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Old 09-25-2018, 01:39 PM   #1
Keblar
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Default Wheel Bearings Wisdom - Brands & Sources

Who happens to have strong feelings about which brand bearings to use and where to get them? Is everything just a craps shoot as to what you'll get no matter what brand you buy and where you get it from? 10 years ago when I was changing motorcycle bearings I would have had an opinion, but apparently none of that applies anymore.

It seems like the conventional wisdom on wheel bearings, crowd sourced and earned from decades of experience and reputation is completely useless now. You may order one brand, only to find it's been contracted to another company. You may order from a long trusted supplier only to find it's the right brand, but they were manufactured in China, rather than, the US, or Germany, or Korea, or even Taiwan.

I don't even bother searching this or other forums for experiences beyond a year ago.

It doesn't even seem like paying more is any guarantee anymore. I've paid top dollar before to guarantee I got what I wanted only to have bearings fail (Timken Hub), and I've bargain hunted only to find what I got was better than what I expected (SKF Germany in a Timken, box still going strong)

I won't be ordering ANYTHING Timken ever again. They've lost my trust. I think there's a reliable source for F.A.G. Germany, but they're $100 plus, which I just can't do on a car this old. Rock auto has SKF for what seems like a good price, but they just show the SKF stock photo, and even that doesn't show country of origin. ACDelco is listed as OEM for a bit more, but is there any guarantee they aren't just whoever makes PowerStop or DuraLast this month shoved into an ACDelco box?

Thanks.
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Old 09-25-2018, 01:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: Wheel Bearings Wisdom - Brands & Sources

Timken auto bearings are made in China despite having 5-6 plants that could be making them in the USA (the plant I work at only does Aerospace, and no ball bearings any more).

I've had the best luck with SKF bearings for the S-Series, but ultimately the bearing quality depends on the installation...if the bearing goes a bit wonkey while being pressed in then it's now basically junk.
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Old 09-25-2018, 03:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: Wheel Bearings Wisdom - Brands & Sources

Quote:
Originally Posted by fetchitfido View Post
I've had the best luck with SKF bearings for the S-Series
SKF is where I'm leaning since the left bearings are the German made set that seem to be doing well, and they don't appear to have alienated their customers yet. I just started wondering because I don't remember SKF and Timken being around the same price, the way they are now with only a $5 or so difference. Maybe that's only because Timken has thrown their quality out the window without reducing price. If they show up as made in India or China (maybe even italy ) though, I'll probably return them and try a different source. I know not everyone has had consistently stellar experience with Rock Auto, but they haven't let me down so far.

Unfortunately, I don't have control over installation anymore since I no longer have my press or a garage to put it in. It will be done by a neighbor at a dealership service department, so hopefully they do enough of them that he won't mess it up. Maybe I'll even pre-freeze them, put it in a cooler and deliver it last minute whenever he says he's ready.
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Old 09-25-2018, 04:17 PM   #4
Keblar
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Default Re: Wheel Bearings Wisdom - Brands & Sources

I've just noticed that the online store that shares a name with a certain river in South America happens to sell the FW168 listed as Chicago Rawhide, which appears to be the US manufacturer for SKF . Does this imply that I'd be getting US made?

It's only about $6 more than Rock Auto after shipping. I might give it a try, although A-zon is rapidly approaching E-Bay levels of sketch factor when it comes to anything not directly sold and shipped by them.
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