Front wheel bearing life

Tips to keep your Midlana in top-notch shape
Midlana1
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Front wheel bearing life

Postby Midlana1 » 18 Feb 2016, 13:36

Recently I noticed that the front wheel bearings were slightly loose and tightened up the nuts - no improvement.

Turns out that the Miata bearing design isn't adjustable for wear so you have to buy an entire new hub assembly when they get loose. Track-driven Miatas apparently go through front wheel bearings "pretty fast" (whatever that means) especially when running sticky tires. For a Midlana however, it's unclear.

I'd expect that the bearings should last longer since there's 42% less weight on them in the Midlana application, at least when cornering or accelerating. During braking it might be more due to decelerating harder, but with the engine in the back, I think the total load would still be less but I haven't done the math.

I can't remember whether I bought new hubs or reused the ones that came with the used donor uprights, but either way I need new ones. Flyin Miata sells blueprinted* front hubs (https://www.flyinmiata.com/na-nb-blueprinted-front-hubs.html which are claimed to last longer but also cost ~$190 ea. I think for now I'll try a set of good-quality car parts store hubs and see how long they last in order to establish a baseline. After they wear out we can revisit this to see if the expensive ones make more sense.

*It's unclear what this means. It could range from picking-and-choosing bearing shells to remove play, all the way to just rubbing better grease on them. By the way, the grease that the Miata guys seem to like is "Amsoil 2000."

dpkilty
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Re: Front wheel bearing life

Postby dpkilty » 20 Feb 2016, 18:51

Good info.

Shameless plug though as I am an Amsoil dealer so I could price the grease for those that may need it...

Midlana1
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Re: Front wheel bearing life

Postby Midlana1 » 27 Jul 2016, 16:08

FWIW I found out what was going on. The bearings are sealed and the way they're installed don't contribute to the slop I feel. It was, surprise, loose rod ends. It's odd, since on Kimini I never once replaced rod ends for being loose, yet these are, and that's after they were already replaced. I think it's because I'm still not buying the really good ones...


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