Can this spindle be saved? -
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Unread 09-23-2011, 09:48 PM   #1
Web Wheeler
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1977 CJ7 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: , Northern Arizona
Posts: 2,902
Can this spindle be saved?

I think I know the answer, but I'll ask anyway and hope. (Hey if it wasn't for optimists, pessimists wouldn't know what they're not enjoying, right?)

Here's the story: The inner wheel bearing fried. It was so badly damaged/burned it had to be cut off the spindle. It also looks like it ground into the spindle about .02 inch. It's ugly and I'm attaching ugly pictures. I'd compare it to the other one, but this is the first one I've disassembled an am in no hurry to have both opened up at the same time unless I absolutely have to. What I'm hoping for is to be able to turn the surface where it ground down with some emery paper. (Kind of smooth it out) But .02 where the new bearing will sit scares me.

Here's the awful pics and a fantastically artistic drawing that attempts to show the profile. I hope it's close enough for someone who knows what he's doing to vaguely understand it.

You can see the damage down by the shoulder (I hope)

And my perfectly
clear summation!


It took some time, patience and a VERY light touch with a Dremel Tool, but this spindle WAS saved! As JeepHammer points out in a subsequent post, a lot of the spindle merely supports the races of the bearings. The surfaces do need to be round and smooth, free of burrs etc., but they do not need to have a polished surface.

All I did was purchase everything but the spindle and then dry fit the parts as I cleaned it up. The bearings fit just fine as did all the seals. RESULT: I saved $100 ! (+/-)

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Unread 09-23-2011, 10:00 PM   #2
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1976 CJ5 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: ne, ky.
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for what it's worth, i had one do the same thing. mine looked better than yours, and i screwed up a new bearing trying to get it to work. messed up the hub also, turned a bushing to seat the race into. would have worked, but i ended up replacing spindle and hub, used too many bearings and seals in the process. would have been ahead doing it right the first time, like i knew i should.
76 cj5, glass body, 360- dui, t150, locked 30 & 20 locked, one piece, 4:10
4 inch susp. lift 1 inch body, 33 swampers, disc front brake,
mile marker winch,on board air, agr steering, full roll cage.
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Unread 09-23-2011, 10:43 PM   #3
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1986 CJ7 
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yeah i would just replace it and be done. im sure it will save money in the end
86 cj7 496 powered 465/205 ton axles 38.5 boggers
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Unread 09-24-2011, 06:32 AM   #4
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1973 CJ5 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: South West Indiana
Posts: 10,154
OK, what I'm seeing in the blurry pictures is fine.

The bearings run on their own races, what you are seeing on the spindle is a NON-MOVING MECHANICAL SUPPORT SURFACE.
It can be QUITE gouged and still work just fine since the bearings don't run directly on that surface.
What you are showing is the SUPPORT surface for the bearing, the bearings don't ride directly on that surface, so it doesn't have to be 'Perfect', but you want it smooth enough the bearing fit over the gouges, and smoothing down the gouges will allow more of the bearing races to contact.
That contact transfers heat away from the bearings to the spindle where it can be dissipated.

The only real point of concern you didn't mention, the seal surface which looks fine and isn't really dimension critical since the seal lip is OVERSIZE and clearances it's self as it 'Wears In'.
That's the INSIDE seal surface, which you haven't included dimension for... But doesn't really matter since if it's reasonably smooth, the seal will make up for size.

I've used them looking a LOT worse without presenting any problems.

BTY, you have a HARDENED spindle, which started about '82 and are pretty hard to find anymore.
The replacements ARE NOT hardened, and they are more prone to damage.
If this would have happened on a dead soft spindle, it would have broke or wiped out the spindle.
If you can smooth this one down a little (Gouges usually have sharp edges, so smooth the edges down and reuse) and go with it again, I would use it over a current 'Replacement'.

Since the replacement part market (Aftermarket) DOESN'T make them like the factory, you are usually MUCH better off with the original than the aftermarket replacements that aren't as high a quality as the factory units.

Let's see if I can get this drawing to upload...
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Unread 09-24-2011, 07:38 AM   #5
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1977 CJ7 
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Location: , Northern Arizona
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Thanks for all the replies. What I think I'm going to do is try to smooth out the surface by turning the spindle using some emery paper. I need to buy some bearings anyway, so I figure I'll dry fit them and see if they fit. If it doesn't look good, well I am retired so all I've wasted is some trail time.

My main concern is that .020" difference in the surface where the bearing would be sitting. I understand the idea that it doesn't need to be "polished" there because just as JeepHammer posted, nothing is actually turning against that surface. I am concerned though that there may be a "step" right underneath the bearing.

Am I overthinking the problem? I'll spend the $100 more if needed, I just want to make sure it is.

BTW, it's a 77 with drum brakes. Thanks. And just because someone makes a suggestion I don't use doesn't mean I haven't considered it long and hard. There's lots of people out there in the world that I can learn from, that's for sure!
Paved roads are just for getting you to the starting point!

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Unread 09-24-2011, 06:37 PM   #6
48 willys
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1968 CJ5 
Join Date: Apr 2007
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have it spray welded or hard chrome plated for repairing. have seen this done to save crankshafts and will work on that spindle.
68 CJ-5 231 V-6 , sm465 trans , Dana-18 w/ overdrive , Dana 44 front and rear w/ 4:88 gears , ARB lockers front and rear , 4" lift , 33 12.5 15 mtz tires. all steel body with no rust , little tank offroad and drives great on the road with the over drive. it's a keeper......
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