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#1074131 - 06/17/22 05:07 PM Wheel bearings  
Joined: Dec 1999
Posts: 310
AeroSS_87 Offline
20+ Year
AeroSS_87  Offline
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Joined: Dec 1999
Posts: 310
Lincoln, NE
What is our best option these days? Timken had a nylon cage and made in China. National is made in China. Anything else I can think of is either rsboxed of the two or garbage. I bought the Nationals for now but I feel dirty.

Last edited by AeroSS_87; 06/17/22 05:11 PM.
#1074138 - 06/18/22 02:51 AM Re: Wheel bearings [Re: AeroSS_87]  
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 5,658
mmc427ss Online content
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mmc427ss  Online Content
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Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 5,658
Pottstown, Pa
The last set of Timken wheel bearing i installed were made in USA, 2015. Just had the front rotors off the car and the bearings looked great.

Today it's all a crap shoot, rare is their a choice of origin. You just try to get it as close to California as possible.
If i was going to do some wheel bearings or rear end bearing today i would be looking a Koyo bearing, should be still made in Japan and were noted as one of the best bearing available several years ago.

Previously always had used Timken in 4 rears I did and all the front wheel bearings i pressed into rotors. But even the SKF, BSA, National, Crown, NTN of the old days were good USA bearings. Now all just a name on a box from hopefully a manufacturing facility with quality control. To often what we get is not what we expect in products today.

Here's an interesting read about wheel bearings dated 2020 so it's pretty current. Except now you need to factor in their are a couple metals in short supply, like nickel, tantalum, cobalt, makes life a little more difficult now.
https://mzwmotor.com/wheel-bearing-manufacturers/

I have replaced several hubs on these new cars, 02-05 Ws, and had trouble with bearings not lasting on those replacements. From reading on some of the W car forums the choice was use a Delco replacement at the time, Japan bearings they said. The couple Moog hubs I installed were China. My daughter's 05 GP needs another front right hub replaced, bearing noise again. I think i replaced all four hubs on my 02 SS and 3 of 4 on her 05 GTP. That front hub in Delco is now 120+ at rock. So much for hubs being better than old open wheel bearings you greased wit ya fingers.

Have always used the National seals, what most suppliers locally would sell back in the day. Would think the Raybestos, Wagner, even Delco back in the day were just reboxed National seals.
Bob

#1074165 - 06/22/22 04:13 AM Re: Wheel bearings [Re: AeroSS_87]  
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,902
Travis Jones Offline
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Travis Jones  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,902
Ferndale, MI
Funny enough when I worked for NSK I got inner bearings that were meant for a high speed machine spindle.

Now I work for a different bearing manufacturer and I've learned a thing or two about bearings.

There are three brands of bearings I'd trust my life to - Timken, Schaeffler (Formerly INA/xxxx /LUK) and NSK.

The rest, including Koyo, NTN, BSA, Crown are all junk.

Keep in mind that the ONLY purpose of a bearing's cage is to separate the rollers. It is NOT a stressed component and in high speeds a plastic cage can create less self generating heat than steel cage. While it is true that a polyamide cage can fail at extreme temperatures if your brakes are that hot you're probably boiling the fluid.

One thing to note is that many of the parts in the box are actually made by other manufacturers, even if they come in a Timken or SKF box, they might actually be NSK bearings. Aftermarket parts megacorps only want to sign suppliers who offer a FULL line of bearings for every make and manufacturer, so rather than shell out the tooling for all of those parts, many are bought from the OEM manufacturer of the bearing, and repacked into an SKF, Drive (Formerly Federal Mogul/National), or Timken Box.[i][/i]


86 SS 6.2l LS3, Ilmor intake, Summit Stage 4 Cam, Stainless long tube headers, Stainless 3in exhaust, Tremec T-56 Magnum 6 speed, Eaton Truetrac 8.8 LSD, UMI Cornermax Front Suspension, 3-link Rear suspension w/ UMI Control Arms, UMI Front & Rear Braces, Brembo Brakes
#1074211 - 06/27/22 01:47 PM Re: Wheel bearings [Re: AeroSS_87]  
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,259
Hunter79764 Offline
10+ Year
Hunter79764  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,259
Grand Prairie, Tx
I don't know much on OEM auto bearings, but I know at one point in the aircraft world (10-15 years ago), the bearing choices essentially dropped to 1 manufacturer on almost everything, and just a couple of bearings had any kind of second source (which caused all the problems that all of us can imagine with about 5 minutes of thought). Getting loose rolling elements went from a "who's got the best price?" to "Good grief, one ball costs HOW much?!? And HOW long?!?!"
1-2 years before there were 3-4 reputable manufacturers (and with aircraft, there really isn't such thing as a non-reputable manufacturer, they either meet the specs and design criteria or they don't).

I'll second the plastic cage, it doesn't actually help or hurt you in the ways you might think. Roller hardness and size variation seem to be the critical items, and those are a lot harder to check without some really high tech equipment.


Shawn

'85 MC with budget 5.3L swap, TH350 with stock 2.14 rear end
It ain't much off the line, but it's nice on the highway
#1074217 - 06/28/22 03:36 AM Re: Wheel bearings [Re: Hunter79764]  
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,902
Travis Jones Offline
10+ Year
Travis Jones  Offline
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Member

Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,902
Ferndale, MI
Originally Posted by Hunter79764
I don't know much on OEM auto bearings, but I know at one point in the aircraft world (10-15 years ago), the bearing choices essentially dropped to 1 manufacturer on almost everything, and just a couple of bearings had any kind of second source (which caused all the problems that all of us can imagine with about 5 minutes of thought). Getting loose rolling elements went from a "who's got the best price?" to "Good grief, one ball costs HOW much?!? And HOW long?!?!"
1-2 years before there were 3-4 reputable manufacturers (and with aircraft, there really isn't such thing as a non-reputable manufacturer, they either meet the specs and design criteria or they don't).

I'll second the plastic cage, it doesn't actually help or hurt you in the ways you might think. Roller hardness and size variation seem to be the critical items, and those are a lot harder to check without some really high tech equipment.


I can speak to the current manufacturer that I work for now... Heat treat is the most sensitive process, and its something we do exceptionally well. I can't say what manufacturer I work for but one of the companies that we absorbed throughout the years flags the profanity filter on the forums, even thought its a just a German abreviation.


86 SS 6.2l LS3, Ilmor intake, Summit Stage 4 Cam, Stainless long tube headers, Stainless 3in exhaust, Tremec T-56 Magnum 6 speed, Eaton Truetrac 8.8 LSD, UMI Cornermax Front Suspension, 3-link Rear suspension w/ UMI Control Arms, UMI Front & Rear Braces, Brembo Brakes
#1074219 - 06/28/22 01:54 PM Re: Wheel bearings [Re: Travis Jones]  
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,259
Hunter79764 Offline
10+ Year
Hunter79764  Offline
10+ Year
Member

Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,259
Grand Prairie, Tx
Originally Posted by Travis Jones
I can speak to the current manufacturer that I work for now... Heat treat is the most sensitive process, and its something we do exceptionally well. I can't say what manufacturer I work for but one of the companies that we absorbed throughout the years flags the profanity filter on the forums, even thought its a just a German abreviation.


Yep, the heat treat is the secret sauce that makes or breaks the quality, and something that is very hard to verify on the tail end. Reputation ends up being about the only thing the average guy can go off of.
And I know exactly the abbreviation you are referring to, and wondered if that was the 'xxxx' in your post above. I'll admit, my coworkers and I had a little chuckle when we saw that name for the first time as new interns. Our boss quickly corrected us that it was an acronym that should be pronounced as the letters, not as a word. Took all the fun out of it.


Shawn

'85 MC with budget 5.3L swap, TH350 with stock 2.14 rear end
It ain't much off the line, but it's nice on the highway
#1074286 - 07/06/22 03:03 AM Re: Wheel bearings [Re: AeroSS_87]  
Joined: Dec 1999
Posts: 310
AeroSS_87 Offline
20+ Year
AeroSS_87  Offline
20+ Year
Member

Joined: Dec 1999
Posts: 310
Lincoln, NE
Sorry for being late, but thanks all for the input. I'm hesitant on the plastic cage, only because I live in a part of the country that sees -20° to up over 100° and I'd rather not have that plastic crack into pieces.

I have been very curious about Travis's company for a while. I don't have much knowledge on them from customer reviews but they've popped up on Rock Auto a few times. If I can locate the front outer bearings, I may just go for those if they're made anywhere but China.

Last edited by AeroSS_87; 07/06/22 03:06 AM.

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