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Old 06-05-2009, 11:55 PM   #1
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Year: 1984
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WHEEL BROKE OFF!!!

Hi Everyone, just thought id share an adventure I had with my Skoolie over what was supposed to be a one night camp out. I drove my 84 GMC 6000 Skoolie into the mountains of Pence Springs West Virgina to camp, and on the way back I started hearing a spinning squealing noise that sounded allot like a slipping belt as I was going over a very high and long bridge. A few miles down the road the noise got quiet, and I started feeling a slight vibration around 25. Knowing that this wasn't normal I pulled into the Pipe stem State Park, where I made a run for the first parking lot and my front passenger WHEEL BROKE OFF!!!. Apparently the outer wheel bearing failed, which caused it to burn and melt the nut off the spindle, It actually welded the spindle nut to the washer which was pretty cool. The spindle was mangled so I had to spend the next 3 days searching for parts. Apparently GMC changed their front axles right after 84 and I ended up having to drive to every junk yard in three counties over three days to no avail. I finally got really lucky by finding a guy who had an old wrecker with the same exact front end in excellent shape in his back yard! After getting the part back I had a great deal of fun removing the Kingpin and swapping the new spindle in. I tightened it up till I could feel it drag, and backed it off again till it could spin freely. On the drive home I checked the wheel temp by hand every 10 miles or so and noticed that I was defiantly warmer then the other, but i wouldn't call it hot, I'm thinking of backing the nut off another 1/6 of a turn, and testing that out. Has anyone else had to change the bearings? I'm not exactly sure about how much it should be backed off.

BTW if anyone around southern WV needs help finding parts, I did make allot of good contacts, and know of at least 4 mid 80's GMC buses that one could get parts off for cheap!

Have fun and check you bearings!!!
Dan
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Old 06-06-2009, 03:49 AM   #2
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Re: WHEEL BROKE OFF!!!

When seating bearings (be it on a trailer, truck, whatever) I like to spin the wheel as I tighten the nut with the socket. I will generally go pretty damn tight and in both directions. This is to seat the bearings. After that I will spin it all the way back off to the point that I can spin it with my hand. I then run them down hand tight holding just the socket. You don't want any play, but tapered roller bearings, especially once they're used, really don't require much in the way of preload. Again, I said HAND TIGHT. If, and only if, my socket is extremely greasy and the threads on the spindle are a bit tight I will go perhaps a 1/4 turn beyond with a ratchet. The one exception to the rules would be my wheeling rig which requires a bit more preload (say 3/8 turn with the ratchet) on the bearings to support the giant tires and keep the bearing creep to a minimum on the spindles. Of course this also means I'm buying new thrust washers and lock plates once a year.

Again, that's hand tight. In the case of something like a trailer where there is no double nut setup and you just have a cotter pin through a castelated nut it is better to back it off than move it tighter to get the hole to line up unless you just need to nudge it.

Trailer bearings are big business for all of us in the shop given our prime location on the main gateway to the northern Minnesota lakes.

*edit* You did pack the bearings well (assuming you don't have oil bath hubs), right? I prefer to pack my bearings by hand as long as I'm not trying to beat the clock as the packing machines tend to either leave large voids and air pockets or waste a TON of grease getting them out. Also, it's tempting to pack the void between the bearings with grease, but this is NOT a good idea. It will not magically work its way into the bearings to lube them if the seal fails and slings grease and it will retain heat. Bearing Buddies make guys like me a ton of money because of that very reason.
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Old 06-06-2009, 09:10 AM   #3
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Re: WHEEL BROKE OFF!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_experience03
When seating bearings (be it on a trailer, truck, whatever) I like to spin the wheel as I tighten the nut with the socket. I will generally go pretty damn tight and in both directions. This is to seat the bearings. After that I will spin it all the way back off to the point that I can spin it with my hand. I then run them down hand tight holding just the socket. You don't want any play, but tapered roller bearings, especially once they're used, really don't require much in the way of preload. Again, I said HAND TIGHT. If, and only if, my socket is extremely greasy and the threads on the spindle are a bit tight I will go perhaps a 1/4 turn beyond with a ratchet. The one exception to the rules would be my wheeling rig which requires a bit more preload (say 3/8 turn with the ratchet) on the bearings to support the giant tires and keep the bearing creep to a minimum on the spindles. Of course this also means I'm buying new thrust washers and lock plates once a year.

Again, that's hand tight. In the case of something like a trailer where there is no double nut setup and you just have a cotter pin through a castelated nut it is better to back it off than move it tighter to get the hole to line up unless you just need to nudge it.

Trailer bearings are big business for all of us in the shop given our prime location on the main gateway to the northern Minnesota lakes.

*edit* You did pack the bearings well (assuming you don't have oil bath hubs), right? I prefer to pack my bearings by hand as long as I'm not trying to beat the clock as the packing machines tend to either leave large voids and air pockets or waste a TON of grease getting them out. Also, it's tempting to pack the void between the bearings with grease, but this is NOT a good idea. It will not magically work its way into the bearings to lube them if the seal fails and slings grease and it will retain heat. Bearing Buddies make guys like me a ton of money because of that very reason.
Thanks for the info! I defiantly tightened it a little too much, Seeing that it only got warm to the touch I'm hoping that it didn't damage the bearings, Ill pull them out today and repack them to be sure, I did use something like a 600 degree red hi temp grease with it. I was about to fill it to the brim with grease before I read your post. Some people told me just to pack the bearings and others have been telling me to fill the cavity...I just packed the bearings by hand and pumped in about 6 oz worth when I did it.

Thanks!
Dan
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:44 PM   #4
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Re: WHEEL BROKE OFF!!!

A little warm never hurt any bearings. When you weld the races to the spindle and hub you have a problem.
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