Front axle and brake concern

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Oct 11, 2010
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For months I have been getting this hot metal smell. About a week ago my brakes started going out. I checked the fluid and it was little low but not bad. Sometimes they worked and sometimes they didnt. So tonight they went out. I drove home slowly got it up on jack stands and took off the front tires. The front DS rotor was hot enough to give me a big blister on my finger. The PS was not. I let it cool down for about an hour. When I came back the hub on the DS was still very warm and PS was cool. So a couple of questions. The hot metal smell is difinitely coming from the hub on the DS. Why. The brake pads were fine on both sides. Do you think it is something to do with the brakes or do I need to be concerned about the inside of the axle? I dont know what to think. Why do my brakes work then dont work. Any help would be great.
 
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Yes. Tonight it was pulling hard to the DS. The steering wheel was also wobbling back and forth. It stopped wobbling after a little while.
 
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It is the brake caliper more than likely
You need to pull it apart
My truck started pulling one direction when a caliper started to freeze up on me
But not as bad as yours from the sound of it
I bet your caliper is froze up
You will know when you look at the pistons on the caliper, you wont be able to compress it or them which ever it is
 

ppc

M Go Blue
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This sounds like a bad wheel bearings or a combination of problems. Don't get me wrong, but from your description and the questions you are asking you may be inexperienced in this area. If my brakes were failing I would not wait until they completely failed or a month to examine them. I would suggest that you have a professional mechanic repair this or at minimum work with an experienced friend that can mentor you through the identification and repair of this problem. Brakes are nothing to fool around with.

My guess is that the wheel bearings are loose because of failure or improper previous maintenance/repair. The hub will wobble as it rotates pushing the pads away from the rotor. When you apply the brakes the first push may not move the pads close enough to contact the rotor. You would have to pump the brakes to get them to get firm to the rotor. Does this describe what you are experiencing?
 
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Does not sound like a bearing issue at all
Intermittent brakes and pulling to one side, I can almost bet the farm he has a caliper problem
It is almost exactly how my truck behaved when I discovered a frozen caliper
But I addressed the issue immediatly when it pulled the slightest bit I pulled the calipers and rebuilt them
Problem solved

Like Phil said brakes are a safety issue you should address them now, and you should not have waited so long
If they were acting funny I would have fixed the problem at the first sign of issue, not wait until they fail
You got lucky it could have been worse
I would not drive the truck until you solve the problem
 
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It could be a hub or brake problem. I wouldn't put it back on the road without checking both. Even if it's just the brakes, that much heat probably broke down the grease, so, at the very least, I would re grease the bearings.
 
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My guess is that the wheel bearings are loose because of failure or improper previous maintenance/repair. The hub will wobble as it rotates pushing the pads away from the rotor. When you apply the brakes the first push may not move the pads close enough to contact the rotor. You would have to pump the brakes to get them to get firm to the rotor. Does this describe what you are experiencing?

Poor brake pad contact can also happen due to a loose caliper. But neither explains the heat:confused:. There's some serious friction going on here. If that were coming from the brakes alone, the pads would be shot or at least, unevenly worn. :hmm:

My bet would be that there's more going on than just brakes.:idea:
 
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This sounds like a bad wheel bearings or a combination of problems. Don't get me wrong, but from your description and the questions you are asking you may be inexperienced in this area. If my brakes were failing I would not wait until they completely failed or a month to examine them. I would suggest that you have a professional mechanic repair this or at minimum work with an experienced friend that can mentor you through the identification and repair of this problem. Brakes are nothing to fool around with.

My guess is that the wheel bearings are loose because of failure or improper previous maintenance/repair. The hub will wobble as it rotates pushing the pads away from the rotor. When you apply the brakes the first push may not move the pads close enough to contact the rotor. You would have to pump the brakes to get them to get firm to the rotor. Does this describe what you are experiencing?
I am not inexperienced. I change all my own brakes. I'm bouncing ideas off of other people before I start tearing into stuff. I've had calipers stick before but never had the metal smell like welding or using a cutting torch. Last wednesday on my way home from work I had very little brakes. Then they came back. Got home checked the fluid. it was a little low. Filled it up. Took it out for a drive. Brakes worked fine. Worked fine on thursday. I dismissed the whole thing as low fluid/air. WOW. I guess I got on this website to bounce ideas off of people before tearing into things. WOW. Inexperienced
 
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Its a common and good practice to service wheel bearings when performing a brake job,
thing that puzzles me a bit is that the pads are fine on both sides,
I would think with it pulling and a sticking caliper would show worn pads on the side in question,

I agree, if this has been going on for a month, the pads would be toast.
 
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The pads looked the same on both sides. The pulling to one side only happened tonight, along with the wobbling. The reason I posted is the heat. Like I said the DS hub after sitting for about an hour was still very warm. The PS was cool. So even if I replace the calipers/pads. Should I do something with the axle. I'm going to rebuild the axle in another month or so. So would it be ok to change the calipers/pads now and wait the month or so to do the axle job?
 
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The pads looked the same on both sides. The pulling to one side only happened tonight, along with the wobbling. The reason I posted is the heat. Like I said the DS hub after sitting for about an hour was still very warm. The PS was cool. So even if I replace the calipers/pads. Should I do something with the axle. I'm going to rebuild the axle in another month or so. So would it be ok to change the calipers/pads now and wait the month or so to do the axle job?

My bet is that you have a damaged bearing.:hmm: I wouldn't put it back together without checking them.:meh: If you have the calipers off, the job's half done. You might as well get in there while your hands are dirty.:wrench:
 

reconranger

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I agree w/ Brother Rob.

I wouldn't wait another month. The excess heat and intermittent brake loss is very worrisome.

An accident is waiting to happen. It's not that much more to check the wheel bearings once the calipers are off.

Good luck.
 
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I would agree on the bearings as well.
Im sorry I missed the part about the hub still being really hot way after it sat for awhile
But what has me thinking is the intermittment brakes then, all of a sudden it gets tight and the truck pulls hard to one side, like the caliper was only working part of the time then it finally froze which is why the pads still look ok
 
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Yes you do
But I think that there is another alternative from Sears or where ever like 2 1/8 inch socket works IIRC
It is what I use, and I got the info on it from mud so other mud members use it as well.
I will go out and check my tool box and report back in alittle bit
This way you have more options to find a socket to fit
 
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It is a 2 1/8 inch socket with a 3/4 inch adaptor
Works like a charm
You should be able to get one at Sears our a similar store
 
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Common hub heat problems are draging brakes or bearing failure. Are you hearing/feeling any noises or vibaration, espicially at speed, when not on the brakes?

Two common things that can cause brake drag, the already mentioned caliper sticking and hydraulic. To test for a hydraulic drag; pump the brakes, drive using them hard/often, until the drag starts, then with the brakes at rest, crack open the bleeder on that caliper. If fluid squirts out there is a hydraulic problem, usually master cylinder, sometimes just push rod adjustment.

I agree with the others about the strong possibility of it being a wheel bearing problem. Is there play at the wheel? If there is enough play/bearing damage to cause that much heat, it is almost always makes noise/vibration, easily detectable from the driver seat.
 
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So with the cost of OEM stuff I went with stuff from autozone. I bought new wheel bearings(which I think are the same as OEM) new break pads and reman calipers. I know I wanted to go with OEM. It sounds stupid but I just wanted to get the thing back on the road. But have to wait 2 days for the calipers. They had to order them. Thanks kidglove13 for the 2 1/8 tip vs. the 54 MM socket. I never would have converted it over and after talking to my dad about the whole thing he said he has a 2 1/8 socket i can borrow. I will keep everyone posted with pics. One more thing what kind of grease should I use on the wheel bearings?
 

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