View Full Version : Bearing Install and Adjustment

08-29-2005, 10:07 AM
I had the pleasure of doing a roadside repair yesterday (still made it to the lake for the evening bite!)

Everything basically went fine. *I had 2 issues.

1. *What whas left of the bearings (inner and outer) was the the inside of each bearing cone. *They were seated so well on the spindle I had to use a brass punch to pound them off. *Is this typical of all replacements or just when you burn them up?

2. *Since the bearings seem to seat so tightly to the spindle I am wondering if I have seated the outside bearing well enough. *I seem to remember a thread where Doc mentioned how far to tighten the end nut and then how far to back it off. I searched for the thread but could not find it. *In my situation I have a castled nut. *I dont have a wrench to fit this so I tapped it around with the brass punch about a 1/2 turn or so after hand tight then backed it off until the tang could be pushed in to lock the nut. *Does this seem right? *If not what should the process be?

It did get me to the lake and back *;D

08-29-2005, 11:39 AM
OH BOY! You will need to replace your spindle ASAP or you are going to doing a re-run of what just happened. If the spindle is grooved even a little bit, you are not going to be able to seat the bearings properly. What happens is that all of the load ends up at one point along the spindle shaft instead of being spread out along the bearing surface. The bearings are not designed to handle that king of load and will fail again soon.

To set the bearing properly, use a wrench or a large pliers to hold the nut (not the castle nut) and spin the wheel counter-clockwise until it snugs up tight. Make sure the the wheel does not wobble at all. You are supposed to use a torque wrench for this, but you probably won't have one with on the road. ;D In any case, as long as the bearing is "set" or fully seated, you don't have to sweat how tight you get the nut. Then loosen or back off the nut until you can line up the cotter pin and castle nut. *If you have brakes on the trailer, I recommend backing off the nut 1/4 of a turn. It's better to have it too loose than too tight.

You always need to use a punch to remove the bearing cones from the hubs. These need to be replaced every time you replace a bearing. You don't have to replace the cones if you are just re-packing good bearings.

I hope you mean to say that the cones were fixed onto the wheel hub, not the spindle. If they were fused onto the spindle, you really had a problem.

08-29-2005, 12:13 PM
Yeah the bearings (what was left of them) were snug to the spindle. The Races were in the hub and I know those need to be tapped out.

The new bearings fit snug to the spindle the same way. The spindle was very smooth, except for some discoloration I saw no flaws. I didnt have to pound the inners to get them back on I just tapped the hub slightly at first and the hub with the inner bearings slid all the way back.

I was just looking online and see they have a new system with a regular nut and a locking cap.

I think I may have them redone by a pro just so I can feel confident.

08-29-2005, 02:25 PM
As long as the spindles are not grooved you should be OK. Wheel bearings are pretty crude so you don't need to worry about exact tolerances. It's just dirt, leaks, over heating, or anything that might cause them to bind that does them in.

08-29-2005, 02:46 PM
Thx doc your input is very appreciated. I think I am going to tighten as you suggested and go with it. I will be carrying bearings and tools with me from now on. I am going to need tires within a year and I think at that time I will have a complete rework on both sides.

I like these EZ Lube hubs. The only draw back it they are messy.

08-29-2005, 06:31 PM
the thing wibearing buddies is if the inside of the hub is full of grease and i mean full if the bearing should fail and get hot the grease will smoke and you will see it in your mirrors. normally this will happen before full failure. if your spindle discoloration waspurple then it will probally break as you now have a hard area that will break. let somebody with experience look at it or least talk to them. it may be tempered like a chisel. maybe yes, maybe no

08-30-2005, 06:16 AM
I dont know how true this is but someone gave me this tip years ago. To tell if your bearing is going bad just feel the hub with the back of your hand after you have been driving it to the ramp or a few miles or so. If the bearing is going bad it will of course heat up. The navy taught me to always test heat with the back of my hand because 1. It is much more sensitive. 2. You can still use your hand if you burn the h@ll out of it on whatever you are touching. Everytime I go to launch I always feel them on my way to put in the plug. Its just routine. No breakdowns yet! ;) Knock on wood! :o
2Shakes ;D ;D 8)

08-30-2005, 07:34 AM
That's good advice. It's best to check the hubs when the sun is not beating on them. They should be warm, but not hot if they are running right. Be careful though. A hot bearing can burn you pretty badly.

08-31-2005, 01:11 PM
One proper way to pack and re-tighten the hub is to torque it down around 10-15lbs, turn the hub both directions to seat the grease, and then loosen the nut. Now hand tighten the nut and put the cotter pin back on. I have been told it is better to have the nut a hair loose than 2 hairs to tight.

I always travel with a infrared heat measuring gun and check the hubs after ever stop (I know anal, but it's fun and easy to do)...

My readings after long hauls have always been around 109-120 degree F. on each hub (usually a few degrees hotter on the sunny side). That's with a 2,800 lb boat with a dual axle trailer, running 14 inch wheels.

08-31-2005, 02:58 PM
I was thinking about using a infrared gun to do that rather than burning the hell out of my hands.

08-31-2005, 03:21 PM
Mark you have 2 hands big sissy ;D How much are those guns sound like something i'd like to get ;D

09-01-2005, 08:41 AM
Mark you have 2 hands big sissy ;D How much are those guns sound like something i'd *like to get ;D

$50... or $90 for the laser pointing ones... I have the $50 unit, work great.

09-01-2005, 09:52 AM
RHO thanks for the price. Hey Mark i was just jokeing with you i known you can take it ;D

09-01-2005, 03:58 PM
Your right about the sissy part. *I work on computers all day so I have no callous protection!!! * ::)

09-08-2005, 02:17 PM
Just to follow up... I did have the bearings checked. The spindle was fine, the bearings were seated fine (at least after I re-tightened per docs instructions). The hub was elongated and would have put uneven pressure on the bearings and they would have failed again.

You can bet I will pay more attention to bearing maintenance.