Front axle rebuild (torque)question

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Sep 9, 2003
First off i have a 71 and iam putting together a cut and turned front axle. i have some questions about torque which the FSM doesnt cover really.

The manual doesnt give a torque or anything for the bearing preload or the adjusting nut... i dont really know what to do, this is what the manual says. When i originally took it all apart the adjusting nut was only like hand loose, what should i do guys?

Install the claw washer and tighten the front wheel adjusting nut with front wheel adjusting nut wrench 09607-60010. Rotate the brake drum to -and- fro to seat the bearing into place. Next loosen the adjusting nut 1/8 to 1/16 of a turn, and check the brake drum rotation. If the brake drum rotates properly, install the lock washer and tighter the lock nut securlely with the front wheel adjusting wrench 09607-60010.
There are many things not only in life, but with regaurds to pulling a wrench that are done by feel, and not a set value all the time....wheel bearing preload is one of those.

What you have posted up, which appears to be taken from the chassis and body manual is how I do it, the only difference is that I mount the wheel and use it to turn the hub assembly, and gauge off that, as the hub seal that bolts to the face of the knuckle can offer resistance, that can be mis-read, and consequently, leave the bearings too loose on the initial set up...which will lead to shortened bearing life.

I snug up the first nut against the thrust washer that is against the outer bearing, turn the wheel and hub round and round, then try to tighten the nut agian, and repeat. if it continues to move. When it is tight, I back it off a 1/8 of a turn, install the star/lock washer, tighten the outer nut down against the lock washer very snug, and then bend a tab over the outer nut, by using a larger flat-tip screwdriver. You will get is not that tough.

Good luck!

I always run the first nut up finger tight , spin wheel both ways , use socket or screwdriver to tighten it up after spinning wheel ( should move in a fair amount easily) once it is tight spin wheel and then check nut it will be obvious when it has seated it will change in how much force it takes to turn rapidly. I never back it off from here usually it is about an 1/8 turn tighter and then lock er down with the tab washer and outer nut. I think 45 lbs on outer nut. But the reason I don't back it off a 1/4 turn is that I repeat the spin/tighten/spin process till it is just the right amount of drag , comes with feel.
you guys explained it to me alot better than the manual, thanx.
I would certainly never argue with Poser, but I'll tell you how I do it. The inner nut, I torque to 50 lb/ft to make sure it everything is seated and back it off, tighten to about 5 lb/ft(about finger tight) then follow what Poser said. Maybe he said that, but I have been drinking.:beer:

The later chassis manual has a detailed (and more complicated) procedure:

1. Torque adjuster to 43 ft lbs.
2. loosen adjuster.
3. retorque to 35-60 inch pounds (3-5 ft lbs).
4. measure preload (starting) at the hub bolt with fish scale. 6-12 lbs.
5. Install lock washer and lock nut; torque to 58-72 ft lbs.
6. recheck preload

It isn't rocket science. I have adjusted over a thousand wheel bearings essentially the same way Poser described with no issues. We pulled a front wheel on every car/truck that came in the shop (drum brakes only) to sell brake jobs. After you do a few, you have the "feel".
Same way I did F-18s basicaly when I was in the Navy. We tightend them till had more drag then they needed so the bearings would seat, then backed them off and tightened till the preload "felt right". They come in hard and fast and the only one I ever heard of failing while I was in had the wrong bearing installed. Timken bearings too by the way.

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