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Needle grease rear wheel bearings?
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2020 8:56 am    Post subject: Re: Needle grease rear wheel bearings? Reply with quote

Had an owner come by with a noisy vibrating rear wheel bearing. I'm posting here not because I used a needle to to grease it, but to comment on how straightforward replacing or actually repacking the rear wheel bearings are.

Removed the tire and brake drum. Used an impact gun to remove the 45 mm axle nut. Removed the splined drive hub. I unbolted the slave cylinder and the two backing plate securing bolts at the bottom. With a hammer and drift, I was able to knock the backing plate free from the bearing housing and set it aside with the hand brake still connected. Unbolted the outer CV and removed the 4 bolts with a 22mm socket that retains the bearing housing to the trailing arm.

With the bearing housing off, set it in the press and quickly pressed out the stub axle. Removed the inner seal and circlip and pressed the inner bearing out of the hub. I then flipped the housing and pressed the outer bearing with the seal out of the hub. Cleaned all the parts and reassembled with new bearings and seals in the opposite order.

I had no indication that the inner bearing would be damaged pressing the stub axle out. I imagine you could clean and repack the bearings and reuse. There's nothing in the manual that indicates you can't reuse the bearings and based on my experience, I don't see why you couldn't. The bearings and housing are packed with new grease and seals. Should be good for another 100,000 miles. Figure on 2 -3 hours per side.

The time to consider this project is when you have the CV shafts out.
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tjet
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 9:08 am    Post subject: Re: Needle grease rear wheel bearings? Reply with quote

Spare bearing housing with new bearings & seals - good to go Cool

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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Merian
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Needle grease rear wheel bearings? Reply with quote

I fear that the general taxis of Vanagon owners to carry spare parts has gone awry in this instance.. Red Vanagon Red Vanagon
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Sodo
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:27 am    Post subject: Re: Needle grease rear wheel bearings? Reply with quote

Spares are always good to own, but WRT carrying a bearing housing,
don't rear wheel bearings give thousands of miles of 'notice'?

Like by the time they could ruin a trip, hasn't the wheel been wiggly for 10,000 miles, causing brake-adjust problems etc
Then howling for the last 2,000?

As the bearings get loose and wobble increases they can still be quiet. But the increased wobble will wear the outer seal lip (the static lip) and then dirt/water can get past the spring-loaded lip, and inside, and accelerating the failure. And of course time will wear the seals, they have to be renewed to keep the bearings clean. So if your bearings are a little loose, but still quiet, it's good to renew the seals.

And there's hitting them with a sledge, that can be avoided! But theres no way to know if the previous owner hammered your bearings some time ago when changing the brake shoes. Many many many $6.95 slug wrenches have been sold, they don't just sit innocently on shelves. Which may have ovalized the housings too, causing all kinda problems. Including wobble, which then wears out the seals faster, and the whole system is compromised.

I kinda think that if you maintain them, keeping grease in and the seals in good working order (thus no water or dirt inside), the bearings will last so long that they couldn't possibly ruin a trip.

tjet I don't see you needing to carry a spare housing in the van. But that's just a notion I have.... I try to pay attention to the Vanagon community but can easily have missed reading about some important failures on properly maintained vans.
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tjet
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:53 am    Post subject: Re: Needle grease rear wheel bearings? Reply with quote

I want to add this video to this post (that I found on another post). It's very informative, and it reminds us to carry a "spare". I Just ordered a wheel set of bearings from burley, and I also picked up a used housing from the classifieds. For about a $100 investment, keeping a built up, ready-to-go spare on board would potentially save you a ton of grief not having one if you had a bearing failure (in the middle of nowhere), not to mention a regular, non-vw shop not wanting to touch it when you are far away from home.

https://burleymotorsports.net/product/rear-stub-axle-bearing-kit-febi/

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=2259225


Link

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tjet
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Needle grease rear wheel bearings? Reply with quote

Yeah I did get the snap on, but my price was less.

I also ordered this behemoth Cool

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_20...707-_-CONF

Copy on the zerk no-go

Thanks!

Also, what size is the front nut on a syncro?
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Sodo
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Needle grease rear wheel bearings? Reply with quote

tjet wrote:
I really like the zerk fitting idea as well.


I would not do the zerk method.
Here's why,

The wheel bearing doesn't need a continual supply of grease, and the seals are not setup for grease to eject. (or water ! ). Pressure inside will energize the seal lip hard against the sealing surface. Pumping grease pressure in there will only push the seals out, and if there's too much grease, it can generate heat, and pressure, and the pressure will wear out the seals prematurely. Then when they cool, like driving hot hubs into water....., water can get sucked in (especially if the wear has accelerated).

The best thing to do, is to change the grease, periodically ejecting the wear particles. And any water of course. But there won't be water in there if the bearing is tight, wobble-less, and the seal is good. I suppose this would be good to do at the first 5,000 miles then change grease every 50k thereafter? This is a wild guess.

Now onto needle greasing, which I'm obviously still hot on.

I've written it before and I'll have to write it again, all because I never took/posted a pic when I did it.
Pics or it never happened!
If someone else would post a pic, many wheel bearings will be happy. I'll do this someday again, probably when I install some T4 rear discs.

The pic needs to show inserting the needle into the bearing in 4 (or more) locations around the bearing, North, East, South, West.

The pic should show how evenly the NEW grease appears to displace all of the old grease. You can only get a fraction of the old grease out with a zerk, in one location. But (it looks like) almost ALL of the old grease comes out with this North East South West method.

And if you DON'T needle/regrease, well what the heck, your bearings will probably last 150,000 miles anyway, right?
And new bearings won't even cost a fraction of the effort it takes to do special bearing maintenance.
Don't forget this is really all about the hobby.... Wink
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dobryan
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 5:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Needle grease rear wheel bearings? Reply with quote

First time have run across ‘strap on’... Laughing Laughing Laughing
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 5:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Needle grease rear wheel bearings? Reply with quote

No reason to pay the strap on experience, Kobalt, tekton, lots of alternatives at 1/3 the price. Heat is your friend if the nut gets stuck, no stupid torque extenders or bashing.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 5:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Needle grease rear wheel bearings? Reply with quote

tjet wrote:
Thanks for posting this Sodo. I need to get my syncro out from storage & prep it for a road trip (job relocation). I've got this task on my to-do list now, along with 99 other things. I really like the zerk fitting idea as well. Seems like a great way to purge any residual water out after a river crossing.

Will this socket be deep enough to remove the nut?

https://shop.snapon.com/product/Shallow%2C-mm/1%22...ket/IMM463


That would do, but you can get something that will work a lot cheaper on Amazon, either a 46mm or 1-13/16 IIRC. I think I paid about $8 for one that appears to be pretty good quality, I had used a super cheap 1-13/16 twelve point for years before than and had never had a problem with it.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 4:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Needle grease rear wheel bearings? Reply with quote

Swimcro


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WbcXSG5tgI
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 3:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Needle grease rear wheel bearings? Reply with quote

Thanks for posting this Sodo. I need to get my syncro out from storage & prep it for a road trip (job relocation). I've got this task on my to-do list now, along with 99 other things. I really like the zerk fitting idea as well. Seems like a great way to purge any residual water out after a river crossing.

Will this socket be deep enough to remove the nut?

https://shop.snapon.com/product/Shallow%2C-mm/1%22...ket/IMM463
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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2019 9:58 am    Post subject: Re: Needle grease rear wheel bearings? Reply with quote

This was TREMENDOUSLY helpful.

***if you do not know the condition of your rear wheel bearings, move this up on the maintenance list***

While approaching our campsite during our last trip, I started to hear a squeak! It was late fall, then winter, now spring, and I finally had some time this week to drive the van. This has been on my to-do list, and I've poked around here and there to make sure it wasn't the backing plate or axle.

So yesterday at lunch I tried to break the nut lose, instead, broke my breaker bar... after work, off to Harbor Freight, bought a 1/2in & 3/4in breaker bar, and decided to have a go at it in the parking lot before my 18mile trip home. The 1/2in flexes too much, so up to 3/4in I went, with a 3ft pipe on it - success!

There was BARELY a coating of grease in there, no wonder! I am surprised the bearing didn't seize completely. 45 minutes later, new grease in, all back together & on the road. All good, now I have to do the other side. Thank you for the input here and the photos, super helpful!
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Needle grease rear wheel bearings? Reply with quote

Wildthings wrote:
At this point in time it is probably prudent to go ahead and drive the shaft all the way out and replace the inner seal


YES very good point !!
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Needle grease rear wheel bearings? Reply with quote

At this point in time it is probably prudent to go ahead and drive the shaft all the way out and replace the inner seal, especially on a rig that has seen a lot of road salts like your pictured example seems to show. Don't know about others, but all of my Vanagons are in the 300K+ category by now.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Needle grease rear wheel bearings? Reply with quote

As always, cleaning it all out and putting 100% NEW high-qiuality grease is clearly superior maintenance. Knocking used bearings out ..... and back in? Maybe, but if you can wash it without removing the bearings thats less invasive.

But needle greasing is so darn easy I (for one) would not let "mixing wheel bearing greases" stand in the way.
Out with the old & in with the new (clean) will do you well. Some day later when you have more time to do it best, clean it all out and put in your chosen grease.
But when that day comes, your bearings will be in better shape than if you declined to needle grease a few years ago...

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Heres a pic with some tips.
This pic/instruction has not been "tested".

An option is to unbolt the CV at the transaxle, (brake stuff too) and remove the four hub bolts (22mm=7/8") and pull the whole axle and hub out of the trailing arm. Then you can SEE the old grease getting forced out (evenly).
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Needle grease rear wheel bearings? Reply with quote

I could handle a zerk on these bearings, and not overfill. It can be done.

A zerk has been on the plan for at least 6 years now. But upon realizing that the needle greaser kinda does it better, because it can displace grease at 12,3,6,9:00 -----> I lost all motivation to drill a hole.

The grease that came out of my outer seal was very clean, but the grease out of the back seal was black. And the cavity was completely full too. almost like it had been needle-greased before, perhaps NOT sliding the axle inward? Maybe I added grease from the outside and forgot. I've had the van 55,000 miles.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Needle grease rear wheel bearings? Reply with quote

rubbachicken wrote:
we all have our different ways of doing things, this is how i go about it, there is no pushing the seals out, i've had it happen, and changed my method accordingly so that it doesn't happen in the future

Wildthings wrote:
Sodo wrote:
Something to be said to putting a plug in and keep the fitting in the toybox.


There is something to be said about not overfilling a bearing box as well. This is a no no for many applications. If someone is going to add a zerk they should also be adding a way for the excess grease to purge so that the seals don't leak or are forced out of place.


So how many people are going to have this problem and have to come up with their own solution? IMO it is best not to risk overfilling the hubs to begin with.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 9:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Needle grease rear wheel bearings? Reply with quote

we all have our different ways of doing things, this is how i go about it, there is no pushing the seals out, i've had it happen, and changed my method accordingly so that it doesn't happen in the future

Wildthings wrote:
Sodo wrote:
Something to be said to putting a plug in and keep the fitting in the toybox.


There is something to be said about not overfilling a bearing box as well. This is a no no for many applications. If someone is going to add a zerk they should also be adding a way for the excess grease to purge so that the seals don't leak or are forced out of place.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 6:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Needle grease rear wheel bearings? Reply with quote

re:overfill

yeah,i mean we've all seen the trick of forcing a bushing out via repeatedly hammering in a shaft with tons of grease to pop a bushing. the same thing happens to oil seals that are overtaxed/overfilled...
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