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Canada Kev 07-09-2010 05:45 AM

Rear wheel bearing issue urgent?
Would anyone here do a DE event knowing that a rear wheel bearing is worn and needs replacement? Is it a safety issue? Should I even be driving the car?

I can't believe I'm even considering this, but I am scheduled for a DE next week and I don't have the time to deal with it before then.

tonythetarga 07-09-2010 05:51 AM

I wouldn't even think about driving it at a DE. If it fails and damages the trailing arm, you'll need to replace that as well as the bearing. It might be worth it to have the bearing done at the shop on a 'rush' basis if you can't get to it or cancel the DE and get your refund before it's too late. Right now it a couple hundred dollar job...if it fails it justs gets worse.

john walker's workshop 07-09-2010 05:51 AM

you already know the answer if it's a track event. around some cones, not that big a deal, but that depends on how noisy it is already.

Canada Kev 07-09-2010 06:02 AM

It's not making any noise, but there is a bit of play when trying to wiggle the wheel/tire. It was only discovered when getting an inspection in order to satisfy the event co-ordinator.

I guess I should just get it done. Damn...

911mnypt 07-09-2010 06:05 AM

Don't take a chance...replace it.

tonythetarga 07-09-2010 06:08 AM

You might check the torque on the wheel nut. It could be loose or less than the 230 ft/lbs it should be. Once torqued, make sure you scribe a line (or paint mark) to check it doesn't start to loosen. If it is close to spec, then the bearing may be on it's way. If it is the left rear and you are on a clockwise track, that wheel is going to get a lot of loading in the corners.

FPB111 07-09-2010 06:15 AM

Did it fail tech?

GaryR 07-09-2010 06:21 AM


Originally Posted by syzygy (Post 5445670)
Would anyone here do a DE event knowing that a rear wheel bearing is worn and needs replacement?

Not me. Rear wheel bearing failure at 120MPH+?
It won't be all your replacing...

Carrerax 07-09-2010 06:31 AM

As a BMWCCA/PCA/Viper instructor, Im going to ask that you fix it before going to the event. I for one, dont take people out in cars that have issues nor do I appreciate bieng in them. what will probably happen, nothing.... What could happen though could be very serious. Lets just say that if I was your instructor and I KNEW you had a wheel bearing going south I would either A: Help you fix it if possible, B: Suggest that you leave and come back when the car is corrected or D: POSSIBLY (if it wasnt very bad upon my inspection) we would be ceraful and pay close attention to it during the weekend.

I take it personal when Im at an event and people tell you that they really didnt change the brake fluid or some other thing that should have been done. I have been in wrecks before and certainly seen my fair share that I dont want myself, other instructors or students to be in harms way anymore than they already are. Thing happen VERY QUICKLY on the track wether is is a simple DE or a race and cars get wrecked. Often other cars in addition to yours. Lets say the bearing totally goes south and somehow it locks up the wheel or the rear tow goes way out quickly, you will nor be in control and could very possibly take another car out and people could get hurt. Is that but it could happen.

OK, Im off my soapbox now. Seeing that you have a week to get it fixed I would highly recommend it. Just my .02. I am not really a prude :)

Tim L 07-09-2010 06:57 AM

Torque the axle nut and see if the play goes away. I've never had a rear wheel bearing go bad without making a racket when cornering. Also the ones that Iíve had go bad don't develop any play. If itís bad change it.

Carrerax 07-09-2010 06:59 AM


Originally Posted by Tim L (Post 5445780)
Torque the axle nut and see if the play goes away. I've never had a rear wheel bearing go bad without making a racket when cornering. Also the ones that Iíve had go bad don't develop any play. If itís bad change it.

Best advice yet!

GaryR 07-09-2010 07:03 AM


Originally Posted by Tim L (Post 5445780)
Torque the axle nut and see if the play goes away. I've never had a rear wheel bearing go bad without making a racket when cornering. Also the ones that Iíve had go bad don't develop any play. If itís bad change it.

Yo Tim!! :D

Tim L 07-09-2010 07:55 AM

Yo Gary, DEing this weekend?

GaryR 07-09-2010 07:57 AM


Originally Posted by Tim L (Post 5445937)
Yo Gary, DEing this weekend?

Yep, Sean and I are instructing tomorrow at LRP... rain or shine!

Canada Kev 07-09-2010 02:46 PM

Thanks to everyone who responded with helpful comments. I've said it before and I will again: this forum is awesome.

Yesterday, I failed a tech inspection because of a worn rear wheel bearing. Before I went to work this morning, I jacked up the car and checked for any abnormal sounds or play. Although it was quiet, I found play. I silently swore, went inside and started this thread.

I continued on to work, but this issue nagged at me all morning. I called another shop in town that I swore I wouldn't use again for a quote, constantly checked Pelican to see if there were any suggestions, and generally stewed.

About 11:30 I had had enough and called it a day. At home, I did some research and then made my way down to Princess Auto (the Canadian equivalent to Harbor Freight) and bought myself a cheap 32mm 3/4 inch drive socket two extensions and a big friggin breaker bar.

Once home from my shopping spree, I plugged the socket onto the 4" extension and affixed them to the bar. My tension grew as I placed the car into first gear, pulled the e-brake on a bit tighter and wedged a couple chocks behind the wheels. Carefully, I slid the socket through the center cap hole onto the axle nut. Please be the problem, please be the problem, please be... And it turned. Is that thing on there? Pull off and put on again. It turned a bit more and then firmed up. Let's torque that baby down! I figure my weight of 180 lbs on a 3 foot bar should be enough, but it did loosen once already... I will most definitely put some light colour paint on the nut and axle and keep an eye on it.

After all this, I am SO happy. If I didn't replace the bearing myself, I was faced with some huge numbers. The place that did the inspection, whom I won't name (ok, fine, a hint: starts with a D and ends with ealer) wanted over $1800 plus 500 for an alignment. The other quote from someone I don't really trust wasn't as bad but still rather painful. The hundred bucks I spent to tighten that nut is far more palatable. Plus I got some more tools, and who doesn't like that?

Now, It's time for a margarita and some ice cream, and a rest outside on the deck and enjoy the afternoon and nice weather. Now to get the car re-inspected for the DE...

For the record, though perhaps my original question might have suggested otherwise, I would never go to the track with an issue that might be a safety thing. Though my safety is important, it would be much worse if I endangered someone else who has little or no control over what I do. I just wanted to know if a wheel bearing might possibly be a real safety hazard or if I can just deal with it when it makes a bunch of noise. Now that it turned out to be an untorqued axle nut, it seems MUCH worse to me than a worn bearing. What if it had worked its way off? I can't believe that nut has no cotter pin or safety wiring.

Anyway, thanks again everybody.

Canada Kev 07-09-2010 02:51 PM

And the saga continues...

I called the "inspection place" to ask how they determined that the bearing was worn, just to make sure all my bases are covered. He said that it was because of the play and movement of the wheel. I mentioned that I had retorqued the axle nut and the play disappeared. He said to hold on while he spoke to the tech. He called me back and said that the nut was loose because the bearing was worn, and that retorquing it is just masking the problem and did not solve anything, especially with the sealed bearings on the rear. He also claimed that I had over torqued the nut as it is supposed to be 230, not the 350ish that I did. Isn't the 230 lbs-ft for the castellated nut? That's not the kind I have.

Is there any merit to this? Do I still have a problem? Though I would likely get this car to pass an inspection, I don't want to track it if possibly unsafe. So again I ask for some more assistance and suggestions.

tonythetarga 07-09-2010 03:18 PM

unless you actually used a torque wrench, how do you know what the torque value is? You haven't said which side rear nut nut either. The left rear can come loose due to wheel direction in rotation is opposite to the tightening direction.
The ONLY way to know if the bearing is damaged is to remove it (which destroys the bearing) and inspect the surfaces for wear and pitting.
I highly doubt your weight plus the 3' bar overtorqued the nut. In my mind the bearing is still suspicious however. If it was loose and you DE'd the car that way, the aluminum trailing arm and the steel bearing could be at issue. BTW the quote is off the charts in my book. Search on the forum here for the home made wheel bearing puller... about 20 bucks of pipe fittings and a bolt should get you sorted out. Put the new bearing in the freezer overnight. When you insert it into the trailing arm, face it with some antisieze and tap the edge to start it and use the puller to put it in the rest of the way. Head to the track. If you don't remove the trailing arm there is no need to realign or corner balance.

edit; here is the thread:

Canada Kev 07-09-2010 04:12 PM

I'm guestimating the torque: 180 pounds at just over two feet on a three foot bar. And it is the driver's side nut.

I am not 100 percent confident in the bearing, as well. That's why I am trying to get some opinions from others that have a bit more experience in this than I. Is the thing buggered or not, do you think? It was quiet then and it still is. I haven't tracked the car, yet. Although, I intend to do so unless some people suggest that it might be not a good thing to do with the current bearing.

I also thought the quote was a bit over the top. With prices like that, it just makes me want to do my own wrenching that little bit more.

By the way, what's the difference between the SKF and FAG bearing? $40 vs. $56 is kind of a substantial spread. Any operational differences?

Oldporsche 07-09-2010 06:24 PM

Any noise from the bearing?

You might have to remove the half shaft to get a good diagnosis.

Canada Kev 07-09-2010 08:05 PM

No noise at all and no play now that the axle nut has been tightened really, really tight.

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