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Thread: Bad bearing blues....

  1. #1
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Unhappy Bad bearing blues....

    Okay...this weekend I was prepping my 6x6 for my Farewell trip which is less than two weeks away. I changed the oil, checked the condition of the coolant, air cleaner, the list goes on and on. Finally I go to tighten the rear drive chain (definitely the biggest weakness of the 6x6). I remove the rear chainguard and grab the chain to check the tension and as I pull, I notice the framework moves waaaay too much. A little investigation I find that the bearings on the middle axle are SHOT. All that is left are the inner and outer races....no balls/needles to be found! Luckily I think I cought it before any damage was done. Sooo, a mere $80 later for parts (2 bearings/2 seals/2 O-rings) and it should be back up to speed.

    I thought I had been good at keeping the thing lubed, but this points out to me that it needs to be greased several times a summer instead of only a couple. I'm thinking that since the inner seal was loose on the axle that it had actually come out at some point and that is what caused the bearings to go. When I put the new seals in, I think I will smear a light coat of RTV on them to help hold 'em in place.

    Any other ideas on how to keep the wheel bearings in good shape with the abuse they take?
    AKmud
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    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

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    Rob, other than tearing it apart, cleaning the bearings and repacking, not much for wheel bearings, unless you can rig up some kinda bearing buddy set-up.

    I had a similiar problem this spring. we were many miles in behind mt fairplay on the taylor. when we got to camp I noticed both of the front wheels on my wifes bigbear leaning in. Same thing nothing but races. It was one of those things I was procrastinating on and it bit me in the butt. Luckily I didnt hash out the hubs, just bearings and brake shoes.

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    I do not know if this will help. On my trackmachine I had bearings that would go bad when dirt and water got passed the seals. I fixed the problem by making a shield out of Alum. It looked like a big washer, because a shaft went through it and is held on with two screws.

  4. #4
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    After a little more investigation it looks like the seal simply came loose and fell out. I guess when I install the new hardware I will give the seal a light coat of RTV to help hold it in place....
    AKmud
    http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j96/AKmud/213700RMK1-1.jpg


    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

  5. #5

    Cool Front Wheel Bearings

    1999 Yamaha Kodiak, 1200 miles and I noticed a little play in the left wheel while pulling my pre-moose season MX. Upon opening up I still had the bearings intact but they were definitely mucked up, 50% rust colored, and obviously headed south. Two years ago I had to tow my wife's 1996 Suzuki 20+ miles out of the Alphabet Hills due to a rear bearing disintegration. I wonder if this is typical for 4-wheelers in general? It seems like an item rarely mentioned (and sure not in the owners manual), but one that is fairly easy to do preventive maintenance -wise. Conversely it's one of those that is a trip breaker if encountered in the field and an issue that probably cuts across all Brands fairly equally (?).

    I'll go full disclosure and confess that I never even considered replacing the bearings up to these instances-aren't they supposed to last forever and ever.....?

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    Bwake, My wifes bigbear is a 1988 model. I know the original owner and he has never done maintenance on the machine. I never packed the bearings, been meaning to but didnt. So I guess 19 years for neglected bearings isnt all that bad, that usually is beyond the life of a machine. I was rather amazed.

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    Member mod elan's Avatar
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    Go to Alaska Bearing to purchase new bearings. They all have the manufacture numbers on them and are way more expensive at the dealer. No reason to pay more for the same thing. Just keep those axles greased regularly and you'll be fine as long as the seal stays in place.

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    Member EricL's Avatar
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    There is alot to be said for doing a "once over". Do it every time I go anywhere. That is on any mechanical gear that goes to the field with me. Great to remind everyone, Mud!!
    EricL

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    It's common knowledge that the more time you play in water and mud, the more often you will have to change bearings and seals. The problem is the seals are not submarine grade, water and sand IS going in there, ain't no keeping it out.. I tried to save a few bucks by buying cheaper bearings, they lasted 800 miles instead of the 3000 my origional OEM bearings did. Pry the cover off any bearings you replace and pack them tight with marine grease, they all come with not enough grease in them. Change your seals every year and the bearings will last a long time. Jack your atv up every month and yank on them tires to check the bearing. Preventive maintance. Play ya pay

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    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    I wonder if a "sealed" bearing will last longer than an open bearing? I know I have been able to find the sealed equivalent of stock bearings for other applications....maybe here too?
    AKmud
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    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

  11. #11

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    That's what I got on mine now-was told the orginals were non-sealed and now the only version stocked are the sealed variety. Which is sealed on the outside face only; how much that matters if the seal itself were to fail I don't know. Probably the seal remains the weak link and regular replacement is prudent.

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    Member mod elan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dws View Post
    I tried to save a few bucks by buying cheaper bearings, they lasted 800 miles instead of the 3000 my origional OEM bearings did.
    I'm not trying to plug a shop or tell anyone to stay away from the dealers. I'm saying that when you have the exact same bearing in each hand made by the same manufacturer with the same numbers on it, why pay almost twice the price at the dealership?

    AKmud- The bearings in the 6x6 axles are preloaded and shouldn't be changed to a regular ball bearing sealed style. The ball bearing style is not designed for side load.

  13. #13

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    Yes, sealed bearings will last longer, especially when used in conjunction with the outer seals(you are now double sealed). I have done this to mine as well.

  14. #14
    Member AKLoser's Avatar
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    Default Lasting longer...Hummm

    Quote Originally Posted by AKmud View Post
    I wonder if a "sealed" bearing will last longer than an open bearing? I know I have been able to find the sealed equivalent of stock bearings for other applications....maybe here too?
    Lost one of my rear Sealed Bearings this past weekend. Totaly gone. Completely rusted. No grease to be seen. Pulled the other side, same way. They are on a 03 Arctic Cat, so that makes it 4 years. And I've been through some grud and lots of bad water holes! Don't know if that is good or bad, for sealed bearings, but not having to screw with them before every trip I guess makes it a good thing.

    I'll be replacing the fronts next week.

    Dave
    Live life now, or forever wish you did!

  15. #15

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    Something I've been doing here in southeast for years, (because our ATV'v are more like Subs) is putting a small grease zirk anywhere you can. Even managed to get them on the front hubs of my 660 Grizzly. They're sealed bearings on one side (outside) with an extra seal, found I can fill the cavity between the two and it keeps the water out.

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    I had the same problem, only mine ate the housing, sprocket hub and axle, seems like it was $800. to get it going again, now I grease both axles every time I wash it, I grease it till I can see it come out, grease is cheep. BTW, with the bearings totally gone, shaft riding on the housing etc. it still made it up over monument and all the way out...fully loaded.

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