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Funny noise in my mini

Jerry

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I thought I would post my noise and get some ideas before I start taking it apart. It is coming from the right front axle. At slow speeds and slight right turn, there is a noise like a U joint knuckle. This car has pot joints, new wheel bearings. One possibility is the pot joint is not in all the way. What does a loose ball bearing from the pot joint sound like? Looking at it from above, I can't see that it does not look any different from the other side.

Car drives fine and the noise only comes up once in a while. Any ideas? PS: this has been converted to disc in the front with a conversion kit.

Jerry
 

Roger

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I don't know what you mean by "Pot Joint" (I thought it was something you smoked) but you should have constant velocity joints outboard, and from your description it sounds like one needs to be replaced.
 
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Jerry

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That is my thought but the replacement pot joints don't have a good reputation, so I have used the originals. I don't know why a replacement should not be good, they are a hunk of metal.

Jerry
 

dklawson

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Roger, pot joint is a term that applies to the inner CV joints used with most (if not all) rod-change transmissions. The earlier cars had either yoke or Hardy-Spicer couplings on the inboard end. Regardless of disk or drums, the outer joints are referred to as CV joints.

If the noise is more noticeable or primarily when turning, it is likely to be the CV joint. They can make a variety of noises but what i have heard the most sounds like someone dropping marbles into a tin can... or dropping big coins into a tin can. Since this car has a disk brake conversion it should have tapered roller bearings in the front hub and those won't "tink" or "clunk" so much as growl and groan due to wear. That being said, there are a fair number of complaints about the aftermarket taper roller bearings. Most say to spend the extra money and get the genuine Timken parts.
 

dklawson

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CVs will be available at all the usual U.S. places. However, even with shipping they may be a lot more affordable from places like Mini Spares or Mini Sport.
 

Roger

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Thanks Doug, that's what I thought. My wife and I had several Minis in England so I do know the car.
Not a pot joint outboard.
 
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Jerry

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Doug,
How can you tell what is worn, the pot joint or the ball bearings on the end of the axle?

Jerry
 

dklawson

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The pot joint (inboard CV) almost never wears out on any front wheel drive car I am familiar with. The marbles in a tin can noise is typically the outer joint. The actual bearings in the hub should be tapered roller bearings, not ball bearings and they would make a grinding noise as they fail.
 
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Jerry

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The outer joint is all brand new, came with the brake kit. the inner CV joint actually lost one of the ball bearings and I had to re-insert it so I know that it could be worn.
Jerry
 

dklawson

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A ball fell out? WOW! That really must be worn. The reason pot joints wear less/slower than CVs is they don't have to pivot for steering the way the outer joints do.

Your description of the noise happening while turning is consistent with it being the outer joint... even if it is new. All I can suggest is separating the hub from the ball joints so you can remove the offending axle and and articulate the CV and pot joint by hand. See if there is either apparent looseness or binding.
 
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Jerry

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Doug,
wanted to get back with you. I changed out the inner CV pot joint and no more noise. Taking the old pot joint off was not much of a problem and half the ball bearings escaped over the floor. I put lots of grease in the joint, made sure the rubber was sealed and back to driving. Gave me a good excuse to change the oil again also. I now have 1500 miles on the car and it is running great! LOTS of power above 3000 rpm, enough power lower than 3000. I probably would not choose the 286 cam again, but it works. The other thread that talks about the drive from Oregon says he will be running at 4000rpm to hit 65MPH. My car runs at 3700 to hit 68mph (2.9 rear end). Not bad on the freeway but I mostly use it for around town.
It is going to its first British car show on May 17th.
Jerry
 
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