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Old 07-15-2021, 02:51 PM   #1
jpsuli
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Default New Timken wheel bearings/hubs have play?

I had my front right wheel bearing make the whirring noise on a trip from Chicago, I initially thought it was the left from as vibrations occurred when turning right. I ultimately replaced both fronts and eliminated the noise, however when I went for an alignment, the technician showed me how much play is present when doing a 12-6 check.

The front left is much worse than the right side, but both are considerably loose. I torqued them to 148 as I've seen here and followed the FSM on the order of what to install.

Both bearings/hubs were brought to two separate shops (had a warranty with one for a free press in) and replaced with new Timken Bearings and Hubs.

The technician said that I possibly got two bad bearings but I feel like the odds are so low that I should buy a lottery ticket. Is there anything I could check?

I already double-checked the torque spec of the axle nut and both are fine.
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Old 07-15-2021, 04:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: New Timken wheel bearings/hubs have play?

How much play is there; how much does the perimeter of the tire move from full "in" to "out"?

Are you sure the movement was from only the bearing, none of the play was in the strut or lower ball-joint? No play where the strut attaches to the knuckle?

Loosen the axle nut and re-torque.

Agreed, the chances of getting two bad bearings of any brand is pretty slim, even less from a quality vendor like Timken. There is, of course, some chance that both bearings were already sold/installed once before and damaged and then returned for replacement.
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Old 07-15-2021, 05:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: New Timken wheel bearings/hubs have play?

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
How much play is there; how much does the perimeter of the tire move from full "in" to "out"?

Are you sure the movement was from only the bearing, none of the play was in the strut or lower ball-joint? No play where the strut attaches to the knuckle?

Loosen the axle nut and re-torque.

Agreed, the chances of getting two bad bearings of any brand is pretty slim, even less from a quality vendor like Timken. There is, of course, some chance that both bearings were already sold/installed once before and damaged and then returned for replacement.
The technicians notes on play:
Quote:
LF is worst 6/10
RF is minor 2/10
If I had to guess, the right is 1/16 of an inch and the left is 1/8 inch. I may be incorrect, but I've never seen it so bad on an S series

When the alignment technician jacked the front of the car to check, he let me get underneath the car with him and agreed with me that there was no play in any other components from what we could see.

I have already loosened both axle nuts and retorqued them with no success. I thought maybe the axle didn't fully extend out of the hub and that's where the play is coming from after it settled, but I couldn't get it to come out any further than what it is.

Could a lower ball joint be suspect?

Edit: I didn't think anything of it, I thought I drove over something in my driveway but when I replaced the front left side and took it for a test drive I heard a clunk 10 feet out of my garage. Could it be that was the hub? (even though there shouldn't be a way for it to move after the nut is torqued?)

Im not sure if driving it a few miles (<15 miles) on the front left deteriated it so much to the point of ruining it and the front right, having only <5 miles, has just begun going bad.
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Last edited by jpsuli; 07-15-2021 at 05:37 PM.
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Old 07-15-2021, 07:23 PM   #4
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Default Re: New Timken wheel bearings/hubs have play?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpsuli View Post
The technicians notes on play:

If I had to guess, the right is 1/16 of an inch and the left is 1/8 inch. I may be incorrect, but I've never seen it so bad on an S series

When the alignment technician jacked the front of the car to check, he let me get underneath the car with him and agreed with me that there was no play in any other components from what we could see.

I have already loosened both axle nuts and retorqued them with no success. I thought maybe the axle didn't fully extend out of the hub and that's where the play is coming from after it settled, but I couldn't get it to come out any further than what it is.

Could a lower ball joint be suspect?

Edit: I didn't think anything of it, I thought I drove over something in my driveway but when I replaced the front left side and took it for a test drive I heard a clunk 10 feet out of my garage. Could it be that was the hub? (even though there shouldn't be a way for it to move after the nut is torqued?)

Im not sure if driving it a few miles (<15 miles) on the front left deteriated it so much to the point of ruining it and the front right, having only <5 miles, has just begun going bad.
I'd say the ball joint is the most likely culprit. A loose axle nut wouldn't cause any movement of the wheel/tire. All the axle nut does is prevent the splined axle shaft from sliding back & forth through the hub.
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Old 07-15-2021, 07:30 PM   #5
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Default Re: New Timken wheel bearings/hubs have play?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ruley73 View Post
I'd say the ball joint is the most likely culprit. A loose axle nut wouldn't cause any movement of the wheel/tire. All the axle nut does is prevent the splined axle shaft from sliding back & forth through the hub.
Right, I remember reading this somewhere, saying that the only way a poor bearing could cause a looseness in the wheel is if it was really bad. All though looking at the diagnosis in the 98 FSM, it does say it's entirely possible and recommends a replacement as a fix

I'll check the ball joint later tonight.
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Old 07-15-2021, 07:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: New Timken wheel bearings/hubs have play?

Whoa! The axle nut does control bearing tightness. Yes, it does hold the axle in the hub, but it also clamps the two bearing inner-races together to maintain the proper clearance in the bearing elements.

Measure how much axle thread is sticking out from each nut. Later tonight I will measure all four of mine to see if they are consistent, and we can compare to yours if they are consistent.
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Old 07-15-2021, 08:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: New Timken wheel bearings/hubs have play?

Oh geez, this is going to be embarrassing - potentially.

I could not figure out why I was getting so much play on the left front and poked around for 20 minutes. I did tighten up the bottom ball joint and put the tire back on, it still had some looseness.

I went underneath the car and gave it the beans with my knee lodged on the tire and the play went from 1/8 to easily 1/4 inch and saw the bottom strut bolt fly towards the other side of the mount.

I swear on my life the technician and I looked at the struts when looking for movement, he even affirmed to me that it 'looked good'. It could be it was dark under the car where I had a shop light and more time, but I can't believe I missed that.

I grabbed my torque driver and went to town on both bolts, put the tire back on and no longer have any play. I can't believe I missed that and possibly forgot to tighten that. This would explain the heavy 12-6 play but very little 9-3 play. I can't explain to you how perplexed I am that I missed it with how many times I've put together the front suspension on both of my cars.

Appreciate the help, apologize for any time wasted, and wonder how my car is even on the road at this point.
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Old 07-15-2021, 09:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: New Timken wheel bearings/hubs have play?

Sure, it isn't your proudest moment, but I have made far worse mistakes!
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Old 07-16-2021, 08:26 AM   #9
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Default Re: New Timken wheel bearings/hubs have play?

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
Whoa! The axle nut does control bearing tightness. Yes, it does hold the axle in the hub, but it also clamps the two bearing inner-races together to maintain the proper clearance in the bearing elements.

Measure how much axle thread is sticking out from each nut. Later tonight I will measure all four of mine to see if they are consistent, and we can compare to yours if they are consistent.
No, it doesn't. It can't control bearing tightness because all the clamping force is being applied to the hub. No clamping force whatsoever is applied to the bearing, nor does there need to be. If you look at the outer CV axle, you'll see that the splines are only open on the far outer side. When you tighten the axle nut, you're only seating the closed end of the splines against the inner part of the hub.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpsuli View Post
Oh geez, this is going to be embarrassing - potentially.

I could not figure out why I was getting so much play on the left front and poked around for 20 minutes. I did tighten up the bottom ball joint and put the tire back on, it still had some looseness.

I went underneath the car and gave it the beans with my knee lodged on the tire and the play went from 1/8 to easily 1/4 inch and saw the bottom strut bolt fly towards the other side of the mount.

I swear on my life the technician and I looked at the struts when looking for movement, he even affirmed to me that it 'looked good'. It could be it was dark under the car where I had a shop light and more time, but I can't believe I missed that.

I grabbed my torque driver and went to town on both bolts, put the tire back on and no longer have any play. I can't believe I missed that and possibly forgot to tighten that. This would explain the heavy 12-6 play but very little 9-3 play. I can't explain to you how perplexed I am that I missed it with how many times I've put together the front suspension on both of my cars.

Appreciate the help, apologize for any time wasted, and wonder how my car is even on the road at this point.
I'm glad you found the problem before any serious damage was done. I'd definitely get an alignment done soon unless you're certain the strut bolts were tightened where they needed to be.
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Old 07-16-2021, 10:26 AM   #10
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Default Re: New Timken wheel bearings/hubs have play?

Indeed, the nut bears on a washer that bears on the hub; but the hub is a giant "washer" that then bears on the outer inner-race. The inner end of the axle stub is the "bolt head" that bears on the inner inner-race. Think about it some more...
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Old 07-16-2021, 10:51 AM   #11
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Default Re: New Timken wheel bearings/hubs have play?

I'm thinking ruley73 has never tightened the axle nut to try to get another couple weeks out of a bad bearing before.

I'm also thinking any mechanic that mistakes play at the knuckle/strut area for a bad bearing needs a good ribbing every time you see them for the next few years...
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Old 07-20-2021, 09:30 PM   #12
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Default Re: New Timken wheel bearings/hubs have play?

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I'm thinking ruley73 has never tightened the axle nut to try to get another couple weeks out of a bad bearing before.

I'm also thinking any mechanic that mistakes play at the knuckle/strut area for a bad bearing needs a good ribbing every time you see them for the next few years...
You would be correct. I've never let a bad wheel bearing go long enough to worry about it catastrophically failing.

As I eluded to before, this can't work on the separate hub & bearing design the S-Series uses. The axle shaft and nut only squeeze the hub - which you already know is pressed into the bearing before the axle shaft & nut are installed. The only way any pressure would be applied to the bearing would be if the inner part of the axle shaft was seated against the inner side of the bearing *which it is not*. The closed end of the shaft splines get seated against the inner part of the hub. No part of the axle shaft ever touches the bearing.
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Old 07-20-2021, 11:07 PM   #13
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Default Re: New Timken wheel bearings/hubs have play?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ruley73 View Post
No, it doesn't. It can't control bearing tightness because all the clamping force is being applied to the hub. No clamping force whatsoever is applied to the bearing, nor does there need to be. If you look at the outer CV axle, you'll see that the splines are only open on the far outer side. When you tighten the axle nut, you're only seating the closed end of the splines against the inner part of the hub.
The splines on the axle mesh with the splines in the hub to transmit power to the wheels. The splines do not seat on/against the hub.

The axle nut does clamp the wheel bearing inner and outer inner races together. The hub when pressed in the bearing assembly is pressed against the outer bearing inner race. The axle outer CV joint is against the inner bearing inner race.
The axle nut when tightened pulls the CV joint against the bearing. This keeps everything clamped together.
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Old 07-21-2021, 12:23 AM   #14
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Default Re: New Timken wheel bearings/hubs have play?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssicarman View Post
The axle nut does clamp the wheel bearing inner and outer inner races together. The hub when pressed in the bearing assembly is pressed against the outer bearing inner race. The axle outer CV joint is against the inner bearing inner race.
The axle nut when tightened pulls the CV joint against the bearing. This keeps everything clamped together.
And here is a picture of that:


Here is a picture showing where the bearings are - the inner race is clamped by the outside of the CV joint.


Here you can see the clean part that jams up against the bearing:


Another view:


One last picture. You can see the hub is recessed from the end of the bearing. So the CV joint presses on the bearing, the hub is pressed into the bearing, and the nut clamps the hub down which pulls the CV joint into the bearing.


My bearings sounded bad with no axle clamping up the bearing:
https://youtu.be/J8WHGB8IqB0

So then I clamped the axle back up and it was better:
https://youtu.be/Orgu2uY-szQ

Also, if the CV joint was not clamping the bearing, what are you torquing against? It would have to be the nut bottoming out on the end of the threads. That doesn't make sense.
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