How do YOU tighten front wheel bearing nuts? - Off-Road Forums & Discussion Groups
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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-22-2003, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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How do YOU tighten front wheel bearing nuts?

I know what the books say, even Chilton doesn't agree from book to book. Both say tighten the nut to 50 ft. lb. while turning the wheel. One Chilton manual says back off about a third of a turn, another (also Chilton) says back off 1/4 turn (90) maximum.

I've got them front and rear with the Summers Bros. full floaters and using the above method, seem to be getting some vibrations above about 60 mph if the pavement is not really smooth or when making highway turns. In a tight highway curve, it feels a little unstable. With a corner jacked up, I can feel some looseness or play in the bearings.

For years I've gone by feel. Tighten down pretty snug and back off until there is little or no drag. For castle nut and cotter pin, it's usually back off to the next slot. I've readjusted the ones on the left side using my method and the vibrations are fading and the stability is returning. I'll do the right side this afternoon.

The main reason I'm asking is because I had a bearing retainer come apart after several years, and cause the outer race to spin [img]images/graemlins/burnout.gif[/img] in one of my high dollar Summers Bros. hubs. There was still plenty of grease. The grease leaking out, once the bearing got hot [img]images/graemlins/puke.gif[/img], was how I located the problem so easily.

So what do YOU do?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-22-2003, 01:09 PM
 
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Re: How do YOU tighten front wheel bearing nuts?

its been a long time since ive done it, but if I recall, I tighten the locknut until I feel resistance rotating the wheel. then put the cotter pin thru the next loosest slot.

if its got play , pushing/pulling wheel from 12 o clock to 6 o clock, I always go tighter, tight enough to eliminate that play.

Its worked for everything ive done.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-22-2003, 01:30 PM
 
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Re: How do YOU tighten front wheel bearing nuts?

Any of those three methods mentioned should work. I recently switched to using a proper socket and torque wrench. Don't know if it produces any better results, or even consistency, as you have to back off the castle nut to the next position to install the cotter pin or whatever locates the nut in your case. I think the goal is simply to not have them tight enough there is drag, but not so loose that you can feel any play, although I am sure you can measure it with a dial indicator.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-22-2003, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How do YOU tighten front wheel bearing nuts?

Just for the record, this is the Jeep and there is no castle nut. It uses a tab washer and a second locknut with edges of the tab washer bent up and down over both nuts. I was just mentioning the castle nut as to how I had done it on other vehicles for the past forty years.

BTW - The nuts, washers, bearings and seals are new. It is not a case of coming loose, I can feel the play when I tighten the nuts using the "recommended" procedure before I let the wheel down on the ground.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 02-22-2003, 02:16 PM
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Re: How do YOU tighten front wheel bearing nuts?

1. Torque setting?
2. Never used one...
3. I've always used your method!
4. It's never let me down,
5. Yet!
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 02-22-2003, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How do YOU tighten front wheel bearing nuts?

Well, at least I feel better now. When that bearing retainer (the sheetmetal piece that holds the needles apart) went bad, as an engineer, I looked for a reason. I thought it was something I'd done so I tried the "recommended" method. Don't work does it? I guess the bearing failure was either just one of those things or I should have serviced them sooner.

The strange part was I had just done that frame change and was rolling the axles around by hand, both attached to the frames and alone, and never anything strange. Couple weeks later, I'd spun a bearing on the first trip of over three miles.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 02-22-2003, 06:13 PM
 
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Re: How do YOU tighten front wheel bearing nuts?

I use the feel method as well. I dog down on the socket while rotating the hub back and forth till I feel significant drag, then back it off until it is nice and free. Then slip on the lock washer and crank the daylights out of the locknut and bend the lock tab over. When I put the tire back on I spin it back and forth a few times to make sure I like it, and also put a bar under it and lift up and down to make sure that there isn't any play. My pickup manual makes a big process out of it, torquing to several different levels and backing off. I quit doing it on it too and went back to doing it by feel. In fact, I just replaced the spindle bearing on the right side of my CJ5 a couple of days ago....and put a new hub/wheelbearing assembly on my wife's car today! (and tore the engine down a bit to find a tick....bad rocker arm slack adjuster). I know my method isn't scientific, but seems to work well for me!
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