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  #1  
Old 08-02-2004, 10:48 AM
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Wheel bearing adjustment with dial indicator

I heard the proverbial 'humming' sound from the right front wheel, like the sound you get going over a steel grid bridge deck, and had to replace the right wheel bearing. Thanks to the many posts on this subject, I was able to complete the operation without much hassle.
The bearing failed, I think, due to my own inexperience with adjustment (I had replaced both front bearings about 3 years ago) and the grease I used (Valvoline wheel bearing grease). I don't think regular wheel bearing grease repels water very well, nor is able to withstand high temperatures. I believe, from examining the rollers, that water got in and corrosion ate good chunks out of half of them! The car is stored most of the year, and only sees high speed road use once or twice in summer.
Not to repeat the same mistakes, I called the nearest dealer (none in my city) and he advised using 'any good synthetic' grease. I chose a product available locally, PC-1000 http://www.prolab-technologies.com/contenu/produitsIndusDetail_ang.cfm?noFicheProduit=53
Anyway, setting the correct play took awhile, actually 2 attempts on 2 separate evenings. I went back in and double checked, and I'm glad I did. I don't have a dial indicator in millimeters, and the shop manual calls for '0,01 to 0,02' mm, which I believe is .01 - .02 in NA notation. That puts the play at about .0005 inches, which corresponds nicely with the index on my indicator.
Folllowing the manual, I preloaded the indicator to about 2 mm, then set it up as shown in the picture. I added a clamp to hold the rotor from turning as I push/pulled the hub to check play. The clamp is light, so the force of pushing and pulling easily overcomes its tension.
It took several tries, and I had to readjust after tightening the clamp nut down (backing it off, resetting the big nut, tighten and try again until right). 5 ten thousands of an inch is mighty small!
So we just got back from our vacation, and the left wheel (with the 3 yr old bearing job) is covered in an oily film and brake dust, which I take to be the Valvoline grease spun out of the hub from heat and compression, given that I probably put too much in there too. This time, I carefully measured 60 grams of grease on a postage scale, putting 45 in the bearings and 15 in the dust cap, aproximately.
I'll repack the left bearings this week, or replace if they look iffy.

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Wheel bearing adjustment with dial indicator-bearingplay01.jpg  
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Last edited by donbryce; 08-02-2004 at 11:14 AM.
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  #2  
Old 08-02-2004, 11:38 AM
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Did you replace the seals as well?... they are a consumable item. Yes, the grease leakage may have been the result of substandard grease. but my first suspicion would be the seals.

A good synthetic grease that is widely available is Mobil 1 synthetic. A better one is Exxon Infinitec, but this is yet to be sold retail.
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  #3  
Old 08-02-2004, 11:54 AM
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Kestas: You should know that your posts were instrumental in assisting me with this project. Much appreciated.
I actually had a hell of a time with the parts. I went to our local bearing supply and he looked everything up form his book, but nothing listed that he gave me fit when I pulled the old bearing/seals out (Sat. morning, everything closed until Monday of course, except the Napa store, and he looked them up too, also wrong parts). When I went back with the old bearings, no problem to get the right ones from the Timkin numbers, but the seals are really oddball. The one I removed was only 3 years old, and in perfect shape. I took it out using Stevebfl's described method, rather than ruin it with a punch & hammer. It had to go back in since there was no time to wait and I was due for a roadtrip 2 days after.
I looked everywhere for Mobil 1, but it's not available locally, so I used the product mentioned.
I saw no evidence whatsoever on the wheel I did that the seal was defective though. No grease anywhere around the backing plate, disk, or hub assembly. Not so sure of the left side though, as the slime on the outside of the wheel had to come from somewhere. I'm going to try and order seals first before I break it down.
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  #4  
Old 08-02-2004, 12:36 PM
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Front wheel bearings are just the common Set3 and Set5 from most rear wheel drive GM large body cars ~1970's. There is nothing unique or exotic about them; they are probably the most sold wheel bearings in the world up to mid 1980's. The seal is just a #1940 (don't quote me on that # ), available at all McParts. Have the counterman look up a 1972 Impala, or such, and compare that seal to yours and I'd expect a match.
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Last edited by jbaj007; 08-02-2004 at 01:06 PM.
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  #5  
Old 08-02-2004, 12:38 PM
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What is the correct way to install the new seal?

TIA,

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  #6  
Old 08-03-2004, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
What is the correct way to install the new seal?
I don't know, but any method that will guarantee that the thin steel casing won't get distorted when it's driven into the hub recess is, as far as I'm concerned, 'correct'. I used a 1/8" thick, aprox. 3" diameter piece of steel that I had cut out for some previous project. Others have used a large socket, a piece of hardwood, etc.
No need for a press here, as the fit is not that tight and you want to control the entry into the recess precisely to avoid distortion. The best way is a nice, evenly distributed pressure around the circumference, so you're pushing the rim/edge, and not the flat part of the seal, in.
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  #7  
Old 08-03-2004, 01:54 PM
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play problem

hello,

well you've got a problem if you adjusted your wheel bearing to .1 to .2 mm. those numbers equate to .004 to .008. trust me i am a machinist. if you adjusted to your .010 to .020 you have almost 3 times the clearance your spec calls out.

another issue at hand is if your original bearings failed corrosion and pitting then you needed to change the bearing race as well. if you don't you'll just transfer over the bad from the original bearing to that new bearing you just installed.

to convert mm to fraction is = mm / 25.4 = fraction so .1 mm / 25.4 = .00394. just like 1 meter = 39.4 inches.

you won't find too many people trying to dial in their bearing adjustment. because depending on the length of the moment arm you are creating by locating the ADG your travel is increased as you move out and conversly your travel is lessened as you move closer to the center point. and actually i believe the dimension on the spec is for the bearing face to the race. not how much the caliper moves.

i'm sure some will agree with the method of spinning the wheel and while it is turning use a larger set of water pump pliers and snug up on the nut. do this 3 or 4 times then back it off an RCH. this method should be good to go. i'm sure others will disagree too cause they have their way to do this job.

oh and to give you an idea of what .003 " looks like, pull a hair out of your head. now slit in half and you would have appx .002 to .003 of an inch.

good luck!
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1972 350sl Red/Blk 117k
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Pound it to fit then Paint it to match!

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  #8  
Old 08-03-2004, 02:18 PM
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Afmcorp, Don said he adjusted to 0.01-0.02 mm, which is in the 0.0005" range. I think he used the proper indicator and read it correctly.

But I agree with your comment on the dial indicator setup. I took a second look at Don's picture. The base should be on the bearing hub flanged face, not the rotor. There's too much potential for false play that he'll be detecting. I'll assume the dial pointer is properly sitting on the end face of the spindle shaft.
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Old 08-03-2004, 02:57 PM
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Kesta i see what you mean. in that case his decimal equivalent is even worse than i showed. now he has over 20 times of play than he should have. .0005 is a hair on your head split 20 times.

actually the correct way to read the adjustable play is in and out. not by rocking the caliper because no matter how close or far from center you move it will be greater than the actual play the bearing face is seeing.

to show this... if you use the edge of the rotor we can agree that it will display a number greater than say the middle of the rotor will display. due to the rocking arc. so moving along that line then the exact zero center would show zero [0] because the fulcrum or pivot point is in fact center. so the actual measurement of play is in and out. it may help to think of plastic gauge. it measures the in and out dimension of the crank and rods.

i'm only pointing this out because of the decimal range of .010 to .020. that is a far cry from .0005. like i was noting divide .010 by .0005 and you come up with 20. now frankly .01 to .02 is like slop compared to .0005 play. you will feel the movement of .020 in your hands.

please don't take any of this as criticism. it is not. just my perverbial .02cents.
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Craig

1972 350sl Red/Blk 117k
1988 420sel charcoal/Blk 140k
1987 420sel gold/tan 128k
See My Cars at:http://mysite.verizon.net/res0aytj/index.html

Pound it to fit then Paint it to match!

There is only First Place and Varying degrees of last!

Old age and deceit will overcome Youth and Enthusiasm every time!

Putting the square peg in the round hole is not hard... IF you do it fast enough!

Old enough to know better but stupid enough to do it anyway!
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  #10  
Old 08-03-2004, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
another issue at hand is if your original bearings failed corrosion and pitting then you needed to change the bearing race as well.
Yes, I changed both the inner and outer bearings and races. I just didn't include any detail as it's well covered in other posts.
Quote:
I don't have a dial indicator in millimeters, and the shop manual calls for '0,01 to 0,02' mm, which I believe is .01 - .02 in NA notation.
OK, I think I see the misunderstanding here. What I meant by 'NA notation', is North American notation for decimals is with a '.', not a ',' So '0,01' mm is '.01' mm, and .01 Millimeters equals 0.000393701 inches.
Quote:
actually the correct way to read the adjustable play is in and out. not by rocking the caliper
I didn't even have the caliper on. I pushed/pulled on the hub, as MB recommends.
I don't understand why putting the base on the rotor is wrong, since the hub face and rotor are bolted together as a single piece?
As I read the MB procedure, the pointer on the dial indicator is to be 'preloaded' 1 - 2 mm's. I took this to mean that I should adjust the base assembly so the pointer is pushed in 1 - 2 mm's, resting on the spindle end. I then adjusted the dial face so the needle lined up with a single mark on the circumference, which is calibrated with .0005" increments. Then, with everything tight on the base fixture, what difference would it make where on the rotor/hub the base is, since I'm measuring movement in/out relative to the end of the spindle where the dial pointer is resting?
I tried attaching the magnetic base on the hub flange, but it was too easy to knock it off while aggresively pushing/pulling the hub
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Last edited by donbryce; 08-03-2004 at 03:27 PM.
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  #11  
Old 08-03-2004, 03:46 PM
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Don, the play (or clearance) you're trying to set is the play in the axial direction as measured by movement in the axial direction between the outer ring and inner rings. This is best done by setting the base on the hub face, the dial on the spindle, and push-pull the hub to set the play. You said the rotor was secured so it won't move, and it may even work in your case, but this is not the best way to do this. Once you've spent time as a machinist, you find metal moves and behaves funny where a layperson wouldn't expect movement.

It does take a bit of technique to get a feel for what you're measuring. The dial indicator preload isn't a big deal. You did that step correctly. They just mean the play you're measuring should be within the range of the dial, and not to try and start at zero. Play of 0.02 mm should be easily within the range of any standard shop dial.
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  #12  
Old 08-03-2004, 04:50 PM
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hi donbryce

i mis spoke i meant to say rotor not caliper and i do like kestas "axial" to describe the in and out motion i was referring to

tks
craig
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Craig

1972 350sl Red/Blk 117k
1988 420sel charcoal/Blk 140k
1987 420sel gold/tan 128k
See My Cars at:http://mysite.verizon.net/res0aytj/index.html

Pound it to fit then Paint it to match!

There is only First Place and Varying degrees of last!

Old age and deceit will overcome Youth and Enthusiasm every time!

Putting the square peg in the round hole is not hard... IF you do it fast enough!

Old enough to know better but stupid enough to do it anyway!
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  #13  
Old 11-05-2004, 09:03 PM
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Setting Wheel bearing nut, back off 10 degrees, feel.

0.02mm distance by dial indicator or tighten while spinning wheel and back off until movement is felt then just slightly tighten.
I did not have a dial indicator but calculated approximately 10 degree turn of the nut yields 0.02mm. If I can talk standard threads, a nut with 12 threads per inch means turn the nut 12 revolutions and it moves 1 inch. Using math you get 0.02mm when you turn the nut ~10 degees.
I ended up using the "loosen until you feel play" and then slightly tighten. I did not know the actual nut movement but it was more the 10 degrees, maybe 15 to 20. I figued I might have had the wrong "just tight spot" when backing off the nut.
The big unanswered question is if the 0.02mm method is used does that mean the tire should feel loose when set properly? This would put it in direct conflict with the slight tighten after wheel just loose you hear about using.
So anyone who used a dial indicator feel for play when done?

1983 300SD, made cars feel good again
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  #14  
Old 11-08-2004, 09:12 AM
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I did mine with a dial gauge mounted properly. The play I measured was not perceptible by feel.
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