2000 SLS recurring wheel bearing / hub assembly problem
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Cadillac Seville / Cadillac Eldorado Forum Discussion, 2000 SLS recurring wheel bearing / hub assembly problem in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; My 2000 SLS has been plagued with a wheel bearing issue for quite some time. I'm coming to wits end ...
  1. #1
    Brandon Meats's Avatar
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    2000 SLS recurring wheel bearing / hub assembly problem

    My 2000 SLS has been plagued with a wheel bearing issue for quite some time. I'm coming to wits end and starting to get really annoyed with this issue. I've owned the car for about 6 years now and as long as I can remember, when you shift the car into gear after it's parked there is an audible click that comes from the left front wheel. I usually can get it to act up intermittently shifting between drive and reverse with the brakes applied. the click isn't so bothersome, but it's the other issues that come along with it. When I change a bearing it will last a couple months, but once the click starts it starts a noise that sounds like tire hum. I rotate or switched the tires around and the noise doesn't change and I even bought new tires once. Also the bearing develops a slight play or wobble, but it's marginal where as the right front gives no issues. I'll put a new or warrantied wheel bearing in and everything is fine with no clicks, wobble or noise. Give it 2-3 months and it's back in which I repeat the process. I've probably put a dozen wheel bearings in since I initially had one go out and start grinding shortly after I bought the car. I started with a Timken premium bearing from Auto Zone which I warrantied about three times until they would no longer warranty them for me. Then I switched to the Precision premium wheel bearing with the same warranty process, followed by AC Delco from the local dealer, and now I'm on to my first SKF bearing (the right front has had an SKF assembly in there for years). Every time it's changed the three bolts and axle nut are torqued to manufacturer or dealer specs. I moonlight at a local shop as a mechanic which we use nothing but aftermarket due to customer price constraints, and haven't had any problems with theirs. I know aftermarket is taboo on this forum, which is why I even tried AC Delco just to see if it persisted. Luckily I'm only at having bought four bearings out of the nine I've actually replaced. I just don't understand what could be causing this. There's a hub assembly, a CV axle and a spindle, which I don't see how either of those two components can cause this problem. I've replaced wheel bearings on many vehicles for people over the years from the cheapest eBay stuff to premium dealer and factory parts, from high end cars with low miles to rust buckets that should have been put down a long time ago. Of everything I've ever tackled on cars and trucks, nothing has me stumped as much as this bearing issue. Does anybody have any thoughts or ideas? Anyone have or had a similar problem? I've gotten pretty good at hub assemblies to where I can do them in my sleep, I'm just sick of doing it. Thinking about possibly changing the spindle cause I'm out of ideas.

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  3. #2
    basscatt's Avatar
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    Re: 2000 SLS recurring wheel bearing / hub assembly problem

    think of what CAUSES unusual strain on a wheel bearing -

    here are the BIG THREE -

    wheels with the wrong offset -

    mis-alignment -

    or bent/broken/worn parts -

  4. #3
    Brandon Meats's Avatar
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    Re: 2000 SLS recurring wheel bearing / hub assembly problem

    Yeah I keep going over that stuff in my mind. Car has stock 16" wheels with new tires 3 weeks ago. I replaced the steering rack with inner tie rods, outer tie rod ends, control arms, lower ball joints and sway bar link ends back in September of 2012, then I took it in for a 4 wheel alignment performed by a local shop that does nothing but alignments. Also when I installed the new tires I took it in to have the alignment checked again, which it was still spot on. The only thing I didn't change were the spindles or CV axles. The axles are fine, no clicks or boots torn and the spindle really has no moving parts and it's not really an item that wears, it just holds everything in place. I'm out of ideas and it's only the left front that has this problem. The bearings have been getting easier to change. I don't know if that's because they're not in long enough to stick, or maybe the hole in the spindle is wobbled out?

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    Re: 2000 SLS recurring wheel bearing / hub assembly problem

    If it where one or even two replacements gone bad I could accept that, but NINE? I'm not buying that. NO ONE has THAT bad of luck. Something is causing them to fail. I can't imagine what though.

  6. #5
    Brandon Meats's Avatar
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    I guess I'm a glutton for punishment, or else I picked up a real lemon of a car. Lol. 3 timkens, 3 precisions, 2 AC Delcos and now an SKF I put in about 5 weeks ago that started acting up last week. I think I might warranty this SKF and pop in a new CV axle and see if that changes anything. Maybe pick up a boneyard steering knuckle and toss that in too. I'd rather do just one so if the axle change stops it from going out I'll know, versus doing both and not knowing which of those two components fixed the problem, if at all.

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    Re: 2000 SLS recurring wheel bearing / hub assembly problem

    Is there any chance you are over torquing the hub nut?

  8. #7
    Brandon Meats's Avatar
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    I doubt it. I called the dealer the first time I changed the bearing and they told me 90 lbft on the three 13mm bolts and 107 lbft on the axle nut. SKF had the torque value at 118 lbft but I went with factory specs on the Delcos and 118 on the SKF bearings. That's what the right one is torqued at and no issues. I don't think that 11 lbft on that nut should make a huge difference, but you never know.

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    Re: 2000 SLS recurring wheel bearing / hub assembly problem

    Sounds like you're good. I just had to ask. I'm baffled.

  10. #9
    Brandon Meats's Avatar
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    That makes two of us, probably three if sub has seen this. I was just in hopes that someone else had an issue like this and repaired it, or if it threw up any red flags from back in the day of a TSB or customer concern topic. I think what I'll do is warranty this SKF hub again, toss in a new CV axle and see what happens. If it starts clicking after a few weeks, I'm going to comb my hair with a shotgun. Well maybe one more warranty with a different steering knuckle before that. If that doesn't work, then I am completely clueless.

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    Re: 2000 SLS recurring wheel bearing / hub assembly problem

    As basscatt said, there must be unusual strain on the bearings, since it's so unlikely you could have gotten so unlucky to have a run of nine defective hubs. What could cause it? I like your idea of the knuckle as being about the only thing you haven't eliminated by replacement. But the problem would also have to be something that wouldn't show up in an alignment. Could the alignment, being done in relatively static circumstances, miss excessive camber that only shows up when driving? How 'bout a shifting relationship between the steering gear and the inner tie rod that allows the camber to ride out when driving? Hey, sounds crazy even to me! But a crazy problem deserves a crazy cause, eh?

  12. #11
    3redlines is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2000 SLS recurring wheel bearing / hub assembly problem

    My vote would be a slightly deformed knuckle.

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    Re: 2000 SLS recurring wheel bearing / hub assembly problem

    "but I went with factory specs on the Delcos and 118 on the SKF bearings. That's what the right one is torqued at and no issues. I don't think that 11 lbft on that nut....

    The big bearing retainer nuts on my C3 Corvettes, are only torqued in to a very few ft-lbs. A cotter pin is used to secure them. In the above it looks as if the bearing nut is cited once at 118 ft-lbs and in another instance at 11 ft-lbs. Clarify please? Am I misreading. Thanks Hal

  14. #13
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    Re: 2000 SLS recurring wheel bearing / hub assembly problem

    Quote Originally Posted by halsls View Post
    "but I went with factory specs on the Delcos and 118 on the SKF bearings. That's what the right one is torqued at and no issues. I don't think that 11 lbft on that nut....

    The big bearing retainer nuts on my C3 Corvettes, are only torqued in to a very few ft-lbs. A cotter pin is used to secure them. In the above it looks as if the bearing nut is cited once at 118 ft-lbs and in another instance at 11 ft-lbs. Clarify please? Am I misreading. Thanks Hal
    ----------------------
    so - HOW do the manually-packed tapered roller bearings -
    of a 40+ year old rear-wheel drive Corvette -
    relate - in any way - to the sealed hubs of a front-wheel drive Cadillac?
    ----------------

    it looks as if the bearing nut is cited once at 118 ft-lbs
    and in another instance at 11 ft-lbs.
    Clarify please?
    Am I misreading.

    YES -

    read post #7 -

    11 ft/lb DIFFERENCE -
    between the 107 recommended by the dealer -
    and 118 recommended by SKF

  15. #14
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    Possibly if the CV isn't bottomed out in the hub it could allow some movement and still torque to specs. Since the hub bolts to the spindle I would think something would crack if it was moving in it. My bet would be on something wrong with CV, he would have picked hip on shimmy from bad tie rods or something else with his experience.

  16. #15
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    The process of torquing the bolt would bottom it out.

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