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Drastic reduction in the service life of a production gearbox was observed. Within the gearbox, the axial load on a bevel gear (8620 steel, OD 9.2 cm) was taken by a thrust-type roller bearing (3.8 cm ID, 5.6 cm OD) in which a ground surface on the back of the bevel gear served as a raceway. Spalling damage on the ground bearing raceway at five equally spaced zones was disclosed by inspection of the bevel gear. The bearing raceway was checked for runout by mounting the gear on an arbor. It was found that the raceway undulated to the extent of 0.008 mm total indicator reading and a spalled area was observed at each high point. The presence of numerous cracks that resembled grinding cracks was revealed both by magnetic-particle inspection and microscopic examination. Spalling was produced by nonuniform loading in conjunction with grinding cracks. As corrective measures, the spindle of the grinding machine was reconditioned to eliminate the undulations and retained austenite was minimized by careful heat treatment.

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