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1997 Chevy 1500 My right rear wheel is stuck or fused to the drum. I can get the lugnuts off, but no luck getting the wheel off. I took it to a tire place and they couldn't remove it either, and said I would probably be forced to get someone to take a torch to it.

Any other options besides this? Is it possible to take the axle off without removing the wheel? The tire store tried taking the lugnuts off and driving around/over curbs to loosen it, but no dice.

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11 Answers 11

That sounds like a job for a torch to heat up the drum and see if you can get it to loosen up.

Maybe a piece of wood against the back side of tire/wheel and hitting it with sledge hammer? Of course, do this while taking proper safety measures, jack stands, and restraints. Be very careful and prepare for that moment of the wheel breaking free and the truck itself moving.

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I had a similar problem with my car a while back. The trick I used was as follows. Loosen the nuts right off, but don't remove them (leaving three or four threads on), so they restrain the wheel when it comes free. Jack the car up and support it solidly on stands - I also put the spare wheel under the sill on the side I am working on.

Take a 2-3lb club hammer, and gently tap around the rim, working in a semi-random criss-cross fashion, e.g 12 o'clock, 7, 3, 10, 5, etc. If you have enough room, do so from the back as well. This should eventually break the corrosion seal that is holding the wheel on - be careful as it might shift suddenly (hence leaving the nuts on).

Once off, you should be able to see signs of where it was sticking, such as fresh orangey rust on the hub. Clean these areas up with a bit of sandpaper so the wheel is easier to refit. Before refitting the wheel use a bit of copper grease on the mating surfaces to prevent the problem from re-occuring, but do not put any on the studs/nuts or anywhere near the brakes!

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+1 I've used this before (on the recommendation of a mechanic) for both getting a wheel unstuck from the drum and for releasing a rusted-on parking brake. –  NickAldwin May 27 '11 at 16:27
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Agreed on the hammer, I had this happen with a friends car on the side of the road when I was younger. We jacked it up, took off the lugnuts and the wheel wouldn't move, we pulled and pulled, started hunting around trying to get the center cap off to see if there was something there, etc just couldn't figure it out. Tow truck guy shows up, takes the tire iron and gave one hard whack to the tire, popped right off. Best part was after he hits it and says "try it now" with a smirk on his face, friends face was classic watching this random guy take a tire iron to his Audi :). –  ManiacZX Jun 10 '11 at 23:55
    
A shop i used to work at had a 4 foot length of pressure treated 6"x6" post that worked GREAT for this. We used it like a battering ram, one good horizontal blow on the inside of the rim near the bottom was generally all it took. Very small chance of damaging the wheel with the soft wood, and plenty of weight to the tool. The best! –  mac Jan 11 '13 at 16:52

You could probably try spraying some PB blaster around where the wheel meets the drum. If you come back every hour (three to four applications should do the trick) to respray the area I bet you that stuff will probably works its way through whatever is keeping it seized on...more than likely rust.

Just make sure to let it sit overnight!

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Heat it with a blow torch, it will expand slightly and dislodge it. I had the same problem with a brake disc and heating it made it come off very easily.

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Had a similar problem on an '07 Toyota Tundra, while changing a tire yesterday. Solution we used was to just beat the crap out of it with a rubber mallet, with the wheel in the air after the nuts were removed. And by "beat the crap out of it", I mean exactly that - a "gentle tapping" won't do.

Good luck.

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+1 for "beat the crap out of it" :) –  Troggy May 26 '11 at 1:13
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Using a mallet with some weight to it, like a 3lb sledge, will greatly reduce the need to "beat the crap out of it". –  qes Jun 4 '11 at 16:51
    
@qes - Yes, but then you run higher risk of damage to the rim. –  Iszi Jun 4 '11 at 16:57
    
@Iszi: That's pretty easy to cope with. Put a rag or piece of cardboard over the area you intent to hit. –  qes Jun 4 '11 at 18:41
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@Iszi: lol. I just recall a time I spent half an hour bashing on a control arm with a rubber mallet and finally went to Home Depot, got a 3 lb sledge, and 1 good smack later had the arm dropped off the ball joint. My rubber mallet doesn't see as much use anymore. ;-) –  qes Jun 5 '11 at 0:05

I sometimes will loosen the lug nuts slightly then drive in figure 8's a few times. If that doesn't work I jack it up and beat on the tires with a sledge hammer from behind.

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Happens on a fairly regular basis to vehicles here in the rust belt. When the "loosen lugnuts and drive" and "sledgehammer" methods fail I've had to resort to securing the vehicle on jackstands (with tires also under the sill in case it comes off the stands), climbing under it and kicking like a fiend until the tire comes off. That hasn't failed me yet.

You can try putting antiseize on the surfaces that are getting stuck, but I've found that to not help much on my cars. Even changing tires just a month later, the anti-seize has gotten washed out. Appears that the mating surfaces have enough gap to let water in, which is probably why they seize all the time...

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After kicking the hell out of my wheel on my 2010 Audi, the wooden block and sledgehammer worked like a charm.

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Jack up the car, apply silicone. Take the spare and hit it violently on the edge of tire. It will pop off in most cases.

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Some things I've tried in the past:

  • Take a 10 pound sledge to a stuck rim (if there is no intention of keeping the rim)
  • Go for a drive over the railroad tracks a few times with loosened lug nuts
  • Soak it in liquid wrench, wd40, or something my garage uses called "nutbuster"
  • Do donuts into curbs
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Find a solid wedge point underneath between the rim and the frame. I use my own jack for jacking up the car so the one that came with it works great. Then slowly start to open up the jack. Works everytime.

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