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Towing with missing front passenger side wheel

1208 Views 11 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Chris
My son took his 96 G20 to a repair facility to diagnose rolling noise. Turned out to be front passenger wheel bearing. Both the bearing and hub were destroyed, and they couldn't put the wheel assembly back together without new parts. Cost for labor and parts is more than he has available. So we decided to have it towed home to give us more time to decide best course of action (fix it ourselves, scrap, try to sell as is, etc.). The tow company says they can't guarantee they can get it into our garage. I think they are planning to use a flatbed tow truck. I'm worried they'll get it home and have to leave it on the street or in the driveway. If I end up needing to push this into the garage, is there a way to get this rollable with a wheel missing? Thanks for any advice.
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Harbor Freight wheel dolly with enough long and wide blocks to get the lift you need. Make the blocks out of 2x10's or so, and nail them all together to the dolly so it acts as one unit. Cheap easy solution.
Harbor Freight wheel dolly with enough long and wide blocks to get the lift you need. Make the blocks out of 2x10's or so, and nail them all together to the dolly so it acts as one unit. Cheap easy solution.
What he said..
Thanks for the quick response! Would you put the dolly with blocks in the center of the car at the lift point where you'd normally put a floor jack? I was thinking a floor jack might work too at that location, but not sure how easily the steel wheels would roll on a textured driveway that has a bit of a grade (3' in 30'). Also, if the car shifted off the floor jack lift point, I suppose I could do some damage to oil pans or such.
No, just put one under the control arm where the missing wheel is, and put the ball joint there on top of the board.
Floor jacks have a tendency to steer out from under where they are along with being inherently unstable for that job and height, dollies are free steering and will stay put lots better.
I'm pretty sure the knuckle is disconnected. Could I support underneath only the control arm bushings? The driveway rises about 2' to 3' in 30'.
Yeah, if you set the bolts that hold the control arm on on top of the boards they'll bite in a bit and help hold things in place.
Welcome. Just go slow and watch any cracks or bumps in the drive that will catch the dollie and pull it out.
personally i'd be damn upset with the shop or taking apart the car as part of a diagnosis. There is no reason for taking it apart to diagnose a bad wheel bearing! A bad wheel bearing is easy to diagnose in your own driveway by jacking up that side and seeing what kind of side-to-side and top-to-bottom play there is the wheel (if any)!
Yeah, we checked the side-to-side and top-to-bottom play at home. There was definitely some clunking going on. The shop (a national chain) said they were trying to isolate the clunk (e.g., bearing versus drivetrain versus suspension). They removed the wheel bearing nut, and apparently the bearing guts spilled on the floor. The hub is totally scored by the bearing race. I'm more upset the shop is not fixing all of this for free. About 20K miles ago, they replaced this very same bearing. After only 2500 miles, we heard some noise that sounded like it was coming from the wheel. The shop took a look at it and (I quote from the work order) the "bearing was dry." They "sprayed some grease directly on bearing and noise issue went away." So they said we were good to go. I was dubious. I don't know what would cause a properly installed bearing to go dry in 2500 miles (4 months). I'm ticked at myself for not pressing this more back then. I have a suspicion the bearing was run dry for 2500 miles and the damage started. The service writer and the tech say there's no way to tell what happened. They're suggesting an "untrue" hub could have caused this.

As an aside, we got the car towed this morning by a conventional tow truck. The driver backed it right into the garage, no problem. He even placed my jack stands to set the front end on--really helpful guy. I was relieved I didn't need to jerry rig a rolling contraption to get it into the garage. Now it's time to start hunting down parts to fix the thing ourselves.
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I would contact HQ of this National Chain about this. Sounds to me like this was their issue to fix for sure! Glad to hear you got it home okay though!
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