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Scvngr69 12-05-2012 10:17 AM

Help needed with 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4
Can anyone tell me what could be causing me to go through 3 front driver's side wheel bearings and 2 drivers side front axle shafts in 1 year? I had a mechanic install the first shaft and bearing, but it was used from a junk yard so when it started making noise about 4 months later, I decided to just buy a brand new wheel bearing. I installed the new bearing (this was around July of this year) and have had no problems or noise from it since.Yesterday, I backed out of my driveway, put it in drive and started forward. I made it about 30 feet when out of the blue, the wheel bearing gave out again. Now it's parked in front of my house with the wheel at about a 45 degree angle to the road. The truck was lifted when I bought it, but I only drive it in town or maybe a few miles out of town daily. When driving there is a sound that happens randomly as well. This happens at different speeds randomly and sometimes even right after a stop at a light or sign. Sometimes it is very light sounding and feeling, other times it feels as if someone plowed into me. Sometimes it feels like it originates from the front and other times the back. I am beginning to think it might be the universal joints on the drive shaft, but I'm not sure. Could that be causing me to go through axles and bearings that fast or am I looking at something else. I don't want to fix it again until I can find what is causing the problem to re-occur. I don't have much money and I'm not a mechanic, but I am smart enough to learn. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks


Warlock III 12-05-2012 10:43 AM

The most common problem is overtightening the bearings. Mechanics tend to use an impact gun although this practice is espressly forbidden. Make sure the dust covers are still on the back of the spindle as mechanics also have a tendency to damage them seperating the bearing and then disguard them as if you would never notice.

Them thar Chruslur guys put 'em there fur a reason.

Scvngr69 12-05-2012 10:51 AM

I read about overtightening when I installed the last one. I borrowed a large torque wrench and used that for my install. The dust cover is still in place as well.

RamTech 12-05-2012 10:52 AM

Since he specifically said he installed the parts himself, I would think undertightening the axle nut could be an issue that would lead to bearing seperation. Let's not discount the fact that a lifted truck likely has larger tires which can place additional stresses on the hub assemblies. What about the brand of replacement parts? Used isn't a good option and neither are the el-cheapo's.

Warlock III 12-05-2012 10:53 AM

Are you referring to overtightening the three bolts on the bearing holding it to the spindle...or the actual axle nut which is where the problem seems to be originating?

^point well stated^ Under-tightening the axle nut is commonly overlooked as a probable cause.

Screamintrashcan 12-06-2012 03:34 AM

If you have aftermarket wheels, they probably have an offset other'n neutral. in my experience, offset wheels EAT front wheel bearings. If you have factory wheels, no factor.

Scvngr69 12-12-2012 05:57 PM

Well RamTech, you called it. Apparently I didn't tighten the axle nut enough. When I finally got it up and took the wheel off today, the axle nut is completely missing. Expensive lesson learned. I tightened it to 175 ft/lbs torque but it must need to be tighter or the wrench I used needed calibrated. Thank you for the responses. I have another question. I have some damage to the yoke on that side. The half axle is fine but the yoke is pretty scarred up by the loosening of one of the spindle bolts as it was breaking away. I have another half axle and spindle that came from the other side of the axle we replaced last time (we bought a full axle at a salvage yard but only used the drivers side half). The problem is that it is about 1/2 inch longer (combined length of half axle, u-joint, and yoke) than the damaged one. Is this going to make a difference if I use it to replace the damaged one? And if so, would it work to simply swap the yokes, or would that cause balance problems or something?

BruiserDodge1500 12-12-2012 06:26 PM

So I have a 2001 ram 1500 and I've been thinking about swapping the axles for the 3/4. I'm wondering if my money would be better spent by changing the shafts and gears in the 1/2 or go ahead and buy 3/4

bighemi04 12-12-2012 06:28 PM

If it is still lifted, the lift could be screwing your suspension geometries

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