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Old 01-30-2005, 01:09 PM
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Wheel bearings

When I lifted the front of my 1980 Monte I noticed that there is a bit free play in the front wheel bearings. Until now I had the opinion that wheel bearings are worn and have to be replaced with the slightest play, as this is the case with European cars. But now the manual says that for the Chevy it's normal that the bearings have a bit play.

1. Is this really true?
2. How do I find out if the play is acceptable or too much? The manual says it may be 0.2mm in-out, but how should I measure that...

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Martin

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Old 01-30-2005, 05:19 PM
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The bearings might just need repacked and readjusted. Have you done that? Also you have to remember that the bearings are 25 years old. I would replace them for no more than they cost. Replacement is a lot cheaper than a bearing going bad.
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Old 01-30-2005, 06:07 PM
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Just snug up the new bearings until there is no play. Just be careful that you don't overtighten them. GM bearings are quite forgiving, but don't like to be overtightened.
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Old 01-30-2005, 10:20 PM
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Non drive wheel tapered roller bearings need a small amount of play.
If you remove all play they will eventually go bad. How fast would be determined by how overtight they are. Do as the manual says.
Well cared for bearings can outlast the rest of the car, and the next generation of your family... well, so far anyway. If you have any doubts about the bearings, replace them and their races.
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Old 01-31-2005, 03:12 AM
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As I understand a closer look at the bearings is necessary to tell the condition, so I think I'll wait for the moment, the car isn't driven so no further damage can occur if something should be wrong. I'll probably install Belltech spindles, then I'd have to dismantle anyway and can inspect them.

Because I have to order parts from America to get decent prices and am going to place an order soon I thought I could probably order them in the same go, but I think I'll end up ordering more than once anyway...

Thanks
Martin
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Old 01-31-2005, 03:23 AM
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specs

G-body specs on wheel bearings:
Torque the bearing to 12 ft lbs (144 in lbs) while spinning the rotor. Then back the nut off to the first cotter pin groove in the nut that lines up with the cotter pin hole in the axle. Insert cotter pin. Bearing is adjusted.
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Old 01-31-2005, 04:04 AM
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Thanks for the info! I have no experience with these bearings, actually. Just for comparison: 12 ft lbs is about 16 nm, the wheel bearings on my Peugeot which I replaced some time ago needed to be torqued to 200 nm. No joke. A whole different kind of bearing assembly obviously. I will probably even have to get another torque wrench, I think 16 nm bottom mine out.

Martin
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Old 01-31-2005, 04:13 AM
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metric

In Canada torque wrenches have NM on one side and FTLBS on the other. But the wheel bearing torque will be very small in NM. Probably lower than your wrench is calibrated for.
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Old 01-31-2005, 06:06 AM
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I dont use the torque wrench on them anymore. After you've done a few hundred of'm you can feel the nut into place. Basically I pack'm with grease, spin the disc while tightening the nut with my fingers as hard as I can -no wrench involved- to seat the bearings.
Then I take a small pair of channel locks to back the nut to the next available slot for the cotter pin... sometimes I use the ch-locks to tighten it, but it is not much pressure.
If you work the nut back and forth in this small area before you install the pin, using the channelocks, you can feel the very small space where it is loose, but not too loose... tight, but not too tight.... hard to explain.

The service manual I have explains both the torque wrench method and a method without. I dont have it with me, but it is something like a 10" crescent wrench, spin rotor, seat bearing using the weight of the wrench, and back off nut to install pin.

You really can feel it when it is right. It is just before the nut comes loose...er
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