Wheel Bearing Repack II (bw pig)

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Wheel Bearing Repack II (bw pig)

Post by Amskeptic » Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:04 pm

We're at maximum disassembly for this job, and parts are being cleaned (even if you have new ones, clean the old ones for forensic clues). Take the little spring out of the wheel bearing seal lip so you can clean, if you are re-using the seal:

Image

What I thought were damaged bearings were actually not damaged. The rollers were not blue or scored or loose in the cage. The inner bearing's play that I had felt, even after I had tightened the bearing locknut to 5 ft/lbs to test, was strictly due to slop between the inner bearing race and the steering spindle. Look at the inner race-to-spindle surface. See the discoloration? That is impact damage due to play. This slop only gets greater over time as the inner bearing race starts to slowly rotate on the spindle. I had loose bearings for too long, this exacerbated the rotation that we do not want, now do we, no, of course not:
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Here, the outer bearing's inner race is being tested for slop on the spindle. It is normal to have a barely discernable bit o click:
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Philosophical Muse. . . . look at how utterly tiny that forlorn little bearing is, sitting on the spindle waiting for more curves and bumps, it must be treated with great respect. . . like CLEAN and WELL-LUBRICATED and CORRECTLY ADJUSTED:
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I re-used my seals and bearings (good German SKF) so I cleaned them in a small bucket with GumOut carb spray through the little red nozzle, excellent cleaning method, blast every bit of old grease out. Do not spin the bearings when dry. Clean out the hub totally clean, no greasy pawprints on the rotor/disk . . . likewise, do not clean the brake disk right now, you do not want to dislodge the rusty flakes in our operating theatre. Everything is laid out. Note that I removed the 6mm bolt from the nut to clean out its recesses:
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The hub has been coated with a layer of Valvoline DuraBlend semi-synthetic molybdenum disulfide grease to make a smooth cylinder between the outer and inner bearing races:
Image
.
Get some clean paper towels at the ready. Have all of your parts readily accessible and soooo clean. Put the little spring back in the wheel seal. Fill the cavity where the spring went into the seal, this will serve as a "heat transfer-mastic" to keep the lip pliable for twice as long as would otherwise be expected.
Pack the inner (bigger) bearing with grease, you want every roller thoroughly coated inside and out. Use two fingers to lock the inner race stationary and rotate the cage while you pack every cranny until it is thoroughly greased, get both edge views of the bearing too. Set the bearing in the hub, no stray stalactites of grease dripping on the disk please (and don't say anything when you see the picture). Now fill the hub so that you have a smooth cylinder of grease from the inner bearing race on down into the hub about halfway. I slightly "undergrease" when using this moly grease as opposed to that fibrous lithium grease junk that turns into peanut butter. The moly grease flows easier when warm, so don't use too much or it will weep out past seals and dust caps:
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Clean your hands.
Now press the seal into the hub until it seats. You can do it with your hands to keep it free from distortion. Wipe the excess grease from between the seal and the bearing and then the outer perimeter of the seal. Wipe your hands clean:
Image

With clean hands, pick up the hub/rotor disk by its edge and slap it onto the clean spindle. Center the spindle in the outer bearing opening and make sure it gently seats in as far as it will go. Let it droop down. Stick a glob of grease into the opening and make sure you burp any air pocket out. Pack the outer bearing thoroughly (this bearing keeps the wheel on) and stick it in the opening until it trues up the hub/rotor. Follow it with the clean washer and the nut with the 6mm lock bolt. Just before things get snug, grab the washer behind the nut and move it back and forth and make a note of its range of back and forth movement, it is indexed to the spindle slot so it only moves in a set way. Wipe your hands. Rotate the hub by grasping a wheel stud only (no greasy hands on the rotor!) and snug up the nut to no more than 5 ft/lbs snuggish (a little more if you put new races in) with your adjustable wrench or whatever, keep it rotating through this snuggling up. Then, while still rotating the hub/rotor, back your adjustable wrench until you feel/see the subtle freeing up of the washer as it unloads from the nut. You may see the washer do a little rotation backwards as it frees up from the 5 ft/lbs point. Repeat it until you have a grasp of this point where the washer/nut/bearing just get free of each other:
Image

NOW THEN. Be attentive. You put this all together, you know there is a bearing just to the inside of that fat flat washer. We are going to test the bearing adjustment by prying on the washer only! Do not stick your flat blade screwdriver in so far that you are bending the cage of the bearing. Sure it is greasy and hard to see and all, but just the tip of the screwdriver. Put it at 9:00 (on the clock dial) between the hub inner radius and the flat washer, hold the hub from turning with a grip on a wheel stud, and turn the screwdriver like you are loosening a screw to pry the washer sideways. It might already be moved, so don't get all monkey on it. Go to the 3:00 position and try to pry back. You should get a sticky movement. If everything is unyielding, back off the nut until you can move that washer totally sloppy and record the range of its movement, so you'll know what to do as you tighten it (wheel rotating) and then loosen it until the washer just decouples from the nut. You want the nut tight enough to make sliding the washer sideways moderately (new bearings) or slightly (old repacked bearings) sticky:
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Tighten the 6mm lock bolt in the nut when you are done. Not too crazy, it locks the nut onto the spindle threads very effectively:
Image

Make a ring of grease dam inside the dust cover:
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If you have the driver's side off, align the square speedometer cable end with the square hole in the dust cover. Reach around to the inside of the steering spindle and push the cable sheath out towards your hand holding the dust cap. The two will mate easily. Put your circlip on the cable. Grab a 19mm + box wrench and wrap it in a towel with a little depression in the middle for the speedo circlip/cable. Hammer the box end and the cap will go on with nary a scratch on your new paint:
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Install your caliper and brake hose retainer c-clip. Caliper bolts do not need to be tightenedto death. No more than the lug nuts up to 1973, '73 and after a bit more but 112 ft/lbs is still not much.
Put wheel on, and snug those lug nuts firmly with the wheel still off the ground so you can center the wheel with no load on it. Jack down, torque your wheels to 85/90 ft/lbs (anti-seized wheel stud threads for us north-eastern types) 94 ft/lbs dry threads. *Pump up your brake pedal to get the pads back out against the disk* Wax the wheels and hubcaps:
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Now go help jump start that guy who was listening to loud music and ran down his Big Chevy's battery at the storage place. As your car hurtles backwards towards his left front fender, remember that you did not pump the brake pedal up after you had pried the pads out to get the calipers off*:
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Readjust your wheel bearings after 200 miles if you put new races in. Otherwise, check any time by rocking the top of the tire in and out. If it is lightly clicky, yer OK, if it is clunky, you're not.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 91 414 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,113 miles

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Post by Amskeptic » Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:39 am

Y'all are allowed to respond, you know. . . . suggestions, tips, point out omissions, then we can Tech Article it.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 91 414 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,113 miles

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Post by RSorak 71Westy » Thu Nov 15, 2007 12:22 pm

I'd say this covers this rather simple procedure more than adequately. With this a complete newb could do the job w/ confidence.
Take care,
Rick
Stock 1600 w/dual Solex 34's and header. mildly ported heads and EMPI elephant's feet. SVDA W/pertronix. 73 Thing has been sold. BTW I am a pro wrench have been fixing cars for living for over 30 yrs.

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Post by OB Bus » Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:53 pm

Beeeoootiful job.
The narrative was as good as vintage Muir. Namely, don't assume the reader knows what they are doing.

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Re: Wheel Bearing Repack II (bw pig)

Post by ruckman101 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:59 am

I recently put new rotors onto the ghia and with trepidation tightened the bearings and packed everything with grease because I had no clear guidelines. Then I found this thread and was comforted knowing my instincts were essentially correct.

I was concerned, though, and pulled off the driver side dust cap, giving that washer the screwdriver test, and bingo, right on. Pretty good me, I told myself and went on my merry way, assuming both sides were equally adjusted.

After two weeks, driving out to Amboy this past Sunday, I could hear some bearing noise on left hand turns, so rechecked and by golly, passenger tire was loose. Double checked, adjusted both wheels.

It was a very timely post for me, or my timing was almost before the fact, but thank you for the detailed procedure. I know I'll reference it every time I tackle the task.



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Re: Wheel Bearing Repack II (bw pig)

Post by Hippie » Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:52 pm

Like oil changes, easy job, but got to do it right...especially can't have wheels coming off.
I never knew to recheck them at 200 miles, but I guess I did at some point (500 miles?) after breaking in the new bearings.

Good article. It is essential maintenance and a good review for me.
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Re: Wheel Bearing Repack II (bw pig)

Post by grandfatherjim » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:52 pm

My habit for adjusting has been to assemble, including wheel, with the front end still jacked up, then grip and wiggle the top and bottom of the tire to feel the bearing adjustment. I find by rocking the outer diameter of the tire, you can feel the sweet spot for the bearing adjustment more accurately.
Not scientific, but it's been working. (You have to be "in the zone" while doing this, not distracted by the playoffs and a six-pack.)
Jim

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Re: Wheel Bearing Repack II (bw pig)

Post by Hippie » Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:30 am

grandfatherjim wrote: ...Not scientific, but it's been working. (You have to be "in the zone" while doing this, not distracted by the playoffs and a six-pack.)
Jim
There is a bit of art in the real world application of all things scientific.
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Re: Wheel Bearing Repack II (bw pig)

Post by RSorak 71Westy » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:05 am

I would like to see this done for the rear.
Take care,
Rick
Stock 1600 w/dual Solex 34's and header. mildly ported heads and EMPI elephant's feet. SVDA W/pertronix. 73 Thing has been sold. BTW I am a pro wrench have been fixing cars for living for over 30 yrs.

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Re: Wheel Bearing Repack II (bw pig)

Post by Amskeptic » Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:33 am

RSorak 71Westy wrote:I would like to see this done for the rear.
Well, now that I have the BobD, perhaps I could do a preemptive rear wheel bearing repack for the sake of longevity and an article.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 91 414 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,113 miles

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Re: Wheel Bearing Repack II (bw pig)

Post by Jaffa » Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:21 pm

Amskeptic wrote:
RSorak 71Westy wrote:I would like to see this done for the rear.
Well, now that I have the BobD, perhaps I could do a preemptive rear wheel bearing repack for the sake of longevity and an article.
Colin
Yes please. I'd like to do the rears as well. I repacked the fronts about 1000mls ago, but they still seemed noisey so I replaced the bearings 2 weeks ago. When I did the original repack the old grease was almost non existant in the bearings and really mucky. I used new Timken USA bearings this time, came in a trailer axle kit from Timken Australia.

Reading above, as these bearings are new should I recheck the end play at 200mls?

Craig
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Re: Wheel Bearing Repack II (bw pig)

Post by hercdriver » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:17 am

Amskeptic wrote:Just before things get snug, grab the washer behind the nut and move it back and forth and make a note of its range of back and forth movement, it is indexed to the spindle slot so it only moves in a set way. Wipe your hands. Rotate the hub by grasping a wheel stud only (no greasy hands on the rotor!) and snug up the nut to no more than 5 ft/lbs snuggish (a little more if you put new races in) with your adjustable wrench or whatever, keep it rotating through this snuggling up. Then, while still rotating the hub/rotor, back your adjustable wrench until you feel/see the subtle freeing up of the washer as it unloads from the nut. You may see the washer do a little rotation backwards as it frees up from the 5 ft/lbs point. Repeat it until you have a grasp of this point where the washer/nut/bearing just get free of each other:
Ok Dr.,

Let me start this out with....I have friend :^o who recently did his first disc job on a super beetle. He wished he'd come across this article last week, but as fate would have it he found this article today. This guy got everything correct except the 5 ft/lbs. You see, he put new races into disc and got a little crazy when tighten the nut. He tighten the nut down until the disc would not spin on the spindle (it felt way more than 5 ft/lbs). Then backed off the nut until the disc would turn freely. Everything feels fine at this point, but now I'm concerned that the new bearings may have been damaged. Should I pull it off and examine it or am I just over thinking this since the disc is turning freely?
66 Beetle
75 Westy

Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity. -Socrates

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Re: Wheel Bearing Repack II (bw pig)

Post by RSorak 71Westy » Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:43 am

What he did is accepted practice in many circles. IMHO this is an overkill way to make sure the new races are seated all the way. Assuming the bearings dont get noisy again shortly he didn't hurt them. If he did hurt them, they will protest shortly.
Take care,
Rick
Stock 1600 w/dual Solex 34's and header. mildly ported heads and EMPI elephant's feet. SVDA W/pertronix. 73 Thing has been sold. BTW I am a pro wrench have been fixing cars for living for over 30 yrs.

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Re: Wheel Bearing Repack II (bw pig)

Post by Amskeptic » Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:37 pm

hercdriver wrote: This guy got crazy tight the nut.
He tighten the nut down until the disc would not spin
Should I pull it off and examine?

Tell dat crazy nut too late to examine. You can, however, rotate the wheel and feel for little subtle nubby feel inside the rotation of the wheel. If it is dead nuts smooth, just drive it and check your adjustment in 200 miles. If it is little nubby vibration-almost when you spin the wheel, the rollers may have been damaged. If the wheel has a clickishness once per rotation, the race may be damaged. Anything other than perfectly smooth rotation is indicating new bearings.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 91 414 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,113 miles

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Re: Wheel Bearing Repack II (bw pig)

Post by renobdarb » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:14 am

At Colin's strong suggestion during his visit earlier this month, I'm re-packing my wheel bearings. Got everything off and cleaned, and upon inspection found these grooves on the inner hub where it contacts the inner bearing...

Image

It's a little rough on this spot, however the inner bearing seems to look fine. Any suggestions on what I should do about this?

Also, I'm having a little trouble getting that rubber seal out, so some suggestions on how to get the bugger out would be helpful, too...

Thanks!
1978 Campmobile, 2000cc w/hydro lifters, dual Weber 44 IDF carbs (50 idle jets, 115 main jets), SVDA distributor w/Compufire.
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1977 Beetle convertible w/Bocar 34pict3 carb
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1972 Ford Bronco

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