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Wheel or Swivel bearing woes


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Hi I wondered if anyone could help with any advice for my Land Rover series III swb.

I recently replaced my front driver's side half shaft bearing, swivel bearing and top pin, AND wheel bearing.

And I did my preload with a fishing/luggage hand weight measure for the swivel bearing/steering arm. I shimmed it all up etc and torqued everything correctly to recommended tensions.

The wheel bearing I tightened it by hand til it just felt good (so unsure it is right), I used the "land rover tool". And when I finished there was no play top to bottom or left to right.

OK so then I drove the Land Rover for a month or more and it has felt great and much better.

The other day I thought I best check there is still no play, so I jacked it up and was gutted to find top to bottom (or 12-6) slight play...

I thought this must be the Wheel bearing as I only tightened that by hand, but on reading online I see that swivel play tends to be 12-6, while left to right (or 3-9) is wheel bearing. Well I still don't have any play 3-9/left to right so I'm pretty confused.

How can it be the Swivel bearing if I've done it to the book with a proper measure on the preload??

So anyway, I bit the bullet and I've removed a couple of shims anyway, despite not wanting to mess up my correctly set preload I thought it was worth a try. But there is still a bit of creaky play there. Not knocking but a little movement. I've taken 2 of the 4 shims out and it hasn't made a lot of difference (if any...) so do I take the last two shims out and totally mess my preload up, OR could this still be the Wheel bearing that needs tightening up a bit more? Again I have no side-to-side play so I am very confused and unsure what to do.


Thanks for any help at all :)


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Genuine parts, or recognised brand?

The only place the housing can have play is in the bearings. 

I'm presuming you've checked all the nuts and bolts and all that.


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Possible the bearing track wasn't quite seated and has settled after having weight on it. Similarly the railco if its been changed - they're horrid things to press in. Did the railco thrust washer go back in too? 

Edited by lo-fi
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Simple check for wheel bearings vs swivel bearings is to have someone firmly hold down the brake pedal while you check 12-6 - the brake will lock the wheel relative to the hub. If the play disappears then it is wheel bearings, else it's the swivel set up.

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The comments above are all good.  Wheel bearing play will be in all axis.  While swivel bearing play will be manifest int he 12/6 as you said, any play in the steering system would be in the 3/9 axis and could appear to be wheel bearing play.

Replacing only the swivel pins or the Railko bushes is unlikely to be completely successful - you'd need to replace both as they both wear.  Once set with the right preload, play is unlikely as long as the bush and the lower cone outer race were fully seated in the swivel chalice.  If either was left slightly out, then they could have become seated during driving and the preload lost, allowing play in the bottom bearing when the vehicle is supported off the wheel.

The same applies to wheel bearings, and you need to be very sure the race is fully seated in the hub before assembly.  Even having assured that, it's important to spin the hub over repeatedly while setting the bearing preloads to ensure the bearings are running properly inside the outer races and that seal is not catching anywhere on the stub axle's seal land and holding the hub further out than ideal.  But LR say there should eb a tiny amount of end float on the wheel bearings, and that would result in a small amount of wheel wobble.

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