Blown Front Wheel Bearing 2nd Day Wheelin'

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Today was just my second time wheeling with the new '97 Cruiser and I blew the front left wheel bearing seal I guess. Started with ABS problems when almost at a stop. The ABS came on aggressivly and the car lurched to the right as if the front right wheel was locking and not the left. Then I smelt burning grease - jacked up the front left wheel and saw the rim was a half inch thick in grease splatter and more grease draining from the wheel which had considerable wobble/play in it. I was a 100 miles from home up in the San Bernadino mountains but nought else to do but limp home as slowly as possible. I know this was probably not a great thing to do but saw little alternative as my daughter who was with me got sick.

My manual does not say much - what should I expect to do? Parts to buy? The truck has done 108,000 miles so is this the time to do the Birfield thing? Any help before I start dismanteling much appreciated.

Mike Stevens
 

shocker

 
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Search birfield re-pack, both in the forum and in the tech section. This has been covered to death.

But at 110K, you are about 30-40K overdue for it, even though your problem was just the wheel bearings.

Call Dan (look in Vendor section for contact info), and he'll get you everything you need.
 

landtank

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the FIRST thing to do is to tear down the axle, clean and inspect the parts. THEN call Dan for the usual Birf kit he has put together and whatever else got munched on that drive home.

Good Luck
 
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landtank said:
the FIRST thing to do is to tear down the axle, clean and inspect the parts. THEN call Dan for the usual Birf kit he has put together and whatever else got munched on that drive home.

Good Luck

I agree


Kalawang
 

sleeoffroad

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You need to tear it down and inspect. It does not sound right. The ABS sensor is in the birfield cavity. I can not see what that would have problems with the wheel bearing seal fails. You will loose some grease from the wheel hub when the seal fails, but not that much. Sound like something else is also broken. If a birfield breaks, it could cause the wheel to lock up as well.
 
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MH_Stevens said:
Today was just my second time wheeling with the new '97 Cruiser and I blew the front left wheel bearing seal I guess. I was a 100 miles from home up in the San Bernadino mountains but nought else to do but limp home as slowly as possible. My manual does not say much - what should I expect to do? Parts to buy? The truck has done 108,000 miles so is this the time to do the Birfield thing?
You are about to find out that the time to do the "birfield thing" was before you went wheeling, not after. I don't think you are going to like what you find when you tear into it. Have you bought the FSM yet or are you still using the Chilton???
 
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The Chiltern is IN THE TRASH. I will order nthe FSM from Dad when I order parts after I have inspected the wheel, which I hope to do today. It's such great support having you guys around. I should be able to report back with my findings this evening.
 

TX_TLC

 
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MH_Stevens said:
The Chiltern is IN THE TRASH. I will order nthe FSM from Dad when I order parts after I have inspected the wheel, which I hope to do today. It's such great support having you guys around. I should be able to report back with my findings this evening.
Well if C-Dan is your Dad...why are you asking us? :flipoff2: :D

Freudien slip?

Man I missed 'Mud while away...
 

ginericLC

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Dad can I borrow your Cruiser? What are we having for dinner? I think I need to move home for awhile. I'm having some Cruiser problems. Can I borrow yours while your sort mine out? Sorry I couldn't resist. He is sort of a fatherly like figure though.

I would never let my real dad touch my Cruiser. Everytime I go to his house I'm working on his. Sort of the reverse of how I think it should be.
 
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Sorry Dad, Dan I mean. Not so much Fraudian as just bad typeing. Anyway I was hoping to see inside before I emailed you (Dan) but after getting the brake calipers off I could not remove the flange held on by the six small nuts. Any help here in doing this before I make my order which will include the FSM?
 

landtank

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loosen but don't remove the nuts, then hit the side of the flange with a hammer working around the flange to vibrate the cone washers loose. The reason you leave the nuts on as these little guys can really fly away if the nut is not in place.
 
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MH_Stevens said:
Sorry Dad, Dan I mean. Not so much Fraudian as just bad typeing. Anyway I was hoping to see inside before I emailed you (Dan) but after getting the brake calipers off I could not remove the flange held on by the six small nuts. Any help here in doing this before I make my order which will include the FSM?
You also have to remove a retaining ring with snap-ring pliers on the very outside tip of the splined shaft. Then you can remove the cone washers and flange.
 

Rookie2

 
 
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Yeh, sounds like an exploded birf. If it makes you feel any better, your lack of birf. PM may not have caused this, unless you were driving around on clicking birfs, or unless you're grease spewage occurred prior to and you didn't notice it. Do you have anymore info on the circumstances under which this occurred? Where you under a heavy load condition/odd angle?

I'd also check out the front diff., the axle seal is surely trashed, I'd be curious how much oil is left in there, and if that axle was knocking around, you may have damage where the axle shaft splines link in to the third member.

Word to the wise, if you're going to do any kind of hard wheeling, you need to have the tools on hand to be able to take apart the front hub and birf assembly, and be able to remove the front driveshaft. That way if a birf explodes, you can limp home in rear-wheel drive.

I hope all you have to replace is the birf.
 
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Rookie2 said:
If it makes you feel any better, your lack of birf. PM may not have caused this. Word to the wise, if you're going to do any kind of hard wheeling, you need to have the tools on hand to be able to take apart the front hub and birf assembly, and be able to remove the front driveshaft. That way if a birf explodes, you can limp home in rear-wheel drive.
If he had yet to rebuild the front axle, I think the lack of PM prior to wheeling is the direct cause. Had he rebuilt the axle beforehand he would have likely found whatever finally gave way....which based on his use of the word "wobble" sounds more like a wheel bearing that a birfield joint.

Your point about having tools on hand is very valid....though I doubt a guy that hasn't taken the time to make it trail ready by rebuilding it in the first place in the comfort of his garage is probably not going to be a candidate for doing it on the trail.
 

Rookie2

 
 
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elmariachi said:
which based on his use of the word "wobble" sounds more like a wheel bearing that a birfield joint.
Yes, something doesn't quite add up to me. "Wobble" would seem to indicate trashes bearings, but based on the description of grease pouring out, there just isn't that much grease in the hub assemble to coat the inside of the wheel with 1/2", and then be pouring out still after that. This part of the discription lends itself to and axle seal failure, but then that would be coming out at the knuckle housing at the felt wipers. Trashed trunion bearings?? Too much speculating..., ain't you got that thing apart yet? I gots to know.

The reason I didn't want to hound the guy on lack of maintenance as the soul source, is that usually lack of proper maintenance/lubrication, would manifest itself in grooves worn into the birf under a high RPM/heat condition (normal driving, not wheel), resulting in clicking first, not an birf explosion in the field. Now if he did have clicking (grooves) then hard wheeling is certainly going to cause more stress (and potential for birf explosion) than a non-groved condition.

I'm all for birf maintenance now..., don't get me wrong.
 
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Kinda stirring the pot here, but knowing the reputation of these vehicles around the world, how many times do you think the aussies, middle easterners, south American folks, and people on every other continent say "hey, this truck has 100,000 miles, i guess it is time to call Cdan and rebuild the front axle before it bombs?" I doubt hardly a one. Sure, for the most, PM is key to longevity. But some times things just happen.
 
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OK all is now disassembled. To Jim there was no snap ring - maybe came off and was lost?. Under the flange and cone washers there is the the two large 54? mm flat nuts. These were loose - the outer one was off the spindle - and the bearing, which seems to have no wear, was just flopping around.

The large knucle that joins the two spindle axels, which must be the famous birf, rotates with no signs of wear and the spilnes on the ends of the shafts are not worn. The internal oil seal had, as expected gone. The bift cavity was full of liquid grease diluted with oil from the diff. There seems to be a fair amount of oil left in the diff as when I removed the axel at least a cup of oil ran out.

If I had known the wheel design (or had a manual - that was my mistake) I could have tightened these washers on the trial as I did have my tools. Anyway there is no damage that I can see. Now to email Dan.

It looks like I need replace the seals and bearings. Do i continue to dismantle the whole wheel and that big silver sphere to replace the felt lube seals or just stop where I am?
 
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