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Thread: Wheel bearing adjustment

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    131

    Default Wheel bearing adjustment

    I am trying to adjust my front wheel bearings and having some trouble. I could feel some movement when trying to move the tire with hands at 12 and 6 o'clock. So I removed the dust cap, removed the cotter pin, removed caliper, re-greased both bearings, reassembled. I then torqued the nut to 8NM, backed off the nut a tiny bit if I needed to to insert the cotter pin, reassembled and test drove. Then checked for play - and I can still feel some, on both sides. Thinking I should go 1/12 turn tighter on each side and then try it out, but I'm worried that the bearing will be too tight? Advice?
    1997 Caterham, BDA
    1991 Miata, supercharged
    2017 VW GTI

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    South Lyon Michigan
    Posts
    217

    Default Front wheel bearing

    When you are adjusting, Is the wheel off the ground? I adjust the front wheel bearings be feel. After re-greasing and tightening the bearing down, I backed off the nut, then re-tighten the nut until there is a slight drag when you spin the wheel and NO PLAY. I would think you are better off with reduced play. [wheel bearings are cheap] The improvement in steering is worth the price of replacing the bearings after 40-50K miles. DaveW

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    131

    Default

    Yes - doing this with the tire off the ground. I was hesitant to have the bearing apply any drag, but sounds like a little drag from the bearing is ok? My main concern is being able to pass tech inspection for autocross and track days, and any play can be cause for failing tech. I have also heard that for track use some people have their bearings a little on the looser side - does anyone know if that's a thing?
    1997 Caterham, BDA
    1991 Miata, supercharged
    2017 VW GTI

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Bozeman MT
    Posts
    501

    Default

    I've found that the increments provided by the castle nut are too broad and that one position is too loose and the next is too tight. So I made thin shim washers to put behind the nut that that allow for a more fine tuned adjustment. If you're good with scissors you can make shims out of a coke can which is typically about .003" thick.

    This has worked very well for me in eliminating any play while not having any binding.

    dave

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Laurel MD
    Posts
    185

    Default

    "I then torqued the nut to 8NM", your not going to get accuracy with a torque that low (about 6 ft/lbs). The quality of the thread, the thickness and quantity of grease is going to have a huge impact. I would snug it up so there is just the slightest drag and no play. Dave is right about using washers is necessary to get the correct nut position.

    Graham

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    131

    Default

    Awesome - thanks guys. Will try this tonight.
    1997 Caterham, BDA
    1991 Miata, supercharged
    2017 VW GTI

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    131

    Default

    Ok, so: I readjusted tonight. On the right side I just went a little tighter, and it seems fine now. On the left I went a bit tighter than the right, and I still have this looseness/clunk sound when I rock the wheel. BUT - it only seems to make the noise when the wheel is straight. When I rotate the wheel as if turning the car left or right the looseness/clunk sound aren't there. You can hear the difference in this video - turn the sound up:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujGx...ature=youtu.be

    Might this be a ball joint, or something else, rather than the wheel bearing?
    1997 Caterham, BDA
    1991 Miata, supercharged
    2017 VW GTI

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    South Lyon Michigan
    Posts
    217

    Default

    One vote for a loose ball joint. Get the grease gun out and see if greasing changes anything. Another option for the wheel bearing is to used safety wire, Vs a cotter pin. It's less than have the thickness and gives you more leeway on the castle nut position.
    Dave W

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