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 Post subject: Wheel bearing too tight?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:56 am 
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Brace yourselves, it’s another wheel bearing question…

How freely should the front hubs spin when they are free from obstructions (e.g. when the brake pads removed)?

One of mine spins fairly easily, the other (offside) is noticeably less free and will only do a few revolutions before stopping – this is with me spinning the hub fairly firmly directly by the studs, wheel off.

Does that mean this bearing is either knackered or too tight? If so, what’s the best course of action to address?

Can I just back off the hub nut by one increment of the split pin and see what the top-bottom play in the wheel is afterwards? What’s the best way to measure the play to determine if it’s within tolerance?

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:25 am 
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Undo the nut, pull the hub off, grease, and reassemble.

I always set tapered roller bearings with the wheel on. Slacken the nut, and then gradually retighten, testing the top to bottom rock. I like to set it at the point when there is a tiny, barely detectable amount of play. If you can hear it when you rock the wheel, it's too much. If you can't feel any movement, it's too tight.

I always have an annual good-natured argument with the MOT tester over this. He believes all bearings should have pre-load and no play. I believe taper roller bearings should have a tiny amount of play to allow for the clearance closing when hot. So I do them up before the MOT, then free off a fraction afterwards.

I often find that the adjustment range with the flats and holes is not accurate enough. Sometimes I try a different washer, or even rub it down a bit on an emery stone. It's worked well for me. I've covered hundreds of thousands of miles in my Volvo 240s and I've never replaced front wheel bearings. If greased and adjusted they last indefinitely.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:51 pm 
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Clifford Pope wrote:
I always have an annual good-natured argument with the MOT tester over this. He believes all bearings should have pre-load and no play. I believe taper roller bearings should have a tiny amount of play to allow for the clearance closing when hot.


Well he's wrong then. He's probably the same bloke (or at least one of his mates) who did my mate "a favour" and adjusted up his front wheel bearings so it would pass the test, and the bearing overheated and failed in the middle of France a couple of days later. Checking the other side revealed no play at all and nice blue rollers.....

Clifford Pope wrote:
So I do them up before the MOT, then free off a fraction afterwards.



You should not have to be doing this.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:38 pm 
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MoT testers do not fully understand taper roller bearings. My cars have had advisories of play in front wheel bearings every year for about ten years. :?

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:55 pm 
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Charles H wrote:
MoT testers do not fully understand taper roller bearings.


Probably a lot to do with being able to go from roadsweeper to MOT tester in a matter of weeks......

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:19 pm 
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Charles H wrote:
My cars have had advisories of play in front wheel bearings every year for about ten years. :?


Funny you should say this Charles - my Royal Blue Mk1 went in for its MOT days before this years National, and having had an advisory last year for 'play' in the front wheel bearings, I spoke to the MOT man about this and after a friendly conversation about the said 'play', he accepted my opinion on it and it passed.
He did however put his usual advisory about 'underside front to rear covered in underseal'.......(??!!??) presumably to cover his back if there was any dodgy welding!

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