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Author Topic: Greasing wheel bearings on a 4104. Can I just squeeze some grease in there ?  (Read 3509 times)
zubzub
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'53 4104. Roadworthy but rough around the edges.


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« on: August 27, 2007, 06:58:59 PM »

Using the manual in sect 13 it says to pack the bearings as I would on any vehicle.  What I want to know is when I go to pick up my bus, which is a very unknown quantity (although the maintenance looks good) should open the hub caps and take a peek, maybe squeeze a little grease in there if thing look dryish.  When I get there I will have a bunch of stuff to work out and not too much time (taking time off to go get bus).  I am a bit a a maintenance freak with older stuff, and will be changing oil/ dif oil/cleaning air filters/ changing fuel filters and doing a neccesary aux air tank replacement as well as trouble shooting the generator and dash gages (PO was a bit haphazard, good thing he didn't have it too long!). 
Finally I will leave this post with a statement reagrding old vehicles made to me by a dear  friend.   "You know patrick, old cars are like old people, they need plenty of fluids"
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Jerry Liebler
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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2007, 07:06:15 PM »

Patrick,
     If the bus has sat for a year or more I'd advise doing a proper cleaning, inspection and repacking of the wheel bearings.  I didn't and rusty wheel bearings (rear) cost me an awful lot of money to rebuild the axle tubes.
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120
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Charles in SC
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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2007, 07:15:51 PM »

Are you talking about the front or rear or both? The front are pretty easy to access to check, the rear are not so easy. Do you know if the rear uses oil from the differential or seperate grease? How far are you going? The PO might be able to tell you when it was done last. These are just some things to think about. Good luck!
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S8M 5303 built in 1969, converted in 2000
zubzub
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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2007, 07:46:48 PM »

I have been noticing on this board and others that the older GMs are burning through bearings, I guess 50 yrs  is just too much for American engineering.  I am concerned by the front and the rear hubs.  Pulling everything apart is an option, but the chance that I don't screw something up is pretty low.  The set screws for the drum looks like  bears ( I have seen various pics of buses where the screw needed to be heated with Oxy/Acet in order to be removed.  and all that wheel work does not excite me, though i guess i could do it first thing in the morning as a work out.  The rear uses grease like the front and requires a fair amont of work to access as the axle shafts have to be pulled.
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bubbaqgal
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« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2007, 08:39:43 PM »

How far do you plan on driving it after you pick it up.  If it isn't far, a bit of grease might help.  If it is a long drive, you really should pack them.  If you are married, tell your wife the grease is really good for her hands and see if you can't get her to do it for you.  Dallas did that with me and I actually enjoy packing bearings.  It makes my hands soft and I feel a great sense of accomplishment.  Cat
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« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2007, 08:46:39 PM »

Zubzub,
    It has nothing to do with engineering it is rust which builds up from sitting.  If the bus has been used as designed and maintained at all the bearings last and last but let it sit and a tiny rust spot leads to failure.
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120
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gus
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« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2007, 09:01:11 PM »

Zub,

I recommend you not add new grease to the old. This could cause all the grease to liquify and be worse than just the old grease alone. If you grease any bearings clean out all the old grease first.

Check the manual very carefully, I think it says not to fill the hubs with grease. Each mfg is different, some say to fill and some don't. there needs to be some space for heat expansion.

I think the PO filled mine because every once in a while the fronts let out a few blobs of grease and mess up my nice white wheels.

4104s don't use differential oil to lube the rear bearings, very few heavy duty vehicles use that system. Leaking differential oil will dissolve the bearing grease.

These are great buses, hope all turns out well and you have as much fun with it as I've had in the two years I've had mine.
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PD4107-152
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TomC
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« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2007, 09:30:19 PM »

Zub- one of the first things I did before taking my bus home from Kelso, Wa., was to have a local bus mechanic change the grease bearings to oil bearings just like what trucks use.  It has been 13 years since then and haven't had either a heating or leakage problem. 

There are superior greases now made compared to what your bus was initially packed with.  I would suggest you find a qualified truck or semi trailer garage that will repack your bearings for you.  Many of the semi-trailers now use the modern high heat/speed grease I'm talking about.  At the same time have the seals replaced.  Either do it now, or have it break unexpectantly on the road when your travelling.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
zubzub
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« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2007, 04:29:36 AM »

That is a lot of work for a 1000 mile trip. I know it makes sense, it just takes a bit of time on a car so doing a bus has got to be X10.  Thank-you to everyone  for the encouragementt to do it right. Patrick.
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Dallas
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« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2007, 05:00:28 AM »

Patrick,

Packing the front bearings isn't really all that hard on your 4104 and not all that time consuming.

You can pull the tire, wheel and drum all at once by removing the spindle nut. This will also give you a great opportunity to inspect the spindle and the brakes, which should be done anyway.
The bearings are large enough that by putting a large glob (official technical term), on the palm of your hand, you can pack each bearing in less than 15 minutes.
Make certain you have all the old grease cleaned out first. Not only for the cleanliness, but to actually see how loose the rollers are in their carriers and to see if any of them are damaged or have flat spots.
If possible, get the number off the wheel seal and replace them at the same time.

Pulling the rear axle isn't all that hard either. The rear will take a little longer, but still shouldn't be that much of a PITA.

Total time for both ends should be somewhere around 4 hours, if you have no brake or wheel issues and you have all the tools and parts you need on hand.

Think of the peace of mind you will have knowing that the bearings aren't likely to fail, the brakes are in good shape and adjusted correctly, and that the seals aren't leaking grease out onto the brake shoes.

Good Luck, take your time, do a good job, enjoy the fruits of your labor and above all... enjoy that big old beast.

Just my couple of drachma (₯)

Dallas
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zubzub
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« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2007, 10:42:03 AM »

Thanks for the encouragement.  4 hrs sounds good.  Can I really just pull the whole assembly off if I remove the spindle nut?  That sounds easy.  Is there something similar in the rear? Book mentions a fairly complete dissassembly.  I have to confess that tech drawings always make more sense when I am taking something apart.  From an armchair I can't  always glean  all the info I need. 
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gus
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« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2007, 12:49:45 PM »

If you remove wheel and hub together you will need some kind of dolly with wheels to support them so the wheel weight is not allowed to sit on the grease seal. This can destroy the seal since these wheels are very heavy, especially the duals.

Make sure the bearings are exactly centered on the axle (or rear axle tube) when installing or you just ruined your new seals! I always buy a couple of extra seals just in case I drop a wheel by accident.

These things are too heavy for me. Another reason I remove the wheels is the lug nuts need to be removed once in a while anyway to keep them from seizing.
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PD4107-152
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« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2007, 01:41:08 PM »

I don't know if your front wheel bearings are the grease type or sealed oil type.  On my Crown Super Coach ex-schoolie they are the grease type.  Just pretend they are just like the front wheel bearings on your older car. 

Repacking them is the same.  Only real difference is the size and the necessity of very securely raising up the front end of your coach.  Yeah, adding new grease to the old is not a good idea.  All sorts of bad things can occur.

Finding the new seals might be a challange.  The neat thing about repacking them yourself is that inspection is easy and always kind of fun.  Checking out your drums and shoes at the same time is also a good idea.  Smiley Smiley
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Don4107
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« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2007, 02:05:47 PM »

I don't know that I would try to overhaul the bearings at some remote location.  I would jack up each wheel and check for the slack.  Remove the hub covers and have a look.  If there is reason then maybe a closer look.  While you have the weight off lube the king pins and check the other front end components and brakes. 

4 hrs might be close for a pro with all the tools and equipment.  I bet if you get an estimate at any shop it will be for a lot more than 4 hrs for all 4 corners.   For someone that has not been into a heavy axle it would be an undertaking.  I would spend that much time cleaning up the hubs and bearings. 

No disrespect meant to Zubzub.  You may be a pro.  Do what is necessary to get it home then take your time and do it right.  How many people can say they repacked all the wheel bearings before they took the new prize home?  I would pay more attention to the tires and brakes than the bearings.  There are a 100 other things that can give trouble too.  Are you going to rebuild everything before you head for home?

Good luck and don't sweat it too much.  It will be an adventure.

Don 4107
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Don 4107 Eastern Washington
1975 MCI 5B
1966 GM PD 4107 for sale
1968 GMC Carpenter
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« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2007, 04:27:59 PM »

I'm with Don.

Unless there is ample evidence to raise suspicion, the bearings will be just fine.

Check inside each wheel position to check for evidence of leakage, check brake adjustment, glance quickly at the tires and drive it home.

If you want to remove them, you need a bottle jack to take the weight off the wheel end, a sheet of metal to oil up to slide the wheel assembly off the spindle, and the correct big socket for the large nuts inside there to take them apart, and get them properly tightened up again.

As a matter of course, you change wheel seals when it is disassembled.

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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