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Old 02-08-2011, 06:23 PM   #1
pimpin88
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1996 SL
2000 SL1
Default Repeated wheel bearing failure, possible ground issue?

Hi all, I have a 1996 SL 5sp now with 228,000 miles on it. I did an engine rebuild, and swapped in the new engine at 218,000 miles. Shortly thereafter, the driver side front wheel bearing went bad. I had just replaced this bearing 49,000 miles ago with a Timken, so I was surprised it went bad so quickly. Replaced the wheel bearing at approximately 219,000 miles with a National bearing. 9,000 miles later it is bad again.

I was extremely careful pressing the bearing in, so that I wouldn't cause premature failure, and the surfaces of the hub and knuckle looked fine. Also, just had an alignment done in May. When I replaced the bearing I left the strut attached to the knuckle.

My thought is that there is a ground somewhere from the engine swap that is causing the failure by using the bearing as a ground. The only one that I can think of disconnecting is the one at the bell housing of the transmission. Are there any other locations on the engine that have a ground wire attached to them? I did not disconnect the one from the frame.

Thanks for your help.

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Old 02-08-2011, 06:30 PM   #2
OldNuc
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Repeated wheel bearing failure, possible ground issue?

Nope, that is the only one. You can connect a ground braid from one of the top motor mount studs to one of the mount mounting studs.

take a grinder to a dead bearing and look at the balls and race. If it is an electrical issue you will see it.

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Old 02-08-2011, 06:42 PM   #3
ev_dave13
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1996 SW1
2002 SC1
Default Re: Repeated wheel bearing failure, possible ground issue?

Yes, google bearing arcing, and you can see pictures of what to look for. Also, have you tried to replace the bearing and hub together? A friend of mine had the same problem on a different model car, only to find out (on a forum like this) that you have rapid failure of the new bearing unless you also replace the hub at the same time. Seems they can look OK but the measurements will tell that there is a few thousandths wear, which causes the bearing to rapidly fail. Summit racing has bearing/hub assemblies for our cars for a relatively low price. I was thinking of getting a set myself, since I had to replace the knuckle/hub assemblies on the SC1 I just got with ones from a parts car.

...
'96 SW1, 237000 miles "Little Red Wagon"
'02 SC1, 284000 miles, "Blue Basketcase"

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Old 02-08-2011, 11:04 PM   #4
OldNuc
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Repeated wheel bearing failure, possible ground issue?

The FSM directs replacing the hub along with the bearing as the hub face may no longer be exactly perpendicular to the axis of rotation. I think that may be the best approach, replace both hub and bearing. RockAuto also has both parts, probably cheaper than Summitt.

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