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Checking Wheel Bearings

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by BettyBurb, Aug 10, 2003.

  1. BettyBurb

    BettyBurb Registered Member

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    A few weeks ago I packed the front bearings on my 1988 Suburban, 1/2 ton, 4WD. Since then I have probably put less than 100 miles on it. Today I decided to check them. I jacked up the driver side and can feel a slight amount of play by grasping the tire. Is this correct ?

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Confedneck

    Confedneck 3/4 ton status

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    the play you are feeling could be the balljoints...
     
  3. BettyBurb

    BettyBurb Registered Member

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    I am pretty sure it is not the ball joints, and that it is the wheel bearings.
     
  4. BettyBurb

    BettyBurb Registered Member

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    I took the wheel off and compressed the brake caliper with C clamp so that the rotor is free to spin.

    I cannot feel any in-out movement when I pull on the hub. I can feel a very slight amount of up/down movement and a very slight clunk noise in the bearings when I move it up/down.

    Should I leave it as it is, or should I remove the locknut and tighten the inner nut to the next position for the lockwasher ???
     
  5. 89GMCSuburban

    89GMCSuburban 1/2 ton status

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    Move it up and down and look at the ball joints. Make extra, extra sure that's not the problem. Generally, I'd think bad bearings would also create in and out movement, unless they weren't pre-loaded correctly. Up and down movement of the knuckle is a definite ball joint problem. How many miles on the truck? Ever done the balljoints?
    Just pull the bearings, dump into a tin can with gasoline and swirl around to clean the grease off. Just see movement of the cage and look at the condition of the races.
    This just sounds more like a balljoint problem to me...
     
  6. BettyBurb

    BettyBurb Registered Member

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    No, not ball joints.

    I went back through the torquing procedure in the Hanes and Chiltons manuals. Ater the adjusting nut is torqued down to 50 pounds, there is absolutely no movement up or down, or in/out that I can feel.

    Anyway, the main reason that I was checking today was that I did not torque the locknut to 150 when I packed and adjusted less than 100 miles ago, since that sounded very high to me, and I wanted to check and make sure that that was right.

    I went through the whole adjustment procedure today, and after the 3/8 turn back off of the adjusting nut there is play. If I torque the lock nut to only about 60 pounds (which is about what I torqued it too originally) there is about the amount of play that I described in the earlier post. I torqued to 150 and the play is gone.

    So, I think all is well. I will keep an eye on them.

    I dont know for sure how may miles the vehicle has on it - maybe 80,000 or 180,000. But the ball joints are good - at least there is no play in them.

    A couple things I think I figured out With manual hubs I think the manual hubs did not have the 3/8 backing off. I think the 3/8 backing off on the adjustment was only on the auto hubs because of the extremely high torque necessary on the locknut. When the locknut is torqued down to spec it takes up the play.

    Also, I was having truble keeping the socket on the locknut and applying the torque, so I wrapped the outside of the socket with nylon rope between the socket and the inner perimiter of the hub so that it would stay straight and not slip. It was still loose enougth that I dont think it altered the torque reading.

    Thanks for the help
     
  7. Confedneck

    Confedneck 3/4 ton status

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    ive never used a torque wrench on wheel bearings and never had one mess up yet..done by feel every set and havent had any problems...
     
  8. 89GMCSuburban

    89GMCSuburban 1/2 ton status

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    150!? /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif Good Lord, my U-bolts take less than that! I've done mine by feel, too. Never had a problem.

    Good to hear it all worked out. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  9. Zeus33rd

    Zeus33rd Smarter than you GMOTM Winner

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    150 ft/lb's on a wheel bearing adjusting nut is wrong. Wrong by ALOT./forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif If I remember correctly, the spec is closer to 50 ft-lbs. With it torqued that much, could you even turn the wheel by hand? Does the inner nut still have the little tit on it? The only thing that would cause play with wheel bearings, is either seriously wornout/fragged bearings/races, or under torqued adjusting nut. With it over torqued like you have it, then it's not the wheel bearings causing the play you feel. (assuming that they are not defective/broken/worn out)

    [ QUOTE ]
    No, not ball joints.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Can you 100% for sure eliminate ball joints as the cause?

    The ball joint thing is what I suspect too. It doesn't matter how much you torque the nuts on the ball joints, if they are worn out, then you will have play. If they are 80K miles old, and you haven't changed them, then it's a safe bet that they are shot.

    The type of hub that you have, (auto or manual) has nothing to do with wheel bearing adjustment.
     
  10. RiceDaddy

    RiceDaddy Registered Member

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    I think that they said they torqued the locknut to 150 ft-lbs not the adjusting nut. I agree that is way too much torque for the adjusting nut.
     
  11. BettyBurb

    BettyBurb Registered Member

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    I used 150 on the locknut, not the adjusting nut. I agree 150 on the adjusting nut would probably ruin the bearing.

    I thought that was high too, even for the locknut. But the chiltons says 160 and the Haynes says 160 to 205.

    I also did searches on the forumn here and found that 150 or 160 on the locknut is what others have used.

    The 150 seemed to take care of the problem.

    All seems well, no play in ball joints, no play in wheel bearings and the wheel spins real real easy and real smooth. I used 150 since my torque wrench only goes to 150, and also would rather error a little light on the torque rather than high with this much torque.

    I really thought 160 was a mistake, that is why I only used 60 the first time. Which I think was the cause of the play in the first place. I guess double checking was a good idea. Next time will be much easier.
     

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