Wheel-End Problems? Signs and Symptoms

It’s important to keep a close eye on things when it comes to detecting wheel-end problems with your Mitsubishi Fuso, Isuzu, Hino, or UD freight truck. Careful observation can reveal early signs and symptoms of wheel-end problems before bearings are damaged and need to be replaced. With immediate inspection and maintenance, you can reduce bearing damage in conventional wheel ends, and save on long term costs. Begin with a simple walk-around wheel inspection.

Walk-Around Wheel Inspection

Bearing damage may have already begun if you notice:

  • Low lube level in a hub cap sight glass
  • Hub cap sight glass that is discolored or burnt
  • Smoking or extremely hot hub cap (too hot to touch)
  • Abnormal tire wear
  • Lube leakage on any external surface of a wheel hub or tire, both inboard and outboard sides (this sometimes appears as a lube swirl or spiral pattern on a hub or tire surface)

Driver Observation

Bearing damage may have already begun if the driver notices:

  • Wheel vibration
  • Wheel Wobble
  • Wheel noise
  • Smoke from wheel end
  • Increased stopping distance or decreased braking power
  • Increased fuel consumption
  • Abnormal side pull when brakes are applied
  • Wheel lockup or skidding
  • Risks of higher maintenance costs and wheel end separation increase if these warning signs are ignored and if wheel-end inspection and maintenance is not performed
  • Evidence of more advanced wheel end problems can be seen when wheel-ends are disassembled for regular maintenance

Wheel-End Disassembly Analysis

Bearings may need to be replaced if you observe:

  • Any nut face wear (adjusting nut or lug nuts)
  • Bearing noisy when rotated
  • Rust or moisture on any surface
  • Spindle wear (bottom half shows more than top half)
  • Thread wear
  • Hub bore wear
  • Loss of adjusting nut torqque
  • Bearing has been dropped
  • Worn out or damaged seals

Bearing must be replaced if you observe:

  • Visual wear on any other bearing surface
  • Any dents on the cage of the bearing assembly
  • Dry, caked lube in the hub caps or any other internal cavity
  • Metal particles in the lube, hub caps, hubs or bearings
  • Heat discoloration on the bearings or any other internal component (don’t confuse heat discoloration, which is non-removable stain and metal flow, with lube staining that is easily removed with fine emery cloth.)
  • Evidence of the cups or cones spinning or turning (grooves on the cone backface, bore or spindle)
  • Spalling (flaking away) of bearing material on races or roller bodies
  • Any raised metal or dents on the rollers or races
  • Drivers and service mechanics/technicians that develop a keen eye for observing these signs and symptoms of wheel end problems can help lower maintenance and repair costs and may help prevent wheel-end separations

Signs and Symptoms of

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