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Whoops! Shoulda 1-Ton’d

Posted in Whoops on June 19, 2018
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I was part of a small group having fun near Florence, Arizona, in my 2002 GMC Yukon with 6-inch lift, 35s, and a limited slip in the 10-bolt rear. The others got up a steep rocky incline and I was sure I could make it. Famous last words, right? I got midway up and heard a loud pang and a ton of rattling. I rolled back down the hill into the sandy wash.

I crawled under the SUV in the wash and opened up the diff cover to see the driver-side axle twisted apart.

We called a few people we thought could help and found my good buddy’s brother, but he lived on the west side of Phoenix about 2 1/2 hours from where we were. We found a NAPA that was both open on Sunday and also had all the parts I needed to get back running. So I ordered almost $500 in parts over the phone (poor credit card), tore the rear end down, and headed back to camp to relax a little and wait for the parts to arrive.

Once the parts got to camp we headed back to the Yukon, and while I was working on the vehicle my buddies played Frisbee and did a little side romping. I had to pound new studs into the new axle, and clean all the shavings and sand out of the axletube and diff housing. Once all that was done, careful installation of all the parts had to be done to ensure that no sand would end up in the assembly.

The next morning we packed up camp loaded trailers up and started to head out. I was in the rear and just taking my time out when I noticed a wobble from my front end as well as a clink, clink, clink from my driver-front wheel. I jacked up the front, and as I suspected the front hub bearing was shot. What a wonderful weekend this turned out to be.

I pulled the front tire off and removed the brakes and rotor. The bearing literally fell apart once I gave it freedom. I unbolted the hosing, and by this time my bud was back to see what happened to me. We dropped his trailer next to my turd and headed into town hoping that there was some part store open midday on Presidents Day. NAPA again was the winner. I bought an overpriced front hub assembly for the SUV. Once back at the turd pile I installed the new hub and we were off. Made it the rest of the way home without any more problems, just a lot later, a lot poorer, and a lot more tired than I would have liked to have been after a calming weekend camping trip.

Matt Bentz
Chandler, AZ

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