How to know if wheel bearings need replacing? (1 Viewer)

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My wheel bearings had no play. I am replacing rotors and repacking. What is the threshold for replacing as far as how they look or feel?
 

87warrior

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Pitting, scoring, or discoloration on the bearing or race is a good indication the bearings need replaced.

This is a bad wheel bearing I pulled from my 99:
1583870730177.png
 

Ayune

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Once the rotor is off it’s only a few more steps with a brass drift to replace the bearings and races. But if they pass a visual inspection and races/bearings are smooth then keep running them.
 
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It is difficult to explain all the different signs of different wear and damage that a bearing might show. A 5 second Google left these at the top of the search. They all have good info and a variety of pictures to look at. Basically, assuming that you have the information to let you to understand what you are looking at, if the bearing looks good, it is.







Mark...
 

gregnash

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Once the rotor is off it’s only a few more steps with a brass drift to replace the bearings and races. But if they pass a visual inspection and races/bearings are smooth then keep running them.
This is why I am replacing mine and contemplating throwing in the needle bearings and brass bushings. I have only play in mine at the 3-9 o'clock range. Just checked TREs and ball joints this weekend and they are still tight so it is either bad preload on the bearings or they are starting to go. At this point I fear what the rest of the CV install looks like from the POs shop so I am just going through and correcting everything. But unless there was some serious contamination for the needle bearings, they are less likely to be an issue (POs never really had offroad or anything so I am guessing they are fine).
 
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Oh yeah... be picky when you inspect them. The cost of a wheel bearing is a lot less than the cost of the damage that a failed on can cause.

Mark...
 

JunkCrzr89

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This is why I am replacing mine and contemplating throwing in the needle bearings and brass bushings. I have only play in mine at the 3-9 o'clock range. Just checked TREs and ball joints this weekend and they are still tight so it is either bad preload on the bearings or they are starting to go. At this point I fear what the rest of the CV install looks like from the POs shop so I am just going through and correcting everything. But unless there was some serious contamination for the needle bearings, they are less likely to be an issue (POs never really had offroad or anything so I am guessing they are fine).
Sounds like you have bad inner TRE. Wheel bearing would have play in all directions.
 

gregnash

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Sounds like you have bad inner TRE. Wheel bearing would have play in all directions.
See that is what I thought but grabbing the TRE and attempting to shake/move in any direction and it is tight. Plus I have not slop or play in my steering that would indicate (to me) that they TREs are going bad. Boots on the outer TREs are shot and need replaced but nothing seems out of the ordinary.
 

JunkCrzr89

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See that is what I thought but grabbing the TRE and attempting to shake/move in any direction and it is tight. Plus I have not slop or play in my steering that would indicate (to me) that they TREs are going bad. Boots on the outer TREs are shot and need replaced but nothing seems out of the ordinary.
These things are stout, so play can be difficult to mimick by just grabbing the outer TRE and trying to move in and out. If you have someone on hand that can grab the wheel and push at 3 and 9 while you watch the inner TRE boot/steering rack, that should help you narrow it down. Wheel bearing play is typically all over but often best discerned by play (knocking) in the wheel at 6 and 12 o’clock.
 

gregnash

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These things are stout, so play can be difficult to mimick by just grabbing the outer TRE and trying to move in and out. If you have someone on hand that can grab the wheel and push at 3 and 9 while you watch the inner TRE boot/steering rack, that should help you narrow it down. Wheel bearing play is typically all over but often best discerned by play (knocking) in the wheel at 6 and 12 o’clock.
Yeah the wife is out of town right now so limited on "helping hands" so will be something that has to wait for the time being. Still ordering parts for the front axles so I got some time to test. Really don't want to throw more money into the truck as I just got a call from shop doing starter and they did not realize extent of work (removal of upper and lower intake, R&R manifold gasket) and apologized profusely as they had started looking through their FSM to see the process when they saw the complexity. So price of job when from $700-$800 (high side) to now $1100-$1200 (high-side) for everything. I did request the Denso Reman'd which add some cost (said they normally just pick whatever is available from the local NAPA in store) and then added cost of full gasket set for intakes adds another ~$200 for the gasket kit, plus they are anticipating possibly another hour of labor. Talked to them about the whole intake assembly coming out as one piece and they were going to look at it, what they were quoting me was based on the process in the FSM, which does show removal of top then bottom separately. That is extra money that I was not planning on throwing at the truck at the moment.

And I am familiar with bearing play. Had bad bearings on BeBe which I replaced myself. Since I have to go into the axles to fix what 4WP did for the PO, and I have no clue how tight the wheel bearings are or if they were preloaded properly (seeing as there is a ground down circlip instead of snap ring on one of the axles and neither were gapped properly, well you get the picture) I figure since I am in there I might as well do it since they are likely OEM and worn.

Starter issue was not a call I wanted to get, but like @TRAIL TAILOR once told me... sometimes these trucks are like neglected rescue dogs. Once you get them home, clean them up a bit, and show them some love THAT is all they want until they feel safe. So... basically she is trying to make up for all the neglect and sitting in the POs, that I bought from, driveway as a "lawn ornament" now. Thank god I have an understanding wife and affinity and love for all things cruiser. :oops: :bang: :hillbilly:
 

JunkCrzr89

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Starter issue was not a call I wanted to get, but like @TRAIL TAILOR once told me... sometimes these trucks are like neglected rescue dogs. Once you get them home, clean them up a bit, and show them some love THAT is all they want until they feel safe.
🤣 That is perhaps the most spot-on analogy I’ve ever heard!
 
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Good info, thanx Gents!

So after pulling both sides, I think I'll replace the races and bearings. They weren't terrible, but they weren't perfect either. I think I am going to try the trick where you cut the races with a hacksaw, and use them as bearing installers. Anybody here done that>
 

JunkCrzr89

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Good info, thanx Gents!

So after pulling both sides, I think I'll replace the races and bearings. They weren't terrible, but they weren't perfect either. I think I am going to try the trick where you cut the races with a hacksaw, and use them as bearing installers. Anybody here done that>
No, just knock them out with a brass drift. Put a hacksaw in there and you unnecessarily risk damage to the hub.
 

gregnash

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No, just knock them out with a brass drift. Put a hacksaw in there and you unnecessarily risk damage to the hub.
This... Shouldn't be any need to attempt to cut them out. Go to your LAPS and grab a set of brass bar/drifts from them. At least my local NAPA auto sells them in sets and singles.
 
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No, just knock them out with a brass drift. Put a hacksaw in there and you unnecessarily risk damage to the hub.

I think you misunderstood me. You knock out the old races with a brass drift. Take a Hacksaw or Milwaukee Hackzall in my version and cut the race. Now the race is missing metal the width of the hacksaw blade and you can use it as a Race installer. Won't get stuck really because it is kinda like a snap ring.

They look easy to get out, maybe not so easy to get in. I may also heat up the rotors and freeze the races as well
 

JunkCrzr89

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I think you misunderstood me. You knock out the old races with a brass drift. Take a Hacksaw or Milwaukee Hackzall in my version and cut the race. Now the race is missing metal the width of the hacksaw blade and you can use it as a Race installer. Won't get stuck really because it is kinda like a snap ring.

They look easy to get out, maybe not so easy to get in. I may also heat up the rotors and freeze the races as well
Yep, misunderstood. Still no reason to do that in my opinion tho. I used the old races to drive in the new races and then knocked the olds back out with a brass drift once the new ones were seated...
 
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Yep, misunderstood. Still no reason to do that in my opinion tho. I used the old races to drive in the new races and then knocked the olds back out with a brass drift once the new ones were seated...

Thanx! I'll have two sets of races so I can try both maybe.
 

Ayune

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You can use the old races as ‘press tools’ without cutting them. Just flip them upside down and use the brass drift again on the wide lip to remove them. Look through @2001LC‘s threads, that’s all you need. Ever. For anything. :)
 
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Good info, thanx Gents!

So after pulling both sides, I think I'll replace the races and bearings. They weren't terrible, but they weren't perfect either. I think I am going to try the trick where you cut the races with a hacksaw, and use them as bearing installers. Anybody here done that>

Yes and if you have a press is it the only way to go. You can put the races in the freezer and the warm the hub a bit to gain a little more clearance to help install. If you don't cut the sacrificial race, the ole one will get stuck and you won't fully seat the new race.
 

Ayune

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If you don't cut the sacrificial race, the ole one will get stuck and you won't fully seat the new race.
Wrong. Use the old race UPSIDE DOWN large-side-in and you will be able to remove it after seating the new race.

And why won’t the new race fully seat?

Please put the hacksaw away.
 
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