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Doing My own Rear Wheel Bearings

wrc3

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
228
Location
Arlington, VA
Corvette
1976 L-48
Anybody wanna stop me, or warn me about things I should or should not do before starting in on this project.

I have done a lot of minor mechanical work, but this will be what I consider to be my first major project. But, that is the reason I bought her. To fix and learn, learn and fix.

Any must have tools, or must know facts before I get into this? I am going on diagrams and Haynes books, anything else I should know?

B
 

69MyWay

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2001
Messages
4,364
Location
Auburndale, Florida
Corvette
1969 Killer Shark
Did my own. This is a little bit of an intimidating job. First, at the least you need the brass knocker tool that can be obtained from Mid America, etc.

Screw it on the threaded end, and after several swift hard direct and straight whacks, the spindle will pop out.

You really need to get an extra spindle and have it turned down on a lathe for a slip fit on the bearings.

Get good quality made in the usa bearings and seals. You can get them from G.M. Autozone and Napa carry some good brands.

You will want to get a shim kit of a variety of shims. You can get a shim kit from Van Steele.

Mid America sells a special slip fit spindle tool to set the shim height, but same can be done with a spare slip fit spindle axle.

You also really need a press, access to a press, or a good friend with a press to punch out and remove the old bearing races, then press the new ones in.

With the slip fit axle, you can set the whole assembly up on the bench. Start out with the thickest shim, grease the bearings, and set it up and snug the nut down. Check the end play. Keep going down in shim sizes and check the play. You will eventually hit a shim that causes it to be too tight and bind up, then back up. Now you are in the ballpark. You will get different tolerance measurments from different sources. The Haynes and Chiltons manuals are okay. Don't sweat Van Steele when he tells you it has to be like .002. That is so tight, you can't even measure it, so don't try it. Plus, you won't have much choice as you can pretty much only set it with in the shims you have.

Oh, get a new spacer tube as well when you get the shim kit. You may end up swaping old vs. new spacer tubes as well as old and new shims to get the magic fit.

When you have found the best fit, pull out the dummy axle, and go for the full assembly.

One last thing. You obviously won't put the seals in until you are putting the final assembly together. The seal will rub the hub and create friction, thus making the bearing feel tight. Don't get scared if you final assembly does not spin as free as it did with the dummy axle and no dust/grease seals in place.


Have fun! Take plenty of pictures and keep us posted. Just remember, you are saving a freakin fortune by doing this yourself. Just keep telling yourself that!!!!
 

wrc3

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
228
Location
Arlington, VA
Corvette
1976 L-48
ugh

My confidence level just dropped...tremendously.

B
 

a69vette

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 20, 2001
Messages
264
Location
Valrico, Fl.
Corvette
1969 Triple Black Convertible: 2014 Crys Red Conv
Look up "VanSteel" on the net. They did all my work. Well worth it!! Good luck.

Rick
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2002
Messages
7,246
Location
Washington, Michigan
Corvette
'67 Marina Blue Convertible
This is NOT a job for a casual weekend mechanic - requires some special tools, precision measuring devices, a press, and experience, and if you don't get it right, the results can be disastrous. I'd recommend sending it out to Van Steel (Florida) or Bair's (Pennsylvania). Most Chevy dealers don't know how to do it either, unless they happen to have an older guy who really knows '63-'82 Corvettes. Bair's and Van Steel do it every single day and have a great reputation for quality work.
 

wrc3

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
228
Location
Arlington, VA
Corvette
1976 L-48
um....

Ya I have done suspension upgrades to other vehicles, u-joints, brakes, general engine work and upgrades, but I am kind of concerned about the specifications of play and whether I will know exactly how to do that.

One guy I took it to just wanted to replace the entire rear trailing arms and realign it. I mean you start talking that kind of money and I have a lot of bank to play with.

I mean 2300.00 versus doing it myself....

B
 
B

Bullitt

Guest
Wow..... I'm not sure where that guy is getting his prices, but that is way out there. I think Van Steel is something like $170 for each side without rotor matching and $215 with rotor, rebuilding on your originals. Shipping should be something like $20 or so per side.

--Bullitt
 

ChuckG

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 24, 2001
Messages
585
Location
Florida
Corvette
63FI, 69BB
Listen to JohnZ. Not a job for the casual weekend mechanic. One more thing....you MIGHT find that your trailing arms are rusted, bent, etc. after you remove them. If so, then you will need to buy a new T arm. Why not save yourself LOTS of grief. Be the general contractor....remove the trailing arms and send them out to the pros....Yogi Bair or Van Steel. Those rebuild prices assume you don't need a new T arm. I see you're in Virginia. Tony's Corvette Shop in Gaithersburg, MD did both of my T arms last winter. EXCELLENT job. I just dropped them off, and picked them up 2 weeks later. Chuck
 

topless82vette

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 1, 2001
Messages
910
Location
southern california
Corvette
1982 convertible (not factory) stock 350cfi auto
I got a question I took all the weight of my car (jackstands all 4 corners ... when idling car in gear I get quite a bit of vibration and noise from the trailing arms both sides is this normal or is everything shot in the trailing arms or is it doing it because there is no weight on the tires, dont hear anything from the back of car while driving it
 
G

gb4622

Guest
Oh, topless82vette you shouldn't do that.

The rear of our cars are designed to run with the wheels on the ground to horizontally align the differential with the rear wheel bearings. (This kinda keeps everthing in a straight line as viewed from the rear of the car... does this make sense?)

You can do real damage if you operate the car with the rear wheels hanging. This puts a ton of stress on the differential, side yokes, u-joints, wheel bearings and spindles. All the manuals recommend against this.

Should you want to run the car with the wheels off the ground, at a minimum you should put jack stands under the trailing arms so that the drivetrain remains horizontal as would be if the wheels were on the ground. (But I wouldn't recommend this unless absolutly necessary.)

For now, please turn your engine off before something bad happens.

-- Roger
 
B

Big Fish

Guest
Just my 2 cents: Install new parking brakes before going for final assembly. If you are getting rebuilds, check to see if they are installed. Installing new parking brakes after assembly is complete is about the most frustrating thing I have ever done.
 

wrc3

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
228
Location
Arlington, VA
Corvette
1976 L-48
Well I think the guy I took it too was talking about a brand new entire trailing arm assembly. I have seen those for about 800.00 bucks each. So he got the price from 1600.00 for parts and another 700 for labor and alignment.

B
 

wrc3

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
228
Location
Arlington, VA
Corvette
1976 L-48
Also if I remove the trailing arms and take them to get rebuilt, when I put them back in does the rear end need to be aligned?

B
 
S

sac001

Guest
Yes and no. You should re-align it just in case, but if you use the same number and dimension of shims on the insside and outside of each T-Arm, it should be about the same as long as you don't mess with the Strut rod adjustments.

By the way, I'm with the others on this one. Pull the T-Arms yourself, and send them out for overhaul. While your at it replace all the U-joints in the half shafts, and the bushings for the spring. I'm no big mechanic, just like you I think, minor mechanical nuts & bolts stuff, and I did mine over the winter and it was considerably easier than I thought it would be.

Get the Assembly Manual, and just pay attention with removal and installation.

Good luck,
Steve :w
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2002
Messages
7,246
Location
Washington, Michigan
Corvette
'67 Marina Blue Convertible
When you send the T-arms out for rebuild, they'll also R&R the front bushings, which will change your toe-in setting somewhat; you'll need an alignment to re-set it. Hint: buy some shims and take them with you when you go to the alignment shop - they may not have any, and they may need some.
 
B

Bullitt

Guest
Just to be clear, the prices I quoted were for the spindle assembly disconnected from the trailing arm. It's a bit more if you send the arms to be redone with bushings and paint.

--Bullitt
 
B

bioandy

Guest
Which do you have more of - time? money? or desire to learn about, and fix your vette? I had more of the latter, and recently completed a rear suspension rebuild on my 70 Roadster.

All the information offered by others is valid. You have a wide range of options available to tailor your involvemnet in the project.

If you decide to set up the bearings yourself, you might want to read another description of the process contained at this website, www.idavette.net/hib/BBfHInet12.htm

I purchased a dial indicator guage with a universal mount for the task. (MSC Industrial supply for under $100) I'm sure an experienced vette mechanic might be able to do it by feel and experience, but this was my first attempt. I also used the dial indicator to check/adjust runout at the disc brake rotor when I got to that part of assembly.

I was fortunate enough to be able to rent some of the specialty tools required for the bearing setup from a local corvette specialist. Also farmed out to them anything that needed a press. (bearings from spindles, and install trailing arm pivot bushings)

Consider new fastenings for whatever you dismantle.
Found the job difficult, not having a lift and all.

I'm sure the job took me 10 times longer than an experienced vette mechanic, but then there's that satisfaction thing.

Good luck! Let us know how you proceed.

Daily Driver,

Andy
 
V

vmrod

Guest
I recently rebuilt my entire rear end.

Trailing arms were removed and sent to Bair's corvette. $300
All new SS parking brake hardware, new paint, bearing, spacers, TA bushings, recondition spindle & rotor, everything looks like brand new!

Tubular strut rods were installed w/polyurethane bushings. All new heavy-duty U-joints were put in. (drive shaft and half shafts were cleaned and painted. Replaced the rear differential crossmember cushions. Added new composite spring and polyurethane cushions.

Had rear brake caliper rebuilt w/SS sleeves and o-rings. New SS brake tubing and SS braided lines.

New shocks and sway bar to be installed soon!

The entire process was not difficult, I just took my time with it.
 

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