nuts they touched on other wheels?

I agree with you

Today I worked on a truck, where the right front studs were buggered up, CLEARLY due to a curb strike. The lug nuts were red, for pity’s sake.

Anyways, only 3 of the 8 were in bad shape, but I did all 8

If I’m going to make some noise, may as well make it worth my while

Yeah, I used the air hammer to punch 'em out of the hub/rotor assembly (dually)

But I used a special tool to draw the replacement studs in

It’s reasonably priced, and it sure beats using a stack of washers . . . and you can install them FAST

Ha, funny you should ask. The vehicle was purchased from this dealership. Almost immediately after purchase we had a small electrical issue. We dropped off the vehicle as we were going away for the weekend and asked that they look at it and call us to let us know if it was covered by the warranty and if not, what the cost would be. We got a call several days later telling us to pick up the car, the work was done. They went and did the work without saying a word to us, and go figure, it wasn’t covered by the warranty so we had to pay. When I went there and complained about not being notified and not having given the OK for work to be done the service supervisor was yelling at me saying I was just a cheat who was trying to beat them out of the service bill. This was in '05, the vehicle is an 05 and it was purchased used with a couple hundred miles on it.

Now fast forward to last month. The car needed an oil change and I do mystery shops which one was available at that dealership. So I figured why not get my oil change and tire rotation for free and get paid some money to do it too? I could stomach going there again if I’m being paid. So I went. Was told the service would take 1 hour to do. I waited in the waiting room and after an hour fifteen goes by I go find out why I’m still waiting. The service rep says “Oh we forgot to do the work. We’ll start now.” LOL that’s what I get. But if that wasn’t enough he approached me 45 minutes later saying my oil pan plug was stripped, do I want to buy a new one from them. I said how did it get stripped, it wasn’t stripped when I came in! (I do our own oil. It was not stripped). He says he didn’t know. I said just give me the damn car back and let me get out of here, leave the plug and I’ll address it myself.

So why haven’t I gone back there to have them atone for what they’ve done? To be perfectly honest it’s because I know myself enough to recognize I will not be able to suffer fools any longer, I will not be “nice”, and the ending would more than likely result in something that ultimately only followed me long term in life. Believe me when I say that it’s taking great restraint not to go there.

So by mystery shopper, you get to do a review of the dealership? That should be interesting.

Yes, part of the process, among other things, is writing a very detailed report immediately afterward. Where it goes or if anything is even done with it is a mystery to me. I only do it when I have the time and because I can get my service for free while making some cash. You cannot reveal your purpose to the dealership and I made it clear the only way I would ever visit this dealership again was if I was being well compensated.

Given rust issues with the Escape (see recent post on a 2008 model) you should survey your car underneath from front to back.

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I guess you have not learned yet, if you are willing to return to them.

Yep, get paid $60 to have a dealership service something as benign as changing my air filter. I’m a dummy alright.