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Old 03-26-2023, 08:00 PM   #1
jack99
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Default Advise wheel bearing

Replaced the front wheel bearings on my car today. The right side inner bearing was very tight when I placed it on the spindle. It too a few light taps with a drift pin to get it onto the taper portion of the spindle, once it was almost home it moved into place. The left side just slipped into place once I greased the spindle.
Question does the inner portion of the bearing need to move on the spindle? Wheel turns fine just wondering what your thoughts are.

Bearing was a timpkin so I thought good quality. The original bearing just slid off with no problem.

Thanks.
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Old 03-26-2023, 08:16 PM   #2
Dino's A
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Default Re: Advise wheel bearing

Light taps your fine. I get nervous when they are a loose fit and
wonder if it will spin the bearing and ruin the spindle. But the weight of
the car prevents that scenario. You should be good.
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Old 03-27-2023, 07:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: Advise wheel bearing

Thanks for all of your input.
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Old 03-27-2023, 10:51 PM   #4
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Default Re: Advise wheel bearing

When you adjust the front wheel bearings the nut should not be tight or you will burn the bearing out . The bearings should be adjusted so there is the bare minimum of rock at the wheel circumference . Just grab the wheel at 3 oclock and 9 oclock and twist side and back to feel a little rock .

John in sunny Chandler AZ at the end of my "snowbird holiday "
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Old 03-28-2023, 02:14 AM   #5
Flathead Fever
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Default Re: Advise wheel bearing

I was fleet mechanic for 30 years and I repacked hundreds and hundreds of wheel bearings. So many that I now hate to do repack wheel bearings more than anything other job on a car. I'm not fond of doing brakes either. That bearing should have slid on there easily, but I don't think it will hurt anything. It's possible that at some time in its life it had a bearing seize up and spin on the spindle. The question becomes did the spindle get hot enough to change it metallurgy. If the spindle is blue or discolored from heat I'd replace it. The bearing could have been machined wrong, but I've never come across that. They are usually accurate to .0001", 1/10,000th an inch. It would be interesting to swap bearings between sides to see if the problem follows the bearing or if it's the spindle.

When I replace or repack wheel bearings, I clean all the parts to remove any old grease so there is no chance of different types of grease contaminating each other. Pack the wheel bearings until grease comes out the outer rollers. Smear extra grease all around the outside of the bearings. Put a light coating on the spindle. Put a little on the new seal so it doesn't start off running dry. I coat the inside of the hub which helps prevent rust in there from any moisture that might get in there. You don't want to fill the hub up with grease because that cavity helps dissipate the heat from the bearings, at least that is what I was told. Put the drum or rotor on and wipe-off any grease from the bearing surface where the washer will fit up against it. A layer of grease might eventually work its way out and loosen the adjustment a little. I always keep the washer, nut and the spot the washer goes against grease free. Put the nut on and tighten it up fairly snug with a crescent wrench. Rotate the bearing back and forth a lot to work the excess grease out. Loosen the nut and then tighten it with your greasy fingers so you can't over tighten it. Pull the wheel towards you and push it away from you, that's called "axial play". There should be no axial play but no tighten than that. You can loosen it until you feel some play and then tighten until the play is just gone. Put the cotter pin in and drive it for a while. I used to find that on the next six-month service the bearings would have slightly loosened, probably from a little excessive grease being forced out. I usually tighten them up one more cotter pin hole until the play was just gone again. The they were good for 30K miles. We repacked wheel bearings every 30K miles, and we never lost wheel bearings. million and millions of miles on a 400-vehicle phone company fleet. They kept their vehicles for over 15-years and up to 300K miles and they still had their original wheel bearings. I contribute that to using the red Lubrication Engineers grease, good stuff. To answer your question about the bearings needing to move in and out the answer is no, if the wheel bearings are adjusted properly, the bearings cannot move. Bearings that run-in gear oil can have preload on them but bearings with wheel bearing grease will eventually overheat and turn blue if there is any preload, over tightening them forces all the grease out and eventually the bearing and race will be running metal on metal.

Just tonight there was a news story about a pickup losing a wheel and the
spectacular crash it caused. If you freeze frame the wheel you can see it still has its brake rotor bolted to it and it looks like the spindle is in the rotor, I'm thinking the spindle broke. I've never seen a spindle break in my 30-years as a fleet mechanic. That's usually reserved for monster truck jumping.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4qfWknMJMA

Last edited by Flathead Fever; 03-28-2023 at 02:33 AM.
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Old 03-28-2023, 08:14 AM   #6
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Default Re: Advise wheel bearing

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FHF, thanks for your input. We don't drive our cars much, as you know, but someone in our Model A club had his fairly recently restored car burn a wheel bearing last summer. You can't be too careful.
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Old 03-28-2023, 09:50 AM   #7
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Default Re: Advise wheel bearing

What do you think of this method? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97G6cl7-2nU
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Old 03-28-2023, 10:04 AM   #8
Bob Bidonde
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Default Re: Advise wheel bearing

I have used this technique with success when a front wheel bearing race was a loose fit on a spindle by a one or two thousandths of an inch:
Burnish the spindle with a center punch & hammer to raise metal uniformly around the spindle's bearing surface. This stops the race from spinning on the spindle. Apply thread locker to the burnished spindle and tap the bearing into place.
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Old 03-28-2023, 10:47 AM   #9
Kurt in NJ
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Default Re: Advise wheel bearing

the cone roller assembly is supposed to be a slip fit to allow it to rotate slowly to spread the wear evenly
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Old 03-28-2023, 09:02 PM   #10
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Default Re: Advise wheel bearing

Burnishing is better suited for fitting lose races.
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Old 03-29-2023, 07:13 PM   #11
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Default Re: Advise wheel bearing

Flathead Fever ................ Nicely said & right on the money. Well done!
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