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Old 09-04-2014, 06:37 PM   #1
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2010 16' International
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Wheel bearing play: Is this too loose? (video)

I recently did a brake inspection on my 2010 16' and then repacked the wheel bearings with fresh grease and tightened the castle nut, etc. No new races or bearings, just kept the stock ones.

When tightening the castle nut, I went for finger tight with no play, then backed off until I could insert the cotter pin.

At the end of a 60 mile trip, one wheel was reasonably cool, and the other aluminum wheel (and brake drum) felt quite hot.

I'm pretty sure the brakes aren't adjusted too tight against the drum, as I can't even lock them up when I manually peg the controller to full braking with the panic lever (yes, I need to adjust the brakes)

So I figure the bearing is too tight. So tonight I backed it off one more notch on the castle nut, and I'm getting what seems to me like a little too much play. I took a brief video; can anyone tell me if this looks like too much play or not?

If this IS too much play, then what might be causing the drum and wheel (rim) to heat up? The tire itself seems fine, not hot, inflated to 65 PSI (max recommended pressure). The only thing I can think of is the brake pads against the drum but as I said that doesn't seem tight.
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Old 09-04-2014, 06:42 PM   #2
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Too loose! tighten it up a notch. Should have no discernible play like that.

After years of experience, I tighten down tight and back off one or two notches, depending how big the notch is. Finger tight for your first setting is too loose.


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Old 09-04-2014, 07:04 PM   #3
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I agree - too loose!

I just did my annual bearing & brake check today - good thing I did, found one wheel not braking - I always spin the wheel once suspended while getting my "Mrs" to apply the breaks in the truck.

Found a broken brake wire - all fixed now.

As for the bearings, I generally snug up the castle nut more than finger tight using a wrench, but I don't apply a huge amount of force.

I then back off to be able to insert the cotter pin. The lateral movement is barely perceptible dong it this way.

This is the way I have done it for many years and never yet (touch wood) had a bearing problem from this method.

Brian & Connie Mitchell

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Hensley Arrow / Centramatics
2008 GMC Sierra SLT 2500HD,4x4,Crew Cab, Diesel, Leer cap.
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Old 09-04-2014, 07:04 PM   #4
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Rich is right, that is way too loose!!! With the tire / wheel installed and off the ground, you should be able to wiggle that ass'y back and forth maybe 1/8" or so by grabbing the tire at top and bottom and trying to move it in and out.
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Old 09-04-2014, 07:13 PM   #5
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Tighten the nut with a torque wrench to 5 lbs, then back it off until you can get the cotter pin in. See if there's any play in the wheel. If not, back it off a little more (after removing the cotter pin) and put the cotter pin in again and see if there's any play. It shouldn't be more than 1/16" I think.

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Old 09-04-2014, 07:15 PM   #6
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Too loose!

I agree with tight then back to first castle slot.

Now, for "shimmed" adjustment you could add or delete shim washers to get a "dial" setting. You do it "dry", then keep track of the washers and castle nut slot. Disassemble, apply grease and seal, reassemble.

You can find different thickness of shims at a trailer or tranny place. Sometimes "bearing houses" who carry industrial supplies will also have an assortment. Having a "dial caliper" is handy.

But that would be "A.R." Zone for sure!

Also, if bearings loose, the drum could be out of alignment enough to rub on the brake shoes... That's probably where most heat came from....
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Old 09-04-2014, 07:42 PM   #7
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Yes, definitely too loose. From the Dexter manual-

1. After placing the hub, bearings, washers, and spindle nut back on the axle spindle in reverse order as detailed in the previous section on hub removal, rotate the hub assembly slowly while tightening the spindle nut to approximately
50 Ft. Lbs. (12" wrench or pliers with full hand force.)

2. Then loosen the spindle nut to remove the torque. Do not rotate the hub.

3. Finger tighten the spindle nut until just snug.

4. Back the spindle nut out slightly until the first castellation lines up with the cotter key hole and insert the cotter pin.

5. Bend over the cotter pin legs to secure the nut.

6. Nut should be free to move with only restraint being the cotter pin.

This normally will get you in the .007-.010" axial play measured with a dial indicator.

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Work is never done, so take time to play!
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Old 09-04-2014, 09:01 PM   #8
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Thanks all. I thought that seemed too loose.

What I didn't do was to torque the castle nut before backing it off; I had just done it finger tight. I haven't towed it like this, and I'll redo tomorrow, and will be sure to torque it down before backing off to the first notch (with no drum movement).

Top, thanks for the detailed steps.

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