CSC Cobra Trike Axle Problem

Revision: 08/25/2008

Introduction:

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I went out on a Sunday morning breakfast ride with a couple of friends. On our way to Bandera Tx. from San Antonio I notices some vibration that I had not felt before. After breakfast we headed for Fredericksburg. The vibration continued so I informed my friends when we reached Kerrville I would head back home. On the road to Kerrville we passed a section of twisties and I noticed a clicking/knocking sound from the bike in addition to a more pronounced vibration. We did not make it. I pulled into a gas station eight miles from Kerrville to investigate the problem. I called GWRRA for tow assistance. I was stranded about 100 miles from home. I guess I was lucky I could have been in New Mexico or further.

 

While I waited for the flat bed tow truck to show up I looked at the trike and started to get angry. My 2006 CSC Cobra kit was two years old with only 9,000 miles on it. MY experience with the installer had not been very pleasant. Shortly after delivery of the trike I had some issues and when I contacted the dealer for assistance and advice he insinuated I had caused the problems. He could do no wrong so it had to be my fault. I was obligated to figure out and fix the problems on my own, so calling the dealer for assistance was obviously out of the question. I reached under the trike grabbed the axle and pulled on it. I noticed slight movement when I applied pressure. My mind went cray thinking what might have happened, to the axle. I contacted CSC support rather than the dealer for help.

 

NOTE:

First I want to point out something. Years ago I worked for Travis County in Austin, TX as Fleet Maintenance Supervisor. I was responsible for the maintenance and repairs of 300 plus vehicles. The fleet consisted of Sheriff patrol cars, constable vehicles, medical examiner vans, and various pickup and utility vehicles. I started as a brake and AC mechanic and after 5 years promoted to Fleet Maintenance Supervisor.

 

I removed the drive shaft and inspected the problem. I got a sick feeling when I saw the damage in the Rzeppa cross groove joint. The CSC Rzeppa cross groove joint is very similar to a car's font wheel drive CV joint. What got me upset was the lack of grease in the joint.

 

Click to enlarge

I expected to find the Rzeppa cross groove joint and inner boot packed with grease. Observe the rubber boot and around the spline. I inspected the black stuff around the flange. The substance was not soft. It was stiff and upon inspecting it closer it consisted of a combination of silicone sealent, metal shavings, melted plastic from the Delrin disk, grime, and a slight trace of grease.

I wanted to get a better look at the inside of the Rzeppa cross groove joint. Once the joint assembly was apart the lack of grease made cleaning easy.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The outer casing showed wear. Several of the bearing beds were pitted. Two of them where much more than pitted. You can clearly see the bed damaged.

This the other bearing bed that is chewed up.

Click on the image to enlarge to see it better.

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Click to enlarge

As expected the inner flange was also damaged.

Out of 6 bearing beads 4 were pitted and 2 had major damage.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The Rzeppa cross groove joint has 6 marble size ball bearings. 4 showed heat wear and 2 were distorted and no longer round.

These 2 bearings were the worst. The Delrin disk is distorted and partially melted.

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Click to enlarge

Here is a close up of the bearings.

Here is the new Rzeppa cross groove joint assembled with a new and the old Delrin disk.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

I made sure the Rzeppa cross groove joint assembly was packed with a quality high temperature lithium grease rated up to 400 degrees.

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Comments:

Will from CSC parts and service was very helpful and understanding and sent me the parts needed to perform the repairs.