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Rust versus SK socket #5031766 03/04/19 08:16 PM
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HangFire Offline OP
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A year or so back I had the new SK replace a 14mm SK socket I cracked back in the 1990's. Today I cracked the replacement with my Carlyle locking flex head ratchet. (The rest of my 90's SK socket set continues to give yeoman service.)

The Dakota 4WD FSM replacement procedure for the front wheel bearing assembly is to remove the knuckle first, but the job can be done on-vehicle if a.) the stub axle isn't stuck and b.) if you can get a socket or wrench in the tight space on the three bolt heads that hold on the hub from the back of the knuckle. They are tight against the CV joint and the shock is right behind them, so 1/2" tools and thick impact stuff is out. So, I went right to my quality chrome 3/8" sockets. You can see the results in the pics below.

I ended up using a Stahlwille Stabil 14mm/15mm, an EZ-Red magnetic wrench extender, and a long pattern 6 point SK 14mm. The FSM torque for that screw is 123 ft/lbs, given the length of my wrench setup and my (not inconsiderable) body weight, I estimate removal torque was well past twice that. When the first one started easing down I though "oh crap I'm rounding off the head" but no it was just steady STIFF resistance until I got to almost a full turn. I had to tap on and off the 14mm end of the Stahlwille wrench. I tried to get the SK's box end on there, but both vertical and horizontal clearance was an issue, which is why I started out with the socket.

Once unbolted, the hub laughed at my 10# Craftsman (really Bosch/OTC) slide hammer. Viewing a few Youtube videos, the preferred removal technique is to wail on it from behind at the one place you can with an Engineer's hammer, which worked pretty quickly.

Yes, I had 3 new Mopar mounting bolts and a new Mopar axle nut. With so much riding on that assembly I wasn't going to cheap out and re-use parts. The new axle nut was not strictly necessary on the 4WD, it is a one-time use item (nylon locking nut) on the 2WD. My old one was fine, but I had a new one so I used it. I used a new Timken hub assembly, box and bearing retainer are marked "Made in USA."

Total cost of all parts (bearing/hub assembly, 3 Mopar Bolts and one Mopar nut) from RockAuto including shipping was $129.47. I quite enjoyed the test drive. With 4 new Michelins and the howling wheel bearing gone, it's like a new truck.

team_10x7_145847050.jpgsk14_10x7_193244991.jpg
Stahlwille, EZ-Red and SK long pattern

sk14_10x7_193257613.jpg
SK 14mm casualty


Various musings: http://hangfire.net
Re: Rust versus SK socket [Re: HangFire] #5031783 03/04/19 08:37 PM
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claluja Offline
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They don't make em like they used to. My SK set from the 1940s still going strong!


2014 F250 6.7L PSD
2006 Sequoia 4.7L
2005 E500 5.0L
2018 Jeep Rubicon, Pentastar 3.6L
Re: Rust versus SK socket [Re: HangFire] #5031785 03/04/19 08:39 PM
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maxdustington Offline
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The problem with SK is that they changed hands so many times it is hard to really evaluate their quality. I have a bunch of vintage SK and it all seems to be good, but I think it was during the 80s and perhaps 90s that they were at their low points for quality. I'm not 100% sure but I know that SK Wayne and things made this decade are more consistent than in the 80s and 90s.

Luckily you can return that pretty easily. They'll probably just ask for a picture and ship you a new one.


97 GMC RCLB K2500LD L30/4L60
Re: Rust versus SK socket [Re: HangFire] #5031794 03/04/19 08:45 PM
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Trav Offline
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I would have started out with 1/2" drive and a heavy socket on something torqued that tight before it corroded.
A thin wall 3/8 is not going to take that much torque without possibly breaking regardless of brand.
Not defending SK but IMO it was never intended for something over 230 ftlb by your own figures.


ASE L1, Master. Deutsch Meisterbrief.
Re: Rust versus SK socket [Re: HangFire] #5031801 03/04/19 08:48 PM
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HangFire Offline OP
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Heavy socket won't fit, tried it. "They are tight against the CV joint and the shock is right behind them, so 1/2" tools and thick impact stuff is out." I tried to get a 1/2" ratchet in there, too wide, no matter where I put it- unless I removed the driveshaft, which I was trying to avoid.

Thus the Stahlwille- closest thing to a socket for clearance, even better, really, no ratchet in the way. Oh, and thanks to Trav who pointed them out to me.

Yes, too much torque, I'm not blaming SK too much on this one- though I find it curious that the short 14mm is the only socket I've broken in that big 3/8 set I bought in the 90's, and then I broke it again.


Various musings: http://hangfire.net
Re: Rust versus SK socket [Re: HangFire] #5031818 03/04/19 08:58 PM
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Trav Offline
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Probably too hard so its brittle but as you say weird its only the 14mm, this even weirder.. I had the same thing happen in 14mm with multiple SO deeps.
The Stahlwille or Hazet double box wont break, I smack them dead blows and all sorts of abuse and haven't broke one yet.


ASE L1, Master. Deutsch Meisterbrief.
Re: Rust versus SK socket [Re: HangFire] #5031979 03/04/19 11:41 PM
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Chris142 Online Content
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I wonder if the sides of the socket are too thin. The 15mm being the start of a thicker size.


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87 F250 Valvoline 15w40
07 fjcruiser Car lube plus 10w30
Z400 castrol T 10w40
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Re: Rust versus SK socket [Re: HangFire] #5032106 03/05/19 07:06 AM
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Donald Online Content
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Get in there with some oil based rust treatment on that frame.


2015 Subaru Forester 2.5 engine/CVT
2015 Ford F250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)
Re: Rust versus SK socket [Re: Chris142] #5032206 03/05/19 09:38 AM
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Trav Offline
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Originally Posted by Chris142
I wonder if the sides of the socket are too thin. The 15mm being the start of a thicker size.


You may be onto something with that Chris, I don't know but it seems odd that the same size fails multiple times from different manufacturers and in the OP's case different generations of sockets. I do notice on my Hazet deep they leave the business end a little thicker, not much but probably enough to give it the extra strength it needs.


ASE L1, Master. Deutsch Meisterbrief.
Re: Rust versus SK socket [Re: Chris142] #5032241 03/05/19 10:20 AM
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Astro14 Offline
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Originally Posted by Chris142
I wonder if the sides of the socket are too thin. The 15mm being the start of a thicker size.


Was thinking that, too... looking at it. So, the 14mm and below are from a smaller blank, while the 15mm and above are from a larger blank. The largest socket made with the same blank size is going to be the weakest.

Was wonder, too, if a long extension on a 1/2" would allow a stronger socket to get in there. Working on a FWD car often, I recognize how tight the clearances can be, and how other components get in the way, but often, an extension allows me access where a ratchet, or even breaker bar, head wont' fit...

And yes, I had a Stahlwille wrench or two before I read Trav's recommendation, but now I've got a set.

Great tools.

I appreciate hearing from Trav when it comes to tools...it can get expensive following his posts...but I've always been very pleased with the results...

Last edited by Astro14; 03/05/19 10:22 AM.

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02 Volvo V70 T5 0W30 Edge
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05 MB S600 0W40 M1
16 Tundra 1794 5W30 Pennzoil Ultra
Re: Rust versus SK socket [Re: HangFire] #5032284 03/05/19 11:10 AM
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HangFire Offline OP
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I viewed a few videos since. One guy (South Main Auto?) got a 3/8 impact and an Astro Nano on it by turning the wheel. He had to pound it on as well, tight fit or odd size hex head.

I have no lift and I could get to it with the wrench which worked in the first try, so while not as optimal as the Nano which I do own, I proceeded along fast enough, and got the job done in one evening.


Various musings: http://hangfire.net
Re: Rust versus SK socket [Re: HangFire] #5032298 03/05/19 11:28 AM
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jkasch Offline
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I have an SK set from the 60's. It's gone through lots of abuse. The only socket I've broken was the 14mm.

Re: Rust versus SK socket [Re: HangFire] #5035417 03/07/19 10:55 PM
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HangFire Offline OP
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Maybe it is at the bolt size corresponding to 14mm hex heads, where the bolt is strong enough not to be broken by hand, so the tool gives instead. Thinner bolts from 13mm heads on down snap off more easily.

The socket blank idea is a good one, I will have to do some measurements when I get a chance. Usually on the higher quality sets, you have more blank sizes, more size granularity.


Various musings: http://hangfire.net
Re: Rust versus SK socket [Re: HangFire] #5038598 03/10/19 05:28 PM
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Ken42 Offline
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Looked at my 3/8 SK 14mm and it is fine but noticed the deep well socket has a crack.


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2019 Subaru Outback 3.6R Touring
Re: Rust versus SK socket [Re: HangFire] #5039801 03/11/19 07:56 PM
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vssjim Offline
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I always try if possible to break those bolts loose with a 1/2 socket because with rust and loctite they car be a real hand full, those bolts on wheel bearings break sockets and extensions when using 3/8 just because they are large long bolts and they get real tight.

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