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Front Wheel Bearings, how much is to much

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Had an MOT on Vitesse last Friday, past with two advisories examiner reckoned to much slack in front wheel bearings. He has a Spitfire and an MG so should know classic cars. I have since checked them and see no problem, I have owned, repaired and serviced the car since 1995.

So how much is to much or just a matter of opinion.

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I've had problems with M.O.T. testers on this one too!


The tapered front Bearings on Triumphs are designed to have slight play, as you probably know.


I reckon about an 1/16" of wobble at the Tyre tread is about right, it's hard to measure but it's only the slightest play needed? 


I normally tighten up the Nut till they spin but not freely, then back off 1 Flat, this seems to work on my Car, the bearings have been on since the rebuild in 2006 and I've only Re-greased them once (Mileage about 11,000 since the rebuild)


I don't get any Steering Wheel shake.



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I've found it to be very subjective with MOT testers.


I've even resorted to tightening the bearings to the point of almost no play at all (after a comment during the previous years MOT), only to have the (new to me, but old school) MOT examiner advise me that they were a little on the tight side.  You just cant win !

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the actual spec is 0.002" to 0.008" end float   at 0.008"  you get about 3mm /  1/8" rock at the tyre , it feels a lot.


the normal 1 to 2 flats backed off is really fine , there are two pin holes in the stub so smaller adjustments can be devised.


always check the felt seal cup is inside the hub and the felt seal runs in the cup and the felt  mates on the  stub axle face.


one thing is certain if you run with no lay you will soon seize the small outer bearing which will  then seize to the stub axle   all very expensive.


you dont need to fill the cavity with grease this traps the heat transfer, just grease the bearing race.

the float is need as the varying heat  due to braking and others cause a lot of changes in the end float.


and the float also contributes to brake pad return clearances



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Normal state of afairs at my MOT testing station is that the tester gives an advisory about play but realistically it's well within tolerance. The only way to prevent the advisories seems to be to adjust it to no play, take for an MOT then slacken off when at home. Me, I just put up with the advisory each year!

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  • 6 months later...

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