After 5 hours, I have vanquished the swollen, seized, rusty lug nuts and the rusted-on wheels, and rotated half of my tires! I am nothing if not persistent.

The wet spot underneath the tire is from all the WD-40 rust-penetratent I had to spray into the bolt-holes to get the damn back wheel off. Other than that, the primary sign that I did anything at all is that some of the lug nuts on this wheel are all shiny and new:


Let me defend myself a little for how long this took. It started with jacking up the vehicle, because I hadn’t done it before. I usually use the pinch weld, but there’s plastic cladding on most of it expect for a couple cutouts for the jack. I looked around underneath a bit

and thought I could probably put a jack stand under that big body rail you can see starting pretty much straight up from the CV boot in the picture, but I ended up just putting some rags over the jack to use the plastic-cladded parts of the frame rail for jacking up.

The first wheel came off easily enough. The real problem was the back wheel. The first lug but I took off required bouncing on my breaker bar to dislodge. The next one didn’t even fit in my socket.


At this point, I noticed my neighbor and her boyfriend talking about pushing her dad’s old Ford Torino (not running currently), so I help them roll it over to a new spot on a side street where it hopefully won’t get green-tagged for a bit (the tow warning system in Portland is green stickers on the streetside window, after which you have 72 hours to move it before it’s towed).

After we’ve got the Torino to its new spot, I try a few other sockets, but none has a good fit. I throw up the Oppo-sign, and Nick tells me to go find a 20mm to bang on to the nut. It seems like a good plan, so I bike down to the local hardware store to pick that and a 3/4” up, with the intent of heading over to the nearby O’Reilly’s to get the lug nuts afterwards.


After I get the stuff at the hardware shop, I call the O’Reillys to confirm they have it, since these are, y’know, euro car parts, and not even the most popular at that. They don’t have any, but the third-closest store has 6. I take the truck over there, only to discover that the one they have there, while compatible, is only the bottom part and would expose the bolt and not match the other bits at all. So I drive over to the third O’Reilly’s, a few miles away, and pick up eight of the ten they have.

Finally back home with all the hardware I need, I go back for round two. Hammering the 20mm socket on to the portly nut and then jumping on the breaker bar gets the bad nut off, and the rest came off shortly after.


High on my victory over the nuts, I move in to take the wheel off with the anticipation of soon being done with this... and it won’t budge. No problem, I bit a few smacks/kicks will dislodge it... no dice.

I break out the big boys. I tap lightly all over on the wheel with a ball-peen hammer. Nothing. I wrap the ball-peen hammer in a rag and whack harder. Nothing. I grab the prybar, stick between the wheel and hub, and whack that with the hammer. It’s a rock. I spray penetrating oil on top of the seam between the wheel and hub, wait a few minutes, and try again. No change.


I’m out of ideas, so I go look for some answers on the Internet. It suggests spraying penetrating oil into all the bolt holes (until it’s coming down the rotors and the lower bolt holes, waiting fifteen minutes, turning the wheel over, spraying more oil in, and waiting another fifteen minutes. I take this time to remove a bunch of stickers PO had on the rear windows.

Half an hour later, I try all the same tricks on the wheel. Still nothing! Frustrated with having spent four hours on this and still only having one wheel off, I resort to kicking the rim, as much for stress relief as anything else. It comes loose!

The hub surface after the wheel finally came off. I guess the PNW isn’t *totally* rust-free. Or maybe this is from its first 10 years in West Virginia?

After that, the rest goes smoothly, and I finish up right as my friends arrive to play Civ.


And that is how I spent five hours rotating two wheels.

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