Cadillac Tech Tips - How to fix it Discussion, Don't Do What I did!!! in Item Specific Cadillac Discussion; It is common knowledge and common practice to replace BOTH front hub/bearing assemblies even when only one is showing signs ...
It is common knowledge and common practice to replace BOTH front hub/bearing assemblies even when only one is showing signs of fatigue.
Did I do that? No! I replaced the one that was making noise. I installed new rotors on both sides and new pads.
Everything was just fine until I was on a 200 mile trip in my 91 Seville with the A/C blowing and the radio on my favorite station, cruise set at 70 MPH. All of a sudden I hear a high pitch squeal from the hub I neglected to change while pocketing a whole $80 US dollars plus tax.
Long story short, the hub froze on the spindle, trashed the tire, and the tow bill home was more than what the whole job done right would have initially cost. Not to factor the damage to the roasted tire. I don't know as of yet if the spindle or more is trashed, because it happened this evening, and I have not yet taken it apart.
Actually the hub never froze to the spindle as I suspected. What happened was the bearing failed allowing the hub to shift enough for the rotor to shear the caliper bracket bolts. The caliper wedged itself inside the rim.
The repair was completed today along with a new set of tires. Car runs fine
(new hub, new rotor, new caliper, fresh set of pads, new tires) Expensive lesson for me.
As some know I'm doing what is pretty much a complete restoration on the '76 Eldorado. Havn't gotten to the front bearings yet, but got to the backs yesterday and any grease left was hardened, felt more like gum or sticky tac. They had so much play in them it was unbelievable that they had not failed.
You don't mention which one of the 3, but out of all of the 3, a bearing failure seems permature. I, too, wonder if something went wrong during a repair. You see, I have been around/worked on many cars with mega-hundered of thousand miles on them. Properly installed/lubed bearings should have a lifespan of a quarter of a million miles, and I am seriously shortchanging the lifespan: I have a 69 Firebird, with over 600k quite abusive miles on it. (5 engines, 4 transmissions, and 2 rear ends.) Even so, it has origional bearings and grease seals. 99.9% of bearing faliure is too tight of a preload and/or lack of grease.
I agree. Just went through a similar situation on a 76 Eldo. Seems GM has NO zerk fittings on the front hubs. The orig. lasted 90000, rebuilt them, and it lasted 46000. There is no provision for adjusting preload either. This time, I had the bearing mount surfaces hard chromed, precision ground to a stiff press fit, and the spacer in the bearing slotted. That allowed the new zerk fitting to lube the bearings at resonable service intervals. Will let you know how it lasts.
My 93 Deville also does not have the lube fittings for the front hubs. They're kinda expensive to replace. However, mine have 298,000 miles on them (the originals!) and still going strong, but I think they'll need to be replaced fairly soon.
For those who have questions pertaining to the root cause of the bearing failure.
A little history
The car (Life long Texas) was abandon on my property in 2003. I suspect it may have been subjected to a flood at one time or another due to the fact that it was originally purchased and registered in Galveston, Texas then later registered in Houston, Texas. It had two prior registered owners. The last registered owner had no clue where the car was and could care less once he learned that I filed a storage lien against the car.
I got this information when filing for a lost certificate of Texas title. I had to be sure the car was not stolen, used to commit a crime, or used for collateral.
From day one the car had squeaks, groans, and rattles, and accessories that flat did not work. I eventually repaired them all one by one mostly as a form of entertainment. Overall the body, engine, and interior was in very good condition but dirty and neglected.
Initially, both front hubs made noise when the wheel was turned while rolling. This is why I suspected (later hind-sight) they may have been under water for some time. The car was high and dry on my service road when I retrieved it.
As I got the car running to prepare for state inspection, the left front hub started to make grinding noises, the right stopped making noise.
I put a new set of calipers/pads and rotors on both front sides. At that time I inspected the hubs. The left front was shot and rusty so I replaced it while I did the brake work. The right front hub looked fine, so I left it alone, and saved $80 USD. (Big mistake).
The big mistake is now a lesson learned.
After everything was working as it should, the car got a fine exterior polish and the interior was treated to a deluxe cleaning and refurbishing. The headliner was replaced and the leather was immaculate. I drove the car for several weeks to establish reliability and provide an opportunity for the computer to establish an accurate MPG history. Once I was convinced the car was reliable I began to loan the car to personal friends needing temporary transportation. I suspect it got some abuse once again because I received several remarks on how surprising the acceleration and handling was. On the other hand, it may have died of old age, but the end result was the transmission failed very close to home without any warning. I actually drove it to my home in 1st gear, rattling, and belching transmission fluid all over the exhaust manifold from the dipstick. It had 150+K miles on the clock along with a history of neglect, so the bottom line was to donate it to charity rather than fix it.
I kept the avatar and some known good parts for the Eldorado which has only 75K miles on the clock.