Rear Wheel Bearing Replacement

by Chris Chubb

First a peeve: Whoever the junior engineer was that wrote up the rear wheel bearing procedure for the Bentley for the '68-72 Busses never came within 500 yards of a rear wheel bearing. Don't believe anything you read about the rear bearing in there.

That said, down to the correct procedure.

I just tore both rear wheel bearing carriers off of my '71 bus, and this is the real procedure:

1) Mark the diagonal bar, trailing arm and bearing carrier with a cold chisel, so that you can align everything up after the changeover. Mark top and bottom.

2) Remove the shock, brake hose, castellated nut, lug nuts, brake hardware, CV, etc. in the most appropriate order.

3) Remove the wheel bearing carrier, that monster assemblage of steel and the brake backing plate, together. Take into your workshop or other clean area.

4) Push the axle stub out the center. Use a block of wood to assist if needed.

[Here is where the Bentley manual diverges greatly...]

5) Put the roller bearing inside race in a plastic sandwich bag. Bentley shows the roller bearing having the rollers come out with the center, like the front hub. They really stay with the outer race.

6) Remove the brake backing plate. The Bentley shows the little stud behind the adjusting stars as staying in the bearing housing. It really stays in the brake backing plate. Drift it out from the other side.

7) Use a seal remover to remove the grease seals. Toss em in the trash.

8) Here is hard part #1. Remove the circlip from the 'back' (inner side) of the bearing housing. It is strong, and I bent two sets of circlip pliers, including some $29 Snap-Ons before I resorted to prying and chiseling it out. (Bending those pliers put me in a bad mood, I had to take a breather for some hot chocolate.) Bentley says in three places that there are two circlips, one on each side. The diagram only shows one, but other things are wrong on there, too.

9) Here is hard part #2. You have to push the spacer to the side because it wont come out until the ball bearing comes out of the 'back' side. Bentley says it will fall right out, but it wont. I pushed the spacer to the side, reached a screwdriver down the side and drifted it out a little bit at a time, working the screwdriver around and around. Hint: Use a 3 lb sledge instead of a lightweight hammer for drifting bearing races. You should not use a steel screwdriver when installing the bearings, you will scratch the bearings and screw them up.

10) When the ball bearing comes out, pull out the spacer and put it in your plastic baggie.

11) Drift the roller bearing out the 'front' of the bearing housing with a broad bronze drift.

Cheapskate note: $8 is waaay too much for a brass drift. Get some monster aluminum nails (gutter spikes) and cut the pointy ends off. They are about $.30 each, and you can cut the end off about 6-7 times as they mushroom.

12) Installation is the reverse of removal. (No other 6 words in the English language strike so much fear into a mechanics heart.) Actually, that was this mornings work. Installation will come after much cleaning, painting, greasing, etc. )

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