Smokin 5000HP+ Posting Maniac
Join Date: Feb 2009
Repacking Spindle Bearings
As most of you know (or should know) the rear spindle bearings require repacking every 50,000 miles. But those recommendations came back in the days when wheel bearing greases were real thick and generally required a mechanical bearing packer to get that thick grease forced into the bearings.
I have always used ordinary #2 moly chassis grease but rather than just packing the bearings I also fill the entire hub with grease. Once the entire hub is filled the bearings never need repacking and it will be impossible for the bearings to ever seize.
All you have to do is pack both of the bearings ahead of time (by hand or with a bearing packer), place the outer bearing into the hub, hammer the outer seal in, then drive the spindle in as far as it'll go. Then before putting the inner bearing into the hub inject grease into the hub until it's as full as you can get it. Then drive the inner bearing onto the spindle (and into the hub) then hammer the inner grease seal in.
Wipe off all of the excess grease and put the splined drive flange on, torque the nut to 100 ft/lbs, advance the nut until the cotter key can be put in, then install the cotter key.
New bearings will generally last about 200,000 to 250,000 miles so if your bearings only have 100,000 miles on them they'll still go a long time before they begin to start flaking (all bearings have a definite life span based on load and speed).
As the #2 chassis grease is so much thinner than the thick greases used long ago it'll turn into a "semi-liquid" at operating temperatures and gravity alone will keep the grease in constant contact with the bearings. The end play specs call for .003" to .008" but anything from .000" to .008" is perfectly acceptable as the end play will increase slightly as the spindles warm up. My '82 had .000" end play on both sides and the bearings went 275,000 miles before the outer left race began flaking at the top (where the load is).
My usage of #2 moly grease and FULL hubs applies only to the REAR spindle bearings as you should never fill your front hubs completely full because some of the grease will get onto the discs. For the front spindle bearings the usage of the thicker greases is still the best way to go. You can use the thinner #2 chassis lube and add extra grease but don't get carried away.
Last edited by toobroketoretire; 11-14-2012 at 05:52 PM.