Changing the bearings in the
Warn Manual locking hubs that replace the auto locking ones is
probably one of the most over looked parts to the front end
workings. This is something that I would consider to be on a
service list of when you repack your bearings every spring and
fall, Right? You do do that, donít you?? I do, and now that I
know that this bearing is in the hub this will be added to my
list. I found this to only take about 15-20 min depending on your
The bearing controls the free wheel
in the hub and also supports the outer stub shaft at the tip. When
you think about it this bearing is spinning when ever the hub is
unlocked. It is very similar to the wheel bearings. When the stub
shaft is not turning then the splines on the end of it are locked
to a collar, which this bearing freewheels on. Contrary to belief
this bearing does wear out. I have contacted Warn to find out if
there is a rebuild kit or a bearing kit out there for them. Well
there is nothing available for these hubs. If that bearing goes
then youíre stuck getting new hubs, until now that is.
I took it upon myself to find a
bearing to replace the one that I know was fragged in my hubs.
Once upon a time I disassembled the hub and took a few
measurements of the bearing surfaces. I then went on line and
found a number for the bearing at a very good website www.qbcbearings.com
. The online catalog was very helpful. I then took that number and
called a couple of local bearing supply stores to see if they can
cross reference the number to something they have. The Number
SCE-248. Was the number that most recognized. This is a
needle roller bearing with an internal cage. This bearing has to
be caged for it to take the high speeds.
Now that the history of the problem
has been established, it is now time to get on with replacing the
bearings. This is a very simple task, no special tools are needed.
Two medium sized common head (flat) screw drivers are the major
Jack the truck up and place the
axle beams on jack stands to support the truck. The first picture
I snapped before I got the stands under so donít drill me about
it, I know!
Now the tire and wheel can come
off, exposing the hub. Slide the hub off on the wheel studs
exposing the spindle nuts. Clean any excess grease off the nuts
and now would be a good time to check the torque on them to make
sure they are still to spec.
Clean out some of the grease in the
hub itself, it makes for finding the parts a lot easier.
Once clean there is a snap ring
that needs to come out. With one of the flat screwdrivers work the
clip loose and slip it out. Do not pry too hard on it, it is only
a spring clip, and try not to damage the tabs that the clip locks
under. With the clip out take the screwdriver and wiggle the
locking mechanism out working all sides. There is a spring behind
that will add some pressure to help it out. Donít be afraid,
nothing is going to go flying sky high on you. With the mechanism
out you can inspect the splines and teeth for any chips or marks
that donít look right. I found that WD-40 will clean out the
grease pretty good.
If you want to take it further
apart then under the Warn decal on the lock, there is a Phillips
screw that comes out and the lock will come apart. Again there is
nothing in there that will come flying out. This is not necessary
but it will give you a better look at things. I would suggest
doing this if and only if you notice any damage to the outer
splines on the locking mechanism.
The bearing that is going to be
replaced is in the locking mechanism that was pulled out earlier.
There is another locking ring on top of the plastic housing, once
the top is clean you will see it. All it is, is a flat coil type
spring clip. This clip you should be able to get a finger nail
under one end and like a coil it will unravel from the groove. If
you no longer have finger nails then a smaller flat screwdriver
will work. Be care full not to damage this clip also because these
will be reused. With the clip out you can then remove the plastic
centering housing to expose the bearing. Donít worry about it
there is supposed to be a gap in the plastic housing this allows
it to spring out and force itself to the outer wall of the hub
housing. If the bearings were as bad as mine then you may have to
pop the bearing off the locking spline. Be careful with this also
you do not want to damage the splines on the lock, as this is not
a serviceable item. Were out to fix the hub not break it more.
With the bearing off watch out for a thin thrust washer again this
is another piece to be retained. Another thing I found useful is a
plastic ice-cream pail with some paint thinner and an old
toothbrush for scrubbing the parts clean, for further inspection.
With the locking splines in hand you may notice some pitting or
heat marks on the bearing surface. Not to worry with a little bit
of steel wool or a scotch brite pad you will be able to shine it
up a bit. Clean all the parts up good and then start to re
assemble the hub with the new bearing. You can use a liberal
amount of grease in the hubs, this prevents water from getting in
and eventually wrecking other parts.
Point of note, that with the inside
of the hub clean, you will see grooves in the hub housing that the
teeth from the plastic collar of the locking mechanism slide it
to. You may need a bit of force to get this to slide in. While
holding it down, you can then get the snap ring back in the
grooves. Donít force it too hard in, because if itís not quite
aligned it will jam in and itís a PITA to work out. I know that
for a fact, so take my word for it. For a reference note, now that
the hub is clean you can inspect the rubber O-ring that is on the
flange of the hub. Inspect it to see if there are any pinch marks
or tears in it. Apparently there is an O-ring out there that will
fit but I have not searched too hard for this, because mine are
still in good shape. As far as I know these are the only two major
serviceable parts to the hub. Other than the snap rings and the
thrust washer. Everything else is all Warn specific parts that are
With the hub back together a little
bit of grease in the bottom of the hub and then itís ready to go
back on the truck, for further abuse!