Clicking wheel bearing (only in reverse)?

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Clicking wheel bearing (only in reverse)?

Postby les45 » Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:52 am

I installed a new Dexter axle on my current pop-up project with stock 12" tires. Just to be sure, I re-packed the bearings before my first trip. First camp was about 500 miles round trip with no issues. No noise and hubs did not get hot. When moving the trailer manually with dolly upon return, I get a clicking sound in one wheel when moving backwards. I plan to re-pack that one side again just to see what is going on. Anyone have any idea what might be causing this noise?
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Re: Clicking wheel bearing (only in reverse)?

Postby Billy C. » Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:00 pm

You didn't mention if you had brakes on your axle. If you do that is what is making the noise some times the electromagnets on the end of the arms drag, and that can make the noise you describe. Check for a bent arm. If you don't have brakes then you have either a bad bearing or loose race in the hub. Are the bearings snug or is there slop in them when you jack it up and try wiggling the wheel. Some folks like to leave the bearings a little loose thinking that the greas needs clearance to run. The opposite is true you need a little preload so that the bearings get warm enough to melt the grease. Try that and see if it helps Billy
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Re: Clicking wheel bearing (only in reverse)?

Postby les45 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:09 pm

Billy C. wrote:You didn't mention if you had brakes on your axle. If you do that is what is making the noise some times the electromagnets on the end of the arms drag, and that can make the noise you describe. Check for a bent arm. If you don't have brakes then you have either a bad bearing or loose race in the hub. Are the bearings snug or is there slop in them when you jack it up and try wiggling the wheel. Some folks like to leave the bearings a little loose thinking that the greas needs clearance to run. The opposite is true you need a little preload so that the bearings get warm enough to melt the grease. Try that and see if it helps Billy


No brakes. I'll be taking the hub apart and probably replace the bearings with American made quality bearings whether they are good or bad. I was kind of surprised to find that Dexter used Chinese bearings when I re-packed them the first time.
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Re: Clicking wheel bearing (only in reverse)?

Postby Billy C. » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:32 pm

I have seen bearing races loose in the hub right from the factory. If they are Chinese bearings it could be the races if the new races don't fit tight the hubs need replaced. And with a new axle they should just give them to you.
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Re: Clicking wheel bearing (only in reverse)?

Postby KennethW » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:42 pm

Billy C. wrote:You didn't mention if you had brakes on your axle. If you do that is what is making the noise some times the electromagnets on the end of the arms drag, and that can make the noise you describe. Check for a bent arm. If you don't have brakes then you have either a bad bearing or loose race in the hub. Are the bearings snug or is there slop in them when you jack it up and try wiggling the wheel. Some folks like to leave the bearings a little loose thinking that the greas needs clearance to run. The opposite is true you need a little preload so that the bearings get warm enough to melt the grease. Try that and see if it helps Billy


No way do you want pre-load on the bearing. As the bearings warm they get tighter. A sure way to be setting beside the road with a failed bearing is to have them too tight. Why would anyone want to melt the grease out of there bearings?
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Re: Clicking wheel bearing (only in reverse)?

Postby PaulC » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:26 pm

KennethW wrote:
Billy C. wrote:You didn't mention if you had brakes on your axle. If you do that is what is making the noise some times the electromagnets on the end of the arms drag, and that can make the noise you describe. Check for a bent arm. If you don't have brakes then you have either a bad bearing or loose race in the hub. Are the bearings snug or is there slop in them when you jack it up and try wiggling the wheel. Some folks like to leave the bearings a little loose thinking that the greas needs clearance to run. The opposite is true you need a little preload so that the bearings get warm enough to melt the grease. Try that and see if it helps Billy


No way do you want pre-load on the bearing. As the bearings warm they get tighter. A sure way to be setting beside the road with a failed bearing is to have them too tight. Why would anyone want to melt the grease out of there bearings?


Too loose and you run the risk of severe overheating of the bearing. You do need a certain amount of preload to ensure the bearings are running on the races. And, the grease has to melt to do its job properly. Not into a totally liquid state but more of a thick syrup.

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Re: Clicking wheel bearing (only in reverse)?

Postby KennethW » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:46 pm

PaulC wrote:Too loose and you run the risk of severe overheating of the bearing. You do need a certain amount of preload to ensure the bearings are running on the races. And, the grease has to melt to do its job properly. Not into a totally liquid state but more of a thick syrup.

If the grease needs to melt to work properly. Why do they sell high temp bearing grease? Yes bearings should not be loose but they should not have pre-load. If you feel drag when hand spinning the wheel the bearing is too tie. Just don't want people thinking they should over tighten the bearings. Have never seen a loose bearing overheat but I have seen to tight overheat.
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Re: Clicking wheel bearing (only in reverse)?

Postby Dale M. » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:13 am

Everything I have read and applied states a loose bearing is better than a to tight bearings.. Tapered bearing in most automotive applications do not require a preload, all the instructions I have ever encountered state to tighten nut till you can notice some drag on bearing ( yes- preload) and then BACK OFF the nut till the drag disappears (no preload)...

Excerpt from this article.... http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/ho ... 9/4205243/

Reinstall the brake disc (or drum) on the spindle, insert the small outer bearing, and place the washer and thread on the nut. Run the nut home by hand, then tighten it a little more with a wrench while spinning the brake with the other hand. This seats the bearing further and sets its preload. Keep spinning while tightening. You'll feel the bearing start to bind slightly as you tighten more. Stop there.

Now back off the nut with the wrench until you feel that resist­ance dissipate, and one of the castellations on the nut lines up with the cotter pin hole. Use a new cotter pin. Don't overtighten the spindle nut. Better to keep it on the looser side than make it too tight if the cotter pin holes don't line up just right. To finish the job, fill the dust cap halfway with grease and tap it back on. Reinstall the brake caliper, then scrub the brake disc with brake cleaner to remove any grease or even handprints from the friction surface. Reinstall the wheel by torquing the lug nuts to the manufacturer's specified torque in a star pattern. Remove the safety stand, lower the vehicle and take it for a road test.




From this article.... https://www.championtrailers.com/pre-lo ... -bearings/

Pre-Loading Trailer Wheel Bearings

Pre Loading Bearings:


Whenever you install new hubs or new bearings and races into an old hub, you should pre-load the bearings. Pre-loading the bearings assures that the races in the hubs are 100% in place against their machined stop points and keeps the hub from wobbling after a few miles.

To pre-load the bearings, install the spindle washer and spindle nut onto the spindle with the hub and bearings in place.

Tighten the spindle nut finger tight (until snug) and then with channel-lock pliers or a crescent wrench, tighten the spindle nut another 1/4 turn or about 15 to 20 ft pounds of torque.

Now turn the hub ten revolutions. This will fully seat the races.
Now loosen the spindle nut very loose, then re-snug to finger tight, and engage the nut retaining device (some reverse lubricating spindles use a tab washer for the retaining device)


AND... When trying to place cotter pin in castle nut and spindle IT is proper to BACK OFF nut till next slot in nut is located over hole in spindle ... NOT tighten till next slot/hole align...

I have always run a slight bit of play in all my trailer bearing/spindle combinations and vehicle front wheel bearings I can't remember ever having a bearing failure due to having bearing to lose (57 years of pushing vehicles down the road)...

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Re: Clicking wheel bearing (only in reverse)?

Postby Billy C. » Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:46 pm

I sure didn't want to start a war with this post. With that said as a professional heavy equipment mechanic for the last forty years, I think I know what I'm talking about. I will address the points as they was made. The first is high temp grease, high temp grease is a grease with a slightly higher burn point. The point at which the grease is in real danger of catching on fire. It is usually used with disc brakes, and if you ever had a caliper hang up you know how hot it can get. It has nothing to do with what temp it starts turning to liquid. Also known as the melt point. The other point is preload, as opposed to clearance. Clearance is a gap in between the bearings and races. On large class 8 trucks the bearing preload is 100 ft. Pounds on a small trailer you could probably get by with no preload at all. But a little about 5 foot pounds will be even better. The reason for this is they are tapered roller bearings. If they are run loose then the contact patch of the bearings is reduced. It will also allow the wheel and tire to wobble and that leads to premature bearing failure. When you put new bearings in a hub you should over torque the nut to seat them but don't get to carried away as you can square the rollers out. Then back off and retorque the bearings. The last reason to preload is two fold the bearings will experience the majority of their wear in the first hundred miles or so. The end result of this is that you end up with loose bearings. And the last is it creates some heat to get the grease to melt and flow better. I'm not making this stuff up you can go to timkin bearings web site and look this stuff up yourself. I am not trying to prolong this disagreement or make anyone look bad. No one had answered the original post so I thought I would try to help. As soon as I posted i got some responses. LOL. I have had to fix wheel bearings on the side of the road many many times, mostly in really bad weather. Because or this very reason. How do I know it's because of this reason the rest of the bearings on the trailer or truck were loose. And that brings up something else about wheel bearings. Back in the day to do a brake job you would almost have to remove the hub to get at the brakes (drum brakes). With the use of disc brakes on our tow vehicles you don't have to pull the hub. Of course the car makers have gone to unit bearings so the can't be adjusted just replaced. But if you do your own brakes it doesn't hurt to check your wheel bearings. I really don't want to see anyone have wheel bearing problems on the side of the road, ruining your vacation. As I stated earlier I don't want to start any controversy with anyone I'm just trying to help Billy
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Re: Clicking wheel bearing (only in reverse)?

Postby Socal Tom » Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:21 am

The wheel bearing failures I’ve seen were all due to poor wheel bearing packing. Here is a video from Dexter axle with proper method for packing wheel bearings. https://youtu.be/ZAHrd9woo60


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Re: Clicking wheel bearing (only in reverse)?

Postby featherliteCT1 » Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:17 pm

My trailer has Dexter axles. Below is the Dexter axle instructions on how to adjust the wheel bearings. Hope this helps.

https://www.dexteraxle.com/docs/default ... f?sfvrsn=8

Bearing Adjustment and Hub Replacement
If the hub has been removed or bearing adjustment is required, the following adjustment procedure must be followed:
After placing the hub, bearings, washers, and spindle nut back on the axle spindle in reverse order as detailed in the previous section on hub removal, rotate the hub assembly slowly while tightening the spindle nut to approximately 50 lbs.-ft (12" wrench or pliers with full hand force). Then loosen the spindle nut to remove the torque. Do not rotate the hub.
Finger tighten the spindle nut until just snug.
Back the spindle nut out slightly until the first castellation lines up with the cotter key hole and insert the cotter pin (or locking tang in the case of E-Z LubeTM).
Bend over the cotter pin legs to secure the nut (or locking tang in the case of E-Z LubeTM).
Nut should be free to move with only restraint being the cotter pin (or locking tang).
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Re: Clicking wheel bearing (only in reverse)?

Postby Dale M. » Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:36 am

More than you ever wanted to know about tapered roller bearings...

http://www.timken.com/engineering-tools/

Some interesting reading on pages about 25 through 60 (something)...

http://www.timken.com/wp-content/upload ... atalog.pdf

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Re: Clicking wheel bearing (only in reverse)?

Postby friz » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:26 pm

I found this little gem in the info Dale gave us.

https://youtu.be/0RqlrnoiqnY
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Re: Clicking wheel bearing (only in reverse)?

Postby les45 » Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:48 am

This thread kind of got off course with the extensive discussion on pre-load. No one really talked about the possible causes of a noise only in reverse. Anyway, I took both wheels off today with the intentions of re-packing both bearings and checking for any damage. I had bought a whole new set of Timken bearings and seals in case I needed them. As it turns out, the hubs were good and tight with absolutely no play but they still spun easily in both directions with no noise. Since I had no problems on the first trip, I decided to simply put the wheels back on and keep an eye on them on my next trip. I have two complete re-packed hub assemblies from the old axle that I carry for spares. Eventually, I will install the Timken bearings but I'm going to see how these work for a while longer.
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Re: Clicking wheel bearing (only in reverse)?

Postby dmdc411 » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:15 pm

I'm not going to join in on the lubing and peload setting of this conversation. The clicking you hear I have an answer. Not being there, I can not be sure. But my bet is your cotter pin is rubbing on the cap!! Seen it, heard it, and fixed it after it wore a hole in the cap!!

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