Broken wheel bearings?

Chassis, Suspension and wheels

  1. MoparDan

    MoparDan Well-Known Member

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    I started hearing some on and off noise from the left front a few days ago, then yesterday the noise got a lot louder all the sudden and the brake pedal goes to the floor and theres a lot of shaking from the front. I took the left wheel off and I can move the brake rotor with my hand [​IMG] so drove home (what else could I do?) the steering felt weird and inconsistent as did the brakes sometimes going to the floor, other times feeling normal (the brakes are very worn)
    I'm assuming the wheel bearings are bad
     
  2. MoparDan

    MoparDan Well-Known Member

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    Some pictures, the cap in the middle looks like it's not all the way in IMG_20200409_171101_1.jpg
     
  3. MoparDan

    MoparDan Well-Known Member

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    It looks like the weight on the wheel was grinding against the control arm
     
  4. MoparDan

    MoparDan Well-Known Member

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    Forgot the pictures IMG_20200409_171823_1.jpg

    IMG_20200409_172102.jpg
     
  5. Duke5A

    Duke5A Well-Known Member

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    Wheel bearing or ball joints if the rim contacted the UCA. Pull the caliper off and grab the rotor at the 3 and 9 o' clock position and push with one hand and pull with the other. If it's that bad it's going to be hella sloppy. If it's tight, put the wheel back on and do the same thing only at the 12 and 6 o' clock positions with the front wheel still in the air.

    For a bearing to get THAT bad it would have been make a hell of a lot of noise to begin with I would think. Those things typically give you fair warning. It'll sound like a growl where the pitch is varies with the speed of the tire.

    Either way, that thing is dangerous to drive. Don't get back in it until it's fixed.
     
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  6. Aspen500

    Aspen500 Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes wheel bearings give no advance warning. Happened on my old '81 D150. Driving home from work, not a noise to be heard and then,,,,,,,,,,BANG-GRIND. Same thing as MoparDan with the brake pedal because the caliper piston got pushed back by the rotor. Limped the last mile home (carefully) and found the left bearing was destroyed and the inner race of the inner bearing was welded to the spindle as well as the rotor rubbing the caliper bracket. What a mess!
     
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  7. volare 77

    volare 77 Well-Known Member

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    Time to take it apart and see what damage was done.
     
  8. Duke5A

    Duke5A Well-Known Member

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    Yikes! :eek:
     
  9. Ele115

    Ele115 Well-Known Member

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    I work as a contractor at a US facility in the middle of nowhere and they transport employees in Ford vans from a remote parking facility. One of these vans pulled into security with the right front wheel walking out about 5 inches out and smoking. These have a plastic bearing race and it was gone as were the rollers. The inner bearing was caught on the big locking nut at the end of the spindle, and that was all that was supporting the front of the van. The guy said it gave him no warning, he described it as a loud pop and then a screeching and he was so lucky it was less than a 1/4 mile from the gate to the base. The other one I saw recently was a 70 or so Olds 442 they had not put a cotter pin in it! The nut backed off on the drivers side and the end of the spindle began banging on the dust cap, then the wheel started rubbing and eventually it was grinding through the rally wheel center cap. That guy had quite a bit of notice! He got a lot of attention at "cruise night". He was wise to flat bed it home
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2020
  10. Aspen500

    Aspen500 Well-Known Member

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    We get vehicles hauled into the shop at work quite often where, without warning, the wheel bearing just about grenades itself. The story is always the same, driving along and everything was fine and then BANG, all done. Once in awhile they get driven in like that (to save the cost of a tow). Well, now they don't only need a bearing, usually integrated hub now days, but also a caliper bracket, brake rotor, maybe even a wheel if it's almost cut through on the upper ball joint.

    I wonder what actually happens for them to fail suddenly like that? It's almost as if they exploded or something. The world may never know:D
     
  11. MoparDan

    MoparDan Well-Known Member

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    I just did this: the rotor moves a lot in both 3/9 o'clock and 12/6 o'clock position (I took a video of it but it won't let me post it here) Like the others have said there wasn't any warning
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2020
  12. Duke5A

    Duke5A Well-Known Member

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    You found your problem. Pull the rotor off and inspect the spindle. It may have trashed it.
     
  13. MoparDan

    MoparDan Well-Known Member

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    How hard is it to pull the rotors off? I have no experience with brakes at all
     
  14. Duke5A

    Duke5A Well-Known Member

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    Pretty easy. Two bolts on the top to remove the caliper retaining clips then the caliper just lifts right off. Next, pry the dust cap off rotor hub to expose the spindle nut. There will be a cotter pin you remove with pliers then unscrew the spindle nut and the rotor slides right off.

    Rotors need to be replaced in pairs though. You might just want to do pads, rotors and bearings on both sides. It's not hard at all if you don't want to pay a garage to do it.

    Of course the whole 'easy' thing is predicated on the spindle not being destroyed. If you need to replace the spindle on that side you will have to split the ball joints from it, both upper and lower.
     
  15. MoparDan

    MoparDan Well-Known Member

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    The pads and rotors are worn and need to be replaced anyway, and the ball joints have been broken since sometime in 2012-Connecticut roads...the garage up there had even told not to bother replacing them saying they'd break again on those roads...the ball joints had been replaced shortly before I bought this car in late 2011
     
  16. volare 77

    volare 77 Well-Known Member

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    Must have been Chinese ball joints. Good quality ones would do better for you. Of course where do find good ones anymore. I have some used F body spindles.
     
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  17. Mikes5thAve

    Mikes5thAve Well-Known Member

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    You're risking your life and everyone's around you driving with bad ball joints.
     
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  18. MoparDan

    MoparDan Well-Known Member

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    Ok, I've got some pictures to put on here when the phone is free, I've got to say it was very easy to take the brake apart, getting the caliper back on wasn't so easy though. The spindle looks ok, no obvious damage. I'll post the pictures shortly
     
  19. Ele115

    Ele115 Well-Known Member

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    I can't be reading this right. You've been driving for 8 years on broken ball joints?
     
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  20. MoparDan

    MoparDan Well-Known Member

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    That's what I was told; when I first bought this car (Nov. '11) the alinement was unbelievably good, but it quickly got bad, I went to the garage and was told all the ball joints are damaged, he (the mechanic) its because of all the pot holes everywhere in this town and the whole state, he then told me a few years ago I could've sued the town over all the damage and would've won, but now bad roads have become accepted in New England and that would be a waist of time. I know for a fact that the ball joints were less then a year old at the time and he said he could tell the were almost new, it would've cost a few hundred dollars which not only didn't I have, but I also was told they would just break again very quickly. I've had many things fixed over the years but I never bothered doing anything with the front end it just wasn't in the budget or honesty worth it. Once I came to FL it would be worth doing here, but my finances have gone from very bad to even worse...
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2020