My 2000 Tuarus Wagon with 84,000mi. is at issue here...
Today as I was driving I began hearing a metal on metal scraping sound
from my drivers rear wheel. Upon pulling over and investigating I
noticed a flat semi-circular piece of metal wedged inside the inner part
of the rim - that's what was making the scraping noise. I loosened the
lugs and began jacking her up when the rusted semi-circular piece of tin
(metal) fell to the ground.
I think I know what it is. Correct me please but is it the splash guard
or heat dissipator from the rear spindle? The piece belongs attached to
the inside of the (what I am calling a spindle) the part behind the disc
brake assembly. I verified this by checking out the other rear wheel. I
would assume it protects the disc - caliper - from stones and splashing
water or it may also be used to dissipate heat from the discs.
So, am I safe driving with this forever removed? Can it be replaced (is
it riveted into place) or do I need to replace an entire rear spindle?
How much does that cost? Do I need to bother? My wise arse mechanic took
it and flung it into the junk heap and said that when it fell to the
ground I solved my problem and not to worry about it but it's not his
car and he is not behind the wheel driving my dear 4 other family members.
Can my Taurus live without it? What is your opinion / advice?
I would appreciate any help!
It sounds like the dust shield and yes, you can live without it. As long
as it didn't tear anything up as it dis-mounted your vehicle, you should
be perfectly safe driving your crew around. Your "wise arse mechanic"
sounds like a practical guy who was trying to save you from unnecessary
expense - a rare combination, treasure him.
That said, it did serve a purpose: it is supposed to help keep road crap
from being splashed or blown onto the disk surface as you drive (it
apparently also helps direct air flow over the rotors to keep them
cool... I'd say that was a minimal contribution). When the front shields
rotted out on my old Mazda truck, I pulled off what was left hanging
(didn't want a loose edge cutting tire or brake line or anything) and
happily and safely drove the truck for another 4 years - for all I know
that truck is still driving around sans dust shields.
If you do feel you must have shields, buy a "slotted" or after market
type. Some of the original shields were installed before the bearings,
wheel hubs and brake assemblies were installed. That means that in order
to put a new one on, you have to strip the wheel down to the stub shaft
to fit it on like a doughnut. The slotted types are open at the bottom
so that you can slip it over the axle without removing half the world.
If your original shields were doughnut-shaped, look around for a
replacement type that isn't.
Either way, it's your call. I won't go as far as to call them cosmetic,
but it is a very, very, very low risk option to drive without them
(certainly lower risk than driving a 10 year-old Taurus... I kid).
Good luck and let us know which way you decided to go.
My 2k Sable with 175k miles has been living without the rusted out rear dust
shields for 2 yr now. Aprox 40k miles.
Let not your heart be troubled, your mechanic could have BSed you and
lightened your wallet. Keep giving him your business IMO
Thank you, all, for your comments. I really appreciate the responses.
You are all correct about my mechanic, I've been with him since the mid
1990's when I had my first Taurus wagon, a "92. He hates fords and I
have to "put up" with his pontificating of how bad a car it is and, thus
his dramatics of tossing the plate into the junk heap after taking out
of my hands! He is definitely the type to try and save me a buck when
it applies though, as it does, this time.
Thanks again and stay well!
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