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Wheel Bearings - 1st design vs. 2nd design?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by TX Mudder, May 26, 2002.

  1. TX Mudder

    TX Mudder 1/2 ton status

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    I went to the parts store looking for front wheel bearings. The computer asked if it was a 1st design wheel bearing o a 2nd design wheel bearing.
    WTF?
    They list the 2nd design as being not avaialble, but the 1st design is readily available for about $14. The computer did not list years.
    I am assuming the 2nd design was late in life, maybe mid 80's or something?
    ANyone have a clue?
    I don't know what year my front 10 bolt is. It's an 8-lugger.
    -- Mike
     
  2. m j

    m j 1/2 ton status

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    if it isnt your daily driver pull the bearings and get the numbers off them
     
  3. thatK30guy

    thatK30guy 1 ton status Premium Member

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    First design are axles up to '76.
    Second design are axles from '77 on up.
     
  4. Esteban86K5

    Esteban86K5 1/2 ton status

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    Correct me if I'm wrong Wes, but isn't there only one 10 bolt design? Didn't GM start making them in 77? So in this case, since he knows that he has a 10 bolt, it's a second design right?
     
  5. 4X4HIGH

    4X4HIGH 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    You are correct about that. The fact that it is an 8 lug also tells you it is a second design as well, 1st design spindles will not work with 8 lug.
     
  6. Esteban86K5

    Esteban86K5 1/2 ton status

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    <blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr>

    The fact that it is an 8 lug also tells you it is a second design as well, 1st design spindles will not work with 8 lug

    <hr></blockquote>
    Only because it's a 10bolt. But there are 1st design 8 lug D44's.
     
  7. TX Mudder

    TX Mudder 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks, that tells me what I need.
    I don't know why Autozone doesn't sell the 2nd design ones. I'll have to check the other guys.
    -- Mike
     
  8. thatK30guy

    thatK30guy 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Esteban, correct, the 10 bolt started in '77, but while it uses the 2nd design from the factory, you can take 1st design parts and bolt them to the 10 bolt very easily.

    The only thing that makes the 1st and 2nd design different from the other are the knuckles, spindles, backing plates, and bearing hubs. Tie rods are also different between the two. /forums/images/icons/wink.gif
     
  9. thatK30guy

    thatK30guy 1 ton status Premium Member

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    8 lug and 6 lug are available in both the 1st and 2nd designs.

    Read this reply I did a long time ago to another member:
    <blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr>

    GM has two different types of axles: the "first design" and the "second design". For those who dont know the difference, the "first" goes from 73-76. The "second" goes from 77 to 91. Some differences are:

    1. Backing plates are ALL diffferent. Both 1/2 and 3/4 ton for both designs are NOT the same thing. 3/4 tons are larger diameter than the 1/2 tons. There are currently 6 different types of backing plates. The 1/2 ton has the 73-76, 77-80, and 81-91. 3/4 ton is the same years, but only bigger around.

    2. Bearing hub and rotors are different. There are 4 types. 73-76 use a smaller wheel bearing on both the 1/2 and 3/4 ton. The 1/2 ton bearing hub is an internal drive. 3/4 tons were available in both the internal and external drives. 77 and newer bearing hubs are the same size wheel bearing. 1/2 and 3/4 tons are all internal drives. The differences in the rotor diameter is the fact that the 3/4 tons are larger around than the 1/2 tons. This is why the backing plates are larger around than the 1/2 tons. If you use a 1/2 ton backing plate on a 3/4 ton rotor, the caliper will NOT even align up with the bolts. If the 1/2 ton rotor is used with the 3/4 ton backing plates, the caliper will NOT have enough pad contact with the rotor.

    3. Spindles. 73-76 are one type only. They are "first design" small bearings. 1/2 and 3/4 ton spindles are interchangable. 77-91 spindles are "second design" and all interchangable between 1/2 and 3/4 tons. You cannot use a first design spindle with a second design bearing hub &amp; rotor. The hub will wobble in place. If the second design spindle is used with a first design bearing hub, the hub will not even go on at all.

    4. D44 and 10B axle shafts are not interchangable. The D44 shafts measure: right - 36.13"
    left - 18.31"
    10B shafts measure: right - 35.46"
    left - 19.15"

    5. Steering knuckles. D44's have the infamous "flat top" knuckles on the passenger side. These are good for the crossover steering for where the steering arm is mounted on top of the knuckle after machine work and drilling has been done. The 10B knuckles have NO flat surface whatsoever. Machine work would be excessive to make the crossover work and therefore would be easier and cheaper to locate the correct knuckle off a D44.

    All in all, when doing a swap like this, try to round up the parts off one truck to use on the other. Such parts to swap over would be: backing plates, spindles, bearing hub &amp; rotors, and if desired for crossover steering, the knuckles.

    The knuckles do NOT need to be changed if you do not plan on the crossover steering.

    It all boils down to this: D44 and 10B parts ARE interchangable from the knuckles out. Anything else from the knuckles in is NOT interchangable.

    In Estebans case, he has an 86 blazer and found 73 three quarter ton parts. He would need to use the 73 backing plates, spindles, bearing hubs &amp; rotors.

    ALL calipers on both D44 and 10B are compatible with either axle. Even the first and second design axles are compatible with BOTH 1/2 and 3/4 ton calipers. So, whatever swap you plan on doing, you can retain your stock calipers.
    When stepping up to the big D60, this is a whole different ball game. Nothing is interchangable from the D44 and 10B to the D60.

    <hr></blockquote>
    That whole info will help shed some light to identifying the 1st and 2nd design stuff. /forums/images/icons/wink.gif
     
  10. 4X4HIGH

    4X4HIGH 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    So what exactly are the differences between the backing plates of D44 axles of all years and 10 bolts of all years. I know about the 1/2 and 3/4 ton being a different diameter but what are any other differences?
     
  11. thatK30guy

    thatK30guy 1 ton status Premium Member

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    I can't explain them without showing a pic of them.

    There are three different plates for the 1/2 tons.

    And three different plates for the 3/4 tons also.

    They are different in shape and once you see them side by side, you will know which one you think appears stronger than the others. /forums/images/icons/wink.gif
     
  12. 4X4HIGH

    4X4HIGH 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Hey Wes, are you talking about the difference of one being made out of steel all the way around and the other having a sheetmetal gravel guard instead of the same solid steel?
     
  13. thatK30guy

    thatK30guy 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Yep, that's it. But the older plates are slightly different than the newer ones.

    The plates fall into the years as follows:
    '73-'76...these use the thin dust sheilds, but the thick steel part is not very big around.
    '77-'80...these are the highly desired and sought after because they are the full-round 1/4" thick plates and use no thin dust sheild.
    '81-'91...these are like the '73-'76, but have more thicker steel plate area compared to the old ones.

    I would rank the plates in order from the best to worst:
    1) '77-'80
    2) '81-'91
    3) '73-'76

    Don't get me wrong, all plates are good as long as they are not rusty and still do their job....hold the damn calipers in place!! /forums/images/icons/wink.gif
     
  14. Esteban86K5

    Esteban86K5 1/2 ton status

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    LOL!!
    <blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr>

    Read this reply I did a long time ago to another member

    <hr></blockquote>

    That was what you wrote to me about a year ago when I asked. And I've been using it and refering to it ever since.LOL!!
     

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