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  1. #1

    Question about setting wheel bearings

    I have repacked my trailer bearings and preloaded them per the manufactures instructions. I then back off the castle (spindle) nut and bring it to finger tight. The wheel spins fine but the solid portion of the castle nut blocks the cotter pin hole.

    If I tighten the castle nut to get the cotter pin in then there is no rock in the hub but the wheel feels a little tight. When I give the wheel a spin it will turn about 2 revolutions.

    If I loosen the castle nut to get the cotter pin in then there is a little rock in the hub but the wheel freely spins. When I give the wheel a spin it will turn about 6 revolutions.

    So, is it better to have a freely spinning wheel with a little rock or a little tighter bearings with no rock? Again the difference is one slot on the castle nut or 1/6 of a turn. I'm guessing that it is 16 TPI so 1/6 of a turn would be ~.010" difference in preload.


  2. #2
    Moderator RX951's Avatar
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    Setting Trailer bearings endplay preload

    setting endplay
    http://www.timken.com/products/beari...Fs/Vol4No3.pdf

    Preload
    http://www.timken.com/products/beari...Fs/Vol6No3.pdf

    Preloading the bearings
    http://www.rverscorner.com/articles/bearing1.html
    1. Tighten the axle nut by hand until it is tight.
    2. Tighten another 1/4 turn with pliars or wrench.
    3. Spin the drum several times to distribute the grease evenly in the bearings.
    4. Back off the nut with the pliers or wrench, until loose and then retighten finger tight.
    5. Insert a new cotter pin to lock the nut in place and bend it over the spindle.
    6. Re-install the dust cap, wheel and tire, and hubcap.
    7. Now is a very good time to adjust the brakes. See the brake adjusting page for more info.
    8. Wash hands vigorously for 15 minutes!

  3. #3
    Thanks for the response. I do understand how to preload the bearings and have preloaded them but the theory on setting the end play assumes that that the spindle nut ends up in the perfect spot. My question is what if the spindle nut ends up blocking the cotter pin hole? Is it better to go tighter with nut and add preload to the bearings or loosen the nut and have a little slop? Going tighter would add about .005" of preload, looser would remove about .005".

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    Moderator RX951's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pseudonym View Post
    Thanks for the response. I do understand how to preload the bearings and have preloaded them but the theory on setting the end play assumes that that the spindle nut ends up in the perfect spot. My question is what if the spindle nut ends up blocking the cotter pin hole? Is it better to go tighter with nut and add preload to the bearings or loosen the nut and have a little slop? Going tighter would add about .005" of preload, looser would remove about .005".
    I understand...yes, back it up to the next available opening on the crown nut.

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  6. #6
    way2fast's Avatar
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    There is another possibility for your problem. A couple of trailer manufacturers use a different type of rear grease seal. If you use a standard seal you won't be able to get the hub onto the axle far enough to be able to get the cotter pin through the shaft hole. You must use the part specific rear seal to be able to correctly screw on the nut. Using the wrong seal is dangerous and will probably also leak grease.


    Richard

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by way2fast View Post
    If you use a standard seal you won't be able to get the hub onto the axle far enough to be able to get the cotter pin through the shaft hole.
    I can get the cotter pin thru the hole in the spindle, I just can't get a free spinning wheel and no free play in the bearing at the same time. I don't think that I have the type of axel you suggest.

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