Properly adjusted bearings have a slightly loose feeling. Wheel bearings must never be preloaded. 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 0.005 in., 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 0.001-0.005 in. of end-play.
REMOVAL, PACKING & INSTALLATION
- Raise and support the vehicle safely using jackstands. Remove the wheel and tire assembly.
- On disc brake cars, remove the hub and disc as an assembly. Remove the caliper mounting bolts and wire the caliper out of the way.
- Remove the outer bearing from the hub. The inner bearing assembly will remain in the hub and may be removed after prying out the inner seal. Discard the seal.
- Clean all the parts in solvent, air dry them, and check them for excessive wear or damage.
- To replace the outer or inner bearing race, first knock out the old race with a hammer and a brass drift. New races must be installed squarely and evenly to avoid damage. Use a short piece of two-by-four or something similar.
- Pack the bearings with wheel bearing grease. It is important that the bearings be fully packed, and not simply coated with lubricant. It is a good idea to wear plastic protective gloves while packing. Immerse the bearing completely in the lubricant and work the grease into the bearing with your hand.
- Lightly grease the steering spindle and the inside of the hub.
- Place the inner bearing in the hub race and install a new grease seal.
- Install the hub and rotor assembly (or hub and drum assembly) on the spindle.
- Install the outer wheel bearing. Adjust the wheel bearing as outlined earlier.
- Reinstall the caliper assembly on disc brake models.
- Install the dust cap, wheel and tire assembly, and lower the car.