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Old 01-03-2015, 09:26 AM   #1
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Blanket attacked my drive shaft

Long story with question and photo at end.

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Driving down the interstate in the middle lane with cars on both sides I spot something in the road ahead. I can't change lanes. Looks like a wad of fabric or blanket the size of a soccer ball. It is dead center on the lane so I can clear it easy.

I keep going. Over the blanket and half a mile further until suddenly there is a lot of noise and vibration along with a burning smell. I slow down and pull to the side of the road expecting to see a blown tire.

All tires look fine so I look underneath and find that we sucked up that blanket and it is wrapped tightly around the center u-joint and boot. Located in center of coach.

We got enough pulled and cut off to get off the interstate and drive 2 miles to a huge rest stop where I could work on it safely.

The blanket was polyester and melted in places from friction. Part of it hit the muffler and melted causing the burning rubber smell.

I got all of it off except a little that appears melted into a groove in the drive shaft mount. I'm about 90% sure the black plastic between the remaining blanket and the shaft mount is actually melted blanket... But, would like to be 100% sure before I do something stupid like digging out a shaft gasket with my knife.
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Old 01-03-2015, 09:46 AM   #2
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How about going to a auto parts house to look at a new center bearing for the configuration of it?
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Old 01-03-2015, 09:54 AM   #3
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get a new hanger bearing, that one is going to burn up and digging out the blanket with a knife will only speed up the problem.
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Old 01-04-2015, 09:16 AM   #4
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I believe the bearing is a sealed bearing. Get a pair of needle nose pliers and grip the material with those and pull all the material out. If you find the bearing damaged replace it. If it has to be replaced, mark the shaft and reinstall the shaft the same way it came out. DO NOT TURN THE DRIVESHAFT OUT OF SYNC.
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Old 01-04-2015, 09:47 AM   #5
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More info. The part where the blanket is stuck does not spin. I can see the bearing and it is clear of blanket.
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Old 01-04-2015, 09:57 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by wfcentral View Post
More info. The part where the blanket is stuck does not spin. I can see the bearing and it is clear of blanket.
So the material is bonded to the rubber vibration mount portion of the drive shaft support.
If the material can't be removed with pliers , I'd have to agree with a hanger replacement. Anything that restricts the mounts flex and ability to absorb vibration is going to be detrimental to driving comfort and possible U joint life.
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Old 01-04-2015, 12:42 PM   #7
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If only the center of the bearing spins and is clear of the blanket except for a few fibers I would vote to leave well enough alone. You know the old can of worms scenario? The few remaining fibers are not going to impede the movement of a spinning steel shaft. Considering how much road salt, sand, mud, etc. hits that area in the course of its normal duty cycle I would bet a few blanket fibers wont be a factor. Just one opinion . . . . . If you later get noise or vibration indicating the bearing may actually have sustained damage you can go into replacement mode at a more convenient time. Like your home garage. Have a GREAT New Year!
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Old 01-11-2015, 06:45 PM   #8
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Due to the location of the center bearing, I think you'll find the bearing to be metal sheilded on both side rather than a rubber seal like normal, so being careful you could pry on what is left of the blanket to remove it. Just try not to do any deep jabbing to damage the shield.
Believe it or not, that part of the blanket stuck to the shield, could act as insulation & hold heat inside the bearing where as with it not in place the metal shield could remove heat.

Thinking it over, just to be on the safe side & I know it would be extra work, but might be best to just replace that bearing as mentioned above, its your call though.
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Old 01-11-2015, 08:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
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So the material is bonded to the rubber vibration mount portion of the drive shaft support.
If the material can't be removed with pliers , I'd have to agree with a hanger replacement. Anything that restricts the mounts flex and ability to absorb vibration is going to be detrimental to driving comfort and possible U joint life.
That rubber surrounding the bearing is NOT for vibration, but so the bearing mount can be made cheaper. A simple pillow block mount would hold that bearing just fine.
I have actually shimmed the rubber of a few of those factory bearing mount when the rubber shrinks with age. It worked just fine

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If only the center of the bearing spins and is clear of the blanket except for a few fibers I would vote to leave well enough alone. You know the old can of worms scenario?The few remaining fibers are not going to impede the movement of a spinning steel shaft. Considering how much road salt, sand, mud, etc. hits that area in the course of its normal duty cycle I would bet a few blanket fibers wont be a factor. Just one opinion . . . . . If you later get noise or vibration indicating the bearing may actually have sustained damage you can go into replacement mode at a more convenient time. Like your home garage. Have a GREAT New Year!
X2 on that/

If it will make you feel better go buy a bearing and keep it with the vehicle just in case you need it.
I doubt you will.
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Old 01-12-2015, 10:01 AM   #10
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That rubber surrounding the bearing is NOT for vibration, but so the bearing mount can be made cheaper. A simple pillow block mount would hold that bearing just fine.
I have actually shimmed the rubber of a few of those factory bearing mount when the rubber shrinks with age. It worked just fine



X2 on that/

If it will make you feel better go buy a bearing and keep it with the vehicle just in case you need it.
I doubt you will.
Really, so you shimmed up that rubber around the center bearing before I thought I might have been the only one on earth to have pulled that trick off.
You know what though, everybody aint loaded like Donald Trump & got to do stuff to get by.
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Old 01-12-2015, 10:13 AM   #11
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If it got hot enough to melt the fibers, it may have cooked the grease out of the bearing. Look for grease splatter on the other side.

So that big chunk of rubber is cheaper then a thin peice of steel. I don`t know?
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Old 01-12-2015, 11:19 PM   #12
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The rubber is to keep drive train noise from being transmitted to the frame and telegraphed into the passenger compartment and to compensate for any stresses on the bearing from minor misalignment. Sometimes you will get an enormous amount of whirring shaft and bearing noise transmitted through a vehicle when those are replaced with a plain steel carrier.

Sometimes they will also add a rubber flex coupling between the transmission and the drive shaft to further prevent the telegraphing of drive train noise through the vehicle. When they transplanted an Isuzu Diesel into my Fiat Spider they eliminated that coupling and it is very obvious that it is missing. The Italians call it a Guibo (Jewbow) since that was the name of one of the original manufacturers of the couplings.

If the threads from the blanket did not make it into the seal then just clean it up without digging around too deeply and damaging the bearing. If the fibers got behind the shield and potentially under the seal then you need to replace the bearing to protect the drive shaft. You do not want to see the pole vault event that can occur if the shaft fails behind the bearing. Even if you do not get flipped over the guard rail you will often loose both your primary and emergency brakes in such an event and may only be left with the front brakes depending on the location of the damage and some of the ABS components regulating the front brakes.

My Dad had a shaft failure at the hanger bearing on a Ford Handicapped School Bus and ended up being poll vaulted over the guard rail. Since he was transporting two disable toddlers in safety seats, he jumped in the back and managed to cover them to ward of items flying around as the bus rolled down into a swampy area. He was all bruised up but the toddlers were all laughing and calling for more. They did not have a clue as to what had happened. The roof in the meantime had come down on the drivers seat with the steering column pinned to the back of the seat. If he had remained there it would not have been survivable. Thankfully he was a young 75 at the time and chose to go fully retired after that.
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Old 01-13-2015, 02:22 AM   #13
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Neil : I experienced rubber failure on drive shaft hanger bearings on school buses in the 1960s & 70s and used a wire coat hanger to hold the drive shaft centered in the bearing hanger and then injected clear silicone into the worn out rubber areas. That gave me time to correct the faulty factory drive shaft angles.
Full size school buses have metal U shaped rods to keep the drive shaft from touching the ground in case of failure.
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