Help! Is this a normal looking axle?

FreshaireFreshaire Posts: 97Member
I am in the process of getting ready for my first extended trip- - -from Virginia to Nova Scotia.  I am trying to do my due diligence and grease my axles.  I greased the right one just fine.  When I popped off the cap to the left axle, this is what I found.  The wire and blue metal showing is something the right axle didn't have and I'm wondering if something is seriously wrong.  Any ideas folks?

I apologize if the photo is too large (I'm suspecting it is).   I'll work on resizing, but for now I'm a bit concerned and going for speed.  Thanks for all opinions!
2015 [email protected] 320S Maxx Outback, aka "Alie Cat"
TV:  2012 Honda Ridgeline

Alice
Crozet, VA
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Comments

  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Posts: 2,803Moderator
    Is that the brake line?
    Sharon
    Cleveland Heights, Ohio
    2017 TaB CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan

  • SubismSubism Posts: 39Member
    edited May 16
    DO NOT TOW WITH THAT UNTIL YOU HAVE IT CHECKED OUT! It appears your spindle nut is broken and the spindle is damaged. I assume what we are seeing is a bearing that has come apart, but I cannot be sure. If the spindle nut is broken and comes completely off there is nothing keeping the wheel on the trailer, and if you have a bearing that has come apart it won't last long.

    If you can clean the grease off and post another pic it may be easier to tell, but from what I can see you should not tow it anywhere.

    Edit: As opposed to a bearing, it looks like it may be a seal, but the bigger issue is the potential broken spindle nut.
    Marc and Angie in Burlington, NC. 2018 Ford F150 FX4 3.5L Ecoboost, 2016 320 S Max
  • SubismSubism Posts: 39Member
    Actually, I may have overreacted; is that just a very close up view of the grease fitting? I have never had my caps off, and just assumed I was looking at the spindle nut. I would at least take the broken parts out and try and identify them. Also, you may want to jack up the trailer on that side and rotate the wheel to make sure it spins freely (no drag and no grinding noise that may mean a bad bearing). If it is a seal it should still be replaced before towing, otherwise all the grease could come out as the bearings heat up.
    Marc and Angie in Burlington, NC. 2018 Ford F150 FX4 3.5L Ecoboost, 2016 320 S Max
  • FreshaireFreshaire Posts: 97Member
    Thanks Subism.  The photo is a close up of the grease fitting.I did jack up the trailer and the wheel spins freely without any grinding noise.  It sounds the same as the other side, which looks "normal".  The wheel also does not move when shaken.

    Interestingly, I have driven 500 miles (though it was last year) with the Tab, and I'm assuming it looked like this all along.  I'm hoping it is okay to drive to an RV service center (about 25 miles from me).  If you can't tow a trailer, how do you get it somewhere?
    2015 [email protected] 320S Maxx Outback, aka "Alie Cat"
    TV:  2012 Honda Ridgeline

    Alice
    Crozet, VA
  • jgram2jgram2 Posts: 1,025Associate Member
    If it comes to that, UHAUL rents car trailers which should suffice for a short trip.
    John, Judi, Guinness & OD in PDX
    [email protected]@t 2015 S Max Outback, ‘06 V8 4Runner 


  • FreshaireFreshaire Posts: 97Member
    Oh, thanks @jgram2.  I've been googling how to move a camper that can't be towed and was getting nowhere.
    2015 [email protected] 320S Maxx Outback, aka "Alie Cat"
    TV:  2012 Honda Ridgeline

    Alice
    Crozet, VA
  • LuckyjLuckyj Posts: 197Member
    I think this is just a part or one of the leg of the cutter pin that lock the castle nut.
    2017 [email protected] Max Outback "Le Refuge"
    TV 2005 jeep TJ unlimited
    and/or 2005 Nissan X-Trail 4wd
    Alaskan Malamuthe on board!

    Les Escoumins and Petite-Riviere-St-Francois QC
  • FreshaireFreshaire Posts: 97Member
    @Luckyj, you are speaking a different language to this non-mechanical girl.  Is this a bad thing?  Is the Tab towable?  Is it likely the axle needs to be replaced?
    2015 [email protected] 320S Maxx Outback, aka "Alie Cat"
    TV:  2012 Honda Ridgeline

    Alice
    Crozet, VA
  • ColoradoJonColoradoJon Posts: 315Member
    @Freshaire - @Luckyj means the cotter pin.  The pin goes through the axle nut and axle to keep the nut from backing off.  They are normally bent over around the nut or end of the axle.  I agree - it's just the cotter pin you are seeing.
    Jon & Angela | Florissant Colorado | 2017 Outback S
  • ColoradoJonColoradoJon Posts: 315Member
    And I'm jealous - I have to remove my wheels to get at the zerk fittings!  The center cap on my wheels can only be removed when the wheel is off :(
    Jon & Angela | Florissant Colorado | 2017 Outback S
  • tabiphiletabiphile Posts: 49Member
    edited May 16
    That looks like the cotter pin from the castle nut....
    If you can pull out the rounded piece that is sitting below the nut (use a pair of needle nosed pliers) clean it off and post a picture it would be very helpful. Also please clean off the rest of the loose grease and retake your picture so that we can help you to diagnose the (possible) failure. With the grease in place even with the picture zoomed up to it's largest size it's hard to be 100% certain of what is happening there.
    If there is a bearing problem replacing it is not very difficult. You'll simply remove the cotter pin from the nut, spin the nut loose and start disassembling things. Anyone who is reasonably handy with cars and has done brake and bearing jobs can muddle through with minimal effort. The critical piece is to re-tighten everything correctly..not too tight, not too loose...
    If there is a bearing issue the axle should be inspected for wear once everything is pulled apart.
    The concern is why would the cotter pin (if that is what we see) is not in place in the nut? And if the pin is not locking the nut, has the nut spun? If the nut is not correctly tightened you could loose the pre-load on your bearing races. That could damage the bearing and the axle....that blue material could be the inner seal from your bearing...
    If you are not capable of doing the repair yourself, trailering is the safe way to get it to a shop...don't tow it.
    You should re-check the other wheel that you have already greased and make sure that the castle nut is correctly seated...not too tight, not too loose.....remove the cotter pin to check it. Tighten the nut to the point where the wheel starts to bind and then back it off just enough to get the pin through. If the wheel then turns nicely you are done. Bend the cotter pin in place before closing everything back up.
    Please be very careful about how you jack the trailer up while you are working on it. You don't want this rascal dropping on your feet.

  • LuckyjLuckyj Posts: 197Member
    edited May 16
    @tabiphile   If you read back, she said that she lifted the wheel, and that it is solid, turn easy, no grinding and rubbing.

    If this can help.  What I do see when I zoom in your pic, is a very long cutter pin that was pulled back over the spindle (shaft where the nut is tighten over) and just behind, I see the castle nut head.  But what is weird, is that when I look at ezlube spindle on the web, the castle nut is non existent, they use a standard nut with a locking plate.

    http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL166/13567593/24380256/407412418.jpg

    cutter pin look twist over like the one.
    http://http//pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL166/13567593/24380256/407412418.jpg

    and this is typicaly how the e z lube spindle and hub should look like.
    http://http//pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL166/13567593/24380256/407412418.jpg
    2017 [email protected] Max Outback "Le Refuge"
    TV 2005 jeep TJ unlimited
    and/or 2005 Nissan X-Trail 4wd
    Alaskan Malamuthe on board!

    Les Escoumins and Petite-Riviere-St-Francois QC
  • ColoradoJonColoradoJon Posts: 315Member
    edited May 16
    Good call, @Luckyj - the EZ Lube axle spindle uses a retaining washer.  A cotter pin cannot be used as it would create a hole perpendicular to the EZ Lube grease hole that goes through the center of the axle.

    I would pull that wheel off and and see exactly what you have.

    This is what should be on the end of that axle shaft:
    https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories-and-Parts/Redline/RG05-100.html

    I don't think you have a problem, but you might not have the EZ Lube axles or it has been modified by someone.  If that's the case you need to re-pack the bearings manually or pay someone to do it.
    Jon & Angela | Florissant Colorado | 2017 Outback S
  • FreshaireFreshaire Posts: 97Member
    Here is a photo of the cleaned up axle.   I'm guessing the "teethy" looking things are the washer @ColoradoJon ; spoke about and the blue paint is consistent with that.  Thank you @ColoradoJon , @Luckyj , and @tabiphile for weighing in.  I still don't know what the wire is and do not feel comfortable trying to remove it.  I poked at it and it felt secure.  At this point I would be grateful not to have to trailer my Tab to have it looked at.  I have an appointment in a week at an RV service dealer 25 miles away.  I may give my local mechanic a call to see if they can take a look at it too.  I will update you as I get a final diagnosis.  This is certainly putting a crimp into my trip north!  Amor Fati.
    2015 [email protected] 320S Maxx Outback, aka "Alie Cat"
    TV:  2012 Honda Ridgeline

    Alice
    Crozet, VA
  • atlasbatlasb Posts: 331Member
    I think you are seeing the grease zerk in the middle of the spindle with the castle nut behind.  the cotter pin goes through the spindle at an angle and I think someone pushed it down around to keep it from rubbing on the cap.  Don't think it is easy lube axle as there is no spring loaded cap and our ez lube spindle has a stamped keeper and does not use a cotter key.  Would be best to have some one look at it that is a mechanic or trailer guy.  If the wheel spins and does not grind and doesn't wobble side to side probably no bearing damage.  Always good to verify though!
    2018 [email protected] 400, 2016 Nissan Frontier Crew cab
  • FreshaireFreshaire Posts: 97Member
    Thanks @atlasb.  I'm feeling encouraged that what is being seen is likely not severe.  I will  have someone check it out before I hit the road, just to be on the safe side.
    2015 [email protected] 320S Maxx Outback, aka "Alie Cat"
    TV:  2012 Honda Ridgeline

    Alice
    Crozet, VA
  • LuckyjLuckyj Posts: 197Member
    You have a 2015 [email protected] outback.  Did you get it new? If si, did you ever had anyone work on the bearings?

    anybody else here has a the same trailer and know about the type of spindles on the axle of such a trailer.  Should they have a e z lube axle?

    and like atlasb said, I would have it looked at, but if whell is solid and spinning free w/o grinding, I would not ne to worry about it to get to your mechanic.  A nearing unit is a simple machine with straight foward engeneering.

    2017 [email protected] Max Outback "Le Refuge"
    TV 2005 jeep TJ unlimited
    and/or 2005 Nissan X-Trail 4wd
    Alaskan Malamuthe on board!

    Les Escoumins and Petite-Riviere-St-Francois QC
  • ColoradoJonColoradoJon Posts: 315Member
    I'm thinking that it does not have the EZ Lube Axle as it is obviously a cotter pin.  If it isn't a EZ Lube you might want to have it checked by a mechanic to make sure that zerk fitting is properly greasing the bearings.
    Jon & Angela | Florissant Colorado | 2017 Outback S
  • tabiphiletabiphile Posts: 49Member
    That's a much better image. It does not look like you have anything to worry about. It's now clear that the piece you were asking about is the cotter pin and it is possible to see that it's in place as it should be. If you are not comfortable with what you are doing it is a really good idea to have a mechanic look it over, but given that you have already confirmed that the wheel spins smoothly and without play you could also continue down the path of greasing the bearings. As you have already learned, using a grease gun is a really simple thing. But there is a bit of a touchy feely learning curve associated using it properly. A grease gun can develop a great deal of pressure. It needs to overcome the alemite and any embedded grease. Someone that gets overanxious can push too much grease in if they pump too hard. If you don't see grease coming from the bearing right away don't get pump crazy. Go slowly and take your time...you don't want to overdo it and blow the bearing seals. There is no reason why you shouldn't be able to finish up and tow your [email protected] to your mechanic to double check your work. If you are new at it, it's a good practice to have an experienced hand watch over your shoulder or do the work for you when you tackle brakes and or bearings....
  • FreshaireFreshaire Posts: 97Member
    @Luckyj, I did not buy the Tab new.  I was, in fact, the third owner.  The woman I purchased it from told me she had had regular maintenance done on it, but at the time I did not know what that entailed, as I was (and actually still am) a newbie.  I double checked my previous mileage and I am closer to 1,000 miles on this axle.

    The other axle did not have a cotter pin showing, which is what created the angst in me.  I figured something was out of alignment.  I think I will be cautious and have a mechanic check it out.  I do feel much better about towing it though.  Thank you so much for all who took the time to do research and weigh-in on my question.  This is truly a great community.
    2015 [email protected] 320S Maxx Outback, aka "Alie Cat"
    TV:  2012 Honda Ridgeline

    Alice
    Crozet, VA
  • ScottGScottG Posts: 2,212Moderator
    I have a 2015 [email protected] and definitely have the EZ Lube Axle. It's been almost a year since I've looked at it though, so memory doesn't serve well as to its appearance.

    I'll have another look in the near future and post back if I have anything substantive to add.
  • ColoradoJonColoradoJon Posts: 315Member
    I'm curious @ScottG if yours has cotter pins.  I'm curious to see how the EZ Lube axle would work with holes drilled through the grease feed!
    Jon & Angela | Florissant Colorado | 2017 Outback S
  • RollingBnBRollingBnB Posts: 258Member
    That zerk fitting looks like it was hammered into the axel. Some shop might of tried to service the bearings and screwed up the threads. This was their fix.
    2017 [email protected] S Max White [email protected]
    2015 Chevy Silverado & 2017 GMC Acadia
    Alan & Patty
    Southern Az
  • FreshaireFreshaire Posts: 97Member
    @RollingBnB, I did notice the zerk fitting looked like it had sustained some sort of impact.  My Tab is currently at my mechanic's shop waiting to be looked at.  It towed without any issue.  I will update as to the condition of the bearings/axle when I find out.
    2015 [email protected] 320S Maxx Outback, aka "Alie Cat"
    TV:  2012 Honda Ridgeline

    Alice
    Crozet, VA
  • ScottGScottG Posts: 2,212Moderator
    I'm curious @ScottG if yours has cotter pins.  I'm curious to see how the EZ Lube axle would work with holes drilled through the grease feed!
    I'll be performing the annual grease ritual soon, and will try to remember to take note of (and photograph) how everything is configured.  
  • ScottGScottG Posts: 2,212Moderator
    ScottG said:
    I'm curious @ScottG if yours has cotter pins.  I'm curious to see how the EZ Lube axle would work with holes drilled through the grease feed!
    I'll be performing the annual grease ritual soon, and will try to remember to take note of (and photograph) how everything is configured.  
    Added some grease today. There was no obvious cotter pin, but it was pretty hard to tell without cleaning out all the old grease (which I was not inclined to do).

    I did run a flat screwdriver in the grease around the center dohickey. It seemed like it caught on a few small things, but again it was difficult to see exactly what.

    Sorry, not much help, I know...



  • ColoradoJonColoradoJon Posts: 315Member
    ScottG said:
    ScottG said:
    I'm curious @ScottG if yours has cotter pins.  I'm curious to see how the EZ Lube axle would work with holes drilled through the grease feed!
    I'll be performing the annual grease ritual soon, and will try to remember to take note of (and photograph) how everything is configured.  
    Added some grease today. There was no obvious cotter pin, but it was pretty hard to tell without cleaning out all the old grease (which I was not inclined to do).

    I did run a flat screwdriver in the grease around the center dohickey. It seemed like it caught on a few small things, but again it was difficult to see exactly what.

    Sorry, not much help, I know...



    Looks like mine, except I didn't realize one could access the axle without taking the wheel off!  I'm going to have to check mine, but I'm pretty sure my center caps are all one piece.

    Anyway, yeah... you really can't see the axle nut in that shot.  On mine the axle has a flat spot that the retaining washer keys on ( D shaped).  The retaining washer then clips over the axle nut corners and locks it onto the axle.
    Jon & Angela | Florissant Colorado | 2017 Outback S
  • FreshaireFreshaire Posts: 97Member
    I finally got my Tab back from the mechanic and, yep, it was a cotter pin that we were seeing.  Nothing was wrong or out of place.  Interestingly enough though, the opposing side, the one I had added grease to, needed to be done also.  Apparently the seals weren't holding the grease well.  I guess the moral of this story is I will let my mechanic inspect and repack each year, just to be on the safe side.  Along the way I will "feel my bearings" to make sure they aren't getting heated up.  Okay, now it is off to Nova Scotia, where I'm sure I will have more questions for this fine community!  Thanks for everyone's input.
    2015 [email protected] 320S Maxx Outback, aka "Alie Cat"
    TV:  2012 Honda Ridgeline

    Alice
    Crozet, VA
  • ColoradoJonColoradoJon Posts: 315Member
    Freshaire said:
    I finally got my Tab back from the mechanic and, yep, it was a cotter pin that we were seeing.  Nothing was wrong or out of place.  Interestingly enough though, the opposing side, the one I had added grease to, needed to be done also.  Apparently the seals weren't holding the grease well.  I guess the moral of this story is I will let my mechanic inspect and repack each year, just to be on the safe side.  Along the way I will "feel my bearings" to make sure they aren't getting heated up.  Okay, now it is off to Nova Scotia, where I'm sure I will have more questions for this fine community!  Thanks for everyone's input.
    Awesome, thanks for the update!  I'm surprised it has a cotter pin - seems like the grease would just squirt out the hole the cotter pin goes into rather than down the center of the axle.  Glad you got it looked at!
    Jon & Angela | Florissant Colorado | 2017 Outback S
  • jkjennjkjenn Posts: 4,816Member
    Freshaire said:
    Apparently the seals weren't holding the grease well.  I guess the moral of this story is I will let my mechanic inspect and repack each year, just to be on the safe side.  
    This is why I believe in annual inspection and repacking. 

    Jenn Grover | 2015  [email protected] S Max Silver/Turquoise Trim | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk v6 | Nights spent in [email protected]: 180 | Pittsburgh PA

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