Properly adjusted bearings have a slightly loose feeling. Wheel bearings must never be preloaded. Preloading will damage bearings and eventually spindles. If the bearings are too loose, they should be cleaned, inspected, and then adjusted.
Hold the tire at the top and bottom, and move the wheel in and out on the spindle. If the movement is greater than 0.008 in. for 1962-73 vehicles or 0.005 in. for 1974-79 vehicles, the bearings are too loose.
- Raise and support the car by the lower control arm.
- Remove the hub cap, then remove the dust cap from the hub.
- Remove the cotter pin and spindle nut.
- Spin the wheel forward by hand. Tighten the nut until snug to fully seat the bearings.
- Back off the nut 1 / 4 - 1 / 2 turn until it is just loose, then tighten it finger-tight.
- Loosen the nut until either hole in the spindle lines up with a slot in the nut and then insert the cotter pin. This may appear to be too loose, but it is the correct adjustment. The spindle nut should not be even finger-tight.
- Proper adjustment creates 0.001-0.008 in. of end-play for 1962-73 vehicles or 0.001-0.005 in. of end-play for 1974-79 vehicles.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
- Remove the wheel and tire assembly, and the brake drum or brake caliper, as applicable.
- Pry out the grease cap, cotter pin, spindle nut, and washer.
- Remove the outer roller bearing assembly. Remove the hub assembly. The inner bearing assembly will remain in the hub and may be removed after prying out the inner seal. Discard the seal.
- Clean all parts in solvent (air dry) and check for excessive wear or damage.
- Using a hammer and drift, remove the bearing cups from the hub. When installing new cups, make sure that they are not cocked and that they are fully seated against the hub shoulder.
- Using a high melting-point bearing lubricant, pack both inner and outer bearings.
- Place the inner bearing in the hub and install a new inner seal, making sure that the seal flange faces the bearing cup.
- Carefully install the wheel hub over the spindle.
- Using your hands, firmly press the outer bearing into the hub. Install the spindle washer and nut, and adjust as instructed above.
- Install the caliper. Torque the two caliper mounting bolts to 35 ft. lbs.
- Install the dust cap on the hub.
- Install the wheel and lower the vehicle.
Clean the wheel bearings thoroughly with solvent and check their condition before installation.
Apply a sizable daub of lubricant to the palm of one hand. Using your other hand, work the bearing into the lubricant so that the grease is pushed through the rollers and out the other side. Keep rotating the bearing while continuing to push the lubricant through it.