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The Power of the Glave
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Discussion Starter #1
Sitting in the tire shop this morning, getting a flat fixed.

Was talking to the owner--who is a good friend of mine--. He was on the phone trying to locate a rear wheel hub and spindle assembly. He had a car brought in that one of the rear wheel bearings had given out.

Started talking about the days when auto wheel bearings were repackable. He says hardly a day goes by, when he gets a vehicle in that has lost one of its wheel bearings.

We were talking about when you could repack the grease in wheel bearings. Now it seems that they are all sealed for life. While this has its advantages (in reduced maintenance), the problem is that you are now vulnerable to sudden and unexpected failures in wheel bearings. Usually at the most inconvenient times and places (such as on the freeway).

The worst thing is that they can fail with little, if any, warning. Suddenly a shudder in your car. You pull to the side of the road, get out and look. And your wheel is at a 45 degree angle and smoking. If it doesn't actually fall off completely.

Then there is the ancillary damage. It's not just the bearings, but it likely also ruins the hub, the spindle, and even the backing plate and brake pads.

It seems the car manufacturers are sacrificing reliability, for "convenience". Dumbing-down the maintenance as much as possible. I've heard that some automatic transmissions are now almost totally sealed. Can't even check the fluid!

Yes--in the "old days" you had to clean and repack the bearings maybe every 50K miles. Yet it only took maybe 30 minutes. And it guaranteed you wouldn't be stranded by the side of the road. With one end of your car resting on the pavement. While you retrieve your wheel assembly from where it rolled-off into the ditch.

Thoughts? Opinions?
 

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Yup, used to be a little maintenance would get you many extra miles. Everything is disposable now, no more grease fittings, even many transmissions are sealed and not really serviceable.
Welcome to moden america! Hardly anyone gets their hands dirty anymore, they have Google, a cell phone and a credit card to fix everything except debt.
Speaking of wheel bearings, you better pay close attention to the correct torque on the the spindle nut if you want to get more than 10k miles on it.
 

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1 you do't torque the hub on wheel bearings it is very lite snug so the wheel rolls free. too tight and the bearings will weld up.
I once had an adventure on the desert, the truck's right front wheel inner bearing began rumbling middle of the night . We pulled off and I took a section of my leather belt and all the grease we could find and replaced with the missing balls and we drove it to the nearest casino about 12 miles and the bearing never heated up. We could have driven much further but didn't need to. I learned this trick from an old man that drove a model A across the desert with a rod knock.
All too often modern means are not built to endure , but to simply sucker the public. Having been a mechanic most of my life I have seen quite a bit of this.
 

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Just as y'all I prefer the old taper roll pin bearings, they were much more reliable. There are several reasons they went with the bearings they use now. True, they are cheaper to manufacture and assemble than the older bearings but they are also more fuel efficient! They roll easier and save gas!
 

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Wrong Side of Heaven
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I learned from my dad, we took my grandfathers 53 Chevy 5 window pickup, when I was 14, and took it down to the frame and rebuilt it frame up sand blasting and painting, engine rebuild... 1,5,3,6,2,4..... only thing i didnt like was the enclosed driveline. i broke the Ujoint, it doesnt have bearings.

I wish I still had it.
 

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Banned
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Welcome to the use it once and throw it away disposable society.

Work on stuff, how quaint. Parts we don't make no stinking parts.
Well, to be fair...the use once part of this for a wheel bearing may be 22 years and 300K miles so its not exactly like they are disposable.
 
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prepared for life & death
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Give me a replaceable hub anyday. I have done enough repacking wheel bearings over 30+ years as a mechanic. A lot more messy, yeah I know I'm in the wrong line of work:D:. I have replaced a lot of hubs and my experience is they just don't just go out, the majority start making some noise that many people just ignore. Have seen some towed in with the wheel being held to the truck by the brake hose. Repacking is a lot cheaper though. New hub assemblies can get quite high.
 

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Maintenance today is different. You don’t maintain parts. You maintain the vehicle by replacing parts on a schedule. The part is good for 100K miles, you replace it at 90-95K, whether it looks bad or not.

Of course, only dealers play that game, and it’s expensive. Which encourages you to buy a new or lightly used car before the old one dies for real.
 

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1 you do't torque the hub on wheel bearings it is very lite snug so the wheel rolls free. too tight and the bearings will weld up.
I once had an adventure on the desert, the truck's right front wheel inner bearing began rumbling middle of the night . We pulled off and I took a section of my leather belt and all the grease we could find and replaced with the missing balls and we drove it to the nearest casino about 12 miles and the bearing never heated up. We could have driven much further but didn't need to. I learned this trick from an old man that drove a model A across the desert with a rod knock.
All too often modern means are not built to endure , but to simply sucker the public. Having been a mechanic most of my life I have seen quite a bit of this.
The newer hub style bearings, which we are talking about, absolutely have to be properly torqued. The old repackable style were much more forgiving.
 

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I just prefer older vehicles that I can work on ALL of it right out there in the barn. Like my motorcycles the same way. Old school maintenance is relaxing and gives you a sense of pride. Besides I love the smell of wheel bearing grease.

COB

Not relaxing at all. It is ALWAYS much more frustrating than it should be. No matter how many tools you have, there is always something else you have to buy to do the simplest jobs anymore. Even something as simple as a sway bar link takes hours and hours because they build (engineer?) it some tight you can't get to it without taking the whole front end apart. I NEVER work on my primary vehicle. It goes to a shop. The other vehicles go on my lift and stay there for however many days it takes to replace the simple part that should take 30 minutes.
 

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sample size of ONE, so take with a grain of salt.

I ran all old vehicles for many decades.

New Subaru 2014, 2 years ago stated making a bearing noise (65,000 miles) that started on the way home on a Sunday. Drove 5 more miles home, then 10 miles to garage next day, it was a rear wheel bearing, no damage.
 

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Museum Piece
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My new truck is a 1984, the 4x4 even older. When the wife's 2018 dies, both of these will still be chugging along.
Soon as the virus hits here and we are stuck at home. The 84 is getting new running gear.
just in case.
 

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sample size of ONE, so take with a grain of salt.

I ran all old vehicles for many decades.

New Subaru 2014, 2 years ago stated making a bearing noise (65,000 miles) that started on the way home on a Sunday. Drove 5 more miles home, then 10 miles to garage next day, it was a rear wheel bearing, no damage.
Yep, I don't understand the post about sudden failures...I've always had plenty of notice of a failing wheel bearing assembly.

Subarus seem particularly hard on them, I'm guessing due to the full-time AWD...had to have 3 replaced on my current Subaru before 100,000 miles.
 

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I totally agree. I had an old Volvo 242. We were on a road trip. The RF wheel starts howling. I pulled the wheel and hub at the Advance Autoparts parkinglot (back when they didn't mind). I bought a small can of grease, repacked it right there and drove it thousands of more miles.

I had a 1988 Harley Electraglide.. I mounted my own tires. At every tire change I repacked the bearings. Those things will last forever..several lifetimes. This is while my friends newer Harleys with the sealed bearings are having serious issues, like front wheels seizing while going down the road.

I could go on and on.
 

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My 1984 Chevy K10 keep on going. Replaced the clutch, universal joints, re arched the springs and replaced shocks and damper three years back. Paint job and interior was done also. This summer will be wheel bearing. Change oil and lube every 3 - 4 thousand miles. Don't use it every day but very dependable.
 

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Yep, I don't understand the post about sudden failures...I've always had plenty of notice of a failing wheel bearing assembly.

Subarus seem particularly hard on them, I'm guessing due to the full-time AWD...had to have 3 replaced on my current Subaru before 100,000 miles.
Interesting. I have to do my FIRST one on my mom's subaru next week, at 300,00K we have three other subarus, the youngest is a 2000 with 174K on it, all the others are well over 2000K

Headgaskets on the other hand...

How bad of a job is it anyway? I've swapped engines and done half a dozen HG's but never a wheel bearing before.
 
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