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Stupid Wheel Bearing Adjustment

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by FightinTXag, May 1, 2006.

  1. FightinTXag

    FightinTXag 1/2 ton status

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    Changed front wheel bearings. Adjusted per Haynes - torqued adjusting nut to 50ft-lbs, backed off, torqued to 35 ft-lbs, backed off 3/8 turn. Spun rotor and it turned freely with the teensiest bit of play (could hear them clink when I pushed/pulled on the rotor, but couldn't see any movement).

    Installed the lockwasher. Torqued the locknut to 190 (Haynes says 160-205). Finished reassembly. Took it on a few short trips and the front wheels were smoking. Initially suspected dragging brakes because I'd been having another issue and had replaced both calipers at the same time.

    Jacked the truck up, and the wheels weren't spinning freely. Pulled the wheels off and the calipers and the wheels still didn't spin freely. Hmm, must not be brakes afterall.

    The locknut is drastically tightening the bearing tightness if the adjusting nut has them dialed in close to correct. Guess I should've spun the rotor again after torquing the locknut.

    If I intentionally leave the bearings loose, the locknut doesn't seem to have any effect on the bearing tightness and they stay loose.

    I've messed with the left wheel for over 45 minutes now and I either end up with a rotor that doesn't spin freely or a rotor with visible play in it. Visible play is not acceptable, right?

    And yes, I'm making sure the adjusting nut's nub falls into a hole in the lockwasher.

    Any advice? This is pretty frustrating. It took a great deal of restraint not to kick the truck off the jackstands. I'm out there using trial and error to try to get these things adjusted. And the fact that these bearings may not last more than a few months now that they've been smoked a few times is in the back of my mind.

    Oh how I long for a simple castle nut and cotter pin 2wd style...
     
  2. BowtieBlazer

    BowtieBlazer 1/2 ton status

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    I always tighten and loosen the inside nut a few times to seat everything and then I'll tighten or back off until I can grab a lug on the rotor and spin it with a good sling and it rotates between a quater and half turn put on the lock washer and tighten the crap out of the lock nut, Make sure you are folding the locking washer tabs over. With the tires back on grabbing the tire and spining it might give me 3/4 to a whole revolution...thats about how I like it....I have always judged the torque on my rotors like that and never had any problems.
     
  3. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    All my books are packed away, but as I recall the endplay spec is somewhere around .008" AFTER the outer locknut is tight.
     
  4. FightinTXag

    FightinTXag 1/2 ton status

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    All right, gave up on the left and went to the right. Noticed the nub on the right side adjusting nut is much more pronounced. I'm thinking the nub on the left side adjusting nut has been worn off, probably from some po not making sure it's seated in a hole on the washer.There's also a dent about the size of the nub in an area of the washer between holes, further confirming that suspicion.

    I used a little more methodical trial and error method and got both sides adjusted to what I think is acceptable.

    If I push/pull on the left side rotor the clinking noise makes me think the left bearings may be just a tad looser than the right. But the right side still spins more freely. With the left side seemingly looser, but still turning with more resistance, this makes me think those left side bearings may not last too long after getting cooked a couple times.

    You're supposed to bend the tabs on the washer? Mine weren't bent when I disassembled and don't appear to have ever been bent. Neither did the one at the junkyard I took apart to get a replacement spindle bolt when my impact broke one of mine while trying to get to the needle bearings. (This has been the bearing change from hell.)

    When I have to tear back into this thing, where can I get a new adjusting nut? Don't see them available at oreillyauto.com or in my LMC catalog.
     
  5. FightinTXag

    FightinTXag 1/2 ton status

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    .008, huh? That seems to jive with what I've read in other threads I've searched. Well that's about a 1/4 of a spark plug gap, so that should probably be just barely visible, right?
     
  6. BowtieBlazer

    BowtieBlazer 1/2 ton status

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    X that out these tabs don't need to be bent. Mixing up vehicles. O'reilly and autozone can order the full d44 nut and washer set not just the lockwasher....yes you do need to line the washer up with the little tit on the locknut.
     
  7. roadnotca

    roadnotca 3/4 ton status

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    Bent tabs?2WD? The locking plate is not a consummable(bend). New adjust nut(with the tit) is available from the dealer(surprise?) Yea I crushed mine. Yes it is a finicky adjustment, you'll get better with time.
     
  8. FightinTXag

    FightinTXag 1/2 ton status

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    After using trial and error to get them adjusted well AFTER the locknut was tightened, I took it for a spin on the highway. No smoke, hubs cool to the touch. Driving around the neighborhood, I notice a faint popping when I turn the wheels. Get it home, jack it up, and the left side wheel bearing is now loose.

    Without pulling the wheel off, I pulled the locking hub and the locknut was still tight. Pulled the locknut, washer and adjusting nut. Pulled the outer bearing, inspected, and repacked. Would've done the same with the inner, but that would mean taking off the wheel, caliper, rotor, popping off and replacing the seal. With the outer bearing looking ok, I think I'll leave the inner as it is.

    I got the Oreilly by me to get new adjusting nuts and lockwashers in. They should be available this afternoon. Maybe they'll fix my issue. Then I won't have my bearings tightening up when I torque the locknut and/or loosening when I drive.
     
  9. K5Kell

    K5Kell Guest

    If you end up not replacing your bearings, keep an eye on them. That much heat most likely did damage and loosing a wheel bearing at higher speeds would be a scary event. Just a heads up though, good luck.
    -Kell-
     
  10. FightinTXag

    FightinTXag 1/2 ton status

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    Could it be the spindle?

    Sorry for the lenght of this post, but bear with me...

    Got the new adjusting nuts and lock washers from Oreilly and installed on the right side. Adjusted it out and it feels good. I can feel/hear it move maybe 1/16th inch of play over there at the edge of the tire. Can't really see it move though.

    Left side still wouldn't adjust correctly with the new adjusting nut and lockwasher.

    Took it apart and went and got another set of new bearings, races, and a wheel seal from Oreilly. Installed all that and I still had hell getting them adjusted well.

    At one point I thought, I've got new bearings, races, adjusting nut, and lockwasher. The only thing left in this is the spindle. So I pulled everything off and looked very closely at the spindle threads to see if they were boogered up somewhere. I couldn't find any areas where they looked damaged. There were a couple discolored spots where the bearings ride, but they felt smooth. Definitely no grooves or anything.

    So I just got it to where it was as good as I could make it. It was kinda weird though. There was more play in that side (the tire visibly moved), but it took more effort to push/pull the tire and feel the play. There was also a tiny bit more drag on that side than the right.

    Took it for a spin. It popped as I backed out of the driveway, but didn't after that. Drove a few miles, then I stopped, got out, and noticed a few whisps of smoke. So I took it home and jacked it up again. The wheel felt like the same amount of play was in there (the tire visibly moved), but it was easier to push/pull the tire and feel the play now.

    So I thought I probably should tighten that side a little if possible. Took off the locknut. Turned the adjusting nut just a hair shy of 1/8th turn tighter. Then it felt the same as I remembered the left side feeling as far as tire movement in/out. Lockwasher back on. I'm turning the locknut and feeling the play in the tire as I tighten it. As soon as the locknut gets snug (much less torqued to the 160+ ft-lb requirement), the adjustment goes to pot. The bearings get really tight, there's no play, and the wheel drags as it turns.

    WTF? It's almost like the adjusting nut isn't holding and the locknut is pushing it all over the place. But the locknut is new and the threads on the spindle looked fine-I mean I really scrutinized them. Hmm...

    The left rear axle shaft was bent when I bought the truck. I changed that with a junkyard item and that wheel stopped wobbling. Maybe someone curbed that side really hard at some point? If so could that spindle be bent? Could it be bent an unnoticeable amount, but mess up the geometry of the surfaces the bearings ride on to the point they can't be adjusted properly (like one side of the bearings are getting loaded up)? I mean, you couldn't look at that axle shaft and tell it was bent either, but once you spun it with a tire on there you could see the wobble. I can't spin the spindle to really see what's going on. I could go back to the junkyard and grab a spindle pretty easy. Am I grasping at straws here? Any other suggestions?
     
  11. BowtieBlazer

    BowtieBlazer 1/2 ton status

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    bound to be someone around you on this board that could give you a hand and glance at it....(maybe post in the regional section for help)...I'd venture to say either all the lug studs aren't hammered through evenly or you have a messed up hub or spindle
     
  12. FightinTXag

    FightinTXag 1/2 ton status

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    I'm not sure how lug studs or the hub would affect how the bearings, rotor, and spindle all ride on each other.

    The only things involved as far as I understand are:
    rotor (doubt this could get bent down inside where the races press in)
    spindle (where I'm now turning my attention)
    bearings (new)
    races (new)
    adjusting nut (new)
    locking washer (new)
    locknut (don't see how this could be bad as long as it tightens)

    I'm gonna head to the pick'n pull this afternoon and grab a spindle. Guess I'll have to get another new spindle bearing.
     
  13. FightinTXag

    FightinTXag 1/2 ton status

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    Well, I changed the spindle. It was still a bear to get adjusted right, but it seems good to me now. With the tire on, I get about 1/16" of movement on both sides. Not sure if the spindle was the problem or not because the locknut did still affect the adjustment pretty drastically.

    I may have them a tad loose now because I occasionally get a pop from the front end while turning. I'm not gonna mess with it anymore though. I think it'd be better to hear the bearings click because they're a little loose than to smell them because they're a little tight.
     
  14. dale_gribble

    dale_gribble Registered Member

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    I am kind of going through the same problem... I had 4wpw install 4.56s last week. I noticed the hubs were as hot as all get out after a 5 mile drive, and decided to see how they preloaded the bearings. Come to find out, they preloaded the bearings to 75lb/ft! with the inner nut. I backed them off, and followed the procedure. I did notice something though-

    you mentioned 160 lb/ft of torque on the outer nut from the Hayne's manual. I have been working on D44's for a few years, and reading an actual GM service manual, it specs the outer nut torque at 50 ft/lbs. I did the same to my 10 bolt assuming the same directions are correct. 160 ft/lbs seems like an awful lot. Sometimes when Haynes combines 1/2,3/4 and 1 ton specs, they might bugger it up? Does anyone have a factory service manual for the 10-bolt frontend trucks and put this to rest for me? Please tell me the torque setting on the outer bearing lock nut if you don't mind.
     
  15. roadnotca

    roadnotca 3/4 ton status

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    I have a factory manual, I can't remember if its 1985 or a range. I'm at work now, but should have the book open within the next ~2 hours.
     
  16. dale_gribble

    dale_gribble Registered Member

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    I am sure even if it's for 85 specifically, the torque numbers will be sufficient. Thanks a lot! Truth be told, the only shop manual I had on hand was a 71 K5 shop manual covering the D44. If we can get a factory service manual to jive with what Haynes says, I will have to redo my setup this weekend.

    We definitely have to take this stuff seriously, there isn't much room for error when we are talking about such an important item that can really impact vehicle safety.
     
  17. dale_gribble

    dale_gribble Registered Member

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    Here we go-

    WHEEL BEARING ASSEMBLY AND ADJUSTMENT
    1. To reassemble the wheel bearings: drive the outer bearing cup into the hub, replace the inner bearing cup, and insert the repacked bearing.
    2. Install the disc or drum and outer wheel bearing to the spindle.
    3. Adjust the bearings by rotating the hub and tightening the inner adjusting nut to 50 ft. lbs., then loosening it and retightening to 35 ft. lbs. Next, back the nut off 3/8 turn or less. Turn the nut to the nearest hole in the lockwasher. Install the outer locknut and torque to a minimum of 80 ft. lbs. (108 Nm) on 1980 models, 160-205 ft. lbs. (216-277 Nm) on 1981 and later 1/2 and 3/4 ton models, and 65 ft. lbs. (88 Nm) on 1 ton vehicles. There should be 0.001-0.010 in. bearing end-play. This can be measured with a dial indicator.
    Looks like I have to redo my setup; I did everything right up except for the 160-205 ft. lbs. on the outer locknut. Not a biggie.
     
  18. roadnotca

    roadnotca 3/4 ton status

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    OK, since I'm not willing to tear out the page from my book (scan),:doah: I'll transcribe verbatem from the GM publication for 1985 Light Duty Trucks, page 3C-24.
    WHEEL BEARING ADJUSTMENT
    Warner Hub
    1. Torque adjusting nut to 60 N-m (50 ft. lbs.) while rotating the hub-disc to seat bearings. Back off the adjusting nut and retighten to: 47 N-m (35 ft. lbs.) for AUTOMATIC HUB and 60 N-m (50 ft. lbs.) for MANUAL HUB while hub is being rotated.
    2. Back off the adjusting nut to: 3/8 turn maximum for AUTOMATIC HUB and only enough to free bearing for MANUAL HUB.
    3. Install drag sleeve retainer washer. The tang on the inside dia. of the washer should pass onto the slot of spindle. A hole in the washer MUST align with the pin of the lock nut (move adjustment nut to align pin).
    4. Torque the lock nut to 217 N-m (160 ft. lbs.) minimum. End play should be .025 to .254 mm (.001" to .010").
    Hope that helps! :D
     
  19. roadnotca

    roadnotca 3/4 ton status

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    The way I do mine is set up initially with a learned feel, get the lock ring positioned, install and torque the lock nut, check the play or lack of, and back out or run down in small steps until I get the play I want after the 160 ft. lbs.
     
  20. dale_gribble

    dale_gribble Registered Member

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    Thanks chief! I really appreciate it.
     

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