Bug update: Wheel bearings!

Electric Bug

The bug has about 8700 miles so far. I had to change the front right wheel bearing about 1000 miles ago. It started getting loose and making a lot of noise. When I took the bearing off, it was clear that it was trashed. There was lots of dirty grease inside it too. I think the brake dust contaminated it, along with the excessive heat from using the brakes so much (without any engine braking).

At about 8600 miles I also changed the front brake pads. The front pads were nearly gone. Yeah, that’s not a lot of miles! I upgraded to some ceramic brake pads from CIP1. I think they work better and are a little cooler (based on touching the wheel after driving home).


About two weeks ago I had some trouble with the car. I was leaving my house and after about 2 miles of uphill I hit the throttle really hard on a flat. The car tranny made a bad noise, and stopped moving! I pulled over and pushed the car to the side of the road. Luckily I wasn’t on highway 17 at the time! I didn’t want to deal with it right then, so I rode my unicycle home and got my gas car. I drove that to Santa Cruz and did my usual “Sunday ride”. Aaron was going to come over afterwards and help me “tow” the car home with my truck. He came over at about 5pm, and we were prepped to tow it. I figured the tranny broke, but just to make sure I stuck my head under the car and looked at the “dog bones” (Constant Velocity joint). The left one was not at all attached to the transmission! Instead of towing the car home, I got a few tools and managed to get two bolts on and drive it home.

The CV joint has six bolts. Four came loose and were hanging off. Two sheared completely off. This probably happened when I hit the throttle really hard! Yikes. I drilled out the two bolts and got two new ones from OSH and the car was back on the road a day later.

Then about a week ago the car was making some more noise and shaking on the left side during right turns. I thought it was the front left wheel bearing, so I replaced it (since I already did the right). It looked okay, and that wasn’t the problem. I figured it was the steering box, since it has always had some excessive up/down play. On Tuesday night I couldn’t do any maintenance to figure it out; I went to Cirque De Soleil to see Totem and drove the gas backup car to San Francisco. On Wednesday night I went climbing with Jason, and afterwards I took the front apart and figured it was the steering box. On Thursday I was set to drive to Bugformance in San Jose and get a new one, but when driving to work the car started making a worse noise: a big “clunk clunk” from the transmission and rear section of the car. It generally happened when the throttle was off and I was coasting. I did some research at lunch and discovered it might be the CV joint. So, I went home and took a look at the car.

The rear left wheel was shaking like made when I moved it around in my hand. Ah hah! That wheel bearing was the problem. So, I took it apart, pounded out the old bearings.


I then went to Bugformance at lunch on Friday (had to drive the gas car again! Twice in one week…geez). Luckily they had the parts I needed, and by 8:30pm on Friday the car was back together. I still got a new steering box since mine is also leaking oil now, but I haven’t had a chance to put it in.

The rear brake pads still look like they have life in them, so I’m going to let them go a while. Unfortunately, the rear left brake hose is about worn through due to some rubbing, and I need to replace it. I couldn’t do it yesterday since I need someone to help bleed the brakes. That’ll have to be a job one of the evenings this week when I can get someone to come over and lend me a hand.


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wow, one thing after another – but you seem to be doing a good job of gettin the bug’s out of the Bug –

hope the san fran trip is without incident


dan baker

I bet your wattHr/mile have dropped considerably with new wheel bearings and CV fix?

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