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SmokinVette.com Forums : Corvette Forums : C3 Corvette Forums : C3 Tech & Performance : Repacking Spindle Bearings
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:21 PM   #1
toobroketoretire
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Default 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.
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:43 AM   #2
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thats good advise for our members, Toobroke, I have always done them the same way...have never had to do one twice..I did my nephews 76 back in the 80 s..he has worn out two engines over the years, but still rolling on the same spindle bearings ...its a bitch of a job, you don t want to do it twice..
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:59 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by fishslayer143@yahoo.com View Post
thats good advise for our members, Toobroke, I have always done them the same way...have never had to do one twice..I did my nephews 76 back in the 80 s..he has worn out two engines over the years, but still rolling on the same spindle bearings ...its a bitch of a job, you don t want to do it twice..

Please note my advice is for the REAR spindle bearings as any grease leakage won't get to the rotor and contaminate the brake pads. You can put extra grease into the front spindle bearings but don't completely fill the hubs as grease will migrate out and find it's way onto the rotor and brake pads. When I repack front bearings I pack the bearings in the usual way then put additional grease in the gap between the bearing and the seal then put additional grease in the dust cap.
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:33 AM   #4
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any way to install a zerk fitting ?
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:30 AM   #5
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any way to install a zerk fitting ?

I'm not sure. I'll look at my trailing arms sometime today and see if they can be drilled from the underside. If so a 1" access hole would have to be drilled then the zerk hole drilled above it.

I have thought about installing a zerk in the past but ended up just filling it completely full as it's so easy when the inner bearing isn't in yet.
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:59 PM   #6
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any way to install a zerk fitting ?

Okay, I looked it over and I believe you can put a grease zerk in it. The bottom is cluttered with the shock mount but I think a zerk could be put in the top. You'd have to drill a 3/4" to 1" hole thru the top of the trailing arm then drill and tap the cast steel bearing housing. But if you'd just fill the housing completely full at the time of repacking there would be no need for a grease zerk as the extra grease would provide lifetime lubrication.

The real nice thing about the thinner #2 chassis lube is the fact it'll "sag" or turn into a "semi-liquid" when it warms up and keep the tapered roller bearings continually wet with lubrication. As the rollers roll they'll push the grease out of the way but it'll just run right back into it because of it's low viscosity. Sort of like using a heavy oil that is about 10 times as thick as 90 weight.
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Old 11-18-2012, 03:00 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by toobroketoretire View Post
Okay, I looked it over and I believe you can put a grease zerk in it. The bottom is cluttered with the shock mount but I think a zerk could be put in the top. You'd have to drill a 3/4" to 1" hole thru the top of the trailing arm then drill and tap the cast steel bearing housing. But if you'd just fill the housing completely full at the time of repacking there would be no need for a grease zerk as the extra grease would provide lifetime lubrication.

The real nice thing about the thinner #2 chassis lube is the fact it'll "sag" or turn into a "semi-liquid" when it warms up and keep the tapered roller bearings continually wet with lubrication. As the rollers roll they'll push the grease out of the way but it'll just run right back into it because of it's low viscosity. Sort of like using a heavy oil that is about 10 times as thick as 90 weight.
I don't think I'd do that. It's been so long since I've seen the underside of an old vette......
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Old 11-18-2012, 03:26 PM   #8
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yeah, putting a zerk to lube that bearing set,would be a real pain in the *** on the car..if you had the housing off, maybe , but just pack it full, it will last for years
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Old 11-18-2012, 04:09 PM   #9
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Another reason I am going to C4 suspension. I don't ever want to see wheel bearing grease again.

Good luck on your bearing job
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:20 AM   #10
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I don't think I'd do that. It's been so long since I've seen the underside of an old vette......

I spent some time yesterday looking it over and it appears any zerk installed would be real hard to get to. As it's so easy to pack it full I don't think even trying to put a zerk in would be worth it. Shortly after I got my '82 with 43,000 miles on it I filled the hubs full and the bearings went an entire 275,000 miles before the left outer race finally began failing from fatigue on it's top where the load is.
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