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Front wheel bearings

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Two things:

Aside from oem, what are some good aftermarket bearings and seals? Pivot works? Boss bearing? Or what?

Second, if i have my front wheel off the ground, theres only enough play in the bearings to hear a clicking, i can seem to see any play. The manual says to replace bearings if 'play becomes excessive,' suggesting some may be ok. I am changing the tire so i figured id do it, but this is for future reference.

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The failure mode for wheel bearings is not load, it is from dirt contamination.

A lot of OEM bearings are unsealed and rely on external seals to protect the bearing, this is OK if you pull the the wheel apart after every event to clean and repack the bearings; but there is a better option:

The bearings are standard metric and available from any local industrial bearing supplier at 1/4 the cost of OEM, just check the yellow pages. Buy sealed after market bearings and life will be good.

For Honda, and perhaps others, the metric bearing code is in the part description and/or the part number; it is a six digit number, often with a suffix letter. The bearings also have the 4 digit bearing code on the edge of the bearing. Here are some common metric bearings and their dimensions:

No
..
ID x OD x TH

6001 . 12 x 28 x 8

6201 . 12 x 32 x 10

6301 . 12 x 37 x 12

6002 . 15 x 32 x 9

6202 . 15 x 35 x 11

6302 . 15 x 42 x 13

6003 . 17 x 35 x 10

6203 . 17 x 40 x 12

6303 . 17 x 47 x 14

6004 . 20 x 42 x 12

6204 . 20 x 47 x 14

6304 . 20 x 52 x 15

6006 . 30 x 55 x 13

6904. 20 x 37 x 9
Edited by chuck4788

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The failure mode for wheel bearings is not load, it is from dirt contamination.

A lot of OEM bearings are unsealed and rely on external seals to protect the bearing, this is OK if you pull the the wheel apart after every event to clean and repack the bearings;

I've always questioned this, because farm machinery and construction equipment is in the dirt all day, every day, utilizing external seals to protect the bearings.

And they go thousands of hours without a bearing failure due to contamination.

I don't think it's the external seal method that's the shortcoming, but the cheap quality seals that are offered for this application. In many cases, they're nothing better than a simple o-ring.

Another thing that I have noticed is that even with brand new bearings, they seem to be dry, and upon closer inspection, they only have light coating of a thin lubricant on them, not a good quality grease.

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Thx guys. Ive wondered about oem just for the fact it says to pack the unsealed side, while aftermarkets always say 'double sealed.'

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Me personally, I would change them out. They start to go quick after they get a little play in them and then you could be looking at replacing an axel, and if it gets real bad, a rotor.

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Yeah thats what i as thinking. I was just wary of cheaper aftermarket bearings. My budget was reduced when i had to replace my front caliper pistons unexpectedly so im looking for alternatives where possible

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