When replacing heavy-duty wheel bearings, it is important to understand the difference between steel wheels and aluminum wheels. So let's draw the difference chart. Starting with steel wheels, you will notice that it is a more forgiving material, and you don’t need to be so careful compared to using aluminum. It is also usually easier to remove the seat ring with a bearing puller without risking damage or scratching the surface of the hub. You will usually find steel wheels on drive shafts and trailer axles.
Then there are aluminum wheels, usually only found on steering shafts. They are favored by original equipment manufacturers because of their lighter weight compared to steel, which provides opportunities for fleets to improve fuel efficiency. However, aluminum is a less forgiving, softer material, and it is more likely to be damaged or scratched when the bearing is removed or installed.
The preferred method of removing the bearing from the aluminum hub is to weld a weld bead inside the bearing race to shrink the race (after cooling) and make it easier to remove. This requires more time and additional steps and requires the use of more tools.
Here are more wheel bearing installation tips for aluminum wheels:
• When installing the bearing, a damaged aluminum hub will cause the seat ring to not be properly seated, resulting in misalignment. Bearing misalignment can cause uneven load distribution in the bearing, which shortens the life of the bearing and leads to premature failure. • Heated aluminum wheels facilitate the installation of wheel bearings. Cooling the game in the refrigerator will also simplify installation.
Finally, it is important to note that since the bearing and the aluminum hub are different materials, fretting damage is more likely to occur when the seat ring rotates or creeps inside the hub.
This technical tip is sponsored by NTN's Bower Heavy Duty Bearings.
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Author: Bower Heavy Duty Bearings by NTN October 21, 2021
ByD-A Lubricant Co. on November 1, 2021
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