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Rear wheel bearing question
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Alaskaberrys Premium Member
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2021 12:42 pm    Post subject: Rear wheel bearing question Reply with quote

Hi All. Happy New Year!

After running the doka through some horrible muddy road conditions for a month of super wet weather (apparently that’s what you get when you live in a flipping rainforest...) I was hearing what I thought was CV noise - occasional ‘clacking’ in rhythm with wheel spin. All wheels had been fully submerged in mud and flowing water repeatedly over the last few weeks so made sense there might be issues - water in the grease, etc.

Dried out in the garage - cursory inspection showed CV boots looked pretty good and tight - all bands on, no cracks (replaced, re-greased 2 years and less then 1000 miles ago). But when I jacked both rear wheels off the ground to dive into it further I found each rear wheel would ‘clunk’ just a bit when I wigged then in-board/out-board horizontally - hands at 9 and 3, but hard to get movement vertically - hands at 12 and 6 (?). Wheel quite tight to hub and spacer and as far as I can discern hub is moving likewise - a mm perhaps? Drivers side more so. Unable to make it ‘clunk’ with the wheel off. I haven’t had all wheels off the ground together to rotate to see if that changes anything.

Going to crack wheel nut and inspect brakes and check bearing grease, but figured I’d query as to what might be wiggling and wether I should get some bearings coming (I have no press so would have to fab something up....)

Mark
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2021 1:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Rear wheel bearing question Reply with quote

Generally a wheel bearing on it's way out makes more of a "growling" sound. Sometimes, rocking the van side to side shifts the load on the bearing and the growling noise changes.

As far as the play, I don't recall a van that did not have some slight movement when you grab the tire and rock it.

CV's can run dry and make noise without the boot actually failing. You said it sounded like a CV. When were they last serviced? How much lift are you running?

I find it easier to remove the CV shafts when I tackle a rear wheel bearing assembly. It's not required, but you do have to disconnect the outboard CV at a minimum.
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Howesight
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2021 1:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Rear wheel bearing question Reply with quote

Replacing the rear wheel bearings does not require a press. When I have had my Syncro in deep mud or sand for a while, I find that the rear brakes can be fouled by mud or sand.

An easier way to work on the rear wheel bearings, I find, is to remove the whole bearing carrier. This is also a great way to service CV joints and boots because once you remove the bearing carrier, you can pull the whole drive shaft out, using a long extension to reach the inner CV joint bolts, all without crawling under the van.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2021 2:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Rear wheel bearing question Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
Generally a wheel bearing on it's way out makes more of a "growling" sound. Sometimes, rocking the van side to side shifts the load on the bearing and the growling noise changes.

As far as the play, I don't recall a van that did not have some slight movement when you grab the tire and rock it.

CV's can run dry and make noise without the boot actually failing. You said it sounded like a CV. When were they last serviced? How much lift are you running?

I find it easier to remove the CV shafts when I tackle a rear wheel bearing assembly. It's not required, but you do have to disconnect the outboard CV at a minimum.


It isn’t a growling sound, more of of a intermittent ‘clock’ sound, which seems like a CV (u-joint?). I was just surprised to have any movement when rocking the wheel in/out. It is lifted a bit so angles are there and may be ones failing.

I’ll pull the CV’s out for re-grease and not fret about wheel bearings just yet. Thanks.

Howesight wrote:
Replacing the rear wheel bearings does not require a press. When I have had my Syncro in deep mud or sand for a while, I find that the rear brakes can be fouled by mud or sand.

An easier way to work on the rear wheel bearings, I find, is to remove the whole bearing carrier. This is also a great way to service CV joints and boots because once you remove the bearing carrier, you can pull the whole drive shaft out, using a long extension to reach the inner CV joint bolts, all without crawling under the van.


I’ll try that, does sound a bit more expedient than my last CV go around.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2021 6:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Rear wheel bearing question Reply with quote

**Update**

I pulled the passenger axle hub assembly to take a look
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I found the red CV-2 grease I had gooped in there just 18 months ago appeared to have water infiltration - much brown.

Trans end-
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Wheel end much browner. No water dripping out but sure looked brown and wet-
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With the axle out of the hub I pulled the outer wheel bearing seals and pumped as much grease through it as I could without removing the bearings. Seems I forgot to take pictures of that, but they looked pretty good by eye.

Reinstalled everything and torgued the wheel nut back on with a 2' bar and 45 years of beer drinking sitting on it (likeley a tad over torqued Rolling Eyes ).

The intermittent "clacking/clicking" noise disappeared though I still had an intermittent "pop" or grinding. There was a fair amount of dirt and sand in the passenger side brake drum and I figured the drivers side was no different. My intention was to do the drivers side the following weekend....

Road still a mess and still relying on the doka for work -
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However, on the way home the following day I heard much growling, popping and general mayhem going from something. Looked in my rear view and I swore I saw the drivers rear wobbling Shocked . Pulled over, shook the wheel - seemed solid enough - no way to jack it up in this crap. Checked that the CV bolts were still there - even just looking under the VW was a wet endeavor. A friend pulled up and he looked for issue(s) while I drove forward and backward - nothing obvious visually but something was not happy in the hub. Fortunately was only a 1/4 mile from our garage.

Horrible racket limping home in 1st - wasn't sure just what I was going to be replacing, but had visions of the wheel coming off. Wheel occasionally wobbled so I figured the wheel bearing musta blew up. Fortunately it made it into the garage.... now to see what was up Crying or Very sad
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Sodo
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2021 11:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Rear wheel bearing question Reply with quote

I had noisy CVs a few months after servicing.
Opened them up, found rusty water inside, lots of it.
Pretty sure it was because I had Rockford boots "un-clamped".
I have clamped them....

Stiff Rockford CV boots - clamps REQUIRED
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2021 7:45 am    Post subject: Re: Rear wheel bearing question Reply with quote

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


That is an odd grease pattern. It indicates the the CV has been running close to bottomed out in the outer flange. Might want to pay attention to how the boots are clamped. Ideally, the joints should run centered. Or you've got a CV shaft that is possibly too long.

I recently did rear wheel bearings for an owner. Once you have it apart as far as you did, it's not much more effort to remove the bearings, clean, inspect and repack.

Looks like a nice commute. Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2021 11:14 am    Post subject: Re: Rear wheel bearing question Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:

That is an odd grease pattern. It indicates the the CV has been running close to bottomed out in the outer flange. Might want to pay attention to how the boots are clamped. Ideally, the joints should run centered. Or you've got a CV shaft that is possibly too long.

I recently did rear wheel bearings for an owner. Once you have it apart as far as you did, it's not much more effort to remove the bearings, clean, inspect and repack.

Looks like a nice commute. Wink


Good to know, I cleaned them well without disassembling and they looked pretty good - no nicks dents or even sand in the grease. I wish I had repacked the bearings when I did the CV's two years ago - was unwilling to remove the axles as fearing bearing damage in the process. I now see I may have avoided this if I had.

I pulled the drivers side axle off and the joints looked about the same as the other side, but the wheel CV boot had liquid water inside (failed to take pictures of the CV'S Embarassed ). The axle clamp was not tight and the boot could easily slide back and forth. The outside wheel bearing seal was oblong and I could tell not all was as it should be with the bearings.

Pulling the axle out of the hub - or rather catching the axel as it fell out - produced a bunch of round bearings dropping like greasy wet blueberries on to the slab....

A picture of the mess -
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Outer race damage - hard to see, but almost looks like there may have been corrosion beforehand -
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Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Cylinder bearings were pretty ground up - may have gone out first?
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Axle shaft looks ok -
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Hub only had one indent - tough hard to tell if its been obliged at all. Hopefully not -
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Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Burley managed to source a set of bearings - he was out but ran some down via a friend and stuck them in the mail same day Cool

Lacking a press, I going to try the "hub in oven and bearings in freezer" method to get them in. Am assuming you have to force grease through them after install when going that route. Tips?
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2021 11:22 am    Post subject: Re: Rear wheel bearing question Reply with quote

Sodo wrote:
I had noisy CVs a few months after servicing.
Opened them up, found rusty water inside, lots of it.
Pretty sure it was because I had Rockford boots "un-clamped".
I have clamped them....

Stiff Rockford CV boots - clamps REQUIRED


Agreed - especially if your going motor boating down the road -
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Hubs were under (dirty) water repeatedly. The passenger side clamps were plenty tight, but still looked wet inside. I thought all bolts torqued uniformly but perhaps water made in between faces?
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2021 11:27 am    Post subject: Re: Rear wheel bearing question Reply with quote

My preference would be to repack them prior to installation. I don't think the freezer is going to negatively affect the grease. I have a press, but don't remember them really needing a lot of force in or out.
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