Really Bad Day With My Truck

Ten months ago, someone in Dickinson stole one of my trucks.  I posted and handed out flyers in Dickinson, South Heart, Belfield, and New England.  After about four or five days, some people telephoned me to tell me who had my stolen truck.

The person who stole my truck was well known to the Dickinson Police and the Stark County Sheriff Department.  He already had a warrant out for his arrest on drug and possession of stolen property charges.

The person who stole my truck, was convinced by different people that he would be better off if he gave this truck up, which he did.  But it was missing at least $1,500 in tools and equipment when I got it back.  Also, the good new tires had been swapped with very bad tires that had the tread coming off and wire sticking out.

I got a good deal on a set of four used tires, and a reasonable price to get them mounted on the truck wheels.  Bit by bit I have been replacing what was stolen out of this truck, the truck bed tool box, spare tire, tool set, tow strap, jumper cables, etcetera.

The person who stole my truck, in addition to taking my good new tires, he swapped some other parts off this truck.  He replaced the completely bad front axle constant velocity joints in this truck, CV joints, with used shaft assemblies from another truck.  One of the front axle seals was leaking since I got my truck back, and I have to re-fill the front axle differential about every 700 miles.

The used replacement front axle shaft assemblies that came from another truck, the CV joints are going bad, so even though the U-joints are sealed, I was going to try to stuff grease into them today in order to try to make them last a little bit longer.  A car dealership in Dickinson quoted me about $750 to replace the front CV joints.

At about 4:30 p.m. today I was putting the front wheels of this truck on ramps in my friend’s driveway so that I could get under the CV joints easier to grease them, when he started yelling about needing new studs.  I didn’t know what the hell he was yelling about, and I wished that he would have kept his mouth shut until I was done driving up onto the ramps.

I got out and looked at the driver’s side front wheel, and it was missing three out of five lug nuts.  This made me very angry for several reasons.  Driving on Hwy 22 or Hwy 85, I could have gotten killed or had a very bad accident if this front wheel had come off, or I could have gotten someone else killed.

At first I thought that someone had undone my wheel lug nuts to cause me to have an accident, but as I looked closer, I could see that three of the five wheel stud bolts were broken off.  I had checked every lug nut on every wheel with a lug wrench about three months ago, and I couldn’t understand what had happened.

I was trying to figure out what happened, and I was thinking that I should just take this truck to the dealer and let them replace the front axle shaft assemblies and CV joints.  My friend persuaded me that he had some spare wheel stud bolts, we could take the brake caliper off, the wheel rotor off, and get to the wheel stud bolts.

We got the brake caliper and wheel rotor off, knocked the broken stud bolts out of the hub, and my friend did not have any wheel stud bolts that fit this hub.  Meanwhile, ever since I had driven the front tires up onto the ramps, my friend was going on and on talking, going off on irrelevant tangents, while I was trying to figure out what had happened, take things apart, and put them back together.  I would have liked to have driven away, but obviously I couldn’t.

My friend let me borrow his vehicle to go to the auto parts store to buy some wheel stud bolts.  At the auto parts store, the young man got the wrong part number stud bolts, because he was looking at 2-wheel drive, not 4-wheel drive.  I caught this before I left, but this added to my frustration a little bit.

When I got back to my truck at my friend’s house, the wheel stud bolts did not fit correctly in the wheel hub, the base diameter and the scoring was a little too big, but just slightly too big.  You could pound and pound on these wheel stud bolts with a hammer, and they would not seat in the wheel hub.

After a while, I got a bunch of large washers and put them on the wheel stud bolts, screwed on the lug nuts, got an air impact wrench, and tightened the lug nuts while beating the stud bolts in.  With a lot more work than should have been necessary, the wheel stud bolts seated in the wheel hub.  All the while, my friend would not stop talking about unnecessary things, things that were a nuisance distraction.

I was getting so mad, that I was thinking about calling a tow truck to just drag my truck onto the bed, wheel and rotor off, brake caliper dragging on the ground, doing hundreds of dollars of damage to my truck, just to get the fuck out of there.  I was going to tell the tow truck driver, no I don’t want to put the wheel on, just drag it, I can’t take listening to this guy for one more minute, he won’t shut up.

I got everything back together, and the wheel back on.  I could tell that I did some damage to the threads on a couple of the stud bolts during the extra effort to seat them, because two of the lug nuts were very difficult to turn for most of the way.  But five stud bolts with lug nuts, is much better than only having two stud bolts with lug nuts.

I began greasing the CV joints and turning the wheel in order to get to each universal joint bearing, and my friend came out of the house to point out to me that I was not tightening the lug nuts as I was turning the wheel.  I explained that I knew that, I was turning the wheel to get to each universal joint bearing to grease it, which is what I started out to do in the first place.

After I had put all of the tools away, I looked at the three broken wheel stud bolts. They each had rust or oxidation on the broken ends, which means that they had been broken off for a while.  The only explanation, since I had checked every wheel lug nut with a lug wrench about three months ago, was that the person who stole my truck, and the person who mounted my used tires ten months ago, they both saw and knew that three of the five wheel stud bolts were broken.  Since they were able to get three, four, or five turns of the lug nuts onto the broken wheel stud bolts, they acted like nothing was wrong.

With only three, four, or five turns of a lug nut onto a broken stud bolt, it was only a matter of time before the lug nuts popped off.  The tires were mounted on the wheels, and put back on this truck in September of last year, when it was cooler.  Once it became so hot in June, with the metal hub, metal rotor, and metal wheel expanding slightly in the heat, this is probably what caused the three barely on wheel lug nuts to pop off.

About four days ago, there was a fatality on Hwy 22 south of Dickinson, where a pickup truck crossed into the opposite lane, and had a head-on collision with a tractor truck.  I could have had a fatal accident like this too, if this front driver’s side wheel would have come off my truck, which was going to happen very soon if my friend hadn’t noticed my wheel lug nuts were missing.

I was mad about this happening, why this happened, how this happened, the unexpected emergency repair, the difficulty of getting everything apart and then back together, and my friend talking non-stop the whole time while I was trying to work and figure this out.  I am very regretful that I got so mad, that I nearly called a tow truck to drag my truck away with the wheel and rotor off, to the dealer, just because I couldn’t stand to listen to my friend anymore.

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