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Discussion Starter #1
How free-spinning should the rear hubs on a Caravan be? Or '89 Voyager had really free-spinning rears wheels. You could spin the tires and they would roll around for a very long time; the wheel bearings were not loose in any way. On our '99 Caravan, it is hard to even turn the hubs without the wheel attached to help out. Is this normal? Seems too tight to me. I assume if it is, the only remedy is to replace the entire hub....
 

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Are you sure that you are not experiencing some friction from the rear brakes? If a pull back spring is weak, this can happen. Even badly grooved drums or excessive brake dust buidup can cause a little friction. You may want to pull the drums for inspection.

EDIT: It sounds like you may have the drums off. I can tell you that the hub will not free spin for a long time. I have a complete rear hub in my garage and I can confirm that.
 

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Yes, with wheels and drums off it takes actual effort to turn the hubs. I need to grab the lugs firmly and apply force with purpose to turn them. I can do it with one hand, but I can't just grab one lug and rotate the hub...

They do not make noise that I have heard and they do not wobble; they are just really tight.....


local Advance auto has them in stock. I guess I can have a look at one off the shelf and compare to what mine are doing.....
 

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wambus said:
Yes, with wheels and drums off it takes actual effort to turn the hubs. I need to grab the lugs firmly and apply force with purpose to turn them. I can do it with one hand, but I can't just grab one lug and rotate the hub...

They do not make noise that I have heard and they do not wobble; they are just really tight.....


local Advance auto has them in stock. I guess I can have a look at one off the shelf and compare to what mine are doing.....
Let us know what you find. I get the feeling these have a certain amount of pre-load on the bearings and I suspect that the bearings are fairly large compared to the old style. I often wondered if I should consider replacing these in my van with 217,000 on it as a proactive preventative maintenance item, but so far, with no noise, I have not done it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I agree that there is likely some pre-load. I have never found it to be this snug on any other vehicle. I am concerned that this may be impacting my fuel economy. On an old-school bearing/race set-up I would never leave it this tight.....
 

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I have not looked on my 98 GC and am wondering what type of bearings are used. If they are taper roller bearings, they may have a spacer that was machined to give the correct preload. The older bearings were preloaded by turning the castle nut then backing off. I would think, that with the quest ot make manufcturing quick and with no guess work, you have no means to shim or other method to vary the preload. The more I think of it, the more the rear hubs are not subjected to as much an axial (vs radial) force as the front bearings.
Would not the fact that the van has ABS be a factor? But even then I cannot see the rolling resistance being that hard. Sounds like a pad hanging up (and it takes only a slight amount on drums for that pad to bite).
 

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The amount that you tighten the castle nut determines the pre-load. There is a flat washer between it and the bearing. You install the bearing, washer, nut, then tighten the nut to 20 ft-lbs, then back off 1/4 turn, then finger-tighten the nut. Install the collar over the nut and the cotter pin. To check if it's tight enough, install the tire and grab it 180 degrees apart with both hands while elevated, and try to wobble the tire. There should be no play.

If it's too tight, which a mechanic did to me without my knowledge, it will burn out within about 5,000 miles. It will start making a low-pitch roar like a jet, at speeds around 45 mph, and as it starts to seize, will be louder at lower speeds. When I pulled the drum, the bearing had welded itself to the spindle. I had to get a Dremel tool and cutoff disc and cut the bearing collar away, tumble out the needle bearings, and pry the inner collar off the spindle after nicking into it with the cutoff wheel. The spindle fortunately had just started to burnish, did not have to be replaced or resurfaced.
 

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chuckt said:
http://www.partsgeek.com/catalog/1998/dodge/grand_caravan/driveshaft_-ar-_axle/axle_differential_bearing.html

Well, it's a tapered roller bearing. From the description of the installation of the assembly, there is no means to vary the preload. I would look for the easy solution first (a pad hanging up).
It looks like the link you posted must be for an AWD with a rear differential. I believe the OP is talking about the rear hub sealed bearing. If I had to guess, I'd say the sealed hub bearings are probably ball bearings similar to the front sealed hubs, but I have not attempted to disassemble one.
 

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Nope. If they're rear drum brakes, these are tapered roller bearings, not sealed. The ones that go on the spindle.
 

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Bob Lincoln said:
Nope. If they're rear drum brakes, these are tapered roller bearings, not sealed. The ones that go on the spindle.
Well my 96 G Voyager has rear drum brakes with sealed rear hub bearings (15 inch) and I believe all Gen III mini's have rear sealed hubs. When I have pressed apart sealed hubs before, they were large ball bearings. I can't recall taking apart one of the Gen III mini-van rear sealed hubs yet, so I can't say with certainty the style of bearing. Let me see if I can find a picture and post it back here.

Here is a link to a picture of one for sale on E-Bay:http://www.ebay.com/itm/PREMIUM-NEW-WHEEL-HUB-AND-BEARING-ASSEMBLY-UNIT-REAR-FITS-LEFT-RIGHT-SIDE-/180869169185?fits=Model:Caravan&hash=item2a1ca48021&item=180869169185&pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&vxp=mtr
 

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I watched the You Tube video of the mechanic installing the assembly that John notes on EBay. He simply unbolts and removes the old assembly then installs the new assembly. No preloading involved. Whatever the bearing style (ball, taper roller, needle,...) there is no menas to set preload (ball and needle cannot be adjusted). The other thing evident in the video is that the guy can spin the assembly with only one hand and the drum on (not as wambus notes).
 
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