So today was Saturday. I did a bunch of work around the house in the morning because we had friends coming over for dinner and lots of dishes to wash. After that, I picked up my friend Chad and we ran out to visit some of our neighbors here in the valley who have a coffee plantation. They are building a new house after a fire they had a couple of months ago and we wanted to see how the work was coming along and also if they needed any help with getting their satellite communications set up, as Chad has some experience along those lines, plus he is blessed with an uncanny ability to accurately guess his way around a lot of that kind of stuff.
Anyway, the coffee plantation is a few miles away and we drove the Ancient Land Rover out there. We spent a few hours with our friends there and headed back home. After I dropped off Chad at his place, I drove up to our house. Just a hundred yards from home I shifted gears and suddenly lost forward pulling power! I've been through a few broken axles before, so I groaned inwardly, put the truck in 4 wheel drive and just kept going on the front wheel drive alone. As I turned the last corner near our house, I started hearing a squeak-squeak squeak sound and lost all my brakes. I also passed a couple of women who looked at me as if I were doing something really strange. I shifted the transfer case into low range, (which is geared so low that you can almost live without brakes), and limped to the front of our house. I elected not to turn into the driveway, (which slopes towards the front of the house and is not the ideal place to park a car without brakes) and instead parked by the hedge on the level road in front of the house. When I got out to take a look, I discovered this:
Yes, Virginia, that IS the left rear wheel sitting out about 2 feet from where it is supposed to be! And that is the inner wheel bearing hanging there in the breeze on the axle shaft. The squeaking I was hearing was the axle slowly sliding out of the axle housing whith each rotation of the wheel. I'm really surprised that the axle didn't break! If I had turned into our driveway, the axle would almost certainly have come all the way out.
So it turns out that the big nut(s?) that hold the wheel hub on to the stub axle must have come loose--I jacked up the car and pushed the wheel back in as far as I could--I didn't have time today to get into the wheel hub--tomorrow afternoon I should have the time to open it up and find out why it came loose. I was not the last one to tighten this nut, so it's possible that it was just assembled wrong. Thankfully there doesn't seem to be any damage, and even if I find that there is, I have a good collection of parts for these trucks, so it probably won't cost me anything to fix it.
So this happened just minutes after a several mile drive on a very rough dirt road! Thank the Lord it didn't happen halfway between here and the coffee plantation. If nothing else it would have been a hassle to fix on the side of the road.