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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

Thought maybe I could get some of you to weigh in on a problem I'm having. I have a 2003 XL7. Recently I noticed what sounded like bearing noise coming from the front passenger side and sure enough tracked it down to the front right wheel bearing. While I was down there poking around I noticed that when I turned the axle I could hear and feel a binding action. It seems to be coming from the wheel end of the axle, maybe where it passes through the knuckle. I can rotate the axle smoothly and then it's like it hits a rough spot or something like that. I have to apply a fair amount of pressure to get past the spot and while I'm doing so it really sounds and feels like sand or shavings or something like that. Clearly there is a problem although I'm not quite sure what. Perhaps a bad cv joint? As an aside, I did change the bearing/hub assembly and the original noise went away, now I'm left with the sound of this thing binding periodically, usually worst in tight turning situations. Any ideas? Thanks!!
 

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Did you try rotating the axle without the brake caliper attached?

That would eliminate the chance that you have a partially seized caliper or warped rotor.

If OK then, yeah I'd suspect the CV axle since the wheel bearing issue is now in check. Let's hope that it isn't something going on inside the differential. :huh:

I moved your post to a section w/optimum visibility BTW.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Max, Ya I had the braking system off the car to eliminate that as a possibility. I also noticed that that axle on the diff end can easily be pulled out of the diff about 1.5" or so revealing the seal behind it, is this normal? Seems odd to me.
 

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That depends on whether the axle has a groove and circlip retainer on the stub end. When they do, they are typically hard to remove from the diff.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I see. Just to be clear, I am not talking about when I have everything apart and am ready to pull the axle from the diff, I mean with everything assembled I can reach up and pop the axle out of the diff about 1.5". Not sure if there should be that much play in it when its all put together. Should it not stay firmly seated in the diff when assembled?
 

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Are your suspension components at full droop right now?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ah yes good point, they were indeed at full droop because I had jacked on the frame. So maybe the play is normal?
 

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That will certainly aggravate the shaft engagement / length. I'd still be curious as to the diff end and whether a circlip is used / engaged. Along those lines, are you going to changeout CV shafts in the pursuance of correcting your questionable rotating binding issue?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I don't think I have much of a choice but swap out the axle, unless you see another alternative.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi to anyone following this thread. I thought I would post my resolution to this problem for reference. Turns out that the binding is being caused by the bearing inside the back of the knuckle that the axle rotates on. As soon as I pulled the knuckle it was obvious. It clearly had been dry for awhile, the seal that protects it had completely broken down. I couldn't get the parts right away (bearing and seal) so I ordered them but in the meantime I still need to drive the car so I cleaned the bearing up, repositioned all the rollers, packed the whole thing with fresh grease and put it all back together. Should last me until I can get the parts and install them. Just wanted to update in case anyone else runs into this. I didn't even realize this bearing was back there, maybe others don't either.
 

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When you take it apart to replace the bearing, take the opportunity to sort out the CV - it should "lock" in to the differential with a circlip as Max has described.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Will do fordem, I plan to do a thorough check of all parts and see that all is working as it should.
 
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