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Old 07-11-2009, 04:28 PM
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Default what do you think of my spindle?

My DS wheel bearing has a history of coming loose. I have historically tightened it about once a year, between services.. last time was last summer just before Rubicon when I gave the inner nut about a 1/8 turn, which was enough to remove the play I could feel when I yanked on the tire.

I had the 80 up on a lift last Wednesday and felt the tire again, and again it was loose. So today I got the parts together and commenced repacking both sides.



This is the 5th or 6th time I've looked at this spindle, and it's worse than it's ever been. It took about 20 in & out attempts with the WD40 in between to work the inner nut off, something got in there and buggered those threads up. Also the star washer had turned somehow, the little tab was no longer in the groove . My theory is that 6 or so years ago when I first noticed the loose wheel bearing, the larger bearing wore into the spindle somehow, and created a little step that it can't get shoved past. So now when I repack an retighten this side it doesn't really make it back to the sweet spot. I set these bearings on the tight side- any tighter gets the drive flange really hot- but still a year later they're loose again.


I don't remember the ding on the top, where it transitions to the larger diameter, though that's not really a functional surface. You can see where the inner bearing rides in the picture below. I've got new big nuts, and a new star washer. I was planning on repacking the bearings again and slapping it all together, then dealing with the spindle maybe next year when I want to do the birfs again (they were last done 30k miles ago) but now I'm not so sure I shouldn't just go get me a new spindle. who would like to comment..
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Old 07-11-2009, 05:17 PM
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Is the surface that the inner bearing seats against chewed up? If it is, I'd replace the whole spindle.
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Old 07-11-2009, 05:37 PM
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I don't see anything that I would suspect would lead to the issue you are having... but then, spindles are not that expensive. Sure why not?

What does the HUB look like? I would sooner expect something with it.
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Old 07-11-2009, 06:51 PM
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when is the last time you replaced the bearings?
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Old 07-11-2009, 07:07 PM
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Ok, thank you for the replies. I did a little more inspection, and I've definitely got some steps worn into the OD of the spindle.. it's worse on the small bearing side, using my thumbnailcrometer I measure it about .004". The one in back is about half that.

AFAIK, these are the original wheel bearings. 165,000 miles... only the last 60k of that was under my care and this would have been the third time I'd repacked them. No telling what the first guy did...
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Old 07-11-2009, 07:12 PM
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Few more pictures.. I may pop the PS later tonight but then again my hands are clean now and I'm kind of liking that, so could be tomorrow. But at this point I'm leaning towards at least one new set of bearings and 1 new spindle, then I guess I'll do the birf too since it'll be out in my hand. Depending on what I find on the other side, possibly double that.


I'm not doing the trunion bearings though those are a 120K item, IMO.. still, more than I was hoping to get into.


edit: and new spindles are about $250 per side. But they come with bearings on the inside instead of bushings..
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Old 07-12-2009, 10:26 AM
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That spindle looks done to me.
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Old 07-12-2009, 11:19 AM
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I popped the passenger side, and it's significantly better looking. All the surfaces are smooth, plus the bearing grease was still red. I think water got in around the grease seal via the groovy surface on the other side, that's why that stuff was so black looking and watery. The stuff on the passenger side was much newer looking.

And my inner seal was holding great, the stuff in the DS birf looked fresh out of the moly tube. Oh well it's mixed with gear oil now since the axle's out..

So I'm going to do a new spindle and new set of wheel bearings for the driver's side, and just put the passenger side back together with a repack of the bearings. I'll be back in three years to do it all over again, may will do the passenger side spindle at that time so it's not jealous.
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Old 07-12-2009, 12:21 PM
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sounds like a good plan to me.
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Old 07-12-2009, 02:09 PM
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Plenty of spare grease packed into the cavity between the bearings! Guess the theory would be that centrifugal force will make it creep into the bearings? Haven't seen that happen yet regardless of how fast one drives. Always been a good laugh for me when I see folks pack the cavity that way!
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