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Unread 06-13-2010, 11:18 AM   #1
ckcamer
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Front tire/wheel wobble..NOT DW

I have had a wobble at highway speed for past few weeks. Also getting some bad tire wear on front drivers side. I attributed this to low air pressure due to a slow leak in the tire.

I decided since I was doing some other work to lift it up to check for wheel play...sure enough...holding tire at 12/6 there is quite a bit of movement. Looking behind wheel when doing this there does not appear to be any play in the ball joints. Rotated wheel and do get a slight noise but nothing to make me think its a bearing.

It literally looks as if the axle itself is moving. Any ideas? I am hoping its just the wheel bearing but does anyone know of any other causes of that kind of wheel play? Could it be half shaft, or u joint? Any ways to tell for sure?

Your help is appreciated!

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Unread 06-13-2010, 11:24 AM   #2
Jerry Bransford
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It could very well still be the unit bearing hub even though the wheel seems to spin quietly enough.
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Unread 06-14-2010, 09:25 AM   #3
ckcamer
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Thanks Jerry. Are there any other ways to tell for sure? I don't want to replace it and then find out it was something else all along.

Any good write-ups on how to replace them?
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Unread 06-14-2010, 09:45 AM   #4
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how much does it wobble? are you having someone else watch your ball joints to see if they are moving? someones from the angle that you can best wiggle a ball joint you cant see the ball joint and if you are where you can see it then you cant wiggle it because of the bad angle.

Its either ball joint, wheel bearing, or loose lug nuts but i will give you the benefit of the doubt and lean toward it not being lug nuts. have someone help you inspect if you havent yet.
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Unread 06-14-2010, 09:47 AM   #5
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With a bad bearing it will appear that the outer axle shaft is moving because it is. The nut on the end of the shaft tightens down against the outer surface of the unit bearing. If there is play in the bearing the shaft will move with the bearing.

http://www.stu-offroad.com/axle/ball...alljoint-1.htm
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Unread 06-14-2010, 11:45 AM   #6
Jerry Bransford
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckcamer View Post
Thanks Jerry. Are there any other ways to tell for sure? I don't want to replace it and then find out it was something else all along.

Any good write-ups on how to replace them?
If it turns out to be a bad unit bearing hub, directions don't come any better than what you'll find at Stu Olson's website at D-30 Axle Shaft Removal

Those directions include swapping the front axle shaft too so just ignore that parts after it shows how to get the unit bearing hub off. Pay attention to the ft-lbs. tightness figures at the very end of the article, particularly the two bolts that hold the brake assembly in place. Those two bolts only get tightened to 11 ft-lbs. (& no more than that!) while the three bolts that hold the unit-bearing hub get tightened to 75 ft-lbs.
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Unread 06-14-2010, 12:24 PM   #7
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It looks like the bearing is not to hard to replace. Does not even seem to need a puller?? Since we can't see any play in the ball joints I am going to just go with the bearing being bad.

Any good brands or PNs you can recommend? Any special tools I will need other than a big socket?

One last question, would it be too much more work to just do the ball joints as well? It looks like a lot more work from the links?
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Unread 06-14-2010, 12:34 PM   #8
ckcamer
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Oh, one more thing...if the bearing is bad is it save enough to drive the 60 miles a day to work and back..on the freeway?? I won't be able to get this fixed until saturday and my 4runner has a driveline vibration that still needs fixing..so both of options are not to great at highway speeds...
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Unread 06-14-2010, 12:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckcamer View Post
It looks like the bearing is not to hard to replace. Does not even seem to need a puller?? Since we can't see any play in the ball joints I am going to just go with the bearing being bad.

Any good brands or PNs you can recommend? Any special tools I will need other than a big socket?

One last question, would it be too much more work to just do the ball joints as well? It looks like a lot more work from the links?
unit bearings are very easy to replace.

how much does it wobble? is it scary? mine has a slight wobble that i have driven on for 2 weeks now and the wobble hasnt increased at all. check it frequently, make sure it isnt changing.

however the failer result in this scenario is the wheel falling off so that is your call.



the bolts are confusing at first though, at least they were to me. they are 13mm 12 point socket bolts.

you do not need a puller you just put a bolt in a specific spot and turn the wheel. it should be show in stu olsen's write up.
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Unread 06-14-2010, 01:48 PM   #10
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Thanks, thats kind of what I figured. It should wobble pretty bad before failing completely I would think..or hope I guess is better.

It's not too bad at all unless I hit a bump at speed while turning. Otherwise its just a shimmy of less than a 1/2 inch at the steering wheel. It has been wobbling for about 2 weeks now but had the woble on the corners, like freeway on ramps for a few months.

I will prob just switch back and forth between the two rigs and hope for the best

Thanks for the help everyone.
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Unread 06-14-2010, 02:40 PM   #11
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I had a very small wobble for the past couple weeks, took my Jeep in for a alignment and they told me I need new wheel bearings. Ill be putting in new bearings tonight.

My wobble would only occur at a about 77km/h and would be worse if I put on the brakes but as I speed up or slow down it would go away.
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Unread 06-15-2010, 05:25 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckcamer View Post
Oh, one more thing...if the bearing is bad is it save enough to drive the 60 miles a day to work and back..on the freeway?? ...
No problem. If you don't mind cruising down the freeway on three wheels I'm sure the folks sharing the highway with you won't mind either.
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Unread 06-15-2010, 08:41 AM   #13
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Replaced my bearings last night as planned, VERY EASY I must say, if you can do your own brakes you can replace a bearing.

Looks like it fixed my wobble issues.
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Unread 06-15-2010, 09:51 AM   #14
ckcamer
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Have the parts ordered. Will do the install either Friday night or Saturday. Thanks for the help everyone.

I have always wanted a three wheeler..since they don't make them anymore I guess I will just have to create my own..haha

No seriously. I am driving the 4runner the rest of the week. I would rather have the rear end implode and maybe drop the driveshaft than have a wheel fall off and lose complete control..maybe roll...yada yada...been fine for a couple weeks but shouldn't test my luck. The driveline on the 4runner is actually not that bad...it's going into the shop next week since the u-joint bolts are all too rusted on for me to get off.

Aaahhhh....the joys of 2 vehicles over 140k miles. The thing I like to throw in the face of all the yota guys is that the TJ actually runs much better and has had far fewer problems than the wife's 4runner.

Thanks again!
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Unread 06-16-2010, 06:53 PM   #15
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Not trying to steal your thread but i am getting a little bit of steering wobble when turning to the left at like 45mph's and sometimes straight forward down the highway maybe at the same speed. It seems random and is not all the time but i dont even know what to look at. I have looked at all the steering components and literally just had an alignment and put on a 3.25" suspension lift on. I did nothing to the front trackbar and i thought maybe that has something to do with it? Any thoughts? Oh and i did do the rear trackbar relocation bracket...
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