[DML] Brush with Death
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[DML] Brush with Death



Replying to the "Top Speed" took me back to a near disaster experience
I had a couple weeks ago and the lesson learned.

My present daily driver Delorean is a car I purchased on e-bay 2 years
ago.  The car had not been driven in 10 years so I went thru all of the
fuel and fluid systems.  As part of the process of rebuilding the rear
brakes I removed the rotors and hubs.  It took my impact wrench to
remove the nut that holds the hubs on the axles. During reassembly, I
retorqued the hub/axle nut to spec.

For several months I have felt like the car has not been handling as
well as my previous D, and after checking the wheels for axle movement,
discovered some play in the front axle.  I replaced the bearings in
this wheel but still had the feeling of oversteer.  I suspected that
the original shocks were the culprit, but I still planned to pull all
of the wheels again to double-check the axles.

Before I "got around" to a second check of the wheels, I experience a
drive train failure while going about 15 mph.  When I'd engage the
clutch, there was grinding sound and no movement forward in reverse.  

At my shop, I lifted the rear of the car expecting to find a clutch or
transmission problem.  Instead, I discovered an axle nut that was so
loose that the wheel was about to fall off of the car!  The splines on
the hub were completely worn away; fortunately, the axle is made of a
harder steel and the splines were still intact on the axle.

The lessons learned or relearned:

1.  It's very important to recheck torques after removing/replacing
critical components.
2.  When something doesn't seem right on the car, immediately find and
correct the problem before driving the car again, particularly if it
may be related to a drive, suspension or fuel system.  This failure
cost me an $80 hub, but it could have cost me my life (see 120 mph post
earlier today).  Same thing applies to fuel systems (A local mechanic
was not as lucky when received severe burns as a result of a fire
caused by fuel leaking from a banjo fitting on the fuel distributor of
a Delorean.)




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