Driving without a snap ring for roughly 8,000 miles... (1 Viewer)

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Just thought I'd log this on here, it's been around 8 months of ownership with my 2006 LX470 (263k) and while doing tire rotation I noticed I could pull my axle completely out. I've driven this car from North Carolina home and been using it to get me from campus (140 miles each way) to home for a while, usually don't thrash the truck. I had been heading some weird thumping noises but I figured it was my sway bar bushings as it was intermittent. Turns out I've been driving without a snap ring on my driver's side since I got the car. The PO had a new axle put in by AAA and their mechanics just figured a little C-ring could do no harm I suppose. The splines look good and I'm going to get some snap rings first thing tomorrow. I've been driving this in 1.5 feet of snow and kinda abusing it the past couple of days also had the center diff lock accidentally in a parking lot. So I'm counting my lucky stars on this one....

Could I do this in my driveway without lifting the car? Any tips would be appreciated.
 

ramangain

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Just thought I'd log this on here, it's been around 8 months of ownership with my 2006 LX470 (263k) and while doing tire rotation I noticed I could pull my axle completely out. I've driven this car from North Carolina home and been using it to get me from campus (140 miles each way) to home for a while, usually don't thrash the truck. I had been heading some weird thumping noises but I figured it was my sway bar bushings as it was intermittent. Turns out I've been driving without a snap ring on my driver's side since I got the car. The PO had a new axle put in by AAA and their mechanics just figured a little C-ring could do no harm I suppose. The splines look good and I'm going to get some snap rings first thing tomorrow. I've been driving this in 1.5 feet of snow and kinda abusing it the past couple of days also had the center diff lock accidentally in a parking lot. So I'm counting my lucky stars on this one....

Could I do this in my driveway without lifting the car? Any tips would be appreciated.
You really should remove the wheel, jack up the truck, and closely inspect the wheel bearings and hardware. You probably also should check the brake pads while you are there. What is the wheel bearing service history on the rig? This is a great excuse, er, opportunity to do a mild refresh on the front corners (both of them) on everything that attaches to the spindle, or attaches to something that attaches to the spindle. Front brake pads and the shim kit from Mr. T work exceptionally well, and are simple enough to install when following the direction included in the shim kit. Anything related to the front wheel bearings is usually sourced from CruiserOutfitters in Utah when I buy.

Sorry to add this too, but if the axle was working its way in and out of the spindle, there is an excellent chance that gunk has entered the spindle area and gunk has built up. Unfortunately, there is a bearing in the spindle that can suffer and fail from this gunk. Prudence may lead you to think about buying the spindle bearing grease tool from sleeoffroad to push the old grease out of there and get new grease in there.

You can install a snap ring without lifting the truck. It will help a lot to have a M8 x 1.25 bolt that you can thread into the axle and use it as leverage to pull it as far as possible into the spindle.

FWIW, I'm now overly cautious about ensuring the front corners are in EXCELLENT working order after my own mishap when towing a heavy trailer.
 
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You really should remove the wheel, jack up the truck, and closely inspect the wheel bearings and hardware. You probably also should check the brake pads while you are there. What is the wheel bearing service history on the rig? This is a great excuse, er, opportunity to do a mild refresh on the front corners (both of them) on everything that attaches to the spindle, or attaches to something that attaches to the spindle. Front brake pads and the shim kit from Mr. T work exceptionally well, and are simple enough to install when following the direction included in the shim kit. Anything related to the front wheel bearings is usually sourced from CruiserOutfitters in Utah when I buy.

Sorry to add this too, but if the axle was working its way in and out of the spindle, there is an excellent chance that gunk has entered the spindle area and gunk has built up. Unfortunately, there is a bearing in the spindle that can suffer and fail from this gunk. Prudence may lead you to think about buying the spindle bearing grease tool from sleeoffroad to push the old grease out of there and get new grease in there.

You can install a snap ring without lifting the truck. It will help a lot to have a M8 x 1.25 bolt that you can thread into the axle and use it as leverage to pull it as far as possible into the spindle.

FWIW, I'm now overly cautious about ensuring the front corners are in EXCELLENT working order after my own mishap when towing a heavy trailer.
Wheel bearings and all that was done by AAA... so going to be checking that again. Had the truck on the lift checking everything else and the driver side had some play from the bearing too. Might be a little loose on the preload. I'm planning on redoing the bearings. Brakes and everything else seemed fine, I honestly would love to dig into this right now and replace/regrease and retorque my whole front end but the reality is I have no time since I have to go back to uni tomorrow. My plan is to put a new snap ring and drive it as is after inspecting and seeing it's all good until the spring. During the spring I'm going to be doing a lot of front-end work and going through everything those incompetent mechanics touched on the truck.

Was going to shoot cruiseroutfitters a call since I've bought from them before but the dealer said they could get me all 6 snap rings (Varying thickness) sooner than I expect cruiseroutfitters to.

Think that putting a new snap ring in should be good for just light driving, given everything else seems okay for now? I don't like other people working on my car (for this very reason) but I can't get to this for another month or two. I'll be regreasing/replacing wheel bearings, probably toss an OEM axle in on that side depending on how the spline looks tomorrow.
 

ramangain

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Wheel bearings and all that was done by AAA... so going to be checking that again. Had the truck on the lift checking everything else and the driver side had some play from the bearing too. Might be a little loose on the preload. I'm planning on redoing the bearings. Brakes and everything else seemed fine, I honestly would love to dig into this right now and replace/regrease and retorque my whole front end but the reality is I have no time since I have to go back to uni tomorrow. My plan is to put a new snap ring and drive it as is after inspecting and seeing it's all good until the spring. During the spring I'm going to be doing a lot of front-end work and going through everything those incompetent mechanics touched on the truck.

Was going to shoot cruiseroutfitters a call since I've bought from them before but the dealer said they could get me all 6 snap rings (Varying thickness) sooner than I expect cruiseroutfitters to.

Think that putting a new snap ring in should be good for just light driving, given everything else seems okay for now? I don't like other people working on my car (for this very reason) but I can't get to this for another month or two. I'll be regreasing/replacing wheel bearings, probably toss an OEM axle in on that side depending on how the spline looks tomorrow.
If that wheel bearing is loose, you need to address it ASAP. Do a forum search on "950 miles" and you'll see what happens with wheel bearings that work loose and failed snap rings.
 

TheForger

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If you really don't have time to dig into it, at the minimum I'd say remove the hub flange, lock washer, claw washer, & thrust washer then tighten down the adjusting nut. That would only take 10min maybe. Then put everything back together with a new snap ring and that would be the safest bet to get you a month or two before digging into it deeper. All together maybe 15-20min per side.
 
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If you really don't have time to dig into it, at the minimum I'd say remove the hub flange, lock washer, claw washer, & thrust washer then tighten down the adjusting nut. That would only take 10min maybe. Then put everything back together with a new snap ring and that would be the safest bet to get you a month or two before digging into it deeper. All together maybe 15-20min per side.
Got ya. So I’m currently trying to pull the axle, found the snap ring buried in the dust cap so at one point it was on. I’m having trouble getting out out the last couple mm. Any tips? I lifted the car up on one side to see if that would help but no luck.
 
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Also I don’t know what aftermarket axle was put in but it’s bolt hole is M7 not M8. Seems like the bolt hole is cross threaded too... timing could not be worse hah. If I can get this pulled out. I’m fine with just tightening the wheel bearing nuts and replace the flange and axle in the future. Just deal with the jerk at stops if it does happen. Thoughts?

image.jpg
 

TheForger

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You'll need to leverage it outward. You can try a pair of vise grips or channel locks on the bolt. I make a puller tool down linked below in my sig line and I might be able to expedite shipping if you want. Other than that you'll have to get creative.

Don't mean to add insult to injury but the splines of your axle look terrible. Like where they might strip at any point. Do you keep tools in your truck? That is a ticking time bomb
 
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You'll need to leverage it outward. You can try a pair of vise grips or channel locks on the bolt. I make a puller tool down linked below in my sig line and I might be able to expedite shipping if you want. Other than that you'll have to get creative.

Don't mean to add insult to injury but the splines of your axle look terrible. Like to the point they might strip at any point. Do you keep tools in your truck? That is a ticking time bomb
Yea I did use some vise grips no luck.. when I bought the truck I figured I’d have to replace the non oem axle within a year but not like this lol.
Axle puller tool would be useful.
No worries I sent the pic partially because I saw how much of a gap I had and how little of the splines are left. Might just have to suck it up and stay, thinking drive flange and an OEM axle installed by the stealership, since I can’t possibly do it with everything going on. Possibly wheel bearing but I think they could be okay, got to open it up and see.
And yea, I do carry some basic tools and parts (ratchet set, Fuel pump, couple screwdrivers, etc.
 

ramangain

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Your snap ring will continue to slide off into the dust cap. Plan on at least a new outboard part of the existing axle, or a whole new OEM axle, and hub flange.

Just ensure the wheel bearings aren't moving around by doing what @TheForger suggested. Rule of thumb is that it should take SOME effort to turn the hub when both spindle nuts are torqued correctly, but not free spinning or needing to really put your back into it to get the front hub to spin. You really, really don't wanna trash the spindle like happened to me .... but if you do, I have a spare I can sell you on the cheap that is fully functional!
 
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Your snap ring will continue to slide off into the dust cap. Plan on at least a new outboard part of the existing axle, or a whole new OEM axle, and hub flange.

Just ensure the wheel bearings aren't moving around by doing what @TheForger suggested. Rule of thumb is that it should take SOME effort to turn the hub when both spindle nuts are torqued correctly, but not free spinning or needing to really put your back into it to get the front hub to spin. You really, really don't wanna trash the spindle like happened to me .... but if you do, I have a spare I can sell you on the cheap that is fully functional!
Yep I am going to opt for a new OEM axle and hub flange. Not worth it, I was trying to hold off so I could do the job myself and make sure it is done right but looks like the decisions is being made for me.
If the spindle is trashed I will be sure to PM you. She’s been parked up since I found out the snap ring was off and she will be until I can get the issue resolved.
 

ramangain

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Yep I am going to opt for a new OEM axle and hub flange. Not worth it, I was trying to hold off so I could do the job myself and make sure it is done right but looks like the decisions is being made for me.
If the spindle is trashed I will be sure to PM you. She’s been parked up since I found out the snap ring was off and she will be until I can get the issue resolved.
As long as the outer spindle nut has not fused itself to the spindle, you should be OK. I have a sneaking suspicion you'll be A-OK with an axle and hub flange that'll be snug as a bug with each other. Don't forget to tell the folks doing the work to grease the spindle bearing tucked on the inside of the back of the spindle.

I'm honestly shocked you didn't have more catastrophic failure driving 8k miles as it is. You put my record to shame!
 
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As long as the outer spindle nut has not fused itself to the spindle, you should be OK. I have a sneaking suspicion you'll be A-OK with an axle and hub flange that'll be snug as a bug with each other. Don't forget to tell the folks doing the work to grease the spindle bearing tucked on the inside of the back of the spindle.

I'm honestly shocked you didn't have more catastrophic failure driving 8k miles as it is. You put my record to shame!
I’m starting to think maybe not 8k miles but the popping did start about 4-5k ago so still a fair bit of time, the axle was replaced a week before purchase. I am equally as surprised as you are, my jaw hit the floor when I saw the axle moving freely. No idea how this didn’t give out yet considering I was driving rougher these past couple of weeks messing around in the snow. Didn’t think this would happen to me.

Anyways snow looks like it is going to clear out and we are getting some nice whether so pulling the axles myself (what I prefer doing) might be a viable option. Going to be ordering the slee grease tool and the axle puller once I confirm it.

Anyone know where I can get a good deal on an OEM axle? Best price I saw from my brief search was around $450.
 

ramangain

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^ If the Slee tool is sold out, I have one and I'm in Dayton. I also have the metal bar of the axle puller tool from TheForger if you supply the M8 x 1.25 bolts, washers, and nuts. And the 54mm spindle nut tool. If you really need them, I can send them if you pay for shipping both ways.
 

AlpineAccess

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You can make a spindle greasing tool for $2 at any hardware store. A few threads on here about how to make one under DIY Spindle Grease Tool. It's not as slick as the Slee tool but it greases the bearing properly and can be made right away.

Agreed with everyone else here to replace the flange and the CV, and do a full wheel bearing service based on the amount of use and conditions you have been driving in with the CV moving. If its a stock vehicle at a stock ride height, I don't really see the same issues with using a quality aftermarket CV that others might. The previous owner of my LC had aftermarket axles in it for 35k after an independent shop pulled the OEM ones for torn boots (I wish for my sake they had rebuilt them). I lifted it and got vibrations from the aftermarket axles, so I put in OEM and it was smooth. That being said, the aftermarket ones were in great shape, boots were good, and they weren't a problem at all prior to lifting.

A buddy of mine put aftermarket axles in his lifted GX. He had no vibrations, but the boots tore after two years and not caring about if the axles survived he drove with them like that for about 10k. The joints were scored and not in great shape when we took them out, but likely would have made it another 5-10k without any issue.

The interesting thing is that he got this particular set at advance auto - and the brand came with a lifetime warranty. He just walked in with the bad axles and walked out with a new pair, no questions asked - so if you're on a tight budget there is that option.
 
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You can make a spindle greasing tool for $2 at any hardware store. A few threads on here about how to make one under DIY Spindle Grease Tool. It's not as slick as the Slee tool but it greases the bearing properly and can be made right away.

Agreed with everyone else here to replace the flange and the CV, and do a full wheel bearing service based on the amount of use and conditions you have been driving in with the CV moving. If its a stock vehicle at a stock ride height, I don't really see the same issues with using a quality aftermarket CV that others might. The previous owner of my LC had aftermarket axles in it for 35k after an independent shop pulled the OEM ones for torn boots (I wish for my sake they had rebuilt them). I lifted it and got vibrations from the aftermarket axles, so I put in OEM and it was smooth. That being said, the aftermarket ones were in great shape, boots were good, and they weren't a problem at all prior to lifting.

A buddy of mine put aftermarket axles in his lifted GX. He had no vibrations, but the boots tore after two years and not caring about if the axles survived he drove with them like that for about 10k. The joints were scored and not in great shape when we took them out, but likely would have made it another 5-10k without any issue.

The interesting thing is that he got this particular set at advance auto - and the brand came with a lifetime warranty. He just walked in with the bad axles and walked out with a new pair, no questions asked - so if you're on a tight budget there is that option.
considering going this route as well if I don’t get any good quotes and the weather continues clearing up.

I feel you on the independent shop not rebooting the OEM. I’m seeing a lot of conflicting info on the cvj axles as well, think they would be fine if I am not running a lift but bigger tires in the future? (Possible a body lift and 35).
I wouldn’t mind putting OEM axles in but if, with relative certainty, I can get after markets to last I wouldn’t be opposed.


^ If the Slee tool is sold out, I have one and I'm in Dayton. I also have the metal bar of the axle puller tool from TheForger if you supply the M8 x 1.25 bolts, washers, and nuts. And the 54mm spindle nut tool. If you really need them, I can send them if you pay for shipping both ways.
Might make my own at this point, appreciate the offer but I am thinking that if I do the job I will buy all the tools required for the future. Did you do this yourself? Don’t want to get stuck with the car apart, How difficult is it? (I’d like to think I am mechanically inclined, I have replaced the starter on my 98’ in the past) OTRAMMS video is straightforward given I don’t have some particularly annoying bolts, trucks covered in fluid film and rust free so crossing my fingers. Lastly, I do see that there are some crush washers and things, are these included with the flange or separate?
 
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Wheel bearings from cruiseroutfitters came in today, axle and washers/nuts coming in tomorrow from the dealer.

Buying a couple tools I don’t have tomorrow. Shooting to installing Wednesday. Will update.

Probably should make a thread for my truck at this point to track everything.
 
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10CE3C60-5555-44DD-9AD3-F0116480D857.jpeg

Flange, axle, washers, and nuts came in today. Ordered the axle puller tool from @TheForger and decided I will DIY the spindle grease tool.

The more I have been reading up seems like I might just want to replace the diff seal since it could leak as well after I install the axle, what do you guys think? Given this is the RH side there is a stop so it shouldn’t be a problem getting it seated at the right depth?
 

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