rear axle nut question

Chevyman_15237

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It was that time of the year to repack bearings and change a few leaky wheel seals. We completed all of that, our next step was to tighten the axle nut to set the wheel bearings into the races. The TM says to "tighten the nut until the wheel binds, then back off 1/8th of a turn". I had the nut so tight it grabbed the outer seal, spun it, and ripped the tit off of it.... but the wheel never bound up. So my questions are:

What is your recommendation for tightening the inner nut to have the wheel "bind"?

I already have to order a new seal for what I broke... at least a 3 day wait for that...

But I dont want a dual set of wheels falling off going down the road!
 

Jake0147

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The high torque application is not to set the bearing in the race, but rather to set the race (the cup) into the hub securely. It need only be done if the race is removed, it should ALWAYS involve rotating the hub while torqing the nut, and the seal should NOT be present for that operation. As you can see, it won't take it.

I very much do not like the way the TMs are written for setting the rear wheel bearings. I also very much dislike the large amount of interference in the aftermarket replacement seals that are available. They take away any "feel", and leave you to rely entirely on a vague and unclear technical manual. That lead me to do a little bit of leg work. Thread pitch, fastener design, bearing taper, all that stuff can lead you towards an answer. A dial indicator will give you an answer, except for the seals. In frustration I removed mine and did it the long way.

First, the "click elbow" test. It's a lost and dying art, not one that I would pass of to anyone as a good idea anymore, as it's far too subjective for lots of folks today because they would have to interrupt their text conversations and use both sides of their brain. But, the old "manual" way is quite repeatable and predictable once you get the "feel", so with no seals I set it and marked the adjuster nut.
Second, I went by the "feel the bind" method. How much bind? Well, it's an intermediate amount, not when you can first feel resistance, and not when it's bound up. and WAY less than the seals produce. You'll never feel it accurately, especially with the huge amount of interference in a new star seal, which is pretty common to find at the usual suppliers. Without the seals, it took me no less than four attempts to come anywhere close to acceptable. (By modern standards, these are supposed to get the wheel bearings inspected and repacked each time the co-driver gets a sneeze.)
Using the "torque to 50lbs and then back the nut off" method found in a later TM seemed the best, but they leave a wide variation as well. That WAS repeatable 50lbs, back the nut off 1/16 to 1/4 of a turn was (I believe, I'm not looking...) the called out amount. (That's one half to two flats) I found that pretty sloppy. I found that 1/8 to 3/16 (one to one and one half flats) came out best. Start at one flat for ideal, and then loosen (even if it's close, ONLY loosen) until the lock ring will fit. (it grabs a flat or a corner, no more than half a flat will be needed).


Very boring, bit it's broken into sections so you don't have to bear it all at once. More than most people ever wanted to know.

http://www.timken.com/AntiFriction/player.html





 
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ctmustang

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My TM simply says to torque the inner nut to 50 ft.lbs. and then back it off 1/4 to 1/8. This is how I have always done mine and have had many years of trouble free operation.

CT
 

Jake0147

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Indeed it does, but other TMs have different procedures. They are also very unclear as to when they are seating cups and when they are preloading to find a set position. They also imply that the seal is capable of withstanding the torque required to seat the cups.

They are not wrong anywhere. Just unclear and sometimes subjective. Different ones to different degrees, and the most popular TM series seems to be the worst in this case.
 

Chevyman_15237

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Jake 0174... you have hit the nail on the head on all aspects of your reply, thank you very much. I have done front wheel seals and bearings in my 79 chevy k10 and an old chevy caprice, they were a piece of cake. The concept was easy to grab, as I was going through a Haynes manual. The TM was the biggest problem, I think it was from the early 70's... time to update I guess!
 

3rdmdqm

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Woodbine Maryland
I just replaced a rear wheel bearing assembly and new seals today. The race was set into the hub first by seating it with a tool and striking it flush with a hammer. After assembling everything the hub was then put on and the inner nut was then tightened down as tight as it would go, however the hub still spun free also. Then loosened the inner nut, then while rotating the hub tightened the nut until the nut just grabbed tight. Then put the lockring on and tightened down the outer nut. This sound right or did I miss something and have to tear it down again? Didn't use a torque wrench for this application.
 
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ctmustang

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I just replaced a rear wheel bearing assembly and new seals today. The race was set into the hub first by seating it with a tool and striking it flush with a hammer. After assembling everything the hub was then put on and the inner nut was then tightened down as tight as it would go, however the hub still spun free also. Then loosened the inner nut, then while rotating the hub tightened it until the hub caught and was hard to spin, backed it off, then tightened again until it just grabbed. Then put the lockring on and tightened down the outer nut. This sound right or did I miss something and have to tear it down again? Didn't use a torque wrench for this application.

It sounds like your bearing preload is too tight. If you have an understanding of how the seals work you will understand. Guys I know that were in service during vietnam and later all agree with the torque to 50 ft.lbs. then back off an1/8 to 1/4. It has worked without fail for me for years and I make some long distance hiway trips in my trucks and the bearings are just slightly warm even in the summer. The cooler the better don't ya think. Just my thoughts I hope this helps some.
 

DieselBob

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Arnold Maryland
I'm in the middle of doing the brakes and repacking the bearings. I have been using method in the TM that has you torque the nut to 50 lb/ft then back off 1/8 ~ 1/4 turn. We'll see how it turns out. Must have had 2 different mechanics working on it the last time it was serviced. Left side had everything correctly torqued and lock tabs in place. Right side didn't have any of the lock tabs bent down. Outer lock nuts might have been torqued to 80~100 lb/ft.
 

hof3414

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Thanks for the help this weekend on the truck Chevyman. I think it was that one flare on the brake line that was the problem, but just to be safe I ordered a new master cyclinder and airpack. O yeah also that line that was hanging under the truck last night that Barber found turns out was my air line for front axle engagement. New it went to something important :D Tahnks again I owe some wrenching time on your truck and Barbers.
 

mbarber84

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Need to get these trucks back on the road guys, a deuce isnt meant to spend its life on jack stands :).....Hoff thanks for the Brake fluid, I used all but an 1/8 bottle. Never fails, take a chance on the master level and wham...back to square one.

Brian, talked to Saturn today, the replacement starter switch is on its way. Thanks to both of you for the help! Gotta get these things road worthy ASAP
 

3rdmdqm

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Woodbine Maryland
My truck is still on jack stands. Waiting for parts to do the other 3 rear wheels which should be arriving tomorrow or Weds. I'm liking the 50 ft lbs. procedure. Can you elaborate on the bearing pre-load issue CTMustang?
 
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