How to replace your rear wheel bearings


Step-by-step tutorials on how to maintain and fix your GL1100
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WingAdmin
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How to replace your rear wheel bearings

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:24 pm



Wheel bearings do not last forever. In particular, the factory Honda bearings, which are not sealed, can lose grease over time and dry out, causing them to fail. A good practice is to change the wheel bearings every time you change your tire. Wheel bearings are inexpensive - your wheel takes two of them, and I bought mine from Partsnmore.com for $10 apiece. The rear wheel uses two different sizes of bearings.

1. Remove your rear wheel. Read How to remove and reinstall your rear wheel for detailed instructions on this process.

Note: 1983 model Goldwings do not have a bearing retainer ring. For 1983 Goldwings, skip to step 5.

2. Before removing the bearing retainer ring, using a 3/32" drill, drill out the previous stake. This is an indentation between the ring and the wheel made with a drift punch or screwdriver and a hammer. It serves to prevent the retainer ring from backing out after it is tightened. If it is not drilled out, it may damage the threads when the ring is removed. Only the tiniest bit needs to be drilled out - just enough to keep it from intruding upon the threads.

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3. Remove the bearing retainer ring. This ring has four indentations. You can try the old standby of sitting a pair of needlenose pliers into the holes, then grabbing the pliers with a large set of pliers (i.e. ChannelLock pliers), and while pressing down (to keep the needlenose ends from popping out of the holes), rotate the whole thing counterclockwise to loosen it. However, there is some chance that the pliers will break, the ends will pop out of the holes, or you will damage or gouge the ring. A much better option is to build a tool out of a large 1 1/4 inch socket. Mark on the side of the socket where the holes in the retainer ring will fit, and grind away the remainder with an angle or bench grinder.

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The result is a tool that will remove the bearing retainer ring for both front and rear wheels on your motorcycle:

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Seat the pins on your modified socket into the holes on the bearing retainer ring, apply downward pressure, and remove the ring. The ring will likely be stiff to move at first - I ended up using an impact wrench rather than fight with it for a long period of time.

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4. Remove the bearing retainer ring, and clean the dirt and grease remaining on the seal.

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5. Another custom tool: Purchase a 6 inch, 3/4" diameter threaded bolt. Do not get a high-strength "grade 8" bolt - the cheapest zinc/alloy coated bolt you can buy will work best.

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6. Using a hacksaw, cut a 1 1/2 to 2 inch long slot down the threaded end of the bolt.

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7. Push the bolt through from the right side of the wheel, until the slotted end is just below the top of the bearing.

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8. Push a large flat head screwdriver into the slot. With the head of the bolt on the floor, use a sledgehammer to pound the screwdriver into the slot until it jams. This will secure the threads of the bolt securely against the inner race of the bearing.

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9. Use the sledgehammer to pound on the head of the bolt on the other side of the wheel. You may want to hold the screwdriver in place to make sure it isn't bumped out of the slot. The bearing should work its way out of the wheel rim as you hit the bolt. Be careful not to hit the wheel with the hammer!

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10. This may take several tries before the bearing comes completely out.

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11. Remove the center spacer from the hub of the wheel.

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12. Insert the bolt into the left side of the wheel, head first, so that the head rests against the bearing on the right side of the wheel. Hit the bolt with a sledgehammer to drive the bearing out.

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13. Notice that the OEM bearings are not sealed: The sealed side is on the outside, and the inside is where the grease is packed in. Note also that the bearings are different sizes - make sure you put the new bearings in the correct sides! Old bearings can never be reused.

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14. Clean the bearing seats on the right side of the wheel extremely well, to ensure there is no dirt or residue remaining.

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15. Gently push the replacement bearing into the hub. If the bearing is not completely sealed, make sure you pack the bearing with grease first, and ensure the open side faces the inside of the wheel.

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16. Press the bearing into the hub. I use a large socket and a sledgehammer to do this. It is VERY important that the bearing go in flat, so ensure you don't push one side in, then the other - do it evently. Make sure you are using the outside race only - do not apply pressure to the inner bearing race, or the plastic seal in between the races.

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17. Make sure that the bearing is fully seated. It is critical that the bearing is absolutely flush with the wheel hub, so that it rotates true with the wheel. If it is not fully pressed in on one side, and wobbles as the wheel turns, it will fail in short order after the motorcycle is ridden.

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18. Clean and lightly grease the center spacer, then insert it into the hub. Don't forget this step, it's too late after you've installed the second bearing!

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19. Press the left bearing into the hub the same way you did the first bearing. Don't pound it in as hard as you can get it! You want the spacer in the wheel hub to be able to rotate freely. If the spacer is binding up when you turn it, you have pounded in the bearing too far. This is a problem: by doing so, you are side loading the bearings, which will cause early failure. On the other hand, you don't want the spacer to rattle around - if this is the case, the bearing isn't in far enough. Seat it gently, checking the movement of the spacer frequently.

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Note: 1983 model Goldwings do not have a bearing retainer ring. For 1983 Goldwings, skip to step 24.

20. On the left side of the wheel, gently start to thread the bearing retainer ring into the hub.

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21. Using your custom tool, tighten the bearing retainer ring.

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22. Using a drift punch (or a philips screwdriver) and a hammer, stake the edge of the bearing retainer ring.

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23. The staked edge prevents the bearing retainer ring from backing out.

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24. Reinstall your rear wheel. Read How to remove and reinstall your rear wheel for detailed instructions on this process.



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littlebeaver
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Re: How to replace your rear wheel bearings

Postby littlebeaver » Tue Feb 08, 2011 1:13 pm

This is great because I'm changing them out soon.. :D

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squirts
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Re: How to replace your rear wheel bearings

Postby squirts » Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:40 am

Outstanding article! Headed to Lowes for the goodies to git 'er done. Thank you!

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Re: How to replace your rear wheel bearings

Postby squirts » Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:17 pm

squirts wrote:Outstanding article! Headed to Lowes for the goodies to git 'er done. Thank you!

Follow up: Lowe's didn't have any 6X5/8 bolts (on ANY 5/8 bolts) so I ended up buying a 10"X5/8 threaded rod for about six bucks. A 5/8 lock nut was .85 cents and a 1 1/4" socket was $5.50. Followed the directions and out came the bearings! Thanks again! Tom

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Re: How to replace your rear wheel bearings

Postby saltydawg1967 » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:46 am

WingAdmin,

Your DIY stuff has been a lifesaver to me. I read through both of your front and rear wheel bearing replacement articles and see that you got your bearings from Partsnmore. I went there and they no longer carry them. Or at least I could not find them.

Are there any other good places to get them? I would really like the sealed bearings. I am replacing the front AND the rear because I have no idea how old they are. They currently have KOYO brand on there. It looks like you have NACHI. What about All Balls?

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WingAdmin
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Re: How to replace your rear wheel bearings

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:56 am

It's a shame, but you're right, it appears that PartsnMore no longer carries wheel bearings for the GL1100 - at least not at the moment, anyway. All Balls bearings have a good reputation, and are available from many retailers. I'm partial to Timken bearings when I can find them (plus they're made in the US), but when they're not available for the application I'm looking for, I'll go with a good name brand bearing. And yes, I like the sealed bearings as well.

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Baunix63
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Re: How to replace your rear wheel bearings

Postby Baunix63 » Sat May 11, 2013 8:52 am

Seers,

my way changing the bearings:
Put the bearing in the fridge overnight, so they are icecold and a little bit smaller.
Heat the hub with a smooth flame, you use for soldering copper pipes. So the hub will become a little bit wider.
Normaly I do not need a hammer then.
That does work for the head bearings as well. Her I put the tripple tree into the fridge, heated the Bearing in the kitchen to 200 degrees Celsius. The lower bearing on the triple tree nearly felt direct into his seat. When the bearing is still war you can grease it very effective!
Okay, I´m living alone, ther was a little taste in the kitchen :mrgreen:
Michael from Bavaria

wingnut1100
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Re: How to replace your rear wheel bearings

Postby wingnut1100 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:02 pm

I did not have quick access to a 6" x 3/4" bolt, but I did have an old, damaged GL1100 axle bolt.

Using a chop saw, I cut of the threaded part, then used a pneumatic cut-off tool to cut a longitudinal slot through the middle of the axle bolt. NOTE: With using a cut-off tool to make the slot, it created a larger slot than what a hacksaw would create. That being the case, I just used a larger screwdriver, which was less likely to break off in the slot, just in case.

I also used the cut-off tool to crudely fashion some gripping grooves on the end of the axle bolt to help 'grip' the bearing.

Just a different design off of the original idea!

The bearings popped out slicker than I could ever have imagined; just like I wanted them to! I was a happy camper and the 'modified' axle bolt / bearing 'tool' now resides in my toolbox for later use.



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Kim O. Walker
aka: 'Wing Nut'
Payne, Ohio, USA
-------------------
Riding for the Son!
-------------------

tubamanz
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New/old bearing retainer ring?

Postby tubamanz » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:55 pm

Well....things were going along so well until I tried to remove the bearing retainer ring. Let's just say that it was a problem. In the end I got it out but it really wasn't pretty and the ring is pretty well shot. I'm looking for suggestions on where to locate another one. 1982 Wing.

Thanks.

- Kevin Z.

(P.S. I think that there were two main problems in removing the ring. 1. I didn't cut deep enough on the socket to make the nubs long enough, which I then 2. tried to make up for by hitting the impact driver too hard. Yes, dumba$$ - I know.)

tubamanz
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Re: How to replace your rear wheel bearings

Postby tubamanz » Sun Aug 04, 2013 8:35 pm

Update: I successfully removed both rear bearings using the split bolt tool. After removing the left bearing and spacer I tried putting the bolt, head first, through the wheel to knock out the right bearing. There were 3 cast "bumps" in the center of the wheel that prevented the bolt head from passing through. So I used the same technique as used for removing the left bearing.

The right bearing was pretty easy to get back in (keeping it going in level not so much) as the bearing sits flush with the outside of the wheel. After clearing and lightly greasing the spacer, the left bearing was a bit more challenging to replace until I bought a 1 1/2" socket. That was the perfect size to use to pound in the bearing.

As for the mostly-destroyed bearing retainer ring (no damage to the threads) I dug through the vendors listed on this site and got a hit with Lancaster Honda (http://www.lancasterhonda.com/default.asp). They listed both the retainer ring AND the tool (from Motion Pro) to remove/install the ring. I've just ordered both and will report back on how it goes.

tubamanz
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Re: How to replace your rear wheel bearings

Postby tubamanz » Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:13 pm

I had not heard from Lancaster Honda so I sent them an e-mail this morning. I heard back very quickly that the order was shipped on the 9th (last Friday) and so I should have it soon. As it turned out it was waiting for me when I got home tonight - had been sent priority mail. It seemed to take soooooo long to get through dinner with my family. ;)

Out in the garage (and after double checking that the new retainer ring was in fact the appropriate replacement for the damaged one) I grabbed the dust seal that came with the bearing kit. It was a press fit into the new retainer ring much like the bearings were a press fit into the wheel - i.e. really tight. Once properly motivated into place I used the new, official retainer ring installation and removal tool to get everything nicely tightened down. I like to make custom tools just as much as the next guy - but this was a very well spent $25. Wheel now has new rubber, new bearings, and a new retainer ring. I have the day off on Friday and will be reinstalling the rear wheel. With luck I'll be happily riding Friday night or Saturday.

I was very happy with the service from Lancaster Honda other than the lack of initial communication.




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