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Choosing The Right Wheel Studs For Your Disc Brake Conversion

A common problem with disc brake conversions are getting the right wheel studs. If you’re having trouble choosing the right wheel studs for your disc brake conversion, we can help.

Why It’s Important To Use The Right Wheel Studs

Wheel stud
Image Credit: NapaOnline

Wheel studs may be simple parts, but they’re quite important parts. The wheel studs keep the wheel mounted on the hub assembly. Contrary to popular belief, there are many different variations of wheel studs. Some are longer than others, and some are thicker than others. Thread pitch is another common variation.

Using the right wheel studs ensures that your wheels stay on at all times. If you use the wrong wheel studs, you’ll run into issues. For example:

  • If you use wheel studs that are too thick, the studs can’t fit through the holes the hub assembly without using too much force. This can damage both the stud and the hub.
  • If you use wheel studs that are slightly too thin, they can break off with enough force. That’s a dangerous because the wheel can literally fall off. The studs have also have to withstand the amount of torque needed to tighten the lug nuts. The studs could break if you apply too much torque.
  • If you use wheel studs that are too short, the lug nuts will not fully engage with the threads on the studs. When tightened, fewer lug threads are able absorb the tension created. The threads can weaken and fracture with time, which can also lead to the wheel falling off.
  • If you use wheel studs that are too long, you may not be able to properly torque the fasteners.

If you have a stock application, finding the right wheel studs should be a breeze. If you have an unusual or custom application, finding the right wheel studs can be challenging.

Reusing Your Wheel Studs

If you’re keeping your stock wheels after the disc brake conversion, can you reuse your wheel studs? You can, but it’s not always the best option. Wheel studs degrade over time. For example:

  • Wheel studs can rust, making them easier to break and harder to remove/install.
  • The threads on wheel studs can be stripped or damaged in another way.
    • Stretching in the threads is common. This happens when a shop uses an impact gun to install the wheel fasteners.
  • Some wheel studs get cracked over time. This compromises the strength of the studs.

Reinstalling old wheel studs can be difficult. Also, used wheel studs are not as strong and reliable as new ones. Wheel studs are inexpensive, so it’s always a better idea to install new wheel studs.

Finding The Right Wheel Studs

new wheel studs

If you plan to keep everything stock (aside from the disc brake conversion kit), standard OEM studs should do fine. For most of our disc brake conversion kits, the rotor is about 1/8″ thicker than the drum. In that case, OEM studs will work well. Of course, be sure to get OEM wheel studs made specifically for your truck make and model.

If you order one of our kits that requires longer studs, we’ll include the right studs in the kit.

Yet, OEM studs aren’t always the right solution. Sometimes your situation requires a different set of wheel studs. For example:

  • You may be using wheel spacers.
  • If you use custom wheels, they may not be compatible with OEM wheel studs.

If you’re in this situation, you want to find out the specs you need before shopping for new wheel studs.

Finding The Right Specs For Your Wheel Studs

Using aftermarket wheels makes things more complicated. If you want your wheels to stay on securely, you need to know what to look for. That means coming up with the correct specs for the following factors:

  • Thread diameter
  • Thread pitch: the number of threads per inch
  • Thread length/engagement: the fastener needs to fully engage the stud thread
  • Stud shank length: Needs to be correct for the thickness of the hub
  • Stud shank diameter: Needs to be correct for the diameter of the hole in the hub
  • Wheel fasteners
    • Dimensions
    • Thread size
  • Seat style: how the holes around the center cap are tapered, where the base of the fastener meets the wheel’s fastener pocket

Getting all the correct specs ensure that:

  • The wheel will stay on securely
  • The studs will support the weight of the vehicle
  • The lug nuts will fit over the studs and remain secure

Once you have all the right specs laid out, you should be able to find the perfect wheel studs for your application. Wheel stud manufacturer Dorman has all the specs of their wheel studs laid out in this PDF. You can refer to the PDF to find the right wheel studs for your application. That, or you can use it as a guide to find the right specs.