View Full Version : Wheel Bearing Adjustment

02-19-2007, 06:52 PM
I'm ready to start putting my axle assembly back together again. I don't have a dial gauge to measure the end float. Any tips on wheel bearing adjustment?

02-20-2007, 10:22 AM
you can buy a dial from harbor frieght for about 15 bucks. However, you can set up the bearings by hand by tightening the hub nut until you can grab the hub on opposite sides, rock it back and forth and feel no lateral movement. The hub should still rotate freely. Make sure to pack your bearings and bend over the tabs on the locking washer and it should be fine. The land rover has a lot of bearing surface in the hubs for a vehicle of its size.

02-20-2007, 11:01 AM
I don't use a dial indicator, and have never had any trouble.

No need to pack the bearings as they are lubricated by the axle case oil. I do coat them in oil prior to reassembly.

Tighten the bearing nut (while spinning the hub by hand) until the hub jams.

Back off the nut until the hub spins with very slight resistance. Pull the hub back and forth to make sure that there is very little back play. Spin hub again to make sure that the resistance is the same. Tighten jam nut, spin hub again to check it, and you are good to go.

Remember that too loose is better than too tight.

02-20-2007, 11:18 AM
No need to pack the bearings as they are lubricated by the axle case oil

Interestingly land rover replaced the early oil filled hubs (distinguished by the small filler screw on the drive flange) with grease packed hubs with no provision for oiling. Later manuals all recommend packing with grease prior to installation. Smearing them with oil would probably work, but I would rather have them packed with grease myself.


02-20-2007, 02:12 PM
I borrowed a dial gauge from a local garage. I've already packed the hubs and wheel bearings with grease. Interesting enough I have 1 drive member that has the oil fill while the other doesn't. Go figure. Packing both with grease.

02-20-2007, 04:16 PM
Grease shouldn't hurt anything at all.

Go ahead and use it, but use a quality high temp grease.

02-20-2007, 05:24 PM
i would recommend packing the bearings, they are not lube well enough by the rear diff.at all.
never dialed
mine at all and i've had series rovers well over 30 + years,no problems yet. go by feel ,no slopped with hands @6:00 -12:00 while yanking on the hub,back and forth, a good smooth rotating hub is what you want.
www.singingcamel.com (http://www.singingcamel.com)

02-20-2007, 08:15 PM
I got it. Used the feel method and then checked with the dial indicator. It was right the first time. Thanks to all.

02-20-2007, 09:10 PM
Grease shouldn't hurt anything at all.

I'm late to this thread but here's the method I have been using for the last 30 years.

I pack the bearings with grease (never hurts), smear a thin layer of grease over the seal race & lip and assemble the bearings & hub on the stub axle.

Add the inner washer and inner nut. Tighten down the nut to seat the bearings. Spin the hub then make sure the nut is tight.

Back the nut off 1-1/2 flats from tight. Add the lock washer and other nut.

It is adjusted.:thumb-up:

02-21-2007, 01:13 PM
What is your definition of tight. As tight as I can get it? Thanks in advance for a reply.

02-21-2007, 06:40 PM
What is your definition of tight. As tight as I can get it? Thanks in advance for a reply.

You just want to get the bearings completely seated and all the freeplay out. No need to really torque it down. Backing off one and a half flats from there loosens the bearings very close to what the dial method would give to slightly looser.

Setting bearings too tight shortens their service life, but having them slightly loose does not negatively affect service life.

1-1/2 flats can feel slightly loose but the second nut tightens tolerances up just a little. The nuts tend to be just a little sloppy on the stub shaft threads.

I know some experienced people who back off 2 flats but I've always felt more wobble than I want to feel at 2 flats. I've driven a lot of miles at 1-1/2 flats and never had a bearing go bad.

02-26-2007, 08:43 AM
I also use the 'feel' method for all wheel bearings.

I tighten the inner nut as tight as I can by hand, while spinning the hub clockwise with the other hand, and check for backlash. (if I install new bearings and races, I will tighten the inner nut with the big socket and a breaker bar to ensure everything is seated fully, and then back it off totally loose, and then use the feel method.) If bearings and races are new, I ALWAYS re-check within 200 miles to be sure they are still correctly set. THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!

On my series, I soak the bearings with 140W gear oil, as they do get "splash oil". On the defender (and not a bad idea at all on any vehicle) I fully pack them with synthetic grease, and then pack around them after installation. There is virtually no air space in my hubs for condensation to form, or water to get in. Cheap insurance...