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Old 11-22-2008, 02:45 AM   #1
Outback Jack
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Default Bad wheel bearing - how long can I drive on it

I got a bad wheel bearing, the left front wheel has a little play moving it at 12-6. There's a little noise, but not very loud yet. Problem is I don't have time to fix for about a week, and no other car to drive.

So what I'm wondering is, even if a wheel bearing completely fails, your wheel doesn't just fall off, right? Isn't the bearing captive inside the spindle, and the axle is bolted to the hub?

Thanks.
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Old 11-22-2008, 03:16 AM   #2
SHARP_DAL
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no. your wheel WILL completely fall off.
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Old 11-22-2008, 03:25 AM   #3
Uncle Scotty
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if you let it go too long, it may kill the hub and knuckle
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Old 11-22-2008, 04:14 AM   #4
davetsbass
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how;s your luck?
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Old 11-22-2008, 07:32 AM   #5
Outback Jack
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SHARP_DAL View Post
no. your wheel WILL completely fall off.
Here's the thing. The axle is attached to the hub with the big nut, wouldn't that keep the wheel on if a bearing fails, and if not, why?
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Old 11-22-2008, 10:51 AM   #6
MasterKwan
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I'm doubtful it'll fall off. The bearing is held into place with a big C-clip. If it gets really bad it could strand you and you might end up overheating everything on the knuckle. I'm not sure a week matters though. Lots of people drive on bad wheel bearings for months because they don't know any better.
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Old 11-22-2008, 12:05 PM   #7
gto7419
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My guess, is that if you just noticed it, youre fine for a week. If you noticed it last year, thats another story...

Just an fyi, the longer you drive on a bad wheel bearing, the higher risk you have of damaging the hub and knuckle = more money...
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Old 11-22-2008, 01:54 PM   #8
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drive easy/slow for the week and don't put loads on the bearing by cornering fast, especially when the loud wheel is at the outside of the turn.

The wheel isn't going to fall off because the axle nut secures the hub to the axle, whether or not there is a bearing there.

Once the bearing fails you will get stuck (requiring a tow) and you are possibly going to damage the CV joint/boot/abs ring/abs sensor and the brake rotor as it can now drag against the caliper bracket so don't wait too long.
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Old 12-03-2008, 10:50 PM   #9
i_c_the_light
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Little bump...but my LF wheel bearing has 'collapsed' according to a grease monkey. I took to a trackday, did many roadtrips and even shifted to a different city with the wheelbearing approaching failure.

It's getting booked in for replacement next week.
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Old 12-03-2008, 10:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i_c_the_light View Post
Little bump...but my LF wheel bearing has 'collapsed' according to a grease monkey. I took to a trackday, did many roadtrips and even shifted to a different city with the wheelbearing approaching failure.

It's getting booked in for replacement next week.
expect to replace the hub and knuckle as well as the bearing

now that ya waited
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Old 05-23-2009, 04:20 AM   #11
cmarin21
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back from the dead... I my FR wheel bearing has also went out on my 02 wrx. I am wondering if I were to buy an 04 sti hub (that has the same bolt pattern) can I still use my wrx axle?
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Old 05-23-2009, 10:51 AM   #12
MasterKwan
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My impression is that the 04 STI hubs are identical to the WRX hubs.
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Old 05-23-2009, 12:33 PM   #13
Back Road Runner
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The wheel falling off the car does happen. It's not a coming apart sort of thing, it's a I'm causing so much heat I'm melting steel sort of thing. Can it happen on our cars? I have no clue. The assembly may simply weld itself together and seize instead which would also suck and probably send you off the road into the ditch somewhere at 65mph. That might be nice too.
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Old 05-24-2009, 01:17 AM   #14
Turn in Concepts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Back Road Runner View Post
The wheel falling off the car does happen. It's not a coming apart sort of thing, it's a I'm causing so much heat I'm melting steel sort of thing. Can it happen on our cars? I have no clue. The assembly may simply weld itself together and seize instead which would also suck and probably send you off the road into the ditch somewhere at 65mph. That might be nice too.
Yes it can as experienced by a guy at an autocross out here a couple of years ago.
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Old 05-24-2009, 01:23 AM   #15
scby rex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterKwan View Post
My impression is that the 04 STI hubs are identical to the WRX hubs.
Yup, their the same.
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