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Discussion Starter #1
putting the left front tire back on this morning, i noticed if i grabbed the top and bottom of the tire and pushed/pulled, there was some play.

gonna' take a stab in the dark and assume this is not normal? what would be the most likely cause? wheel bearing? ball joint? lugs were tight. thanks-

billy
1970 351W
power assist front discs
 

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Sounds like the wheel bearing to me....have you had that apart recently? Also, drums or disc brakes? Duh, just read your profile...easy to do if it ONLY needs a little tweek to tighten it back up...very gently grab the bearing dust cover with a pair of channel locks and remove it, then remove the cotter pin, pull off the castle nut, and back the nut off (take it off), pull the rotor a little towards you and the bearing should come out, re-pack the bearing with grease and replace into the race, then put the nut/washer back on and tighten it until it stops (Tight) then back it off and run it up till it stops (don't over-do it) and put the castle nut back on and insert the cotter pin...and put it back together. If the bearing is junk replace it and the race. Clear as mud?
 

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X2 on don't overdo it - there should be slight play or the bearings could overheat/seize. The rule of thumb is to snugh it up finger tight until the thing seems resistive when you spin it - then back it off about 1/2 turn. It should spin freely.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
X2 on don't overdo it - there should be slight play or the bearings could overheat/seize. The rule of thumb is to snugh it up finger tight until the thing seems resistive when you spin it - then back it off about 1/2 turn. It should spin freely.
this is a front wheel so kind of tough to "spin it". by slight play, what do you mean? when i push/pull on the wheel i get enough play to make a noise as it rocks back and forth. too much, right?
 

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Yepper...clunking is not good...bearing is either loose or needs to be replaced...might "get by" with a little tightening and repack the bearing.
 

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Could be; Wheel bearing, upper or lower ball joint, upper control arm bushings or lower control arm bushing and or bolt/camber cam assy. Should be able to pin it down by sound and visual inspection. Find a Gorilla to shake the wheel, while you have a look around. May be easier to diagnose, if you compress the coil spring a little.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Could be; Wheel bearing, upper or lower ball joint, upper control arm bushings or lower control arm bushing and or bolt/camber cam assy. Should be able to pin it down by sound and visual inspection. Find a Gorilla to shake the wheel, while you have a look around. May be easier to diagnose, if you compress the coil spring a little.
if it is a wheel bearing, would it most likely be the inner or outer? put on the correct spindles, used, last summer, including bearings. there is no bearing type noise. just the play i mentioned before.
 

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In my experience the inner bearing fails more often that outer and are noisy when they go out. If something is damaged or out of tolerance the affected part will show wear. There should be no play at all if the bearing, hub, spindle assy. are within tolerances and properly adjusted. If you tighten the wheel bearings, just to the point where the wheel will not rotate easily (slightly over tightened) and still have play, there is an incorrect part installed or significant damage. Most common part to go out (beside the spring perch) are the upper control arm bushings and they will make the wheel feel clunky and loose, if you shake the tire. If you compress the coil spring enough to take the load off of the suspension, it will be easier to identify the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
In my experience the inner bearing fails more often that outer and are noisy when they go out. If something is damaged or out of tolerance the affected part will show wear. There should be no play at all if the bearing, hub, spindle assy. are within tolerances and properly adjusted. If you tighten the wheel bearings, just to the point where the wheel will not rotate easily (slightly over tightened) and still have play, there is an incorrect part installed or significant damage. Most common part to go out (beside the spring perch) are the upper control arm bushings and they will make the wheel feel clunky and loose, if you shake the tire. If you compress the coil spring enough to take the load off of the suspension, it will be easier to identify the problem.
i have had a couple techs suggest the UCA bushings. is that replacement something i can do at home?
 

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For the price and labor if you are going to replace the bushing why not replace the entire upper control arm with one from WCCC. I think you can replace it as cheap as you cold re-install new bushings. Also if you do have a problem on one side with the upper control arm bushing would I be wrong to suggest both sides get replaced? Then a good alignment?
 

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Right - pushing in out on the hub/rotor should give just a bit (I'm talking with tire off) - but also look at your control arm bushings and see if they are moving or obviously worn
 

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There seems to be much confusion on the wheel bearing subject. The generic spec is zero preload on drum brakes and a slight preload on disc brakes. Reason I'm told is drum brakes are not affected by slight bearing play while bearing play on disc brakes can cause more brake pedal movement on apply because the play will push the caliper pistons back in slightly. Slight preload on disk brake systems is also said to lessen the chance of squeaks etc.

Info available on the net is spotty at best, mostly forum posts asking the same question. Some info is available from bearing manufactures though everything I find is more related to trucks and trucking than cars. 4x4 trucks and HD rigs use two nuts to adjust bearing preload. The inner nut is tightened to a given spec, hub rotated, inner nut loosened then tightened to another spec followed by loosening the nut by a 1/8, 1/4 or half a turn. Reason being when the outer nut is torqued the play gets removed because the outer nut forces the inner closer do to thread slop. Because of this you can't use this procedure with a single nut and cotter pin system. Using such a method will cause excessive play in the bearings. Shorted bearing life and added play in the steering.

Finding spec's and procedures for every make and model is close to impossible. Through years of experience I have found zero preload to be a reliable method. Snug the nut down, rotate the hub several revolutions, then back off the nut and tighten finger tight. Note the spindle and nut threads must be in good shape and not causing binding of the threads. If I have a factory spec I of course use them. A lack of bearing preload is much better than excessive preload. See screen shot of Fords front wheel bearing adjustment procedure for 1985 Ford LTD CV below.

Bill
 

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