Curbside Breakdown: That Axle Doesn’t Look Quite Right

As soon as I saw this Dodge van down the street, I knew something was off. Why is that rear wheel sticking out like that? Did someone swap in a wider rear axle?


Walked over to the other side: Umm, no. Looks normal here.


Got down on my knees to check this out: Yikes! The axle shaft, brake drum and wheel are coming out! This is exactly what happened to our ’65 Dodge Coronet wagon on an elevated section of the NJ Turnpike as we were bypassing NYC on the way to Maine for vacation one summer.

But here’s the odd thing; I’m no expert on axles, but I was somehow under the impression that wasn’t likely to happen to full-floating rear axles, since the axle shaft does not carry any weight on it directly. But obviously that’s not the case here.