Preload your bearings or not?
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    Preload your bearings or not?

    I just serviced my trailers, 5 axles in all, for the year (hopefully). On a few of the wheels the castle nut fell perfectly on the cotter pin hole such that I either had to back off or go forward which adds a smidge of preload to the bearings. Backing off leaves the tiniest bit of wobble in the wheel so I opt for a little preload instead. Just curious what others do.
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    Senior GTT Super Slacker Gizmo2's Avatar
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    I've always figured either way is good. Tight right up then back off.
    Last edited by Gizmo2; 04-23-2019 at 05:58 PM.
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    I've never added preload to a wheel bearing. Normally, I torque the nut to a certain spec, then back off the nut about 1/8-1/4 turn. If the bearing nut is too snug, there's a chance that the bearing will build heat and sling the grease out.
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    If you pre-load, the bearing assembly will expand due to heat from use,,,
    the expansion will force all the grease out of the bearing, the bearing will fail.

    Bearings will not work without a film of lubricant.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CADplans View Post
    If you pre-load, the bearing assembly will expand due to heat from use,,,
    the expansion will force all the grease out of the bearing, the bearing will fail.

    Bearings will not work without a film of lubricant.
    I guess we'll see what the bearings look like next spring
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillijp View Post
    I guess we'll see what the bearings look like next spring
    On my pj trailers they say to torque to a certain ft. Lbs. donít remember the exact value but around 55lbs I think. Then loosen and turn nut to touch again and put in closest castle nut slot. Closest is maybe not the correct term. Go backwards to the first is a better term, if it is close to the next one that is fine if you can get there with your finger. If you need a tool that is too tight.
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    From the Timken book!!!!

    MANUAL BEARING SETTINGManual methods are frequently used to set bearings on avariety of equipment with low to moderate volume productionrequirements whereby a non- exact, primarily end play, settingrange variation is acceptable. No special tooling, gauges,charts or fixtures are typically required, but assemblerís skilland judgment are necessary. For example, in the case of aconventional truck non-driven wheel with a single adjustingnut design (Figure 3), manual setting involves tightening theadjusting nut while rotating the wheel until a slight bind is felt.Then the adjusting nut is backed off 1/6 to 1/4 turn to the nearestlocking hole or sufficiently to allow the wheel to rotate freelywith some minimal end play. The adjusting nut is then locked inthis position. Skill and judgment are required to determine whenthe wheel binds slightly in rotation. The more complicated theequipment and/or the larger and heavier it is, the greater degreeof skill and judgment required.

    https://www.timken.com/wp-content/up...Brochure-1.pdf
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    Iíve always preloaded. Torque to spec while spinning. Back it off to next hole. All of the aviation schools and everything Iíve been taught ha aligned with that procedure. Never had a bearing failure associated with it.

    I have seen loose bearings cause issues though....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray_PA View Post
    From the Timken book!!!!

    MANUAL BEARING SETTINGManual methods are frequently used to set bearings on avariety of equipment with low to moderate volume productionrequirements whereby a non- exact, primarily end play, settingrange variation is acceptable. No special tooling, gauges,charts or fixtures are typically required, but assemblerís skilland judgment are necessary. For example, in the case of aconventional truck non-driven wheel with a single adjustingnut design (Figure 3), manual setting involves tightening theadjusting nut while rotating the wheel until a slight bind is felt.Then the adjusting nut is backed off 1/6 to 1/4 turn to the nearestlocking hole or sufficiently to allow the wheel to rotate freelywith some minimal end play. The adjusting nut is then locked inthis position. Skill and judgment are required to determine whenthe wheel binds slightly in rotation. The more complicated theequipment and/or the larger and heavier it is, the greater degreeof skill and judgment required.

    https://www.timken.com/wp-content/up...Brochure-1.pdf
    Apparently skillandjudgment arenot required to writ theyer manuals.

    Maybe the writer was preloaded...
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    Torquing the adjustment nut while rotating the wheel is performed to displace grease grease between the spindle and the inner bearing races and to seat them on the spindle. Backing off the nut after that is to remove the preload. Often, the shop manuals will also provide and end play specification if your not comfortable with your skill and experience level.
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