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Front Wheel Bearing Tightening - guesstimates ok?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Jed, May 9, 2002.

  1. Jed

    Jed Registered Member

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    Has anyone else had trouble making the standard tightening proceedure for a 10bolt's front wheel bearings work? I did the whole thing (Haynes): 50 ft.lb to set it while turning hub, back of 1/4 turn, 35 ft.lb to snug it up while turning hub, back 3/8 of a turn, then tighten as nec to get lock pin aligned.

    After doing this, there was too much play. Pushing back and forth on the disk had really noticable play. I tigthened it a bit more until the amount of play 'felt right' while the hub still turned freely. Is this cosher? I assume that this is what people who replace u-joints on the trail do (unless they have a torque wrench along). OR is this a sign that the bearings are shot and need to be replaced?

    Thanks in advance...
     
  2. Triaged

    Triaged 1/2 ton status

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    That is what I always do. I aguree that the way they tell you to do it feals too loose. I always tighten it down tight while spinning the wheel. Back it off and do it again. Then back it off one more time and tighten it loose by hand. Never had a problem.
     
  3. JIMs70K25

    JIMs70K25 1/2 ton status

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    I could never get that to work either, saw article in mag with the following procedure if you don't have a torque wrench: Tighten until the you can not spin the rotor then back off a qtr turn. Install locking ring. Snug lock nut. I think it was in the May02 issue of Four Wheeler. I followed this on my truck about a month ago and just raised the wheels and bearings checked out ok.
     
  4. GMMANIAC

    GMMANIAC Registered Member

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    You have the adjustment right, but the extra step I do is after you do the initial torque and readjust to 35flbs. don't back off 3/8 of a turn. Only back off a 1/4 turn, then hold the socket with your hand, then slowly tighten the nut just until you feel some resistance. The lock ring will be lined up with the pin. If the the hole is off, just turn the lock ring around and it will fit on the pin. I have been doing this for years and have yet had a hub feel loose or burn a bearing.
     
  5. BowtieBlazer

    BowtieBlazer 1/2 ton status

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    I do the same thing...the tightening thing does just right on one side of my truck and is way too tight on the other...so I tighten until I just start getting resistance install lock washer and torque outter nut...No problems so far! done this to 4 trucks so far with no problems....Trust me you'll know if its coming loose...First time I repacked the bearings I didnt realize there was supposed to be a lock washer...didn't seem right but clicked going 70 down the interstate...makes a noticable shimmy up front driving and braking!
     
  6. 79Beast

    79Beast 1/2 ton status

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    I have always tightened my wheel bearings a little at a time until there was no play in the hub. I also spin the hub until if "feels about right". Sometimes there is no substitute for the right touch.
     
  7. morphed86k10

    morphed86k10 1/2 ton status

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    It's easier to get the driver side loose because that's the way it wants to rotate, the passenger side wants to tighten itself.
     
  8. four_by_ken

    four_by_ken 1/2 ton status

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    I have always done it by hand 'feel' also. Never had any problems.

    Ken H.
     
  9. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

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    Just make sure you get the washer and pin lined up and you won't have to worry about them loosening. My inner nut was missing the little tit that's on it and it kept coming loose. I replaced the inner nuts and have had no problems since.
     
  10. Jed

    Jed Registered Member

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    Thanks for all the good tips. I goofed around with it last night after reading some responses. I found that, as one poster said, backing off 1/4 turn instead of 3/8 worked like a charm.

    Here a useful thing I noticed: You must have the both the adjusting nut and the lock nut torqued on (with the locking ring in bewteen of course) in order to get a sense of whether it 'feels about right'. I found that if it 'felt about right' with just the adjusting nut torqued that by the time I torqued the locknut, it felt too tight. I guess there's a bit of deformation caused by the locknut.

    I must of had the lock nut and lock ring off about 20 times and tried pretty much every position between 1/8 and 3/8 of a turn back from 35 ft.lb. 1/4 ws the closest.

    Another tip: don't use too much grease on the freewheeling hub splines, gears, spring etc. I had to wipe most of it off to stop it from sticking (the spring seemed plenty strong).

    Also: For spicer locking hubs put the gear part outward on the hub gear that fits onto the stub axle. The hub is locked when the spring is most extended. This is also why it's easier to take apart and assemble when the hubs in the 'locked' position. Yeah, I initially put it together the other way around and the selector switch didn't work... Doh!

    Anyway, thanks very much for all the great replies. Now to check the back brakes (14bFF). Argg. I wish the drums were secured by the screws but no, I have to take the whole hub assembly off. Good practice I guess.
     
  11. uglychevyZZ4

    uglychevyZZ4 3/4 ton status

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    there is allways the sweedish torqeing specs....
    gooo'din'tite /forums/images/icons/smile.gif
     
  12. Jed

    Jed Registered Member

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    Almost forgot another useful tip for doing TFAR tests (TFAR = that feels about right):

    Adjust the adjuster nut with the wheel mounted on the hub. Then you can pull back and forth on the top of the tire not just the rotor. During one of the 20 times I re-adjusted it I put the tire on and noticed that what had felt OK at the rotor felt waaay looser at the top of the tire. Doh!
     
  13. Twiz

    Twiz 1/2 ton status

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    All the above sounds fair to me, allways did it by feel too.

    One thing to keep in mind tho'
    As the brakes heat-up, the clearance will decrease and the "pre-load" will increase. Normaly, not by much, but if it's too tight to begin with, it will be way-too tight after.

    Allways better to be a-bit too loose, than a bit too snug.

    BTW,
    As a general rule;
    Over-all play at the wheel should be held to below 1/4 inch (sounds like alot, I know), when measured parral to the rim.
    This "play" would include W/Bearing and Ball-joints. So the lash would be multiplied, further-mre, the distance the rim is fropm the center would also increase the "lash".
    As-far as I have been able to gather:
    The 1/4 inch measurement is a DOT thing, it will change by manufacture.
     

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