No announcement yet.

1998 MGM Wheel Locks | A trip to hell and back

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    1998 MGM Wheel Locks | A trip to hell and back

    I've been quiet and very busy here, however yes it's true. I mean the rumors of my struggle with these cheap wheel locks that are rusting and now are standing in my way to redo my brakes with some help in Bay Area as per this case of inflammatory arthritis that I have been struggling with for over the last two years.

    Briefly the wheel lock key is missing in action. While I have viewed many ( more than just one ) videos on YouTube on how to remove these without a key ( I have an upgraded set made by Gorilla ) nothing I have can remove these! I'm apparently far from alone as per the comment section on the YouTube site. I tried going to where I bought them at O'Reilly's Automotive but was treated like trash by the manager of the day, who may be on his way out if I call the home office to register a complaint. Anyhow, no metric socket will fit on the outside of these locks and my next attempt will be the 'Discount tire shop' as Firestone was not able to help me when I took it over for my oil change, but this one fellow was very good at locating the squeaking lower control arm bushings that may need to be replaced.

    The good news is that nothing is 'critical' at this time, however I cannot proceed with any brake work as the front tires cannot be removed etc. So maybe if I drive to Big "O" tires they can do this for me? I can try the small local shop just up the street from me as that is where I belive it was lost ( the master key ) however, his hours have been reduced by COVID-19 and I need to just drive over and beg for help? One way or another these will be history and a part of my past until the next drama arrives or so that is my plan.

    One fellow in the 'Comment section' suggested going to the local "Boneyards" as one had an entire "Box" of them for sake at $5.00 a piece. You just have to search for the right one I guess? Still if I can just get the correct socket at the garage or tire shop to fit on it ( you have to hammer it on ) and then just release it. One very important fact is that they must be torqued ( hand torqued ) to just 85 foot lbs. in California and many of these shops do crazy things with those damn impact guns and never use anti-seize before putting them back on. So I can see they are over-torqued. One poor fellow in Europe was working for two full weeks to remove the wheels from this one Mercedes that were over-torqued to about 300 foot lbs. with a impact wrench and the rotors were warped and the lugs nuts stretched. Now that is crazy! He had spent two weeks so far in trying to remove them. Hopefully mine will not be so brutal?! To be continued, but I'm open to suggestions especially to specific shops in the East Bay here or Marin County if needed.


    What type of wheels are on said vehicle. Ive gotten stock ford ones off of turbine wheels with a vicegrip and a hammer. If the the lugs are mainly exposed one can weld a nut to the top of it and then buzz it off.

    My 1987 Crown Victoria Coupe: The Brown Blob
    My 2004 Mercedes Benz E320:The Benz

    Originally posted by ootdega
    My life is a long series of "nevermind" and "I guess not."
    Originally posted by DerekTheGreat
    But, that's just coming from me, this site's biggest pessimist. Best of luck


      A couple years ago a friend came by with a new-to-him, auction purchased late 2000s Chevy Malibu. Part of the cheapness was that the tires were bald and the brakes were metal on metal, and the wheel locks were stuck to the point that the key had broken. Otherwise, it was in surprisingly good shape.

      That stupid Malibu had super expensive wheels, and apparently the wheels were half the reason my friend had bought it. The wheels had a deep recess for each of the lug nuts, to where a standard socket barely fit down inside, meaning I couldn't get any decent tools on the wheel locks. Also, it had the stupid "covered acorn" style lugs and the covers had all been twisted off, rounding the lugs (but at least exposing the wheel studs so I could hose them down with PB Blaster and other lubricants). Worst of all, the lugs were exposed so any damage I did to the wheel would be extremely visible.

      I got most of the lugs off by hammering a deep socket on them and using an impact. I couldn't get a lug nut extractor into the deep recess, but I suspect that would have worked.
      The ones that didn't come off, I drilled into the wheel studs until they came apart. Took a couple drill bits, a lot of cutting oil, and all afternoon.

      We agreed that replacing the wheel bearings or at least the wheel studs all around would be the best approach anyway.

      The last 4 were those #$% wheel locks, so after spending most of the day helping my buddy (and managing not to damage his precious wheels!) they were all still stuck on the car.

      I ended up lining the wheel recesses and face of the wheels with heavy foil tape and using a plasma cutter to disintegrate the wheel locks until I could drill into the wheel studs.

      It took about 6 hours from the time I got to his house until the time I packed up my tools. He replaced one rear wheel bearing/hub and just snaked a couple wheel studs into the others, put a set of steel wheels with decent tires on the car, and sold it to a friend of ours who is still driving it. He then sold the wheels for more than he'd bought the car for.

      I was well rewarded for my efforts. But I still cringe a little when I see that #$% Malibu driving around town.

      Hopefully the lug nuts on OP's car are easier to get to; there are pretty good tools to bite into the outside if there's room, and David's suggestion of welding a nut to the top works really well when there's room to do it. Even if the nut isn't strongly welded, often the heat of the welding process helps break the bond between the nut and the stud.

      I've got a set of lug removers that I picked up for maybe 50 bucks at one of the automotive chain stores and they work pretty well when there's room to get them on the lug. The recesses on the Malibu wheels were too deep and too narrow to get anything larger than a deep socket into, but I suspect if I could have gotten anything that would have bitten into the lugs even a little bit in there it would have removed them all in minutes.
      Last edited by bgreywolf; 08-11-2021, 02:18 AM.


        Depending on the style of locking lug nut, I've definitely used a "sacrificial" socket and hammer it on over the locks.

        Honestly though, if you can get lucky and find a place that has a master key set, you may be okay otherwise.

        My Cars:
        -1964 Comet 202 (116K Miles) - Long Term Project
        -1986 Dodge D-150 Royale SE (112K Miles) - Slowly Getting Put Back Together
        -1987 Grand Marquis Colony Park LS (325K Miles) - April 2017 + September 2019 POTM Winner
        -1997 Grand Marquis LS (240K Miles) - The Daily Workhorse & March 2015 + January 2019 POTM Winner


          My deepest thanks to all of you for your wild experiences and thoughts. Briefly, I looked carefully at mine today and they are in these unique cast aluminum faux spoke wheels and with the correct 12 point socket on them, I belive they will come off. Time will tell all in this matter. Yes, I can easily afford to purchase a correct socket to sacrifice as I hammer down on them. I just need to locate the correct size. What I have done is to put this project "On hold" at least psychologically as I deal with the current stressors in my life here at my apartment building with several units being remodeled, and medical appointments coming up to boot. Hanging out on the "Strip" where all of the auto and tire shops are here is draining and exhausting ( for me ) as it's very big city stuff and unpleasant for those of us displaced 'small university town' people. I will call Big "O" Tires locally here and see if they can take care of this with or for me? I suspect I am not the first person to drive in with such a problem.

          However, having said that "When the Gods do go after you...they know just where to strike!"



            When a tire ship stripped out the wheel locks on the 94 Escort. The shop used a air chisel . They came off quickly. I don't think they had to replace the wheel stud or hub. The locks were split in pieces. They were Gorilla locks.


              One thought would be to go to the local shop where you might have lost the key. See if they have a box of lost keys they keep around. you don't even have to bring up the idea that they lost the key.
              03 Marauder DBP, HS, 6disk, Organizer Mods> LED's in & Out, M&Z rear control arms, Oil deflector, U-Haul Trans Pan, Blue Fuzzy Dice
              02 SL500 Silver Arrow
              08 TC Signature Limited, HID's Mods>235/55-17 Z rated Cooper Zeon RS3-A, Addco 1" rear Sway, Posi, Compustar Remote Start, floor liners, trunk organizer, Two part Sun Visors, B&M Trans drain Plug, Winter=05 Mustang GT rims, Nokian Hakkapeliitta R-2 235/55-17
              08 Escape Limited V6 Auto, Beamtech LED headlight bulbs,


                Local ford dealer did the same with my mustang. Wheel lock shattered. Ended up welding a nut onto the shattered lock to get it off.
                Dealer gave me a free set of new wheel locks