The routine maintenance task took a different direction right after I had removed the outer bearing (which went well) and I went to slide the hub off of the spindle.
The hub would wobble around on the spindle but wouldn't slide off. Something was preventing the hub from sliding off of the spindle. I gave it a good tug and off it came.
Woops! Now that didn't look good and I wasn't at all happy to see it. A roller bearing from the inner bearing was stuck on the grease. It may be a little hard to see in the photo (unless you are familiar with the spindle) but a portion of the bearing cage is also still on the spindle. Not good! Some gentle persuasion with a chisel and hammer, carefully catching the lip of the cage, was enough to get it to slide off of the spindle. There was a little galling on the spindle but a little bit of cleanup with a Deremel and sanding drum took care of that.
Here is a pic of the hub. What is left of the seal is still pressed into the hub. You can see some of the roller bearings loose in the hub. The grease, while there, was dried up a bit and looking bad. Not sure why the grease dried up like it did...heat? Not sure. The outer bearing and the grease at that end of the hub was in good shape. This was year number 4 for these bearings so I guess I can't complain all that much. As I write this, I've not pulled the other hub apart to see how it is doing (but will this weekend).
So there I was with no bearings in hand and only a pair of grease seals. I was a half hour's drive from the 4x4 shop where I usually get my Warn parts. A quick call to the nearby CarQuest found them with an outer bearing but no inner bearing (yes, they were able to cross-reference the part numbers provided in the Warn documentation). Well, I needed the inner bearing for sure and since I was replacing the inner bearing, the outer bearing would be replaced at the same time....and that would be done for the other hub too.
Next on the phone list was the nearby NAPA store. They too were able to cross-referenced the Warn part numbers over to their stock numbers. They had two sets of each in stock so I made a run over to the store and picked them up.
I guess I should pass along some part numbers for future reference.
Inner bearing and race = NAPA BR50 (SKF bearing made in Japan) ~
Outer bearing and race = NAPA BR35 ( SKF bearing made in Japan) ~ $18
The grease seal that goes next to the inner bearing is a CR (Chicago Rawhide) 22353 ~ $8.50
OK....back to the problems at hand.
I had new bearings in hand and so got to the task of installing the races in the hub. The outer bearing race pressed into position just fine. The inner bearing race had a problem.....too much clearance. The hub got a little "larger" where the race seats and so there was about .010" clearance where it should be a tight press fit.
I put the project on hold and ordered a new hub.....with a one week expected delivery date.
During my down time, I called my buddy Blaine in CA to ask him
about his experience with the small hub kit. He's installed many of them
and has more experience with them than anyone I know. After I told him
about my problem with the bearing race, he told me of a method I could try that
would most likely fix my problem and get me back on the road. He told me
that I could use a center punch to stipple the area where the race was seated
which would cause metal to kick up (from the center punch) and take up the extra
clearance. OK....it was worth a try. Monday (my regular day off from
work) was coming up and I was ready to give it a try. I had nothing to
lose (well, perhaps a grease seal) if it didn't work as hoped.
You can see all of the center punch hits around the inner surface of the hub. This is where the inner seal is seated. It took me about 10 minutes to do the work....nothing hard about it....hold punch, hit lightly with hammer, move punch about 1/8" away from previous point.....repeat process. I checked my progress as I made my way around the hub. As I laid down more and more punch marks, the fit continue to get tighter until I could not longer push it in by hand. I still had about a quarter of the surface to finish so it was working just as Blaine said it would. (Thanks Blaine!)
The last part of this "fix your hub" process was to apply Loctite (green is 1st choice, red is 2nd choice) to the bearing race and then press it into position. I used a brass drift punch and a hammer to accomplish this step. I'll add that it is important to make sure the fit is tight.....you need to immobilize the race so it doesn't spin once everything is put back together.
More Hub Maintenance
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