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 lighter-weight Midlana however, they'll last longer by "some amount."

I'd expect the bearings to last longer since there's 42% less weight on them in the Midlana application, at least when cornering or accelerating. During braking it might result in more wear 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 reused the hubs that came with the donor uprights, but either way I now 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 ~$200 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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Re: Front wheel bearing life

Postby Midlana1 » 14 Feb 2018, 09:44

I take back part of what I said in the previous post - while the rod ends were loose, so, too, were the wheel bearings. They've been replaced so now the clock's been "reset" on how long stock hubs will last.


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