Mark Simpson

Packing Bearings

Mark Simpson
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Duration:   8  mins

Packing and repacking bearings on a classic car is a critical maintenance task that ensures the proper functioning and longevity of the vehicle’s wheel bearings. Wheel bearings play a crucial role in supporting the weight of the vehicle and facilitating smooth rotation of the wheels. Over time, bearings can become worn out or contaminated with dirt and debris, leading to increased friction, heat generation, and potential failure. Therefore, packing and repacking bearings is essential to maintain optimal performance and safety.

We join Mark Simpson in the shop where he explains the importance of Packing and Repacking Bearings for these three key reasons:

Safety: Properly functioning wheel bearings are essential for safe driving. Worn or improperly lubricated bearings can lead to wheel instability, which can result in loss of control and accidents.

Performance: Well-lubricated bearings reduce friction and ensure smooth wheel rotation, contributing to overall vehicle performance and fuel efficiency.

Longevity: Regular maintenance, including packing and repacking bearings, extends the lifespan of wheel bearings, reducing the need for costly repairs or replacements.

Simpson further explains that the process of packing and repacking bearings is not difficult but using the right tools and supplies can make the entire process more enjoyable. He adds here is the basic process of cleaning and packing a bearing:

Preparation: Gather the necessary tools and materials, including new grease, gloves, rags, and a seal puller (if needed). Ensure the vehicle is safely elevated on jack stands or a lift.

Removal: Remove the wheel and brake components to access the wheel bearings. Depending on the car’s design, you may need to remove the dust cap or hub assembly to access the bearings.

Cleaning: Thoroughly clean the bearing housing, spindle, and other components using a suitable solvent and a brush or rag. Remove all old grease and debris to prevent contamination.

Inspection: Carefully inspect the bearings, races, and seals for signs of wear, pitting, or damage. Replace any worn or damaged components as needed to ensure proper function.

Packing: Apply a generous amount of high-quality wheel bearing grease to the palm of your hand. Press the edge of the bearing into the grease, forcing it into the gaps between the rollers until the bearing is fully packed with grease. Repeat this process for each bearing. Simpson points out there are other tools that can make the packing process easier and less messy. He demonstrates the three most used methods for packing bearings.

Installation: Carefully install the packed bearings back into the bearing housing or hub assembly. Ensure proper alignment and seating of the bearings.

Sealing: Replace any damaged or worn seals with new ones to prevent moisture and contaminants from entering the bearing housing.

Reassembly: Reinstall the brake components, dust cap, and wheel. Torque the wheel nuts to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Testing: After completing the packing and repacking process for all wheels, test drive the vehicle to ensure proper functionality and smooth wheel rotation.

Regular maintenance intervals for packing and repacking bearings may vary depending on driving conditions and length of time between repacking cycles. However, it’s generally recommended to inspect and service wheel bearings at least once a year or every 12,000 miles to ensure optimal performance and safety.

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