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Old 04-20-2006, 10:17 PM   #1
Gary U
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Default Wheel Bearing 101 (long)

After reading this post http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...=wheel+bearing I became aware that there were many questions regarding wheel bearings for our cars. I work as a design engineer within the NTN organization and feel that some factual information regarding wheel bearings will be helpful for the more technically inclined readers of this board. For those that do not know, NTN is the OE manufacturer of the wheel bearings used in many Subarus including the Impreza line. We also manufacture the halfshafts (CVJs) and various bearings used in the transmission and other applications. This will be a little long, so here goes:

BEARING LIFE
There has been some discussion here regarding bearing load ratings. In simple terms, the load rating is the amount of load which when applied to a bearing will result in a statistical life of 1,000,000 revolutions. A higher load rating means the bearing will have a higher fatigue life. The key here is FATIGUE life. That is, subsurface initiated flaking that is not the result of debris, impact load, insufficient lubrication, etc. I stress this point because the majority of applications do not fail due to pure material fatigue. If, for example, lubrication failure is the cause of bearing failure, changing to a bearing with a higher load rating may not always increase the overall life.

CLEARANCE
One of the most important attributes to good bearing performance is having the proper MOUNTED clearance. The tapered cartridge bearings in this application have a precisely machined amount of bench endplay. This value is designed to work in conjunction with the specified diameters of the mating surfaces, and often include consideration for the amount of clamp force which will be applied to the bearing. A typical bench endplay tolerance range is just 0.002 (0.050mm).

LUBRICATION
The bearing lubrication is also critically important to its performance. Not only is the proper grease important, the proper amount also plays a key role. The front bearings for the Impreza are lubricated with a mineral base oil grease. This is an old grease and is not cutting edge. However, for the majority of applications (daily drivers) this grease is more than capable of providing very long service life. In a racing or other high temperature environment a step up to a higher performance synthetic grease may be a good idea.

There are a variety of greases available. We have developed special greases to meet a variety of demanding OE requirements. Unfortunately, these greases are not available for purchase. I have done testing in a racing environment (NASCAR) and found that the Mobil1 red synthetic grease (nearly identical to Mobilith SHC220) actually offers good performance at a very inexpensive price. Its anti corrosion performance is not as good as some others, but if your seals are good this should not be a major concern. Beyond this, I do not have any recommendations for greases that you guys can buy off the shelf. A word of CAUTION: Do NOT use EP greases in these bearings. EP greases often contain sulfur as an additive which has been proven to negatively affect the nylon retainers which are used in these bearings. The wrong EP grease can result in catastrophic failure.

CROWNING / INTERNAL GEOMETRY
There are many attributes regarding the internal geometry which greatly affect the performance. While bearings from various manufacturers may look the same on the outside, these small differences (often on the order of microns) on the inside play a big role in bearing life. I will not go into details here, but note that the OE NTN bearing has specialized internal geometry.

SEALS
The best situation is where we can provide a sealed bearing, or better yet, a sealed hub unit. Many of the modern sealed units NTN provides to OEMs have extremely robust seals and are intended to be sealed and greased for life. I do not have any knowledge regarding the seals that Subaru uses in these units.

INSTALLATION
It is critically important to ensure that the bearings are installed properly. Improper installation can easily result in damage to the bearing which will result in a failure down the road. Never impart an impact load on the bearing, make sure the work area and your hands are extremely clean, do not touch raw bearing surfaces with your fingers, etc. If you are changing out the grease make sure ALL of the current grease is thoroughly washed from the bearing using new, clean solvent. Also make sure the bearing is dry and there are no solvents remaining before the new grease is applied. Countless failed bearings have been blamed when it was in fact the fault of the installer.


Next I will discuss part number options.
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Old 04-20-2006, 10:20 PM   #2
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Default Part Number Options

OK, for those of you that have (or havent) read the engineering discussion Ill talk a little about the two primary part number options.

The OE Subaru part number (Ill call it the 08A01) has been shown in the other post listed above. This is a good bearing and has been somewhat optimized for the application as previously mentioned. Anyone looking for a service replacement for their daily driver would be safe using this as a replacement.

The previously referenced post also mentions the use of a Nissan bearing which Ill call the 0823 bearing. Many seem to question if this is a better alternative to the original Subaru bearing due to its higher load rating. I have done some research and feel that it would be a better alternative, but not specifically because of the load rating. The contact angle, length of roller, and roller compliment have all been changed. While these changes increased the load rating, they also changed the stiffness of the bearing. In theory, this should provide some benefit in terms of the brakes (knockback), result in slightly improved seal performance, and possibly result in some other marginal improvements in overall performance. I have calculated a 20%+ improvement in radial stiffness and a 40%+ increase in axial stiffness. The higher load rating is also nice, but I am not sure how much benefit as I am not aware of what the typical failure mode is. If you use this bearing, I recommend using the original Subaru installation torque specifications.

In summary, use the OE Subaru part for regular daily drivers. Experiment with the 0823 Nissan bearing if your car is a track hound or serious autocrosser.
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Old 04-20-2006, 11:10 PM   #3
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Thank you kind Sir! Glad your driving a Impreza

"EP" grease- what's the acronym stand for? The greases I've seen touted for bearings have been Redline, Motul and NEO and some really expensive stuff Gary S used on USTCC car.
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Old 04-20-2006, 11:32 PM   #4
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Thanks for the information.

EP = extreme pressure?

How many different Subaru bearings are there? I know the 05 STi would have different ones, and I hear older Imprezas have a different rear bearing.

Last edited by jamal; 04-20-2006 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 04-21-2006, 08:58 AM   #5
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Subaru used to use a roller bearing in the rear on Imprezas, which failed with great regularity. Some folks were using the bearing that Legacys used, which was a tapered bearing- you may see posts in the archive from long before this was known as NASIOC mentioning folks using the "Legacy" bearing. Subaru has since adopted the tapered bearing for all applications and no longer even stocks the older ball bearing type. The SVX and STi use a larger bearing than all other Imprezas. All Imprezas, Foresters, and Legacys (with the exception of some of the newest Imprezas, all STis and some Legacy models which use a bolt-in bearing) use the same bearings now.


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Old 04-21-2006, 09:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary U
OK, for those of you that have (or havent) read the engineering discussion Ill talk a little about the two primary part number options.

The OE Subaru part number (Ill call it the 08A01) has been shown in the other post listed above.

The previously referenced post also mentions the use of a Nissan bearing which Ill call the 0823 bearing...
Great information Gary! Tks.

Do you have similar information about '05 STi bearings? I do some AutoX and track days.

Also can you comment on the discussions about low wheel offsets causing premature bearing failure?
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Old 04-21-2006, 11:12 AM   #7
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Thanks, now I see the light.

Warning: Redline CV-2 definately had the smell of a sulfur-type EP lube, I dont know if it is the one to cause catastrophic failure, but I will let you know.

(lovely, not only do I think I screwed one side up by not using a new hub, but both are 30% packed (by eye) with redline Cv-2.)

Well I guess you learn some every day.
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Old 04-21-2006, 02:57 PM   #8
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How do you know which lubes have/are EP- NEO?
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Old 04-21-2006, 09:56 PM   #9
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A few answers...

EP does stand for extreme pressure. Not really that common in greases, but they do exist and sulfer based ones can cause a problem. Main problem is when people use an EP gear lube (oil) in a transmission full of plastic cage bearings. Most EP "Extreme Pressure" lubes will be promoted as such on the packaging or literature.


I believe the '05 STi has an integrated front hub, not a replacable cartridge. I will check on the details when I get some time.


Wheel offsets that a different than stock affect the load applied to the bearing. We usually like to see the centerline of the wheel be at the centerline of the bearing (assuming same size inner and outer bearing). Deviating from this results in additional "moment" loading. The loads can go up very quickly as the offset is changed resulting in more deflection, possible misalignment and ultimate failure.
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Old 04-21-2006, 11:06 PM   #10
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Gary, would you use the standard Subaru axle nut torque when using the Nissan 0823 bearing? I have some Redline CV-2 grease, purchased from Archer Racing. They said that is what they use in all the bearings on their race cars.
This is what Redline says:http://www.redlineoil.com/products_c...p?productID=54

Last edited by okiedude; 04-21-2006 at 11:28 PM.
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Old 04-22-2006, 10:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okiedude
Gary, would you use the standard Subaru axle nut torque when using the Nissan 0823 bearing? I have some Redline CV-2 grease, purchased from Archer Racing. They said that is what they use in all the bearings on their race cars.
This is what Redline says:http://www.redlineoil.com/products_c...p?productID=54

Yes, I would use the standard Subaru torque with the Nissan bearing. If I read the redline info correctly, it states that the grease is an EP type. If they are using sulfer (and that is the most common), you could be asking for trouble. Keep in mind that the Archer cars may or may not have nylon bearing cages. Also, in a racing application bearings are probably changed out very frequently and not put in place for 50 - 75- or 100,000 miles.

FYI: Our NASCAR hubs are serviced by NTN after every race (in the cup series).
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Old 04-22-2006, 10:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary U
Yes, I would use the standard Subaru torque with the Nissan bearing. If I read the redline info correctly, it states that the grease is an EP type. If they are using sulfer (and that is the most common), you could be asking for trouble. Keep in mind that the Archer cars may or may not have nylon bearing cages. Also, in a racing application bearings are probably changed out very frequently and not put in place for 50 - 75- or 100,000 miles.

FYI: Our NASCAR hubs are serviced by NTN after every race (in the cup series).
My car is strictly a track car, 800 - 1,000 miles on the track annually, give or take. I may have missed it, but these bearings do have nylon bearing cages? The construction appears to be metallic?
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Old 04-23-2006, 01:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary U
INSTALLATION
It is critically important to ensure that the bearings are installed properly. Improper installation can easily result in damage to the bearing which will result in a failure down the road. Never impart an impact load on the bearing, make sure the work area and your hands are extremely clean, do not touch raw bearing surfaces with your fingers, etc.
Great info!
What would you reccomend for installation?
Cold bearing/hot carrier method? (put the carrier in the oven for a bit and the bearing in the freezer for a while)
or
Press with the right size pressing blank?

I have never done this job on a subaru *yet* so I dont know how tight the tollerences are.
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Old 04-23-2006, 12:01 PM   #14
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In looking at the install photos from the prior thread, it would appear that when installing the hub, they are pushing down on the upright and the inner bearing to get the hub shaft to go through both the inner/outer bearings? Is it OK to push on that inner bearing or does that create undue stress on the bearing? Will the snap ring hold the inner bearing in place while the hub shaft passes through it?
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Old 04-23-2006, 02:05 PM   #15
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no, the snapring holds the Outer races in place, you dont want to put side loads across the races.

So the hub is pushed first into the (ok here it gets hard, IDRace1 is the one towards the rotor, IDRace2 is the one on the tonewheel side) IDRace1, the force goes from the hub to the race and then to the second inner race then to the pusher block, never crossing through the rollers to the outer races.

At least thats how I did it last week.

About this CV-2 deal, at least someone is using it. Although I'm not particularly happy about having to buy new bearings and seals to replace the ones I just put in, at least I can go to a less expensive bearing and good (well tested, thanks Gary, its nice to have another engineer's input.) grease.
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Old 04-24-2006, 12:55 AM   #16
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I have just gone through wheel bearing hell, so I will share it with you...

I have a heavely tracked 04 STi. Last summer I went through 3 sets of front wheel bearings - nothing special for offset just REALLY hot brakes and not enough coolong. So one of my winter projects was to upgrade to the 05 front setup.

My original plan was to machine the front hub carriers so that I didn't need to loose my coilovers (different front shock mounting arrangemnent) and to get the hub redrilled for the 5x100 bolt pattern. The machine shop was able to do the maching to allow me to keep the coilovers but not able to drill for the 5x100 - now running the 5 x 114.3 spacing. At the same time I replaced the rear wheelbearings - repacked them with the Redline stuff - and these wheel bearing do indeed use a nylon retainer... Hope I didn't make a mistake here... Guess I will call redline tomorrow...

I then replaced the rear hubs with the 5 x 114.3 hubs to match the fronts and bought 3 sets of rims to replace the now-useless rims I had.

Bottom line - the front 04 wheelbearings are NOT SUITED for the track esp if the brakes are not cooled. The rears have not been that much of a problem.

FYIs: Front (04) and rear (04/05) use nylon carriers . Front 05 are sold as part of the hub

At this point - New rims, front and rear hubs, front hub carriers and some machine work later I am ALMOST ready to drive the car - hoping that my head gasket is not leaking - but that is another problem...

Tools used for the rear (04 & 05) as well as front - 04 was the OTC master hub set. You can also use a press if you don't mind pulling the hub carriers off the car. I used a slide hammer to get the rear hubs off, then used the OTC tools for the rest including reinstalling the hubs

Ray
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Old 04-24-2006, 01:37 AM   #17
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Ray
Do you run any aftermarket/DIY brake cooling?
thanks
Joe
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Old 04-24-2006, 09:10 AM   #18
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Hi Joe.

Not yet. I am wrapping up some cooling and also got a set of the new Performance Friction rotors which are full floating and directionally veined - between thes two mods and the 05 hubs I am all setup to not have wheel bearings be a problem (I guess I will find the NEXT weakest link in the chain).

The 05 bearings look pretty hefty, I tried to get a set of the Subaru racing only bearings/hubs but there are none to be found.

Ray

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Old 04-24-2006, 11:56 AM   #19
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I have a call in to RedLine right now, the chemist is not in but they will call back with the answer about sulfur content in CV-2.
They called back, yes there is sulfur in the CV-2 grease. They said that is what makes EP grease EP. The chemist said that he felt that the sulfur was not the culprit with the nylon, but that the overall increase in heat was the problem. Go figure!? They just called back again, in their test studythe bearing that they used had nylon cages. The specs from the bearing mfg reccomended not surpassing 250 degrees before damage could occur to the nylon. Without determining the exact type of nylon used, they felt that temp. range was a safe benchmark to use. Gary, you may have some input here.
Here is a link to a basic primer on grease http://www.reliabilityweb.com/art04/...ing_grease.htm
I noticed that the drop point on the grease Gary mentioned Mobilith SCH220 is 275 degrees celcius, or 527 farenheit. That should hold up pretty well. The Redline drop point is 900 degrees farenheit.
Here are the specs on the Mobil grease http://www.mobil.com/USA-English/Lub...bilith_SHC.asp

Last edited by okiedude; 04-24-2006 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 04-24-2006, 03:10 PM   #20
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Okie-

The information youve got says that the failure of the nylon cage is due to higher running temps possible with the really good CV-2, not the sulfur based EP chemistry.

Correct?

So then I dont necessarily NEED to change mine?
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Old 04-24-2006, 04:07 PM   #21
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Spoke with Redline,

Dave from Redline felt that, as was posed a bit earlier, the failure mode is likely to be the nylon race. When pressed about if I should use his grease (in my case too late) he felt that it was not not a problem and the benefits outweighed the negatives...

I guess I now know more about nylon bearing races than I ever did - and grease as well!

Ray
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Old 04-24-2006, 04:28 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LyveWRX
Okie-

The information youve got says that the failure of the nylon cage is due to higher running temps possible with the really good CV-2, not the sulfur based EP chemistry.

Correct?

So then I dont necessarily NEED to change mine?
I hate conflicting scenarios. Based on what Dave @ Redline told me I think we are safe using the Redline(and they were gracious enough to call me back twice). After looking at the bearings again, I could see how the nylon cage itself could be a real weak link, under the adverse conditions caused from tracking our cars. I hope Gary can shed some more light on the strength/limitations of the nylon cage. Here is an info sheet on the CV-2 grease:
PROPERTY RED LINE CV-2 GREASE
NLGI Grade #2
NLGI Service GC-LB
Thickener Non-Soap
Fluid Type Thermally-stable synthetic
Useful Temperature Range -100F to 500F
Color Red
Dropping Point, F 900+
Load Wear Index 71.2
4-Ball Wear Scar Diameter (Red), 40 Kg 0.46 mm
Water Washout @ 105F 1%
Evaporation Loss, 22 hrs @ 350F 4%
Oil Separation, 30 hrs @ 350F 5%
Oxidation Stability, 500 hrs @210F, psi 12
Rust Test, ASTM D1743 Pass
Red Line CV-2 Grease is designed to withstand the extreme temperatures and pressures
which occur in high-performance wheel bearings and CV-joints. The excellent hightemperature
stability, extreme-pressure protection, and water resistance enables it to
out-perform even the best conventional or synthetic greases. Red Line CV-2 Grease can be
used in a wide range of applications at temperatures ranging between -100F to 500F and
provides good oxidation and corrosion resistance, low evaporation and oil separation, and has
a minimum effect on rubber seals. The exceptional extreme-pressure performance and the
fluidity of the synthetic oil allows increases in bearing life of 200% to 800%. Red Line CV-2
Grease contains a red moly compound which is a superior lubricant to black moly disulfide
lubricants.
Red Line CV-2 Grease may also be used in industrial applications such as high-temperature
alternator bearings, high-speed ball bearings, conveyor bearings, worm gear drives, servo
mechanisms, and applications where vibrations can cause fretting wear and corrosion to take
place.
Red Line CV-2 Grease will retain its consistency and extreme-pressure performance under
high-temperature and high-shear conditions for extended periods, which extends the
performance ranges of the lubricated components. Red Line CV-2 will slightly darken after
high-temperature use; this darkening will not detrimentally effect the performance of the
grease. Although Red Line CV-2 is compatible with small amounts of many petroleum-based
greases, it is always good lubrication practice to thoroughly clean out the old grease to
eliminate abrasive particles and to minimize the possibility of grease incompatibility.
CV-2
Synthetic
Extreme-Pressure Grease
RED LINE
SYNTHETIC
OIL
RPM
X 1000
RED LINE SYNTHETIC OIL CORP.
6100 EGRET COURT BENICIA, CA 94510 TEL: (707)745-6100 FAX: (707)745-3214
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Old 04-24-2006, 07:09 PM   #23
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It appears the NEO is not a EP (at least not touted as such)- high drop point- is touted as being developed for race car wheel bearing applications
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Old 04-24-2006, 07:59 PM   #24
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The NEO HP800, which they recommend for race car applications is an EP grease.
http://www.neosyntheticoil.com/grease.htm
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Old 04-24-2006, 09:09 PM   #25
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Yup- your right

Crap- Motul Tech 300 is also EP!

Gary said EP OFTEN contains sulphur- maybe we need to be sure what contains sulphur and what doesn't
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