View Full Version : wheel bearings

05-24-2010, 04:28 PM
hi all, i'm about to repack/replace my wheel bearings and all of the seals. i was told i needed to do this because when the front end is jacked up you can grab either wheel and wriggle it around. I'll be doing this myself and i'm a total nube and really don't have any idea what i'm doing. I've searched ih8mud.com and found a step by step guide in the FAQ and i have purchased the rebuild kit and 54mm socket from Kurt at cruiser outfitters and i believe the service manual that i have has an exploded diagram for this too. having said all this i have a few questions:

i purchased the full knuckle rebuild kit, do i need to rebuild the whole knuckle to fix the wheels wriggling around, should i just rebuild it because i'm down there and it probably needs it anyway?

does anyone have a link to some pics for this process?

finally is there any last minute advice anyone can give before i dive in to this project?

thanks, matt

05-24-2010, 05:41 PM
How much down time can you have? Repacking the wheel bearings is probably 1-2 hrs. per side, if this is your first time going in there, maybe an hour on the 2nd side since you already found all the wrenches you need. Doing the entire knuckle job is likely an entire weekend, 12 hrs or so minimum for a first timer.

OTOH, you can just tighten a wheel bearing in under an hour. You're not really "in there anyway," other than yes you would already have the tire off, and the axle up on a jack stand, and you would need to remove the hub in both cases. Now if you repack those bearings then you'd have to remove the brake caliper, so ok there's 2 more bolts.. but it's still quite a bit more work to pop that spindle and get into the birfield, a lot messier too. How do the backs of your knuckles look, are they oozing grease & oil? Any clicking sounds when in 4wd?

edit: there's no question it's "better" to get in and do it all, you'll learn a lot in the process as well. Just trying to determine if you really have to, or if you can just tighten a wheel bearing and get back on the road. when was the last time your bearings were repacked?

05-24-2010, 07:18 PM
If you decide to "go all the way" gets lots and lots and lots and lots of paper towells etc :hill: - It WILL be messy....Line under each area with lots of newspaper and get a couple of cheapy oil drain pans to hopefully catch the majority of the muck...

The FAQ on MUD is actually a very good step by step tutorial with pics and all. EDIT: My assumption is that you have an 80 (all the :cool: kids do you know :hill:)

Nakman has good questions for you to help us help you decide whether you just need to tighten up the bearing or go the full distance.

Also, are you shaking/wiggling the tire left/right or top/bottom?

05-24-2010, 09:03 PM
All good advice above. Only thing I'd add from my front axle job. If the wheel bearings were run loose for quite a while, the races and/or bearings could be headed south, so a visual inspection might be a good thing. Though to peek at the inner race you've gotta start tearing stuff down. After purchasing mine, I torqued everything to spec, but there was still a noise from the front. Tore it down and found this (http://lh3.ggpht.com/_RHGIeuamB_E/SsDLRuTwQjI/AAAAAAAAAWg/KGh6PBS1Z-c/s640/DSCF2329.JPG). Just a thought.


05-24-2010, 09:21 PM
when you say wiggle it around that could mean wheel bearings or knuckle bearings. I would do full knuckle job. I've reused wheel bearings alot when they look good. It depends on if they were run for any period too tight or too loose. repack the birfs and replace the inner axle seal and do knuckle bearings. From the way your post was worded the first side will take you 10 hours the other side should only take 5 :hill:

05-24-2010, 10:40 PM
do i need to rebuild the whole knuckle to fix the wheels wriggling around, should i just rebuild it because i'm down there and it probably needs it anyway?

This depends upon what is causing the wriggling. Best case, the nuts and claw washer are just loose - you use your new hub socket to tighten them up to spec and the wriggle is gone. If you check your front end on a regular basis and have just noticed the problem, it really could be that simple.

If it were me, I'd take the time to tear it all down, inspect everything and be prepared to replace any problem parts. Others might go about it differently, whatever you choose to do - please be comfortable that the truck is safe on the road. I don't mean to imply that you are not being safe, I just want to say that when considering how much to do "while I'm in there" the bottom line for me is to be comfortable with however much (or little) that I do so long as the "safe truck" threshold is met.

does anyone have a link to some pics for this process?

I don't have a great link that focuses just on the full front axle service. I found this link (http://forum.ih8mud.com/40-55-series-tech/137225-minitruck-front-axle-disc-brake-conversion-dummies-faq.html) to be very helpful when I did my disk brake conversion. Most of this applies to the full axle service. I understand there is a DVD for the 80 series, perhaps someone on the board has a copy you could borrow.

I replaced all the bearings when I converted to FJ60 disc brakes. It was took me a long time. In all likelihood, I'll be assisting TheBoomBoom with a full front axle service before the summer is over - we will allocate a full weekend of time to the project. Perhaps we will get it done in a day, I know others have completed the work on both sides in a day - but it only takes one hiccup or two and the planned timeline is toast.

finally is there any last minute advice anyone can give before i dive in to this project?
If the truck is not you daily driver, take your time and enjoy the work. If you don't know much about the truck's history, don't be surprised by what you find as you work on it.

05-25-2010, 06:41 PM
first of all thanks a lot, all of this input is very helpful and i really appreciate it!
i totally forgot to add that its a 60, not an 80. i originally posted this on a 60 specific forum.

i have a good deal of time to work on this so i'm thinking i'll just check everything. i am just a little apprehensive about breaking something while i'm in there.

nakman: don't know when the last time the bearings were repacked but i'm guessing not for a while, also i have it parked about half an hour from my place so i can't check the knuckles for oozing oil, but i'll head down there today i don't recall a clicking sound in 4wd but i'll double check that too.

either way i'm just going to do the entire knuckle job, mainly because i've never done it before and i could use the experience but also because of ricardo's comment about safety.

again, thanks for the help:D


05-25-2010, 08:37 PM
Hey Matt, good info above but I think you're wise to assume it's time to rebuild the knuckles while you're at it. What do they look like? I'll wager the gunk & dirt is a few inches thick if it's anything like mine when I got it. Do it all and be done with it.

You don't have to worry too much about breaking anything, better yet start spraying it down with your favorite solvent (PBBlaster) a couple times a day until you start so you don't waste time trying to break stuff loose.

It's not a hard job, just messy, messy, messy. Lots of good info on 'Mud or the FSM if you have one. Last comment, Wes is right on with the time required - 10 hours for the first side, half that for the second. That's what it took me the first time.