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rear wheel bearing replacement 64, basic prep info needed


Wedgewood64
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OK, so after getting from the list a diagnosis of bad rear bearings, I'd like to try venturing into this unknown area of my 64. I have a chassis manual. I want to pull the axle and have a local shop do the bearings themselves. So, 2 questions:

a) should I count on renewing the oil seal no matter what? if so, this seems to require special puller/installer. Would these be the kind of things I can rent from OReilly's? or would they be included in some sort of basic kit I could invest in?

B) removal of axle requires, apparently, a slide hammer/puller. Same basic question as above, rent/buy. (I just have no idea of how basic an item such as "puller J-6176" or "J-6199" is... Should every garage have one?! Does a standard puller set have all I need for this?). Also, there's a "Caution" in the manual: while pulling axle, "support shaft carefully in center of seal to avoid cutting seal lip". I assume this means that as I pull it out I hold it centered with my hand, esp as the pinion end passes through. Is this a really delicate operation, or pretty intuitive?

Thanks again,

nick

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Hopefully you have the seal and bearing with it's retaining ring already sourced. I've done such over the years and found that some pull out fairly easily and others not so much. I have used a heavy 'logging chain' with links large enough to go over the wheel studs-thread on a couple (nearly) opposing lug nuts, and by whipping the chain, pop the axle loose. It would be easier to then have a shop cut the old ring and use hydraulics to do the rest-good luck Dan Mpls. Mn.

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OK, so after getting from the list a diagnosis of bad rear bearings, I'd like to try venturing into this unknown area of my 64. I have a chassis manual. I want to pull the axle and have a local shop do the bearings themselves. So, 2 questions:

a) should I count on renewing the oil seal no matter what? if so, this seems to require special puller/installer. Would these be the kind of things I can rent from OReilly's? or would they be included in some sort of basic kit I could invest in?

B) removal of axle requires, apparently, a slide hammer/puller. Same basic question as above, rent/buy. (I just have no idea of how basic an item such as "puller J-6176" or "J-6199" is... Should every garage have one?! Does a standard puller set have all I need for this?). Also, there's a "Caution" in the manual: while pulling axle, "support shaft carefully in center of seal to avoid cutting seal lip". I assume this means that as I pull it out I hold it centered with my hand, esp as the pinion end passes through. Is this a really delicate operation, or pretty intuitive?

Thanks again,

nick

Hi Nick, It is not mandatory that you replace the axle seals but it is cheap insurance because as the manual cautions you will be pulling the axles past the seals. Also, they are likely very old and installing new seals is just cheap insurance. Having said that, the replacement seals on the market currently are very cheap as compared to the originals which are much more substantial. To replace or not is a combination of current condition, availability of a quality part, your proficiency in removing and installing the axles, etc.

I have a heavy duty slide hammer but rarely use it to pull axles. As Dan has described some are more stubborn than others so each situation can be unique.

There are several techniques but the basic idea is to get a quick, momentary "pop" outward on the axle to remove it.

First, I turn the brake drum backwards, start two lug nuts opposite one another, and use the drum as a slide hammer. The early brake drums are heavy so you can get a pretty good snap from this technique. Be sure to wear gloves and dont be shy. You cant hurt the drum and this is something very quick and easy to try without even going to your tool box. This will work if the axle is not stubborn.

Next, I have a 5 foot railroad bar which I wedge behind the axle flange and against the edge of the brake shoe (always at a right angle to the shoe and be careful not to gouge the actual lining) which almost always works as one can put great force on something with a 5 foot bar! As with any large tool caution must be exercised to prevent damaging something. The downside of this technique is one is only applying pressure to one side of the axle but generally the axles dont seem to care and will pop out.

The last technique I use is the slide hammer. I dont particularly care for it for several reasons but it is the specified tool for the job and will also work.

My basis for deciding which technique to use is generally based on time and effort. Generally when I am doing this, a customer is paying by the hour. I can have the axles popped loose in seconds with the first two techniques because my hands are already on the drum and the pry bar is located a few feet from where I position the rear of the car in my shop. The slide hammer takes longer because it is squirreled away on a shelf....because I rarely use it. Hope this helps, good luck,

Tom Mooney

Edited by 1965rivgs (see edit history)
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Thanks Tom and Dan. I guess I'll go for the brake drum method first and cross my fingers. I read about the chain method in another thread. Might try that second.

I don't want to overthink this, but as for sourcing the parts, I was going to use a plain old national chain. I'' try to be careful with the old seals, but will definitely have replacements ready depending on how it goes. I see some NOS axle seals on ebay. Anyone feel they're worth the cost and aggravation of getting? I'm kind of thinking no....

n

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  • 1 month later...

I've done the replacement and I thought I'd post for anyone as inexperienced as I was. I did run into a problem that others might find too, so this might be of help generally...

1) one axle came out with the drum technique; the other was stuck. Not having a thick chain, I ended up getting a loaner slide hammer from the chain parts store, which I also needed (along with pullers) to get the oil seal out. Easy enough.

2) One seal was obviously bad, I could feel the cracks with my finger. Replaced it with National part 51098. (The other had been redone, I left it.) The manual spoke of using sealant around the outer edge of the seal, but no one seemed to know what was needed, so I just ignored that. Installing the seal: I didn't have a socket big enough; my local mechanic lent me his installer driver.

3) the problem arose with the bearings. I went with the National bearings everyone lists for the car. However, I did not carefully measure everything before having the old ones cut off and the new ones put on. The thing is that the National bearings come with retainer rings (collars) that are approximately 5/8 inch thick--much thicker than the OE rings. The result was that when I went to reinstall the axles, I found that the they bottomed out on the oil seals: I couldn't tighten the nuts on the retaining plate. Ooops.

4) The original retaining rings are modest next to the huge National ones. They have a step profile you can see in the manual and in this photo:

post-101403-143142769571_thumb.jpg

at the thickest point, it measures .377 inches. I got NOS's from Buick Farm for $6 each, thinking that the shop could just cut the thick new collars off and pop these on. They said they couldn't, that they needed to heat the rings as well as cutting, and that would ruin the bearing. Don't know if this is right but I wasn't going to run from shop to shop. I sprung for new Nationals and had the NOS rings put on.

5) If I had it to do over, I might just look on rockauto at lesser priced bearings that appear to come with skinnier retaining rings. They're good about putting dimensions on their parts, as people have pointed out.

6) Anyway, after I got the second set of bearings on there, I lubed things up as directed in the manual and everything went on fine. The manual also calls for a gasket between the backing plate and the retainer plate. They were gone on mine, and I gather that most people leave these off. (They are apparently there not to keep fluid from leaking out, but from keeping break dust out of the bearing area.) CARS has them for $4.50, but I didn't want to wait for that; I got some for a Mustang and had to cut new bolt holes, but basically it worked.

So, after spending twice what I should have, it's done. I'm unsure as to why no one else has reported this problem with the 5/8 inch collars. There's even another thread here with a picture of them, and a member said they'd work, and there was no sign they didn't for that guy. But not for me, I wasn't imagining things: I could see on the oil seal how the thick collar was rubbing up against it. Anyway, beware, and measure measure measure.

Oh: btw, new bearings didn't fix the noise problem I had in the 1st place...

n

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