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Old 02-25-2008, 10:18 PM   #1
bumpdraft
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1998 SC2
1998 SW2
Default Drive Axle is Radially Loose at Trans Housing (Is it OK?)

1998 SC2 Manual Transmission 133,750 miles on car

Has anyone seen this condition:

The driver’s side Drive Axle is a little loose where is goes into the Transmission Housing. Is this normal?

In the picture, I am using the end of a big file to push up on the “tri-pot housing.”
At the location where the file is touching, I’d guess there is 1/16-inch up/down movement.

Is this amount of radial play normal for a trans with 134,000 miles? There's no unusual vibration felt at any speed.

Armageddon?
I thought I had a bad differential bearing. I even pulled the Vehicle Speed Sensor and looked at the ends of the Differential Pin (see wolfman "Inspecting DIFF PIN"). – Thinking it was just beginning to come out & make shavings from rubbing on the Trans Housing. I thought the shavings got into the ball bearings for the Differential.
From what I could see, everything inside looked fine. When I drained the Mobil 1 ATF, no metal chips came out...except there were a few fine chips stuck to the VSS magnet (maybe chips are from original manufacture or my shifting). I drained the fluid into a gallon Zip-Lok bag, so I could inspect it closely. No chips.

Trans Section taken from ’98 Service Manual:


Tri-Pot Housing:

In the photo of the underside of the car, the tri-pot housing is coated with anti-rust preservative.

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Old 02-25-2008, 10:30 PM   #2
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Default Re: Drive Axle is Radially Loose at Trans Housing (Is it OK?)

Don't worry, it's just the side gears wiggling between the pinion shaft gears. They can't be tight or you'd have problems. If it was excessively loose, then the axle seals would start to leak.

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Old 02-25-2008, 10:35 PM   #3
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Default Re: Drive Axle is Radially Loose at Trans Housing (Is it OK?)

Normal amount of play.

Do you some kind of problem that you are looking for?

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Old 02-25-2008, 11:57 PM   #4
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1998 SW2
Default Re: Drive Axle is Radially Loose at Trans Housing (Is it OK?)

Thanks guys!

Yes. I’m 99% sure the passenger side front wheel bearing is going out.
Since my dad’s ’98 SW2 did the same last summer, I took him for a ride. He said it was much louder than his was, so I went poking around underneath the car looking for anything unusual. Without the car loaded, it is difficult to pinpoint the noise.

The noise goes away when cornering or swerving, so it points to the wheel bearing. But I could not be sure it wasn’t something with the differential.

Since I added Mobil1 to the trans, it seems to be seeping more. The seal at the drive shaft is holding, but seeping enough so that the shaft at the seal is shiny clean. This is what drew my attention to it.

I had someone in the car on the lift with the car running in 3rd gear. With a 3 foot long metal rod up against the Trans drain plug and my ear, the gears sounded perfectly smooooth running in there.

After reading here, I wanted to be sure it wasn’t the Diff Pin (I’ll not ever try burn outs, thank you).

Anyway. THANKS! for the reassurance that a little drive shaft radial play is OK
(I’d been looking at new and rebuilt trans prices…and the service manual procedure to install one)

Man am I happy it's only wheel bearing(s)!
Both drive wheels are still perfectly tight, so short term, I will turn up the radio...until warmer weather

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Old 02-26-2008, 12:27 AM   #5
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Default Re: Drive Axle is Radially Loose at Trans Housing (Is it OK?)

Looks like you have hoist access. Get the car n the air so that the tires are off of the ground approx 6 inches. Using a long bar and some care and caution place the bar under one of the front wheels and lift it up to stop the wheel from turing. Start the engine and run the car up the to the speed at which the bearing makes the noise. See if you have the noise. If not try the other side. The wheel that is spinning and making the noise is the one that you need to replace.

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Old 02-26-2008, 10:32 AM   #6
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Default Re: Drive Axle is Radially Loose at Trans Housing (Is it OK?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssicarman View Post
The wheel that is spinning and making the noise is the one that you need to replace.
Will do. Thanks!

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Old 05-11-2013, 03:47 PM   #7
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Default Re: Drive Axle is Radially Loose at Trans Housing (Is it OK?)

Hi. Old thread I know.

How is this holding up/what was the final dignosis? I have a SC2 (manual) with 165K miles on it that has classic wheeel bearing noises. At ~45mph there is a slight whine that gets much worse when turning to the right. However I have tried three driver side wheeel bearing replacements. I have replaced many wheel bearings and this is classic wheel bearing noise and every other time I have done this the noise has stopped.

I was thinking about trying a new (used) drivers side drive axle, but I also found that the tripot housing is quite loose, maybe 3/16 movement radially. It also moves somewhat freely axially in and out of the transaxle, but only a small distance, maybe 3/16 I was thinking about pulling the axle as a good means of seeing what is going on. Does this sound like a good plan and or is there anything else I can try?

Shouldn't the drive axle click in place and if it is loose what does that mean?

No oil leaks from the transmission

Any ideas?

Thanks

Phil

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Old 05-11-2013, 04:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: Drive Axle is Radially Loose at Trans Housing (Is it OK?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by modesto View Post
Hi. Old thread I know.

How is this holding up/what was the final dignosis? I have a SC2 (manual) with 165K miles on it that has classic wheeel bearing noises. At ~45mph there is a slight whine that gets much worse when turning to the right. However I have tried three driver side wheeel bearing replacements. I have replaced many wheel bearings and this is classic wheel bearing noise and every other time I have done this the noise has stopped.

I was thinking about trying a new (used) drivers side drive axle, but I also found that the tripot housing is quite loose, maybe 3/16 movement radially. It also moves somewhat freely axially in and out of the transaxle, but only a small distance, maybe 3/16 I was thinking about pulling the axle as a good means of seeing what is going on. Does this sound like a good plan and or is there anything else I can try?

Shouldn't the drive axle click in place and if it is loose what does that mean?

No oil leaks from the transmission

Any ideas?

Thanks

Phil
Welcome to the Board.

Are you 100% sure that the bearing noise is from the left front? After doing the bearing 3 times I would think that it is likely not the left front bearing.

Did you try this

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssicarman View Post
Looks like you have hoist access. Get the car n the air so that the tires are off of the ground approx 6 inches. Using a long bar and some care and caution place the bar under one of the front wheels and lift it up to stop the wheel from turing. Start the engine and run the car up the to the speed at which the bearing makes the noise. See if you have the noise. If not try the other side. The wheel that is spinning and making the noise is the one that you need to replace.
Bit of extra work but this method can be done with jack stands. It will certainly let you know which side of the car the noise is coming from.


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Old 05-11-2013, 06:19 PM   #9
modesto
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Default Re: Drive Axle is Radially Loose at Trans Housing (Is it OK?)

Good point on the other bearing. I could replace it anyhow since it has 165K miles on it. I can remove a knuckle very quickly now!

I have used the one wheel off the ground method before and it scared me doing it.

Hey, I thought after five years, the diagnosis/conclusion would be well proven.

Phil

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Old 05-11-2013, 07:52 PM   #10
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Default Re: Drive Axle is Radially Loose at Trans Housing (Is it OK?)

Since the thread, the whole car was totalled and rebuilt from parts.

As I recall the bearing eventually got so loud I was afraid other drivers were going to hear it. I went 1000 highway miles past the start of rumbling failure...

The loose shaft wasn't the problem.

One thing I can say about my troubleshooting is I go off wandering in the weeds; end up doing a palm-to-forehead slap; eventually find the worn part.

Not afraid to admit it and post the journey for the
w h o l e
w o r l d

to see

Note: I believe a Big Java Exploit on 05-10-2013 forced me to do a re-install Refreshing to see the installation disk "partitioning" the drive It nailed my computer right in the middle of SatFans! There were 15 MicroSquish Update files today.

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Oil use is 1 ounce per 100 miles with ~230,000 miles on the engine

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Old 05-11-2013, 08:56 PM   #11
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Default Re: Drive Axle is Radially Loose at Trans Housing (Is it OK?)

Just another reason I run Linux.....

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