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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks.
I'm trying to deal with a series of 'rex problems that popped up over the last week or so. The most obvious one was a crack that is now slowly progressing across the windshield. Ok, pretty obvious fix... I've been considering replacing the windshield just to get rid of the etched-in wiper streaks and thousand or so tiny impact specks that make street lights a menace.
Next, I noticed my fuel economy has been a little lower than usual over the past couple months... Been getting ~30 mpg where I used to get 34-40. After I got the brake-fluid-low light while taking a corner, I figured a caliper must be sticking a little, dragging and burning up fuel and the pads (thus the low fluid). So I went around the car pulling off the wheels this afternoon, giving everything a looking over.
The brakes are all fine, but the driver's front wheel bearing is toast. It's got noticable play, but I haven't heard any noise (roaring) from it yet. The strange thing is, I replaced this very bearing (I as in I had a machine shop press it in) with the appropriate Honda part about 35k mi ago when I got the knuckle from a salvage yard. I think I read a comment way back that replacement bearings don't last as long as the original parts for some reason. I thought it was just somebody that had a bearing-killing problem blaming it on the fodder, but this would seem to back up that statement.
I'm not looking forward to a $60+$35 bearing replacement every 35k miles when it should last at least 4 times that long. I don't think it's an issue of bearing quality, so then it must be a matter of installation. What's different about the typical machine shop method versus how Honda did it at the factory? Is there something I can tell the shop to be careful about? Should I give them a copy of the appropriate service manual pages or something?
Oh, and to top it off... After I put the wheels back on, I went around tweaking the tire pressures and found one wheel was 15 psi low. I pulled it back off again and found a cluster of 3 chunks of metal stuck in the tread. The first was a 1/2" long chunk of non-descript metal. The second was about 3/4" long and looked like a rusted, very old style nail... Not round, but a sort of elongated pyramid shape. The third, obviously a modern nail, about 2.5" long. :evil:
I spent about 20 mins dealing with a plug kit for the last one, no problem. But the way the chunks were set together on the tire (you could probably cover all 3 of them with a CD) makes me think it must have been a single event that put them there... Somebody setting traps of old nails on the roadways? :? Am I just paranoid, or are people really getting crazier by the day?
 

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bobski said:
After I got the brake-fluid-low light while taking a corner, I figured a caliper must be sticking a little, dragging and burning up fuel and the pads (thus the low fluid).
How does that equate to low fluid level. The only ways I've known brake fluid to disappear personally is if it's being sucked into the engine through a leaky seal in the MC or through seals at wheel cylinders and caliper pistons.

Somebody setting traps of old nails on the roadways? :? Am I just paranoid, or are people really getting crazier by the day?
Yes in both instances. :wink:

To try and answer the real reason you posted, it could be that the bearing was installed outside in. I'm not real sure on which Honda/Acura models used the type of bearing where it mattered if you installed it inside out. I'm just saying if it does matter on the CRX and the machine shop installed it wrong, it changes where the bearing is loaded, severely reducing its life. Another reason too is that the hub/housing wasn't properly cleaned/prepped and the bearing wasn't even seating right or fully seated. This of course as you can imaging will also change how the bearing is loaded, again severly reducing its life. I wouldn't be surprised if they couldn't press the bearing in all the way and just left the big C-clip out.

The dealer, (the worst of the evils when it comes to sucking people dry) is actually the best place to get quality work done. There is a standard there that must be kept as opposed to Al's we do it all Garage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
dohcrxl said:
How does that equate to low fluid level. The only ways I've known brake fluid to disappear personally is if it's being sucked into the engine through a leaky seal in the MC or through seals at wheel cylinders and caliper pistons.
It's not fluid disappearing, but sitting in the calipers rather than the MC reservoir. When the brake pads wear, the caliper piston has to extend further to make the pads contact the rotor. There's no mechanical ratcheting mechanisim in brake calipers, so the brake fluid has to do that job. If not, you would have to take up the full stroke of the caliper piston with each brake pedal stroke; As a result, your leverage over the brake pads would be pittiful.
I suspect that the drop in fluid level (it's actually only down to about 1/3 between the full and low lines) is probably wear induced, but emphasized by the mis-matched calipers (90-91 EX) and reservoir (stock DX). Bigger piston bore means it takes more fluid flow to move the piston.
dohcrxl said:
I'm just saying if it does matter on the CRX and the machine shop installed it wrong, it changes where the bearing is loaded, severely reducing its life. Another reason too is that the hub/housing wasn't properly cleaned/prepped and the bearing wasn't even seating right or fully seated. This of course as you can imaging will also change how the bearing is loaded, again severly reducing its life. I wouldn't be surprised if they couldn't press the bearing in all the way and just left the big C-clip out.
Those all sound plausible... The machine shop I took it to definately weren't Honda specialists from what I saw.
dohcrxl said:
The dealer, (the worst of the evils when it comes to sucking people dry) is actually the best place to get quality work done. There is a standard there that must be kept as opposed to Al's we do it all Garage.
Yeah, I was afraid of that. I'm sure they have the proper tools, but I half expect that if I walk in there with the knuckle & replacement bearing in hand and ask them to press it in, they'll want the VIN for a fictional Civic EX, then to charge me $100 to diagnose the problem, refuse to install customer parts and try to charge me for the hour or two of labor that the whole job, including knuckle extraction, would take. :rolleyes1:
If it comes down to that, I'll just get a pair of DA knuckles from the pick'n'pull, sell my EX knuckles and maybe even come out ahead.
 

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Excuse my tunnel vision on the low brake fluid deal. In my head I saw a nearly empty resevoir so I just assumed you were losing fluid. I know, it doesn't even make sense that I made the connection.

At any rate, you are close in your assessment of how the Dealership will handle the situation. If you walked in with a knuckle and bearing they'd most likely just turn you away. If not, they'd press the bearing out/in for you at the entire cost of a wheel bearing job of course with zero labor warranty.

I don't know how you feel about a sledge and driver but as the self proclaimed "Ghettoriggin' King" I once installed bearings on a 90 Accord with that very method. That was 4yrs ago and the bearing is fine to this day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
dohcrxl said:
I don't know how you feel about a sledge and driver [...]
Well, I have a Harbor Freight benchtop hydraulic press, so a sledge probably isn't neccessary. Unfortunately, I don't have any of the driver components they list in the service manual. I did a breif google search for somewhere to buy Honda special tools, but didn't find anything useful. What kind of driver did you use and where did you get it?
 

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bobski said:
What kind of driver did you use and where did you get it?
LOL... Ready?
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The closest sized impact socket or the closest sized cylindrical chunk of metal I could find laying around. Oh, don't forget the specialty 2x4 and 4x4 wood braces used as a pounding platform. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Heh... I guessed that before hand, but since you said "driver" I figured you must have something else in mind. Silly me. :)
How do you get the bearing race off the hub? A gear puller?
For a laugh, I went to see what the stealership wanted to replace the bearing... $265 parts and labor. Guess I'm goin the DIY route.

Well, after trying to plug the nailed tire for the third time this morning (it always had a slow leak afterwards), I took it to a shop to see what a professional could do with it. He put the exact same kind of plug into it, resulting in the exact same slow leak. He put a second plug in to no avail, and informed me I need a new tire. After shopping a little, that's going to be somewhere around $90 with shipping, mount, balance and disposal.
A replacement windshield is looking like around $250.

I must have done something to piss off my 'rex. :?
 

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if the inner race is stuck on the hub (it usually is) you need to use a bearing splitter first to separate it enough to use the gear puller.


this honestly is the hardest part when replacing the bearings.
 

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What we did at the Acura stealership was just use a 4" grinding/cutting wheel and split the race then peel it off the spindle. Of course you'll cut into the spindle a bit but that don't hurt nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, as much as I want to try my hand at replacing a wheel bearing, my current cash shortage and multiple issues to fix require that I go with the less expensive route by switching to 'teg knuckles. A new bearing would cost me around $80 shipped, a splitter/puller kit is $50 from harbor freight - that's $130. I can get a pair of '90-93 Integra knuckles from the pick 'n pull for $70... Knuckle replacement is still cheaper if I were to cut the bearing race off, eliminating the need for the puller set.
Assuming the 'teg knuckles have acceptable handling, I can likely sell the EX parts to somebody that wants to do a brake swap the right way and has the spare cash to deal with the bearing. Or maybe I'll do the bearing myself when the other problems are taken care of.
 

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bob, you disappoint me.

i really dont see why youre not up to the task.

youre going to justify buying junkyard parts? with unknown condition bearings? because you dont want to put the time and effort into changing the bearings on the knuckles you have now with new ones?

doesnt make sense at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have no problem with putting the time and effort into it... In fact, I would like to try it since I've never done a wheel bearing before. It's the $80+ price tag on the bearing and tools that's stopping me at this point.
And yes, I'll risk junkyard parts. I noticed tonight that I can HEAR the free play in the bearing (clunk clunk clunk) if I swerve back and forth while going down the road... Made me glad to know that the outboard CV joint is too big to fit through the knuckle, should the bearing somehow let go. In addition, I'm driving on a spare and just waiting for a cop to give me a fix-it ticket on the windshield.

Windshield: $270-$320
Tire: $95
Wheel bearing: $70-$130

I don't have ~$550 to throw at repairs ATM, so I'm trying to prioritize things and trim off the fat in an effort to keep the car drivable. Makes sense to me.
 

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bobski said:
Windshield: $270-$320
Tire: $95
Wheel bearing: $70-$130

I don't have ~$550 to throw at repairs ATM, so I'm trying to prioritize things and trim off the fat in an effort to keep the car drivable. Makes sense to me.
How long is the crack in the windshield?
 

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bobski said:
bil said:
How long is the crack in the windshield?
Somewhere around 18", spreading horizontally towards the driver (though it hasn't gotten any worse since the weather has warmed up), pretty much centered in the glass.
Well, not much you can do about that. Of course, here in nc they don't care much about that for inspection purposes if it's a single crack (stars they do care about), if it's the same in your area you could try cleaning it and using crazy glue. A couple of weeks ago I filled a small crack with one of the resin repair kits, worked out pretty well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Strangely enough, I think a resin repair kit is what got this crack started on it's way. Over the summer, I used one to repair two other stars rather nicely. The third one didn't seem to take in any resin when doing the plunger-tap thing. That's actually when I first saw the crack - the plunger action made the crack spread out from the star. Not to say that the crack wouldn't have spread if pressure was applied by some other method, simply that it's what got things going in this case. The crack was only about 3/4" long at that point, so I figured better to leave it alone than risk making it spread further with the repair kit.
I guess some water must have seeped in and froze, spreading the crack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well, I replaced the tire with a fresh one from tirerack about two weeks ago, and managed to fix the bearing a few days ago.
Since it never developed the roar you usually hear from a worn bearing, I figured the dust seals must still be keeping dirt out, and the bearing may still be salvagable. Turns out the inner race had simply slipped a smidge on the hub (less than a mm from what I saw), resulting in the free play. I took the knuckle off the car (went unusually smoothly), supported the hub and applied pressure to the inboard race with the press and a 1 3/8" socket. I saw it give just a little when I started to apply pressure, but I went ahead and gave it a good bit more (the Helm's instructions say anything up to 2 tons is fine) to make sure it would stay there. When I released the press, the play was gone.
I think this may have solved a torque-steer issue I was having as well. It kinda makes sense... If the hub can pivot independant of the knuckle, the brake rotor will rub against the pads (causing drag) when the hub shifts position. That would also explain the reduced fuel economy and poor coasting performance - I would actually lose speed by flipping to neutral on many downhill portions of road... Very un-CRXish.
Anyway, if it happens again, I think I'll try to get the inboard race off the hub, clean the mating surfaces and perhaps even try a drop or two of lock-tite.
Thanks for the help everyone.
 
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