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Thread: Back wheel rubbing on arch

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    North Weald, Essex
    Posts
    89

    Back wheel rubbing on arch

    Hi Guys,
    I've noticed my offside rear wheel has started to rub on the wheel arch occasionally.
    I've had the same wheel/tyre combo (195/45/16 on 7.5J rims) fitted for the last eight years with no problems.
    I noticed the other day that the rear axle was offset when parked up & then later it was straight again?
    Could this be worn bushes in the rear track control arms? Can the bushes be replaced or do you have to buy complete arms?
    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lewes
    Posts
    680
    Make sure your rims are straight.

    Take the rear cowl off and do some measurements. One of those would be to measure from the front wheel on one side to the rear wheel on the same side rear wheel - both sides.

    Quite possible your rear wheel bearings are worn or the central bearing is loose.

    I sure there are lots of other things that might be the cause. If you don't feel capable of working out whats wrong, then take your car to a garage that knows Smart cars for a professional opinion.

    John

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Devon
    Posts
    24
    Either the track control arms (both of them would have to be very worn out) or the big front bush on the De-dion axle. A wheel bearing would need to be pretty much collapsed to allow that much of movement, and it would only affect one wheel whereas you say the whole axle was offset. It must be horrendous to drive if the axle is moving around that much.

    Not sure if you can get bushes for the control arms, but the arms aren't terribly expensive. There is no proper replacement bush for the De-dion however, the only option is to go for a horrible polyurethane part or fit a s/h axle with a good bush.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Ecosse
    Posts
    3,392
    A bit leftfield... but check rear springs for breakage or displacement from seats. Sitting unevenly (side to side) the spring can skew the axle. Noticeable by the steering wheel being at an angle while travelling straight.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Daventry
    Posts
    630
    It's possible that you have a seized up shock absorber which may also have lost its gas pressure.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    North Weald, Essex
    Posts
    89

    Thanks for the replies.
    I don't think it's a wheel bearing, there is no noise & I would have thought it would make a bad one if it was that badly worn.
    Buckled wheel, that's a thought, lots of potholes & bad roads. Will have to jack car up at the weekend & check.
    I've stuck my head underneath & the springs look in good condition & look to be located correctly.
    The rear suspension is really soft & the traction control does seem to kick in a lot. I think it's about time for some new shocks.
    I've had a look at the track control arm bushes, that I can see & they do look very perished & the bolt doesn't look like it is in the centre anymore. So I think I'm going to replace both arms.
    The bush at the front of the de-dion tube, has anyone had problems with this? What does it look like? Any pictures?
    The car doesn't drive bad just feels like it's got a soggy rear end, like soft tyres. If I didn't have such little clearance between the wheels & arches I probably wouldn't have noticed there was a fault.
    Cheers.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Ecosse
    Posts
    3,392
    Something amiss with (either) anti roll bar?

    The front bush doesn't do very much in cornering - it's more for drive and braking forces.

    Just in case - double check tyre pressures.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Devon
    Posts
    24
    I don't see any way that the anti-roll bar could change the alignment of the rear axle? Likewise dampers; a seized damper would cause a horrendously harsh ride (i.e. completely solid suspension), and worn dampers would make the back end wallow/bounce, but in neither case could it change the axle alignment enough to cause tyres to rub on bodywork.

    Lateral and longitudinal constraint, relative to the subframe, is provided purely by the front bush and the two control arms. If the axle is misaligned then either the bushes have failed (most likely IMO), something has physically bent/broken on the axle/subframe, or the entire subframe is moving on it's mountings.

    I'd be getting the rear end jacked up and applying a big lever between axle and subframe to see how easily everything moves.

    FWIW when some pillock crashed into my wife's roadster, they hit one of the rear wheels which slightly bent the axle tube, but also bent the brackets on the front of the axle which retain the front bush, which 'steered' the entire axle to one side.
    Last edited by mikerj; 21-06-2017 at 12:38 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Ecosse
    Posts
    3,392
    Quote Originally Posted by mikerj View Post
    I don't see any way that the anti-roll bar could change the alignment of the rear axle?
    Not the alignment but increased roll could cause rubbing - see thread title.


    Quote Originally Posted by mikerj View Post
    If the axle is misaligned then either the bushes have failed (most likely IMO), something has physically broken on the axle/subframe, or the entire subframe is moving on it's mountings.
    .
    Nope. The arcs of the transverse arms influence lateral location (toe) and uneven ride height (broken/displaced spring) will set the axle to an angle (toe).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    BANCHORY
    Posts
    2,983
    I agree with mikerj on this one.
    Drives a Smart Cdi - 65 to 85 MPG

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