Nicholas Fluhart

August 31, 2009

UPDATE: Project Recon

Filed under: Project: Honda Recon — Nicholas Fluhart @ 12:30 pm

So far, the Recon project has been a success and I have a buyer lined out. The engine runs smooth and quiet and overall the bike performs well. However, after getting a chance to operate it, I noticed it developed a popping sound on the right front. The sound became exceptionally worse in reverse. At first glance I thought it was a brake issue, but when I applied the brake the sound remained the same which means it likely isn’t the brake. The only other thing it could be is a wheel bearing issue. Perhaps I had incorrect bearings? Well, not exactly.

Getting Started

Getting Started

So I pulled it up in the shop and slid a jack under it to remove the wheel. I buzzed the wheel off with the impact wrench, removed the cotter pin from the spindle, removed the nut, and slid the brake drum off.

Removing the Drum

Removing the Drum

When I removed the drum, there really wasn’t anything immediately noticeable. Everything looked functional and I could see no obvious damage. So I turned my attention to my initial concern: the bearings. Again, nothing obvious jumped out at me, however upon closer inspection I could see that the bearing collar, which serves as a spacer between the two bearings, was a little more loose between the bearings than I’d like it to be. Although it’s a simple spacer, it serves an important function. These ball bearings are not tapered and they cannot take any amount of side-load on the inner race. When the drum/hub is installed and the spindle nut is tightened, the collar keeps the inner races of the two bearings from getting mashed from the side. It holds the races evenly under the load. If the collar is worn on either end, which usually occurs if the hub was at one time operated with a defective bearing, the races will be subject to a direct side-load and immediately begin to bind. To test my theory, I reinstalled the hub and tightened the nut. Instantly I could feel that the more I tightened the nut, the more I could feel a drag on the bearings until they began to bind. The next step was to pull the bearings and replace the collar. Fortunately, I happened to have a new collar on the shelf from a previous part-out job, so that saved me from having to make one from scratch.

The New Collar

The New Collar

Only one bearing and seal needed to be removed in order to replace the collar. Once I had the hub on the bench I proceeded to remove the inside seal and bearing. The challenge here was to keep from damaging the seal which I just recently installed.

Removing the Seal

Removing the Seal

I used a wide flat head screwdriver to gently remove the seal in a circular pattern. I then proceeded to remove the bearing. Note: The seal could also have been removed at the same time as the bearing. As the bearing is pushed out it will typically push the seal out as it goes. However, it can sometimes complicate bearing removal and since I planned to reuse the components, I didn’t want to smack the bearing any harder than I had to.

Removing the Bearing

Removing the Bearing

After I removed the old collar I inspected both bearings which I had just recently replaced during the rebuild project. Fortunately, I noticed the noise immediately upon operating the ATV and was able to catch it in time. Both bearings appeared to be in good condition. They turned smoothly and had no slack. I installed the new collar and reinstalled the bearing and seal. Ideally, it is best to use a press to install bearings. However, when one is not available you can use something with the same outside diameter as the bearing to tap it into place. You never want to smack the center race. In this case, I used a socket.

Reinstalling the Bearing

Reinstalling the Bearing

Once the components were all inspected and reinstalled, I installed the brake drum back onto the spindle and reinstalled the castle nut. I spun the hub and it worked perfectly. The nut was good and tight but the bearings had no excessive drag and turned smoothly. Mission accomplished. I installed a new cotter pin through the castle nut.

Installing the Hub/Drum

Installing the Hub/Drum

When the drum was properly installed, I began adjusting the brake shoes. I pulled the rubber inspection plug in the drum and used a narrow brake spoon to work the adjusters.

Adjusting the Shoes

Adjusting the Shoes

I adjusted the shoes until they maintained the proper drag on the drum, then I reinstalled the wheel.

Finished

Finished

After I completed the repair, it was time to put it through the paces, after all, I have to make sure it will hold up through a variety of service environments.

Mandatory Testing Procedures

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