Rear wheel bearing failure? + Brake stuck ON + brake pads stuck onto drum + ABS Tone Ring - Focus Fanatics
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Old 11-22-2013, 01:10 PM   #1
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Rear wheel bearing failure? + Brake stuck ON + brake pads stuck onto drum + ABS Tone Ring

Sorry for the long post, but anyone interested might be able to read it all without falling asleep, maybe. This post is primarily to report a failure and to share the experience and some pictures. At the end of this novel, I have a few questions for anyone who has experienced similar. The burning questions are; has anyone else had this happen? And does anyone have an idea what/why this happened?

At 140K miles, I replaced my rear drum brake pads about 6 months ago. I used Centric brand pads. I did not replace the “limited use” “re-use up to 4 times” “torque to 175 ft lbs” wheel hub retaining nut. When I did the job, I used a torque wrench set at max 150ft lbs and then hand tightened it a tiny bit more to get it to (guessing) 175ft lbs. During this process, I did not turn the drum during torque. My looming wheel bearing/brake failure may have been caused by my failure to turn the wheel drum during the torque process.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonesacked View Post
Make sure to turn the drum counterclockwise as you tighten the nut.
Quote above located at: http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=262919

After a 20 mile return trip home last week, I smelled a wicked burning hot smell when I got out of the car. I found one of my rear wheel drums was almost fire Hot. The other side was normal hot. My first thought was “brake pads are locked up on a single wheel?” I later found out that the brake pads were somewhat locked up and stuck onto the drum, but I also found that my wheel bearing was damaged. I cannot be sure which of these two problems caused the other, but it is my guess that the wheel bearing failed first… and caused some vibration and/or heat… and maybe the vibration/heat caused the brake components and pads to expand or stick… or the auto adjuster or brake cylinder failed and the brake pads pushed onto the drum… all the way home… as you can see, I’m not sure what happened.

I jacked up the car and was able to turn the wheel, but it felt like someone was stepping on the brake pedal. I removed the wheel hub drum retaining nut and was not able to remove the drum; the brake pads were holding it on. I put the tire back on and pulled and kicked and screamed at it, still no luck. Pulled tire off and then found a ring broken away from the bearing (see picture #1, #2, #3). The broken bearing ring might have been broken and dislodged before or during the “put the tire back on and pulled and kicked and screamed at it” step shown above. The broken ring seems like nothing more than a “cap” for the bearing.
Pic #1

Pic#2

Pic#3


With the bearing ring/cap busted and removed, the ball bearings inside become visually exposed (see pic #4).
Pic#4


After LOTS of careful pulling and prying on the drum and back-plate, I was able to get the drum off. I lightly damaged my 6 month old-new brake pads in the process. I immediately decided to replace the brake pads with new ones.
I did an extensive visual inspection looking for a broken spring or anything wrong and found nothing. The auto adjuster wheels were a little gunked up (see pic #5) but after cleaning, it looked good.
Pic#5


I was surprised that I found nothing wrong with theses brake parts. The brake drum also had no apparent damage, but did have a small Lip as part of normal wear. The wheel bearing seemed functional and was able to spin (by hand) and had no binding; it had a tiny bit of lateral “play” movement that seemed wrong; I tried to pull out the inner race, it had some play like it was going to come apart but I could not get it to fall apart or pull out. The external body of the bearing was firmly pressed into the drum = completely normal.

I went to Auto Zone and got a new drum (includes bearing) and brake pads (both Duralast brand). When I compared the old and new drum I saw a strange difference. Got online and learned that the difference was the new drum did not have an ABS Tone Ring (see pics #6 and #7).
Pic#6

Pic#7 - Has no ABS tone ring


With the help of a friend, I was able to pry off the old Tone Ring. The tone ring did not pry up slowly, it snapped/jumped off in one quick motion. I installed the old tone ring on the new drum without any sealant, just press fit, using my body weight and stepping on it, and a rubber mallet too (covered the tone ring with a towel and piece of wood first).

During reassembly, the drum BARELY fit back on. I had the auto adjuster fully relaxed, and still the drum barely fit on. Once on, the brake pads were lightly touching the drum and when spinning the drum I could hear (and feel) that the pads were lightly touching the drum! Once the tire was back on, I spun the wheel and could hear those pads touching the drum. After one day of driving, I checked it again, and the pads were still (very lightly) touching; but not enough to cause any braking effect. The pads and springs are reassembled correctly, so that leaves the brake cylinder (or auto adjuster) to be the only thing left that could be causing the pads to ride too close to the drum… right?

I am still not sure that the wheel bearing failed first or at all. I never heard or felt any symptom of a bad wheel bearing. The bearing might have been good (and I busted it up when removing the drum?) and this entire episode was a brake system failure all along (??) Furthermore, if the brake pads are in fact still running too close to the drum, I may still have a problem and another failure is looming…

Thanks for reading. Any feedback is much appreciated.

If anyone is interested in learning more about wheel bearing issues and replacement, you can search and find many threads and a “how-to” like this one-> http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=119824
Found that thread recently when I needed to learn what an ABS Tone Ring is.


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Old 11-22-2013, 03:14 PM   #2
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"Lightly touching" sounds about right for fresh drum brakes, you can spin it but you hear a little sh, sh, noise & it stops spinning after a few turns (wheel on).

A bit of wiggle in the bearings could have allowed over adjustment of the automatic adjuster, leading to it dragging & heating up (LOOKS like it got hot!).

Should be OK now with the new bearing & drum, it'll spin smoother after it wears in a bit and the shoes fit themselves to the drum.

Luck!
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:49 PM   #3
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Moved this to the "Brakes, Suspension & Chassis" area for a better fit & some more looks.
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Old 11-22-2013, 05:46 PM   #4
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Thanks for your feedback Sailor.

Yeah, I like your theory... the beginning of a wheel bearing failure creates some vibration, then the brake pads & auto-adjuster hang-up on the drum. But has anyone else seen this happen? I am guessing lots/most people drive a bad wheel bearing and do NOT get the joy of a wheel brake drum fire like I did...?

Here is another question for anyone out there. First time (6 months ago) I was inside the drum I placed a dab of Brake Lubricant (aka grease that is used for brake shoe contact points) on the auto adjuster gears and 6 months later the result of that is shown in the picture above. When I rebuilt it last week, I placed a small dab of wheel bearing grease on the auto adjuster gears. Is one of these OK, or should have I left the auto adjuster gears dry?

Thanks again!
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Old 11-23-2013, 09:57 AM   #5
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Normally I'd say the brake failure preceded the bearing failure. Excessive heat will cook a bearing. When you replaced the brakes after this incident, did you get a lot of resistance from the brake cylinder on that wheel? I had a Chevy Aveo that had a rear wheel lock up because of a seized brake cylinder, and the first couple times it happened, I was able to work the brakes and release them. However, every brake application was like Russian roulette. Eventually it froze up for good and I couldn't get out of the parking lot. How many miles have you put on the car since this latest repair?

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Old 11-27-2013, 07:09 PM   #6
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Thanks for your time and thoughts Toby.

Yeah man I am still unsure what happened. You might be right, it could have been a brake failure first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Highball116 View Post
When you replaced the brakes after this incident, did you get a lot of resistance from the brake cylinder on that wheel?
Sorry man but Im unsure what you mean. Since the failure and replacement of the Drum & Shoes on one wheel, I haven't noticed a problem, except for one small thing...

With the back of the car lifted off the ground, I have tested the pedal and e-brake and compared the resistance of left verses right side wheels. The brakes seem to be working equally during light and medium braking. I was testing the amount of braking strength "by hand". I have done this test twice (day of rebuild and again yesterday). The thing that bothers me is that the new brake shoes/pads are still very lightly touching the drum when I spin the wheel by hand. I agree with sailor that a brand new drum with new shoes can make a sh, shhhh sound; but after 130 miles I still have a little bit of this sound and drag on the wheel. I am suspicious of my Cylinder on that wheel... maybe it is not closing/collapsing all the way during a NO brake condition?... or the auto adjuster is guilty?

Yes, I know you guys can't tell me what/if something is wrong either. What I should do is let a pro look at it or replace the cylinder and auto adjuster myself. What I will most likely do is wait... and carry a fire extinguisher in the car. I plan to replace the other drum & brake shoes & put on new 30mm wheel drum nuts in Jan 2014.
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Old 11-27-2013, 07:35 PM   #7
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The parts you had on there look just fine,,, apart from the front bearing seal pulling loose. The grease looks clean and I see nothing that says it was exposed to high prolonged heat.

Being your TQ wrench doesn't meet the required TQ for the bearing, I'd go with that being an initial cause. The bearing preload is very important. In some cases as little os 5# can make a difference. (my brother didn't believe me until I showed him on his car) Proper TQ is very important.


The sh sh sh could very well be from air in the line or a failing wheel cylinder.
Few years back I had similar problems with a brake dragging. I did the part by part process; replaced the minimum each time. I don't recommend doing that. The time I wasted pulling that damn drum off every time and I still ended up replacing everything (cylinders, adjusters, springs, shoes, drums w/bearings) vs just shoes and drums. I'd of saved myself 4 weekends worth of work if I'd of just done it all at once.

You spent the money on quality parts because you didn't want any issues for a while. So just replace the cylinders and adjusters. That way you know for sure you'll have 100,000 of trouble free driving again.
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Old 11-28-2013, 12:23 PM   #8
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^^ Excellent advise, thank you.

I do plan to keep the car as long as possible and I enjoy maintaining it and improving it so... I will be doing the right thing and replacing all those parts mentioned. Crossing my fingers that it'll hold up until I have the money and then get er' done. I gotta find a friend or business that will rent/loan me a beefy TQ wrench that is meant for doing 173 ft lbs.

Cheers!
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