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Front Axle Nuts: How tight? Alternate nuts?
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epowell
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:44 am    Post subject: Front Axle Nuts: How tight? Alternate nuts? Reply with quote

There is a controversy on these.... the Bentley and basically everyone says to just tighten that peen nut to the point that the washer will barely move with a screw driver. But KEN at VANAGAIN in one of his videos says to do it to spec like this, then add 1/4 turn MORE! ...I wrote to him about this and he said that yes he does it this way and has never had a problem. And that after 10km driving the nut will be at spec - otherwise it will get too loose too quick.

What I did was tighten to spec then add 1/32 turn just barely so the washer would NOT move. People are telling my this will burn out my bearings too quickly.

I am on the verge of simply buying those BayBus adjustable nuts and be done with it... but they are a bit costly.

Any reflections on this topic?
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:10 am    Post subject: Re: Front Axle Nuts: how tight do you tighten them? Reply with quote

Ed, New or used bearings? I will snug the nut so I feel the resistance while turning the tire. Usually about 8 full revolutions. I will then back the nut off till I can just feel a little play when I grab the tire at 12 and 6. I will then tighten till there is no play and back off till I can just feel the play.

Two things, I would not just set it and forget it, I would expect to put about a 1000 KMs on them and recheck. It is worse to have them too tight than too loose. I am sure Ken's method works as well with new bearings. Reusing bearings I would not make them so snug. mark
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:15 am    Post subject: Re: Front Axle Nuts: how tight do you tighten them? Reply with quote

The idea is to leave the bearing a bit loose to start with so that as the parts get hot from the brakes they will have a bit of preload. The old way to do the front bearings on American steel was to tighten them up to the zero load point and then back them off a 1/4 turn or so. I long ago went to running zero end play and came up with the idea of moving the washer around on my own. The method seems to work well as I have around a million miles on Transporters at this point in time and have never had the slightest problem with the front bearings.

I have thought about going down a long hill where I could use the brakes lightly for a long way and then checking to see that I had a light preload when I reached the bottom but have never done so.

The only time I have ever had any problem with any bearing on my own vehicles was when I did add a bit of preload to the front wheel bearings on my first T-181. I lost an inner wheel bearing over time because of this.
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epowell
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:16 am    Post subject: Re: Front Axle Nuts: how tight do you tighten them? Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
Ed, New or used bearings? I will snug the nut so I feel the resistance while turning the tire. Usually about 8 full revolutions. I will then back the nut off till I can just feel a little play when I grab the tire at 12 and 6. I will then tighten till there is no play and back off till I can just feel the play.

Two things, I would not just set it and forget it, I would expect to put about a 1000 KMs on them and recheck. It is worse to have them too tight than too loose. I am sure Ken's method works as well with new bearings. Reusing bearings I would not make them so snug. mark


Ah! Yet another interesting perspective (new/used bearings --- and also you set it up according to the wheel-wiggle rather than the washer's movability).

This furthers my resolve to go and get those baybus adjustable nuts...

I'm using new bearings and did not tighten them as much as KEN. However now I can not feel any wheel-wiggle at all, even tho I tried to loosen one side.
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epowell
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:19 am    Post subject: Re: Front Axle Nuts: how tight do you tighten them? Reply with quote

Wildthings wrote:
The idea is to leave the bearing a bit loose to start with so that as the parts get hot from the brakes they will have a bit of preload. The old way to do the front bearings on American steel was to tighten them up to the zero load point and then back them off a 1/4 turn or so. I long ago went to running zero end play and came up with the idea of moving the washer around on my own. The method seems to work well as I have around a million miles on Transporters at this point in time and have never had the slightest problem with the front bearings.

I have thought about going down a long hill where I could use the brakes lightly for a long way and then checking to see that I had a light preload when I reached the bottom but have never done so.

The only time I have ever had any problem with any bearing on my own vehicles was when I did add a bit of preload to the front wheel bearings on my first T-181. I lost an inner wheel bearing over time because of this.


Sorry, what do you mean by "pre-load"? Embarassed Just tightening up past 'snug'?
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:29 am    Post subject: Re: Front Axle Nuts: how tight do you tighten them? Reply with quote

epowell wrote:
Wildthings wrote:
The idea is to leave the bearing a bit loose to start with so that as the parts get hot from the brakes they will have a bit of preload. The old way to do the front bearings on American steel was to tighten them up to the zero load point and then back them off a 1/4 turn or so. I long ago went to running zero end play and came up with the idea of moving the washer around on my own. The method seems to work well as I have around a million miles on Transporters at this point in time and have never had the slightest problem with the front bearings.

I have thought about going down a long hill where I could use the brakes lightly for a long way and then checking to see that I had a light preload when I reached the bottom but have never done so.

The only time I have ever had any problem with any bearing on my own vehicles was when I did add a bit of preload to the front wheel bearings on my first T-181. I lost an inner wheel bearing over time because of this.


Sorry, what do you mean by "pre-load"? Embarassed Just tightening up past 'snug'?


Yes, when you tighten the nut past the point where it first applies pressure against the washer.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:57 am    Post subject: Re: Front Axle Nuts: how tight do you tighten them? Reply with quote

The screw driver/ washer method it too subjective to technique. Certainly if you can move the washer, it is not too tight. But length of the screw driver, effort, etc affect the out come.

I would offer that with new bearings securing just past zero play will work for you. It is a shame that VW opted to cheap out and use those one time use nuts. I always wondered if a Type 2 nut would work on a Vanagon. Seems like a good upgrade to me. mark
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:59 am    Post subject: Re: Front Axle Nuts: how tight do you tighten them? Reply with quote

I have always (for 40 years) tightened the nut until the washer could be moved by the tip of a screwdriver and then peened the nut or tighted the allen lock nut, same difference. Never added additional tightness after the washer felt right. I check the wheel for any looseness then and whenever it is up off the ground but rarely have to readjust. YMMV.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Axle Nuts: how tight do you tighten them? Reply with quote

If you make sure the washer is nice a flat the washer method will work very well. Unfortunately the washers don't tend to be particularly flat. If you lay some emery cloth down on a flat surface and run the washers over it you can see where the high spots are and then use a Dremel to lower them a bit.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Axle Nuts: how tight do you tighten them? Reply with quote

MarkWard is on the right track with his comment about the type2/Bay window front axle nuts... Those nuts work perfectly on a Vanagon and provide precise and infinite adjustment possibilities. The only caveat is to note that the Bay bus uses a Right and Left hand thread on the Driver side and Passenger side respectively. (Left hand drive) You need to employ right hand threaded clamp nuts on both sides of the Vanagon. 211 405 670

Fahrvergnügen
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Axle Nuts: how tight do you tighten them? Reply with quote

T3 Pilot wrote:
MarkWard is on the right track with his comment about the type2/Bay window front axle nuts... Those nuts work perfectly on a Vanagon and provide precise and infinite adjustment possibilities. The only caveat is to note that the Bay bus uses a Right and Left hand thread on the Driver side and Passenger side respectively. (Left hand drive) You need to employ right hand threaded clamp nuts on both sides of the Vanagon. 211 405 670

Fahrvergnügen


Yep, my '71 had that style and I loved it. Drove it for 300,000 miles and 22 years....
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https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=695371

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https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=746794
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epowell
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 1:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Axle Nuts: how tight do you tighten them? Reply with quote

dobryan wrote:
T3 Pilot wrote:
MarkWard is on the right track with his comment about the type2/Bay window front axle nuts... Those nuts work perfectly on a Vanagon and provide precise and infinite adjustment possibilities. The only caveat is to note that the Bay bus uses a Right and Left hand thread on the Driver side and Passenger side respectively. (Left hand drive) You need to employ right hand threaded clamp nuts on both sides of the Vanagon. 211 405 670

Fahrvergnügen


Yep, my '71 had that style and I loved it. Drove it for 300,000 miles and 22 years....


I am ordering mine right now because I am an "infinitely tweeking" kinda guy Cool
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Axle Nuts: how tight do you tighten them? Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
I would not just set it and forget it, I would expect to put about a 1000 KMs on them and recheck.


Mark, if after re-checking (1000KMs later) and you find you need to adjust - how do you do that if you only have the "peen-type" nuts?
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 3:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Axle Nuts: how tight do you tighten them? Reply with quote

All great methods and likely equally-usable, though overall mine mostly closely emulates Mark Ward's.

I've done this but once, so be very scared. Wink I did mostly what Mark said, but also double-checked the washer with a screwdriver as reference. 10K later, all's well without further tightening, partly as I refuse to re-peen the already-stretched metal on the nut.

Mine are a TINY bit loose but I believe that's the lesser of two worries. If you can find what I've seen described as "944-style split-ring collars," that's what I want. Just check often early on to make sure your bearings don't get hot from being too snug!

And know that the left-side is far more critical in doing the peening well! Look for cracks if over-doing it, I just ordered four to start with and sure enough, one cracked from over stretching the metal. I used a flat-head screwdriver but intend to grind down a Phillips sometime so the end is rounded and fits in the groove perfectly -- to avoid any chance of an invisible crack developing from using a screwdriver too vigorously.

Despite only doing our van once, we had to do something similar in thousands of miles of karting -- so do have a feel for the right tension. Slightly-loose is way better than too tight!

And Ed... once you do it once, it's easy.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Axle Nuts: how tight do you tighten them? Reply with quote

So are saying that when you do have to adjust, you are trying to UN-PEEN that nut, then adjust, and PEEN again? ...or are you ordering several pieces of those peen nuts and using a fresh one each time?

I am sitting on the fence right now... i can get those peen nuts for $2 each... but the adjustable nuts are $12 each and $10 delivery = $35 for 2!

Maybe I should treat myself to a gift after today avoiding ruining my van with the wheel almost falling off Very Happy
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Axle Nuts: how tight do you tighten them? Reply with quote

You can sometimes swap nuts side to side so that the peen is in new metal. You can also save used nuts in the hope that someday they can be reused with the peen in a different spot.

I pulled my front wheels today on my '84 POS to get at the shocks and to change the brake flex hoses and other wise get a good peek at the brakes. Don't remember when I last had the hubs off, but it has been many years and the wheel bearing adjustment is still just fine IMO, not going to mess with it.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Axle Nuts: how tight do you tighten them? Reply with quote

Ed, on swapping, this ^^^ (never did that, but it makes sense)

I just tried to get the tension without any slop beyond super-minimal so when the new bearings broke in there is just a tiny amount.

No re-peening for me, in my opinion. Not to save a few bucks, anyway! (especially on driver's side!)
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Axle Nuts: how tight do you tighten them? Reply with quote

Don't forget to unpeen the nut before taking it off or you might mess up the threads on the spindles. Ask me how I know...... Sad
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Axle Nuts: how tight do you tighten them? Reply with quote

Run down to your local pick-n-pull and grab a couple of front axle nuts and washers from a midsize Mercedes. Adjust them down a bit too tight, spin the wheel a few times, then back off the nut until the tri shaped washer can be bumped around with moderate pressure. Tighten the locking bolt and retest. DONE. You don't need to ever buy another nut as these are truly lifetime parts.
Mercedes has used this method for decades with complete success.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Axle Nuts: how tight do you tighten them? Reply with quote

Gauche1968 wrote:
Don't forget to unpeen the nut before taking it off or you might mess up the threads on the spindles. Ask me how I know...... Sad
Gauche, would love to know how to "un-peen..." Tap into the notch underneath with an ice pick? (seems reasonable)

I might brush up on some Basic Instincts to learn this trick...
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