On my way to Florida in November I noticed differential oil leaking out of my axle on the right rear of the RV. A bearing failure for sure! I added more oil and hoped for the best, but it continued to come out past the oil seal, and at Myrtle Beach I knew it wasn’t going to make Orlando. I had to go to get my Saturn (Don’t have a tow hitch on this RV) in Kissimmee,FL and return to do the work on the axle.
I put the RV in a storage facility in Port Royal, South Carolina (Parris Island is here), and was lucky enough to find just the right spot, and just the right PEOPLE who manage the site. Working on the vehicle was not to be a problem…..but the bearing was to be a (Port) Royal pain!! I found that a repair bearing had been installed by the last mechanic.
That means that the bearing and oil seal are made into a single unit, instead of a bearing with a separate seal. This is done when there is wear on the axle shaft, and it is necessary for the bearing to come into contact with a better spot on the axle. Odd, because it didn’t have that many miles on it.
Do you think that that thing would come out normally? Guess again. I tried blind-hole pullers with slide hammers after soaking the area in penetrating oil and “blaster”, but all to no avail. I have done this job on a similar dodge rear end (years ago) and couldn’t believe the trouble I was having. Finally, I decided that it would have to be CUT out. I took my Dremel to it, with about 20 cut-off blades before I got the wrecked bearing and race to come free. Then the oil seal part seemed welded to the axle tube.
It wasn’t going to just “pull” out, either. I kept cutting and grinding until there was nothing left.
Inspecting the axle, I could see that the real problem with the leak HAD BEEN because of excessive wear. I could not put this axle back into the differential! With the car as a life-saver, I perused the salvage yards of Charleston and environs. I could remove an axle from one rear end; if I did the job it would be $75. If their personnel did it: $100.
No- brainer. One yard that was recommended to me was on James Island, near Folly Beach, just south of Charleston. Jack, lets call him, didn’t have the right axle, but said he could get one from his contact in Leland, North Carolina. With the shipping and SC tax, the cost would be $134.38. Jack claimed that was THEIR price, he couldn’t go lower and he would only get 10% as the broker! I ordered the axle from him, gave him a non-refundable deposit, and went off to await his call.
In the meantime I continued to search for the axle on line. I came across a site called
Everdrive, which had the right part….FREE shipping, NO tax, inspected to be “true”, and guaranteed for 3 years with two day delivery! I was sick. (These little losses seem to cut me DEEP! ) This would have cost $109. total!
Now, to answer the cynic’s prayer, is the rest of the story. When I went to James Island to pick up the axle, it seemed like a good one….little wear on the shaft, and generally acceptable. I felt better about paying more, and giving Jack his 10% profit.
Then, on the way back to the RV in Port Royal, I noticed that the INVOICE was still in its envelope on the carton. I opened it and revealed the bill to Jack…..$75. ….. with NO shipping charge, and
NO tax (consumer to pay at the end-sale). His 10%……actually was SIXTY PERCENT! OUCH!