Fretting Failure of Raceways on 52100 Steel Rings of an Automotive Front- Wheel Bearing
An automotive front-wheel outer angular-contact ball bearing generated considerable noise shortly after delivery of the vehicle. The inner and outer rings were made of seamless cold-drawn 52100 steel tubing, the balls were forged from 52100 steel, and the retainer was stamped from 1008 steel strip. The inner ring, outer ring, and balls were austenitized at 845 deg C (about 1550 deg F), oil quenched, and tempered to a hardness of 60 to 64 HRC. Investigation (visual inspection) supported the conclusion that failure was caused by fretting due to vibration of the stationary vehicle position without bearing rotation. Recommendations included improving methods of securing the vehicle during transportation to eliminate vibrations.