Front Grinding with busted nuts?

Joined
Dec 3, 2020
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23
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NC
Been experiencing a very random loud grinding that feels and sounds like it's coming from the front right. Almost positive on the location. Had some brake work done to be sure that wasn't the problem, but it continued. When I say random, I might drive the car for 2 weeks and not hear it once, and then it'll happen twice on a 1 mile trip to the store. Usually it lasts between 3-5 seconds, and I can accelerate out of it. Almost always happens between 15-30 mph. The last 2 times it happened it was followed by a "click" sound, approx 1 click per tire rotation for about 10 seconds. Probably wouldn't have even noticed the clicking unless I had the window down. The click is not loud.

I suspected a wheel bearing, but when I found this youtube video (via mud) I was convinced I had a spindle bushing failure. This sounds exactly like what I get in my 80. (sound at ~23 sec mark):


Today I got inside the passenger side front knuckle and things got strange the second I took off the axle flange. Both the lock nut and adjusting nut were beat to hell. I had to hit them with brass drift just to be able to fit the 54mm socket over them. I expected to find some large metal shavings but didn't. Do we think this damage could be the source of the grinding? I'm starting to think no, and that the damage might have been from someone who tried to take these both out previously without a 54mm socket. Maybe they whacked them with a hammer and screwdriver or something? Not sure what's going on. Anyways, I've ordered some replacements as I didn't expect to need to replace those.

I've also included pictures of the spindle bushing, which looks to be in ok shape to me, but I'm no expert. I was planning to replace the spindle bushing, wheel bearing, and repack the knuckle with grease and hope that solves the problem. Anyways, I've included pics of the nuts and spindle in case anyone else has any ideas. Thanks!

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Joined
Nov 9, 2012
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13,230
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Olathe, KS, USA
Excessively loose wheel bearings will place extra strain on the spindle bushing.

I'm guessing your bearings were NOT seated when you got things torqued down, then a bit of driving worked them loose. Then each time you turned, it would cause the Birf to grind inside the spindle.

Do a rebuild get new nuts and star washer and put it all back together with plenty of grease in the knuckle.
 
Joined
Jan 5, 2017
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4,048
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Charlotte, NC & Alexandria, VA
^ definitely a chisel wrench.

It's hard to tell from a photo, but your bushing looks like it has some scoring inside. If you can spare the change, I'd replace it.
 

ppc

M Go Blue
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Aug 18, 2003
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Nashville, TN
Are your pictures showing the condition as pulled apart or after cleanup? The bearings look dry and the brass bushing looks to have significant wear due to lack of lubrication. The knuckle cavity should be 2/3rds full of grease but looks almost empty. Others may be able to make better comments about the brass bushing since it has been several years since I pulled by spindles apart.
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2020
Messages
23
Location
NC
^ definitely a chisel wrench.

It's hard to tell from a photo, but your bushing looks like it has some scoring inside. If you can spare the change, I'd replace it.
Yes, I'm replacing the spindle bushings. I went with the newer OEM spindle bearing and bushing combo. I know there is some debate about which is best, but I went bearings for what it's worth. Thanks
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2020
Messages
23
Location
NC
Are your pictures showing the condition as pulled apart or after cleanup? The bearings look dry and the brass bushing looks to have significant wear due to lack of lubrication. The knuckle cavity should be 2/3rds full of grease but looks almost empty. Others may be able to make better comments about the brass bushing since it has been several years since I pulled by spindles apart.
There has been some light cleanup just to post pics. Yes, the knuckle cavity needs a lot more moly for sure, but I did pull of grease from the front of the cavity before posting. I hit the brass bushing with a degreaser and paper towels before posting as well. I've only owned this 80 for about 15 months, and it's the first time I've opened up the knuckle.
 
Joined
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Yes, I'm replacing the spindle bushings. I went with the newer OEM spindle bearing and bushing combo. I know there is some debate about which is best, but I went bearings for what it's worth. Thanks
The "engineering reason" for choosing a bushing instead of a bearing is economy, which has nothing to do at all with engineering. I'd put a bearing in there, too.
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2010
Messages
1,171
I think the engineering argument for the bushing is reliability/durability in vehicles that might not be well maintained/greased regularly. Both probably have their place but the bushings have been in mine for 20+ years and are doing their job. I am guessing the needle bearings have been around in some vehicles almost as long and likely are fine too but I don't have 1st hand experience with them.
 

JunkCrzr89

Competent Ignoramoose
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Jul 21, 2019
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Yes, I'm replacing the spindle bushings. I went with the newer OEM spindle bearing and bushing combo.
Get some wheel bearings too. The hammer + chisel method for tightening the adjusting and lock nuts results in way too much bearing play for them to survive without damage.
 

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