Properly adjusted bearings have a slightly loose feeling. Wheel bearings must never be preloaded in service. Preloading will damage the bearings and eventually the 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 of the spindle. If the movement is greater than 0.008 in. (0.203mm) for 1964-73 vehicles or 0.005 in. (0.127mm) for 1974 and later vehicles, the bearings are too loose and must be adjusted.
See Figure 1
- Raise and support the vehicle safely using a jackstand under the lower control arm.
- Remove the hub cap from the wheel for access, then remove the dust cap from the hub.
- Remove the cotter pin and spindle nut.
- Spin the wheel forward by hand and tighten the nut to 12 ft. lbs. (16 Nm) in order to fully seat the bearings and remove any burrs from the threads.
- Back off the nut 1 / 4 - 1 / 2 turn until it is just loose, then finger-tighten the nut.
- Install a new cotter pin. If the pin cannot be installed, loosen the nut until either hole in the spindle lines up with a slot in the nut. 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. (0.025-0.203mm) end-play for vehicles through 1973; 0.001-0.005 in. (0.025-0.127mm) end-play for 1974 and later vehicles.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
See Figures 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15
Before handling the bearings, there are a few things that you should remember to do and and few things you should not.Always remember to DO the following:
Do NOT do the following:
- Raise and support the front of the vehicle safely using jackstands.
- Remove the tire and wheel assembly.
- Remove the brake drum or brake caliper, as applicable. On vehicles with disc brakes, remove the caliper mounting bolts and insert a block between the brake pads (if necessary to hold them in position) as the caliper is removed. Remove the caliper and wire it out of the way.
- Carefully pry out the grease cap, then remove the cotter pin, spindle nut, and washer. Remove the hub, being careful not to drop the wheel bearings.
- Remove the outer roller bearing assembly from the hub. The inner bearing assembly will remain in the hub and may be removed from the rear of the hub after prying out the inner seal. Discard the seal after removal.
- Clean all parts in solvent and allow to air dry, then check for excessive wear or damage.
- If replacement is necessary, use a hammer and drift to remove the outer or inner bearing races from the hub. When installing new races, make sure they are not cocked and that they are fully seated against the hub shoulder.
- Using a high melting point bearing lubricant, pack both the inner and outer bearings. Be sure to properly fill the bearings with grease.
- Lightly grease the spindle and inside of the hub.
Although a seal installation tool is preferable, a section of pipe with a smooth edge or a suitably sized socket may be used to drive the seal into position.
- Place the inner bearing in the hub, then apply a thin coating of grease to the sealing lip and install a new inner seal, making sure 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.
- Loosely install the spindle washer and nut, but do not install the cotter pin or dust cap at this time.
- If applicable, install the brake caliper.
- Install the tire and wheel assembly.
- Properly adjust the wheel bearings, then install a new cotter pin and the dust cap.
- Install the hub cap, then remove the supports and carefully lower the vehicle.
Clean the wheel bearings thoroughly with solvent and check their condition before installation.
Apply a sizable dab 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.