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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm doing a brake job on my '83 El Camino. It has 80K miles on it and the front wheel bearings are original. The outer bearings have nylon roller retainers.
Should I replace them for good measure even though they look OK?
If so, should I get Timken? My Autozone has them in stock. My local Napa has bearings for a better price but they're branded Napa and I don't know who makes them for them.


Also, on the rear, brakes are drum brakes. The thicker padded shoe goes to the rear right?
Been a long time since I've done a brake job.
 

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Yes...the longer pad goes to the rear.

If the bearings look good, not pitted, I would reuse them. Check the races too
 

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Yeah I'd just check them and reuse them if cost/time is a concern. My truck is around 250,000 miles and it's been on it's third set of bearings for about 10,000 of them. If you want peace of mind, though, there's nothing wrong with replacing them.

I was reading the rock auto news letter yesterday and there was a customer story about a guy who bought a ford truck cheap because the back brakes locked up unusually under normal conditions. He replaced the shoes and didn't know they were on backwards so he put them on backwards AGAIN copying the old brake job. When they locked up after the brake job he just adjusted them out so that they wouldn't do it any longer. Took 3 years later at a vehicle inspection for someone to notice it. Long story, but yeah, thicker pads to the back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok,

I'll get them cleaned up today and inspect them closely.

I thought maybe there might be a concern about 30 year old bearings with nylon cages but maybe not.

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If you can afford it I'd replace them. If the Brg fail's it's gonna take out the axle also.
Brg..5707Seal 8660S
Money is not an issue at all.
If it's better to replace them I will.

Just trying to be practical and not waste.

Looks like I'm getting opinions both ways. Same thing my brain was doing and the reason I asked.

It's the front I'm referring too.

I'm wasn't planning on doing anything with the rear bearings until I get a seal leaking or noise. I've never seen a rear wheel bearing failure that didn't give a noise warning first.
 

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Differential/Driveline
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I just noticed if was the front Brgs you were talking about so ignore my brg numbers I gave you :D

I would still replace them if it's original stuff. Better to be safe than sorry.
 

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Money is not an issue at all.
If it's better to replace them I will.

Just trying to be practical and not waste.

Looks like I'm getting opinions both ways. Same thing my brain was doing and the reason I asked.

It's the front I'm referring too.

I'm wasn't planning on doing anything with the rear bearings until I get a seal leaking or noise. I've never seen a rear wheel bearing failure that didn't give a noise warning first.
Another way to look at it.. Sometimes if the rear Brg starts making noise the axle could be toast. Better to catch it before any noise of leaks show up.
 

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If I was at all concerned, I would just replace them. Better to know their good then to worry about them on the road. I've used the Autozone Timken bearings in quite few applications, it's usually what I go with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
If I was at all concerned, I would just replace them.
I think I've lost my concern. After cleaning them, they look new. No lines or colors at all. I also started thinking that this is a decision that can be made next time it needs brakes. Everything comes apart and has to be cleaned anyway. I wouldn't ever put new pads on the front without turning the rotors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Another way to look at it.. Sometimes if the rear Brg starts making noise the axle could be toast. Better to catch it before any noise of leaks show up.
My past experience with axle bearings is that they go way longer than 80K miles. The seals are 30 years old though and that might be what goes first. But, the axles don't get ruined if that happens. The oil in this axle has been changed too. I had new gears and a posi put in about 25K miles ago.
Again, maybe I'll give this more thought at the next brake job.

I don't put many miles on this car, but I do want it safe and reliable.

Btw, this is an original Choo Choo SS car and is fairly rare for a 1983 model. I put an LT1/4L60E in it back in 1998. The engine and transmission came out of a '96 Impala SS that was taken out of the car when it only had 100 miles on it. I've only put 25K miles on it since then. I did the rear gear change at the same time.

I thought you guys might like to see the car we're talking about. Pics always make a thread more interesting.





 

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If your bearings show no wear or discoloration then go ahead and reuse them. The important thing is that you get enough grease between the rollers when you repack them. You've got disc brakes on the front so make sure you use the proper type grease. You might want to replace the seal before you put it back together. It's just cheap insurance. Adjust the bearing nut to the right spec after tightening it tight to seat the bearings and back it off. Then re-tighten to the proper spec. The reason your bearings look so good after 80K is because someone has been doing a good service job all along.

BB :thumbup:
 

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Hotrodders.com Moderator
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The most important thing weather you re-use or install new is to be sure you pack them properly. Most bearing failures are due to improper packing or dirt getting into them. I have seen guys just smear grease on them. This will cause failure in short order. A bearing packer is a good investment and they work real well. I have one that looks like a can. You put the bearing in it and squeeze it in a vise to force the grease into it. Quick and easy. I always keep a few small boxes from parts orders or oil filters around to put bearings and the nuts in if I am just doing a repair. Keeps them clean and safe.
 

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The most important thing whether you re-use or install new is to be sure you pack them properly. Most bearing failures are due to improper packing or dirt getting into them. I have seen guys just smear grease on them. This will cause failure in short order. A bearing packer is a good investment and they work real well. I have one that looks like a can. You put the bearing in it and squeeze it in a vise to force the grease into it. Quick and easy. I always keep a few small boxes from parts orders or oil filters around to put bearings and the nuts in if I am just doing a repair. Keeps them clean and safe.
 

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I think I've lost my concern. After cleaning them, they look new. No lines or colors at all. I also started thinking that this is a decision that can be made next time it needs brakes. Everything comes apart and has to be cleaned anyway. I wouldn't ever put new pads on the front without turning the rotors.
As long as theres no grooves in the rotors I normally don't have rotors turned anyway.
My dad has a 78 chevy 4x4 he bought new with close to a million miles on it ,front rotors have never been turned.
Hes gone through several sets of pads/ball joints/u joints/clutches/midas lifetime mufflers........... but he always brags about the original untouched brake rotors on front of it!:D
Hes one of those guys who keeps a little book with everything hes done to his vehicles since he bought them.
Anyway Id just repack the bearings and replace the seals myself
 

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As long as theres no grooves in the rotors I normally don't have rotors turned anyway.
My dad has a 78 chevy 4x4 he bought new with close to a million miles on it ,front rotors have never been turned.
Wow! Any pictures of this truck? Is it still in decent shape? I've heard of diesels going a million but for a gas truck that's very rare.
 

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That truck has been with him down in Arkansas since he moved down there in late 80s.
The body has gone to hell over the years but hes got another rust free cab and box for it,new gm doors /front clip......
you can still eat off the motor in that truck,hes run mobil 1 in it since it was new.
Origional motor had close to 400,000 plus on it when he got bored and decided to stuff in an rv cam and a set of olf fuelie heads he had reworked with hardened seats and valve job.
That thing still had the original cross hatch in the cylinders with standard bore and original untouched bottem end.
He put about 100 miles or so with new top end when one of the new hardened seats came out and broke a piston and scratched a cylinder wall!:pain:
So he had to pull it apart and have it poked .030 over and put it back together with new bearings/pump/chain....... while he was in there.
That motor still has the original untouched standard crank with another 500,000 plus on it since then.
My old 96 ford plumbing service van has 320,000 on it with original drivetrain in it also,just keep putting mobil 1 in there and keep all the filters including trans changed.
I also dump the oil in rear axle once a year,doing ball joints and radius arm bushings on the ford this weekend:)
 
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