Left front axle locking up! - Off-Road Forums & Discussion Groups
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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-07-2012, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Left front axle locking up!

Our 99 Tahoe broke the front swaybar. While replacing the swaybar, I found that the driver's side wheel was VERY hard to turn. Altho the PO had installed wheel bearings about 4-5 months ago, I guessed that the left front bearing was bad. But, when I took the axle nut loose, the axle turned freely. I took the axle out of the bearing and the bearing is fine.
But, when I tightened the axle nut back up, the axle locked completely up. If I loosen the axle nut it becomes free again. I checked the bearing/hub assembly and they appear to be installed correctly. I tightened all three mounting bolts evenly to keep the assembly from binding. I took the nut loose and tightened it a few times and it always came free when loose and locked right up when tight. Obviously something is binding!
Anyone ever have this problem or know how to fix it?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-07-2012, 10:04 PM
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If you were closer I'd say, "bring it by!" I'd like to get my fingers into this one.

If your Tahoe has unit bearings, as I will assume, the axle nut should be tightened quite tight to seat the inner and outer races to each other. if there is not a washer or something dragging on the knuckle housing then it would seem that the wheel bearing is at fault.

see this link... eBay Guides - Chevy Silverado 4x4 Front Wheel Hub Bearing Replacement

On the other hand, if your Tahoe has old school style bearings, the axle nut should be tightened until the play is taken out of the bearings, but not so tight that the wheel is stiff to turn. It's a bit of an art.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-08-2012, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stump runner View Post
If you were closer I'd say, "bring it by!" I'd like to get my fingers into this one.

If your Tahoe has unit bearings, as I will assume, the axle nut should be tightened quite tight to seat the inner and outer races to each other. if there is not a washer or something dragging on the knuckle housing then it would seem that the wheel bearing is at fault.

see this link... eBay Guides - Chevy Silverado 4x4 Front Wheel Hub Bearing Replacement

On the other hand, if your Tahoe has old school style bearings, the axle nut should be tightened until the play is taken out of the bearings, but not so tight that the wheel is stiff to turn. It's a bit of an art.
Yeah, my Tahoe has the hub/bearing assembly that is held on with 3 bolts. The assembly is only 4-5 months old ( came off EASY, still no rust yet!). Could it be that it is just defective and when I tighten the axle up it binds? I don't know what else it could be. The half shaft itself looks fairly new also. The PO had been fixing this up to keep and had rebuilt a lot of the front end like bearings, ball joints, tie rods and pitman arm. He had also put a new actuator motor on and a new push-button switch for the 4 wheel drive.
But they messed up the new pitman arm and missed that the front swaybar was broken in two inside the bushing. So I'm not very confident in their wrenching skills!
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-08-2012, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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Well I found something. There was a seal between the axle and the bearing. It fit into the groove behind the spindle. I could find no reference to this seal in any of the hub/bearing install threads nor the axle install threads. I removed this seal installed a new bearing/hub and everything now works as advertised. I tightened the axle nut and the bearing still rotates normally. Did I phuck up? Here are a couple of pics of the seal before and after removal. The seal is really hard to see in the 'before' pic, but it is installed from the rear of the spindle.




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