Extended wheel studs are an essential upgrade that every serious car enthusiast should consider. While they may not provide immediate visual appeal or a boost in performance, they offer unparalleled peace of mind. Investing in high-quality extended wheel studs ensures optimal safety and reliability, proving that sometimes the most important upgrades go beyond appearances and numbers.
We sometimes come across alarming tales of studs and lug nuts shearing off during intense track sessions, resulting in catastrophic damage. Though such incidents may be rare, it is undeniable that they can occur. Considering the high temperatures reached by the brakes and the potential for wheel stud stretch caused by incorrect torquing procedures, the installation of extended wheel studs becomes even more crucial to mitigate the risk of such catastrophic events.
On the FK8/FL5 chassis, the risk seems to be relatively reduced since they do come equipped with an M14-sized stud by default. This particular stud is noticeably larger than the M12-sized stud found in most Honda models manufactured from 1974 onwards. Despite the larger size, it is worth noting that the stock stud is still made of lesser quality materials compared to aftermarket extended studs. It’s crucial to exercise caution and prioritize quality when opting for aftermarket studs, as not all options are equal in terms of metal composition and heat-treating processes. Therefore, it is recommended not to compromise on cost when selecting an aftermarket stud.
Extended wheel studs are a popular upgrade for track cars because they offer several key benefits:
- Safety and Reliability: Track driving subjects your car to extreme forces, including vigorous braking and high-speed cornering. Extended wheel studs provide increased engagement with the wheel hub, enhancing stability and reducing the risk of wheel detachment. The longer threads provide a stronger grip, ensuring proper wheel installation and reducing the chances of stud failure under heavy loads.
- Durability and Performance: Upgrading to extended wheel studs is particularly beneficial for high-performance track cars that undergo regular aggressive driving. These studs are typically made of high-quality materials and engineered to withstand the demanding conditions of track use, providing increased durability and ensuring consistent performance.
- Wider Wheel Compatibility: Extended wheel studs provide additional thread length, allowing for the use of thicker wheel spacers or aftermarket wheels with larger hub bores. This flexibility enables track enthusiasts to fine-tune their car’s handling characteristics by adjusting the wheel offset and fitment.
- Quick Wheel Changes: Extended wheel studs make wheel changes quicker and more convenient. With longer studs, you can easily align the wheel bolt holes and secure the lug nuts without the need to wrestle with the wheel against the brake caliper or suspension components.
Overall, extended wheel studs are an essential upgrade for track cars, providing safety, compatibility, reliability, convenience, and, above all, absolute peace of mind.
In this captivating shot, an eagle-eyed observer might notice that there are precisely 15 meticulously arranged studs captured in the frame. The reason for this is that after waiting for a few months to receive them in the mail, I was so eager to get them installed that I hastily began the installation process. It was only after installing 5 studs in one corner of the car before I got the bright idea to take an “artsy” photo of them, like some sort of abstract art piece. I have to be honest, for a split second, I thought about uninstalling those 5 studs just so the haters wouldn’t have something negative to say, like “Why do I only have 15 studs?” or “Hey bro, you know your Type R has 5 lugs per wheel, not 3.75 lugs per wheel.” But if I had done that, the 5 studs that were previously installed would have been tainted from the installation, and I would have failed to highlight the raw beauty and meticulous craftsmanship behind each individual stud.
Alrighty, let’s dive into the installation process. This time, I won’t bore you with the specifics of jacking up your car and taking the wheels off. I’m assuming you already have that covered. If you’re unsure how to do those things, then installing studs might be a bit too large of an undertaking for you. (even after you read through my step-by-step guide)
Nevertheless, this task is not excessively complex and there is no need to remove the wheel hubs in order to replace the old studs with the new ones. By adjusting the position of the brake dust shields, you will have enough space to install the longer studs. Allow me to further elaborate on this below.
So starting off, below you see we have the front with the wheel removed.
The calipers will have to be unbolted from the knuckle and moved out of the way to allow the rotor to be completely removed.
First, start by removing the pads from the caliper. Use a punch to knock the pins out, allowing access to remove the pads.
Because I frequently swap brake pads, I made my own caliper pin removal tool. I went to Harbor Freight and bought a punch set. I found one that fits perfectly through the caliper. Then, I drilled a small hole in the head of it so that it matches the contour pinpoint in point and “locks” the punch in on the pin. This allows you to hammer without worrying about the punch jumping off the pin and damaging your caliper.
Also, utilizing a plastic/rubber-coated dead-blow hammer decreases your chance of chipping the caliper paint if you “swing and a miss”.
Below, you can see that the two pins and the anti-rattle spring that have been removed.
Gently wiggle each pad back and forth to slightly compress the pistons back into the caliper, releasing the tension from each pad and allowing for easy removal. Once there is a little bit of wiggle, the pad will easily lift right out.
With both pads removed, you can unbolt the X2 19 mm bolts that secure the caliper to the knuckle.
*NOTE* You do not need to completely remove the caliper from the car, as I did. I was simultaneously rebuilding my calipers (which will be in another upcoming blog post) while also installing the extended studs. Therefore, I disconnected the brake line from the caliper as well. Again, this is not necessary to install the studs.
Normally, you would just unbolt the two 19mm bolts securing the caliper to the knuckle and carefully twist the caliper up and out of the way, leaving the brake line attached to the caliper. You can use some sort of zip tie or bailing wire to hold it out of the way.
Either way, below is what it should now look like.
With the caliper removed, you will now need to remove the brake rotor. To remove the brake rotor, you will need an impact screwdriver to loosen the screw that holds the rotor to the hub. Using an impact screwdriver will help prevent the screw from stripping.
Once the screw is loosened, the rotor easily slides off, and it should now look like the picture below.
To install the new studs, you will have to loosen the three Phillips-head screws that secure the dust shield to the hub. By removing the three screws holding the dust shield on, this allows you to rotate the dust shield to make removing the old studs easier and gain just enough room to install the new ones. If you do not loosen the dust shield, you might struggle to remove the old studs and will not be able to install the new ones without damaging the dust shield.
The three screws are all accessible with a regular Philips screwdriver (as seen below) and there is nothing else special needed to remove the three screws.
Next, hammer out all the old studs. Pro tip: use a large hammer to make light work of this. Just a few heavy taps with the hammer pictured below, and the stud will easily fall out. I’m not worried about damaging the OEM stud, so I’m just directly hitting them with the hammer. If you are worried about damaging them, then I suggest either using an OEM lug nut to cap the stud as you hit it or possibly using a piece of wood to place in between the stud and the hammer. Let’s be honest though, if you are trying to install extended studs, why are you worried about damaging the OEM studs? Plus, brand-new OEM studs only cost $2.16-$2.61 each.
Below is what it will look like once you have hammered out each one meticulously.
Now, rotate the dust shield around to remove the old studs. It will become obvious where the reliefs in the dust shield allow for the old and new studs to be fished through.
Next, it is always a good idea to clean all the rust off of the hub where the brake rotor slides onto. This helps ensure the rotor goes on straight and sits flush. Sometimes the rust can be so bad that it can cause the rotor to not sit completely flat against the hub surface, which can result in vibrations in the steering wheel while driving or braking.
Some WD-40 (or a similar product) and a stainless steel/brass brush will make light work of it.
Now with the hub all clean we can begin the install process. Slide the new stud into one of the holes in the hub. Then use a wheel stud installation tool and lug nut to drive the stud in.
Ideally, you would not want to use your Spoon lug nuts (or any other aftermarket lugs) for fear of potentially damaging them. Instead, it would be better to just use the OEM lugs. However, at the time of installation, I couldn’t remember where I had placed my stock lug nuts. Because the FK8 wheel stud is M14, I couldn’t use any of the other Honda lug nuts I had lying around. It would also be advisable to only use a steel lug nut not an aluminum one.
Then, use a weak 3/8-inch or similar impact drill/driver to begin partially seating the stud into the hub. Avoid using a 1/2-inch impact air or electric tool to fully seat the stud, as this can potentially cause damage to the threads of either the stud or the lug nut.
Once the stud begins to get somewhat pulled into the hub (pictured below) stop using the impact drill/driver. you only want to partially get the stud pulled into the hub. again this ensures no damage to any threads.
To easily drive in the stud the rest of the way in, grab a breaker bar or a tool with substantial leverage. Apply controlled and steady pressure while turning the lug nut, effortlessly driving the stud in until almost completely seated. The hub will rotate some, but with some cleaver thinking you should be able to drive the studs nearly all the way in with out much effort.
Once you’ve got all those studs in place, slap on some lug nuts to keep them nice and protected. Then, grab a solid pry bar (or a wicked long tool) and jam it between a couple of studs, using the floor as leverage. That will give you enough resistance to ensure that all those studs are snug as a bug against the hub. Trust me, you’ll know when they’re fully seated.
In order to ensure maximum safety and stability during the tightening process, it is crucial to thread the lug nuts all the way on until they are in direct contact with the hub surface. This technique effectively minimizes any potential flexing of the studs, providing a secure foundation. Additionally, to further enhance the effectiveness of the tightening procedure, it is recommended to position the flat sides of the lug nuts against the pry bar’s flat surface. This simple yet important step greatly reduces the risk of slippage, ensuring a confident grip as force is applied.
When it comes to torque specifications for this particular scenario, it’s important to note that the studs being used are of a press-in type, so there is no specific number to torque to. Once the shoulder of the stud is securely pressed against the backside of the hub, there is no need to tighten it any further. Attempting to overtighten may result in potential damage to either the hub or the stud.
Once you have confidently rotated through all five studs and ensured they are fully seated using the effective pry bar trick, you are now ready to reinstall the brake rotor.
Easily slide the brake rotor back on and thread in the rotor set screw. Rotor set screw is only to be torqued to 7 lb/ft. Thoroughly clean the rotor surface with brake cleaner to prevent any grease contamination from your hands or the garage floor, ensuring optimal performance of the brake pads after reinstalling the caliper.
Now reinstall the caliper via two 19mm caliper bolts that secure the caliper to the knuckle. Torque specs are 103 lb/ft, or 140 newton meters, or 14.3 kilogram-force meters.
One might call this art.
Utilize the same technique for the other side, and you’ll soon have the front completed with confidence.
Now let’s move on to the rear. Here’s a preview of how it should look as we get started. And of course, it’s important to double-check that your emergency brake is disengaged before we begin.
In order to begin the process, detach the X2 17mm bolts that securely fasten the caliper to the knuckle.
Removing those two bolts is a simple task that allows the caliper to effortlessly slide off and be placed securely behind the knuckle. (remember the E brake needs to be disengaged for the caliper to slide off)
Afterward, grab the impact screwdriver and proceed to remove the rotor set screw.
The rotor can be effortlessly detached from the hub and subsequently relocated to a different location, allowing for unobstructed access.
To remove the dust shield, simply locate the X3 10mm bolts that firmly secure it to the knuckle. Easily access these bolts using a 1/4-inch ratchet and a shallow 10mm 1/4-inch socket.
Now it’s time to hammer the old studs out. Apply the same theory about protecting them from damage as we did to the front studs (The “why bother” theory).
Viola! A blank canvas.
Again, ensure you clean all the rust off the hub ring area. With all the studs removed, this is very easy.
When it comes to getting those first few studs started to enable the use of the pry bar in between the lug nuts trick, let me demonstrate my foolproof method (that can also be used for the front hubs too!). I confidently take the pry bar, positioning it firmly into the hole where the stud should be. With a firm grip and steady foot holding the bottom of the pry bar, I exert consistent pressure on the breaker bar, smoothly driving the stud into the hub. By repeating this process with two studs, I can effortlessly transition into utilizing the tried and true pry bar technique between the two studs with lug nuts on them, which overall is a much safer and more efficient process.
In the following image, you will notice that I have successfully installed one stud in a secure manner. Moving forward, I utilize the wheel stud tool in conjunction with my impact drill to commence the process of seating the second stud.
Once the second stud becomes firmly established in the hub, I proceed to employ the pry bar wedged into the hole method to drive the stud the rest of the way home. This approach allows for an efficient installation of the studs.
After confidently securing two studs into the hub, I proceed to drive in the remaining three studs using the proven technique of using a pry bar between the lug nuts. This ensures a secure and stable connection between the studs and the hub. Once all five studs are firmly seated, I meticulously double-check each one by employing the pry bar between the lug nuts method once again. This guarantees that all five studs are fully and confidently seated within the hub, providing optimal performance and safety.
Boom, just like that, all the studs are firmly secured into the hub.
Now, put the rotor back on and secure it with the rotor set screw. Again, the rotor set screw should only be torqued to 7 lb/ft.
Slide the caliper on and securely fasten it using the two 17mm bolts. Torque it to 80 lb/ft.
I have discovered the true essence and purpose of long lug nuts, and it all makes perfect sense now for me to have them. J/K, I knew it all along, unfortunately, the Spoon lugs come only in a “long” version. When originally selecting lug nuts for my car when I got aftermarket wheels there were two things I was looking for in a lug nut.
- Made of steel. Aluminum lugs do not fare well on the track.
- No “lug key” is needed. I hate having to rely on a specialty lug key to remove the wheels. I wanted all lugs to be able to accept a common 19mm or 21mm socket. That way, If for some reason I forgot my lug key at home, while I was at the track, I would be able to borrow someone’s 19mm/21mm socket at the track to remove my lugs.
Don’t forget to torque your lug nuts. Remember, for the Type R (FK8/FL5), they should be torqued to 94 lb/ft, or 127 Newton meters, or 13 kilogram-force meters.
And the front, simply stunning!
And here is the finished product! Is it just me, or does the 28mm lens distort the car from this angle? This definitely isn’t the car’s most flattering perspective.
I would like to clarify once again that it is not necessary to remove the hubs (front or rear) in order to install extended studs on the FK8 chassis. You can simply rotate the brake dust shield to create enough clearance for the extended stud to be inserted. If you have experience with “golden era” Honda vehicles, you may be accustomed to pressing or knocking the front hubs out of the knuckle because the extended stud would not fit into the hub. However, on the FK8 chassis, you can avoid this extra step. By following my method, you can successfully install extended studs without any complications.
Certain experts suggest that it is indeed a recommended practice to weld the studs to the back of the hub. This extra step ensures that the studs remain secure and impervious to loosening over time. As any automotive enthusiast knows, dealing with a spinning stud while attempting to remove a lug nut can be an incredibly frustrating ordeal. However, it’s important to note that in my personal experience and that of my trusted circle, we have found no need to resort to such measures. Utilizing reputable studs, like the ones from ARP/MSI, has proven to be sufficient in preventing any issues related to spinning or loosening. Don’t cheap out because you’ll get what you pay for. Nevertheless, if you prefer taking a proactive approach, you will have to detach the hubs from the knuckle for thorough cleaning and to provide ample access for the welding process. But I maintain, this is very much an overkill step.
I appreciate you reading my overly pedantic explanation of such a straightforward installation process. I always feel that it is valuable to provide thorough clarifications, leaving no room for ambiguity, as it facilitates an extensive understanding of the installation requirements. In addition, I am confident that even if you do not intend to carry out the installation, you will still acquire valuable knowledge that can be applied to your automotive pursuit.
If you have any questions, concerns, dilemmas, appreciation, or just simply want to say hi, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email at Billy@FunctionTheory.com, Instagram @FunctionTheory, or simply comment on the post and I will get back to you!