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Thread: Wheel bearings. How tight?

  1. #1
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    Wheel bearings. How tight?

    So when you do up wheel bearings (the type with a separate slightly conical shell and conical roller bearing), how do you tighten them up right? Whats a "she'l be right" method of getting it sort of right? I just tightened them up a little tight them spun them for a bit to squeeze the grease out then loosened the nut off and tightened it finger tight then uses the spanner to tighten it up a bees dick more.

    Whats the easiest way?
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1uzusee View Post
    That's assuming that in 100yrs we will need Iron Ore/Gas/Coal etc. Thankfully, Labor has introduced the Carbon Tax, so in 100yrs we be able to build cars, buildings and boats from Tea Leafs and hugs.

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    BLING BLING PLAYA's Avatar
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    that is what i do, do it up, spin, do it up spin, every time u spin will get easier cos sets the bearings a bit more, you will get to a pint where you can physically feel no matter how much you spin it its too tight back it off a bit, give tiny bit of pre tension and done. Then recheck few 100 km later or so.

    Im sure there is a special fancy ass way like when i was trying to do my R200 diff, but i gave that to a professional that probably just guessed.
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    Registered User bumpstart's Avatar
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    the old timers use a method called 1/4 drop

    that is, you tighten till just firm
    - back it off
    put the long handle of the breaker bar/socket to 1 oclock
    allow it to drop 90 degrees through to 4 oclock with its own mass and stop of its own accord
    IE, its hardly tight, and barely firm

    at this tightness, when the wheel is fitted , it should pass the wobble test and spin free
    Shell Oil advertisement, 1977:
    "When the going's hard, Don't retard! Remember your lubrication."

  4. #4
    Registered User ahk068's Avatar
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    I always do them up so I can just turn the disc by hand. Never fails if you use shitloads of grease

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    Quote Originally Posted by bumpstart View Post
    the old timers use a method called 1/4 drop

    that is, you tighten till just firm
    - back it off
    put the long handle of the breaker bar/socket to 1 oclock
    allow it to drop 90 degrees through to 4 oclock with its own mass and stop of its own accord
    IE, its hardly tight, and barely firm

    at this tightness, when the wheel is fitted , it should pass the wobble test and spin free


    And if you cant get the split pin in, go looser rather than tighter.

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    Thanks guys. I done PLAYAs way already. I will give the 1/4 drop a go next time.

    Also regarding the split pin retaining star thingo. The points do not line up with the nut points exactly. So if you just rotate it one point of the star at a time you will almost be certain to find a position that the pin goes in. I just figured this out
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1uzusee View Post
    That's assuming that in 100yrs we will need Iron Ore/Gas/Coal etc. Thankfully, Labor has introduced the Carbon Tax, so in 100yrs we be able to build cars, buildings and boats from Tea Leafs and hugs.

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    Meh Billzilla's Avatar
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    Shouldn't that be 'rim bearings'?

    Just taking the piss generally guys.
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    dangerous fugitive
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    I'm always reluctant to post on this, but do anyway. The 'issue' with the usual wobble test is twofold - 1. the grease is tacky 2. anything else in the front end can move 1-2 thou and give a false sense of security and on a related note, the forces you can employ on the hub/wheel are 2/3 of fuck all compared to when a car is cornering, so the likelihood of the bearings not being fully seated and the load fully spread across the entire roller is increased.

    Generally the 'clearance' is around 2-3thou and the only way (until you get a feel for it) to check that is a dial indicator on the strut and the finger of the dial indicator on the hub somewhere to lever it and see what it really is.

    One of hte tricks I used was that (assuming a slightly greasey hand from packing the bearings) going as tight on the nut as I could by hand was usually pretty close to spot on. On some cars they specify 1Nm or thereabouts as the torque.

    A little too loose and they wear too quick. Just right is good, but too tight can = catastrophic failure. In my experience, most people tend to do them about 1/16th of a turn (or the next possible castle/pin hole around) too loose. But don't fuck around with this if you aren't sure, too tight can be a real issue.

    All I can comment is I tend to get more life out of wheelbearings that other people with the same car and similar driving style, but slightly looser adjustment.

    If you have a weird vibe at around 150km/h + (obviously on a track) try 1/16th a turn each way one after the other, back to back and see what changes it makes!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billzilla View Post
    Shouldn't that be 'rim bearings'?

    Just taking the piss generally guys.
    Out of yourself?
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1uzusee View Post
    That's assuming that in 100yrs we will need Iron Ore/Gas/Coal etc. Thankfully, Labor has introduced the Carbon Tax, so in 100yrs we be able to build cars, buildings and boats from Tea Leafs and hugs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmac View Post
    I'm always reluctant to post on this, but do anyway. The 'issue' with the usual wobble test is twofold - 1. the grease is tacky 2. anything else in the front end can move 1-2 thou and give a false sense of security and on a related note, the forces you can employ on the hub/wheel are 2/3 of fuck all compared to when a car is cornering, so the likelihood of the bearings not being fully seated and the load fully spread across the entire roller is increased.

    Generally the 'clearance' is around 2-3thou and the only way (until you get a feel for it) to check that is a dial indicator on the strut and the finger of the dial indicator on the hub somewhere to lever it and see what it really is.

    One of hte tricks I used was that (assuming a slightly greasey hand from packing the bearings) going as tight on the nut as I could by hand was usually pretty close to spot on. On some cars they specify 1Nm or thereabouts as the torque.

    A little too loose and they wear too quick. Just right is good, but too tight can = catastrophic failure. In my experience, most people tend to do them about 1/16th of a turn (or the next possible castle/pin hole around) too loose. But don't fuck around with this if you aren't sure, too tight can be a real issue.

    All I can comment is I tend to get more life out of wheelbearings that other people with the same car and similar driving style, but slightly looser adjustment.

    If you have a weird vibe at around 150km/h + (obviously on a track) try 1/16th a turn each way one after the other, back to back and see what changes it makes!
    I think my manual does state a torque value. But my torque wrench has now been enlisted for hammer and breaker bar duties only.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1uzusee View Post
    That's assuming that in 100yrs we will need Iron Ore/Gas/Coal etc. Thankfully, Labor has introduced the Carbon Tax, so in 100yrs we be able to build cars, buildings and boats from Tea Leafs and hugs.

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    Meh Billzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2JZR31 View Post
    Out of yourself?
    Obviously not - Only those who for some unknown reason call a wheel by the wrong name.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billzilla View Post
    Obviously not
    No.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1uzusee View Post
    That's assuming that in 100yrs we will need Iron Ore/Gas/Coal etc. Thankfully, Labor has introduced the Carbon Tax, so in 100yrs we be able to build cars, buildings and boats from Tea Leafs and hugs.

  13. #13
    Surf's Up! bigmuz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahk068 View Post
    I always do them up so I can just turn the disc by hand. Never fails if you use shitloads of grease
    One day you are going to lose a wheel and die.
    Quote Originally Posted by Boo-urns View Post
    I'm not an engineer but if I was I would call what I'm talking about spring rate to mass ratio reaction speed.

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  14. #14
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    When I took the discs of my car, one didn't even have a locking star or split pin.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1uzusee View Post
    That's assuming that in 100yrs we will need Iron Ore/Gas/Coal etc. Thankfully, Labor has introduced the Carbon Tax, so in 100yrs we be able to build cars, buildings and boats from Tea Leafs and hugs.

  15. #15
    Registered User matty12's Avatar
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    i was always taught to tighten to seat that back off and then retighten till there was no end float but if there was no hole to back off as it was better to have slight end float the crush.

    This worked fine for years until i hit the track one day and it started buzzing from the front left,puled it apart and it looked like the inner race was spinning on the stub axle.Max ellerys said 12nm so thats what ive done.

  16. #16
    Hungry Hungry Hippo Tripper's Avatar
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    ive always used a spanner or socket and turned it with 1 finger till it stopped, then adjusted it so the hole lines up. never had a problem with them.
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  18. #18
    dangerous fugitive
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    Preload for tapered bearings is definitely 'your friend' but one has to consider that the hub/disc get's hot and likely hotter than the stub, so expansion is no doubt a factor, hence the 2thou or so min clearance usually quoted ends up being 'right' or at least close to optimal. I've never actually thought to check it whilst hot, but now that I've typed it up, I just might the next time I do wheel bearings, to see if expansion does actually creep it over the line and into preload or not at operating temps.

    On another note raised here - believe it or not - it's not that uncommon for the inner outside race/cage thing to slowly rotate it's way around the stub axle. If there's too much clearance, it can get a very very very slight angularity and start to cut into the washer, but not always.

    One also has to consider the fact that the stub can and will flex during cornering.

    If you wanted to go 'mental' you can machine up some spacers, and then set the wheel bearing tension by these _and_ a few shims to get it dialled in right and then tension to a fair bit more (probably 50+Nm) and that will give the stub itself more support and lead to less flexure. It's not an uncommon thing on HQ racers so I'm told.

    AHK068 - seriously you are either kidding us, or aren't doing them as tight as you suggest, or are on the slim side of average, and your 'tight' isn't that tight by other's standards, as Muz aint kidding about what you are risking. Then again, when it does let go, you'll have more control over it than most, what with the much more ergonomically efficient steering wheel and all.

    One thing you can do to look into it is to adjust then drive on a freeway for about 10km and pull over, using mostly downshifting or handbrake (don't be a tool here, do it slowly) and get out and feel the disc/hub. It shouldn't be hot, if it is, they are too tight. It is reasonable that it'll be warm, but not hot to the point you don't want to touch it.

    Whichever method you use, make the last adjustment a 'tightening' one. If you tighten then back off the tackiness of the grease will fuck up any hope of a decent feel for it's adjustment, whereas a slow tightening up will show the state of the union far more readily.
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  19. #19
    Surf's Up! bigmuz's Avatar
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    Thaks John. I had a mate who did his LC torana hubs up firm and drove it like that. First time he went on a freeway he ran out of bearigs about 10 kays in at a hundred. Welded tight and locked the wheel. The whole wheel/ hub/ upright was too hot to touch.

    Here is my rough and ready guide.

    1: If you haven't been shown by someone who knows then pay the man.
    2: Bung it up tight three or four times to make sure the cups are seated firm.
    3: Do it up touch tight and then back it off then go up to the next hole.

    That's it. If you haven;t been shown by someone who knows then PAY THE MAN.

    Simple.
    Quote Originally Posted by Boo-urns View Post
    I'm not an engineer but if I was I would call what I'm talking about spring rate to mass ratio reaction speed.

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  20. #20
    m o d e r a t o r Greg Rust's Avatar
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    Guys I have some pics of a Stemco Pro-torq wheel nuts for truck and trailer,

    Notice the locking device on the outer section, very nice.

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  21. #21
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    I followed jmac's advice and tightened it right up, then backed it off and tightened it as hard as I could finger-tight. Checked it the other day and it seems fine - and doesn't make any undue noise.
    Quote Originally Posted by klampykixx View Post
    as an example, an elephant pushes over a tree to eat the fresh leaves at the top, but a human isnt allowed to build a machine that makes a car so he can drive around to places quicker?

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