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Old 12-30-2012, 08:53 AM   #1
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Mother's Recipe for Packing Wheel Bearings

I have read some good information in this forum concerning packing wheel bearings. It seems we all have a technique that works for us.

I do have some questions that you experienced mechanics may be able to help me with.

1. Do you think synthetic wheel bearing grease is worth the extra expense, even though we re-pack bearings every year or so?

2. Does anyone leave extra grease between the bearings? I usually spoon a gob or two into the center of the hub. My mother told me to do this. I wonder if it serves any purpose.

3. It seems I am always "between the flats" when I retighten the castle nut. I thighten until I achieve some torque while rotating the drum, and then I back off until I can align the cotter pin hole. Sometimes it is almost a whole flat and this seems pretty loose. Too tight is bad, but is sloppy okay?

4 I need to drive out the bearing races from my drums. There isn't much of an edge to push the race out. What is the best technique for punching out the bearing races from the hub. I don't have an arbor press or a tool to press out the races.

Thanks in advance.

David
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:17 AM   #2
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IMHO...

1. If synthetic grease has properties that allow it to 'Lube' longer, or at a higher temp, etc., its probably worth the extra cost...just in case you have a marginal experience...

2. That extra glop can't hurt...if a hub heats up, that extra grease will help to lube as the grease becomes 'fluid' due to the high temps...

3. The adjustment of new bearings should be checked again after the bearings have 'run in' on the road - that in between bearing load will usually be settled by then.
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:23 AM   #3
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4. Removing old races can be a hassle... Some hubs have room to use a punch from the opposite side to drive them out...On larger hubs I've welded a bead on the brg surface that actually 'shrinks' the brg cup and it almost falls out! Installing the new cups is easy - use an old cup, reversed, against it, then a socket that fits, and tap it into place...
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:33 AM   #4
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When tightening the nut results in the "just right" place being on the flat, I use advice from my old Auto Mechanics teacher Mr. Pearson, back in 63. Still true today. When it tightens to much or to loose to line it up like you want it, use an extra washer and it takes up just the right amount of space to get the clearance like it needs to be......Easy.......God bless.....Dennis
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:49 AM   #5
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Here is an article I wrote for Northern Illinois members: Northern Illinois Maintenance It summarizes the recommendations from Timken and others.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mexray View Post
IMHO...

1. If synthetic grease has properties that allow it to 'Lube' longer, or at a higher temp, etc., its probably worth the extra cost...just in case you have a marginal experience...

2. That extra glop can't hurt...if a hub heats up, that extra grease will help to lube as the grease becomes 'fluid' due to the high temps...

3. The adjustment of new bearings should be checked again after the bearings have 'run in' on the road - that in between bearing load will usually be settled by then.
Ray.....you have answered a question that I never thought to ask my dad when he 'educated' me on car maintenence on my first car in the mid '50s. He told me to place a 'glob' of grease in the bearing cap. Through the years I had heard from many that this was a waste but because my dad did this I have continued to do so if for no other reason but to honor him. As to the propper tightning of the bearings he showed me to place a screw driver between the large washer under the axle nut and hub as you tighten it. Twist the screw driver to move the washer until as you tighten the nut until the washer doesn't move then back off to where you can slip the pin in. Dad passed away in 1962 but I 'hear' him with these and many other 'tips' and much more.

Neil
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:29 PM   #7
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Adding extra grease is a waste and will accomplish nothing.If your bearings get so hot it liquifies the grease you have a problem.
The synthetic grease is well worth the small premium in price over a cheap grease but there are also some very good wheel bearing greases out there that are not synthetic
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Old 12-30-2012, 01:32 PM   #8
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It is ok to put some extra grease in the hub, but not much. Too much grease will not allow the bearings to cool well as the grease holds the heat generated by driving. No need to put any in the dust cover. If you really load it with grease, the grease has nowhere to expand when it gets hot.

The castellated nut is better too loose than too tight. There should be a little bit of play when you hold the hub in both hands and try to jiggle it (I think the jiggle is measured in 10,000ths on an inch, but few people measure it and you can feel it). You tighten the nut enough to seat the hub (maybe 20 lbs. on the wrench) and then back it off to the next place to put the cotter pin in. I don't check with a torque wrench, but guess on what 20 lbs. is. Then check for jiggle.

The jiggle always worries me because I generally believe tight is better than loose, but the rules are suspended on wheel bearings.

Gene
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Old 12-30-2012, 01:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
It is ok to put some extra grease in the hub, but not much. Too much grease will not allow the bearings to cool well as the grease holds the heat generated by driving. No need to put any in the dust cover. If you really load it with grease, the grease has nowhere to expand when it gets hot.

The castellated nut is better too loose than too tight. There should be a little bit of play when you hold the hub in both hands and try to jiggle it (I think the jiggle is measured in 10,000ths on an inch, but few people measure it and you can feel it). You tighten the nut enough to seat the hub (maybe 20 lbs. on the wrench) and then back it off to the next place to put the cotter pin in. I don't check with a torque wrench, but guess on what 20 lbs. is. Then check for jiggle.

The jiggle always worries me because I generally believe tight is better than loose, but the rules are suspended on wheel bearings.

Gene
extra grease doesnt hurt but it helps nothing except to sell grease
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:02 PM   #10
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If you plan to re-pack every year any good quality wheel bearing grease is more than up to the job. If you don't, then the synthetic might give some peace of mind. In reality I feel that all good quality wheel bearings are more than adequate for multi year packings.

After tightening the nut and backing off to install the cotter pin I always spin the wheel to make sure things rotate nicely and grab it top / bottom and give it a shake and make sure there is that " little bit" of play there. While traveling I frequently put a hand on the hubs when I stop to feel for any excessive heat building up. Good insurance.
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:07 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by polarlyse View Post

While traveling I frequently put a hand on the hubs when I stop to feel for any excessive heat building up. Good insurance.
I use an ir heatgun as i do a quick walk around at fuel stops
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:16 PM   #12
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1. Do you think synthetic wheel bearing grease is worth the extra expense, even though we re-pack bearings every year or so?

Application is also related to Climate and Terrain when factoring how greases are made. Boat trailers need something slightly different, as does equipment used in very low temps. Or an Iraqi summer. Etc.

Pretty much any NLGI-2 grease will work (if that is the specification), but I always feel a little bit better by buying grease from a top shelf manufacturer (such as Schaeffers). Ask advice given from a good description of application & use. And then buy a bunch (then you have the excuse of a dedicated box divided for tools & supplies).

It's a PITA job given what other type of hubs are out there nowadays, so splurge a little.

an' . . 'choo Mama pack wheel bearin's? She wear Army boots and got tatt's? (whoops, gues that's all kinza Mamas nowadays!)

.
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:43 PM   #13
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bye the way, I think the original poster asked about tools for removing the races from the hub. I have a long steel punch with a flat tip on it. I have not needed to remove the races from my AS hubs but it has served me well for several jobs on automobile hubs. Shouldn't be any different. There's usually a very small lip for the punch to grab and that's just enough to get some movement. Slow and sure tapping as you go will work. Must have a flat tip on the punch or else you will never get it started.
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:58 PM   #14
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bye the way, I think the original poster asked about tools for removing the races from the hub. I have a long steel punch with a flat tip on it. I have not needed to remove the races from my AS hubs but it has served me well for several jobs on automobile hubs. Shouldn't be any different. There's usually a very small lip for the punch to grab and that's just enough to get some movement. Slow and sure tapping as you go will work. Must have a flat tip on the punch or else you will never get it started.
Hi, same as above, but I was taught, and always use a Brass Drift, to remove and re-install bearing races.
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