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How do I know my wheel bearings are going bad?


photojournalyst

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photojournalyst

On a car I just add stress turning from one side to the other at speed and listen to the noise. Not an option with two wheels. How do you know when the bearings are starting to go?

 

Thanks!

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Get the wheel off the ground and check for any lateral or horizontal free play. With the rotors off (so their drag isn't distracting) feel for any movement, grittiness, bind or similar as you slowly rotate the wheel. Look for any signs of leakage of lubricant.

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At what kind of mileage/age do the wheel bearings get worn out - I know it depends on usage etc but just wondered at what mileage/age anyone has had to replace them ?

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I would suggest checking them with the wheel off, whenever you do a front tire change. Reach in and rotate the inner race with your thumb and check for any roughness. By the time you can detect this by rotating the wheel on the bike I'd say you've gone well beyond too far on a bad bearing.

 

How long do they live... depends. I just went about 75k on the original set, then one side starting getting a little scratchy so I replaced them both. When I disassembled and inspected the bearing it was clearly in the early stages of failure but the wheel still rotated perfectly smoothly while on the bike. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to replace them at 50k intervals to be safe... when purchased from a bearing supply house they aren't very expensive.

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photojournalyst

When you say bearing supply house, my cheap persnickity side perks up and wonders how this is done. I'm at 46k, and though my tires are in great shape (only 5k on them, holding up fantastic) I would rather replace them at a decent interval then have them fail.

 

So how does one replace from bearing supply then $tealership?

 

Thanks for the help!

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So how does one replace from bearing supply then $tealership?
Just ask for a 3205-RS (or 5205-2RS, same part, different number) and a 6204-2RS bearing (one each). First number is for the left side bearing and the second number is for the right.
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At the Oilhead seminar in VT, they said all the oilheads had sealed bearings in the front wheel and if you get a grease mark at the wheel hub your sealed bearing is loosing its grease and will be drying up. Time to change it, while on the airheads you expect a grease smudge.

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What years have sealed bearings, or do they all after a certain year?
All oilheads have sealed front wheel bearings as far as I know. I don't think that it is common for the seals to fail, most often the wheel bearings fail simply due to normal aging & wear.

 

There is no near to remove the brake disks to replace the wheel bearings.

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Another sign is that front tyre starts to wear more on one side. In my case The discs had to be un bolted to let calipers slide free of the wheel. Tie Calipers up slacken M6 allen heads on each fork. Slacken and remove bolt on left side of main shaft and and put apropriot size bar thru double hole and other end and twist off, may need some slight help with brass punch from other end. Note where the spacers and speedo box are etc. Bearingings easily removed once wheel off. thumbsup.gif

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Another sign is that front tyre starts to wear more on one side.
Faster wear on one side of the front tire is a natural tendency of all oilheads and has nothing to do with the wheel bearings.
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photojournalyst

Just ask for a 3205-RS (or 5205-2RS, same part, different number) and a 6204-2RS bearing (one each). First number is for the left side bearing and the second number is for the right.

 

So, I need two of each, 3205-RS & 6204-2RS using those numbers at any bearing supply shop? Sorry to be so dense, but I want to make sure before I start finding a supply near me.

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So, I need two of each, 3205-RS & 6204-2RS using those numbers at any bearing supply shop? Sorry to be so dense, but I want to make sure before I start finding a supply near me.
Not two of each, one each. One is for the left side of the wheel and the other is for the right.
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