In the last couple of posts I’ve described the reason for taking apart the rear suspension on bowtie6. I had to send the coilovers back to the manufacturer for servicing and sure enough, after a few days they arrived back in as-new condition. This morning, I started cleaning all the hardware and springs followed by a dry-run: installing the coilovers on the rear suspension (without springs) and going through the entire range of motion of the axle using my jack. I just wanted to make sure nothing was binding or out of alignment. All checked out, so time to quit farting around and get down to business…
The Man in the brown truck delivered a box containing bowtie6‘s rear rebuilt coilovers. This stuff is like jewelry – too bad they are not in plain sight!
Needless to say I unpacked them and they are perfect. Sure, there are a few scratches from wear and tear but overall they are mechanically back to as-new condition. The rebuild price was not too bad: $99.00 + shipping.
I can’t wait to get the springs assembled back on them and then mounting them back to the rear axle. I’ll have a new post with pictures this weekend. Stay tuned!
After nearly 25,000 miles on bowtie6 and countless number of rebounds the rear coilovers finally gave up the ghost; time for coilover repair. In order to get them apart, I had to do a partial rear suspension tear down. My cousin Jim designed all the mounts so they could be easily disassembled – “…remember, everything will eventually be replaced or serviced at one point or another”, he says; “…it doesn’t matter how nice it looks or how great it performs, if it is not easy to disassemble and put back together, it isn’t worth a damn!”. Wise man, my cousin Jim.
2400 miles driven and one of the two rear axle wheel bearings has failed on a sub 2500lb car. Sad shape of affairs this is indeed.
Fist off, the wheel bearing in question has the SKF name all over it; made in of all places, China. I have a problem with offshoring and a bigger problem when the offshored goods are defective. QA was definitely not in the picture when this bearing was made. And no, this is not the first one to fail. My cousin Jim Thompson’s TR4 had the exact same thing happen on an identical rear axle as used on bowtie6.
So what is all this fuss about? Let me show you. After lifting the rear of my TR6 up in the air, we were able to determine the driver’s side axle bearing was at fault. I took the caliper off, then the rotor and the retainer plate off the rear housing. A couple of strikes with a deadblow hammer and the axle was out. This is what it looks like:
The picture above shows the bearing and on top of it the retaining ring. In order to minimize damage to the axle, the bearing is cut as follows:
And once the outside race “pops” (it is under tension and cutting the outside race eventually makes a muffled “pop”), we get a chance to see inside. This is where things get very interesting:
In the picture above we have the outside race cut showing the ball bearing retainer. It is what lies below the ball bearings what is of interest!
Here we start to see the root cause of the problem. The inside race should be slick, polished and accurately ground. Look at the photo above: the lower half is indeed properly hardened and finished. However, see the top half? It looks very rough indeed. That is where the racket was coming from. Another couple of pictures:
Further inspection revealed the outside race was in good shape. No case-hardening issues there. However, the inner race was very poorly made – somehow the case-hardening process was not properly applied and the surface of the inside race pitted severely after only 2400 miles. This cannot be blamed on poor lubrication because these are sealed bearings.
A new bearing has been sourced – unfortunately it is SKF. I just hope I’m not here in another 2500 miles talking about another bad apple. Here is a photo of the new bearing being pressed in:
Once I got the axle back in the housing and bolted it all back together we were set to go. I put about 50 miles this afternoon and all is good. I just keep my fingers crossed the new bearing lasts a little longer.
I’ve been able to rack up about 2,400 miles on bowtie6 so far. And, it has been a blast!! The frame is rock solid, and with the ECM tweaks the engine is so much more responsive. Yet we have been able to see 28mpg in city driving no less. Not too bad considering the tune is now more so towards performance rather than for economy and I’ve been really putting my foot into the electronic throttle pedal.
A few weeks ago, I found a vendor that makes an awesome coilpack cover for the Ecotec. You can see this in the above picture. Four screws with spacers hold the water-jet cut aluminium cover and very nicely hides the valley between the cams. Looks trick. I was thinking about unbolting the intake, cover and valve cover and perhaps having this all crinkle coated in black. Maybe later this year…
Along with the great news, there has been on unpleasant development: a bad wheel bearing on the new rear axle. It seems like we got hold of a crappy “foreign” made wheel bearing and it started making a racket last week. New ones have been sourced and I’ll be taking apart the axles this weekend. All good – the diff fluid needed to be changed after “break in” so this should be a fun Saturday.
I’ll have pictures and a full report once we get the new bearings installed.