As described earlier, my plan to drive to North Yorkshire in the Discovery only last three miles. I think it probably goes down as one of my least successful journeys ever.
A bang, a clatter and then the front nearside wheel locked up. Fortunately for me, it was wet and the front wheel happened to be on a white line at the time, so the retardation effect was not too dramatic. Enough for me to know that my destination was well out of reach though.
I nervously limped home at 20mph (the hazard lights got a lot of use that day), not daring to go any faster because of the hideous noise coming from the front end. Knowledgeable people reckoned it was likely to be a failed wheel bearing and the grumbling noise certainly seemed to back that up.
Yesterday, I limped to my mate Dave’s house, where we pulled the front hub apart. The outer bearing looked fine, but when the pulled the hub off, the inner bearing simply fell out in many pieces. It was absolutely bone dry and the failure had been sufficient to turn the inner collar on the axle shaft – that takes some force. It took some force to remove it too, but happily, with plenty of grease and a fair degree of effort, the new bearings were soon in place.
What a transformation. The bump-shake tendency when hitting a pothole with the nearside front wheel has gone entirely and it all seems a lot quieter too. That’s the thing with permanent four-wheel drive – there are an awful lot of moving parts, and it becomes difficult to hear one over any other. I certainly noticed the difference once the duff bearing was gone though!
I’ll hopefully be putting it immediately to the test as the plan is to go greenlaning in Gloucestershire this weekend. Hopefully it’ll make up for the lack of Disco laning last weekend – fun as it was. I didn’t buy the Disco so I could go laning in someone else’s vehicle.
It has been interesting to find that I’ve now clocked up 1200 miles in the Discovery, even though it stayed at home last weekend. That’s in just over three months of ownership – IIRC I only managed 1500 miles in eight months with the Ford Maverick. The improved economy of the Discovery is certainly a factor – 27mpg compared to 20-22 – but the Disco is much more comfortable as well, and I find it much nicer to drive on the roads. Certainly, this is one vehicle I remain very happy about buying.