97 Previa Bearing Failure After Axle Replacement

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Old 29 Aug 2011, 03:47 am   #1 (permalink)
W
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Default 97 Previa Bearing Failure After Axle Replacement

I have a 1997 Previa all wheel drive (AWD) that was diagnosed by Toyota
dealer as needing a front axle replacement on one side. Within 48 hours
of getting the repaired vehicle back, it started to make noise in the wheel
assembly, and fearing a major system failure I had it towed in. While the
car was on a hydraulic lift, I noted to the technician that the entire
affected front wheel was wiggling loose sideways. Dealer now says the
entire bearing has failed and needs replacement. Dealer is making the
claim that this bearing failure had nothing to do with their axle repair and
was simply failing on its own over time. They are charging me for the
replacement parts at over $500.

A very knowledgeable mechanic friend of mine claims it is impossible that
this is a bearing that was slowly failing. My friend claims that a bearing
failure would have been seen by any mechanic at the time of axle
replacement, because a bearing failure that takes place over time would
create a fine white powder that would be all over everything as soon as the
axle was removed from the bearing assembly.

On one web site, I see that for the AWD version of the Previa the bearing is
not directly accessible, and you have to replace the entire hub assembly,
which apparently includes the bearing. Is there any chance that a
technician removing the axle from this assembly on the AWD version of 1997
Previa would fail to notice a bearing that was undergoing a slow failure
over time?

I'm trying to give the dealer the benefit of the doubt here, but it seems to
me that a catastrophic failure of a front bearing within 48 hours of the
same side axle being replaced points 95% to an incorrectly installed axle,
and not to a pre-existing failure in the bearing. But I don't have enough
knowledge about this model of Previa to make a cogent argument to them.

I would appreciate insights on this from any experienced Toyota mechanics.

--
W


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