Epoxy method of Bearing shim check - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 35 Old Sep 11th, 2010, 6:14 pm Thread Starter
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Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Tried a different way of checking final drive bearing shim thickness.
Have used Dman's dial micrometer method and it works very well.
This method uses epoxy between the bearing and cover.

Steps:
1. Remove cover and shim.
2. Dry top outside race of bearing.
3. Put small amounts of solid 2-part epoxy on bearing.
4. Oil inside of cover
5. Install cover and tighten in place.
6. Remove cover and let epoxy cure overnight.
7. Peel off epoxy and measure thickness with micrometer.
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post #2 of 35 Old Sep 11th, 2010, 6:31 pm
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

I assume that you made some sort of comparison between the two methods? If so, how close were the two. And if they were close, again I assume that the epoxy method would be used by those without a dial mic?
Very creative.
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post #3 of 35 Old Sep 11th, 2010, 6:47 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Quote:
Originally Posted by fpmlt
I assume that you made some sort of comparison between the two methods? If so, how close were the two. And if they were close, again I assume that the epoxy method would be used by those without a dial mic?
Very creative.
You have to be careful to only measure the flat part of the epoxy. Trimming off the sides works best. I did one this morning. Waiting for the second to harden. I did the first one three times with 6-8 samples each time. If you put the max pressure on the micrometer I.E. don't use the friction knob,you get the exact same reading as the dial indicator method.

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post #4 of 35 Old Sep 11th, 2010, 7:20 pm
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Here it is and it comes with "scale"
www.plastigaugeusa.com/
Used to get it at any automotive machine shop supply house / old time auto parts store

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post #5 of 35 Old Sep 11th, 2010, 7:31 pm
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbob
Here it is and it comes with "scale"
www.plastigaugeusa.com/
Used to get it at any automotive machine shop supply house / old time auto parts store

Bob G
I used that stuff in engine rebuilding many years ago. It works.

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post #6 of 35 Old Sep 12th, 2010, 12:33 pm
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Use of PlasticGauge has been discussed here previously.
I have some and tried using it for the FD application.
It really isn't intended for this type of application and I couldn't make it work.

The epoxy method is interesting. Really neat idea. Lots of variables to wonder about it seems to me. Dimensional stability with temperature changes, and variation between epoxy formulations come to mind. You would have to trim the piece of epoxy down to get just that section which represents the gap between the crownwheel bearing outer race and the FD cover. But if it works repeatably, it's a gem of a method.

It would be worth repeating the method a number of times and comparing the results with another known method to demonstrate consistency of results.

But if it works with good reliablily it certianly would simplify the measurement instrument set required down to just a good caliper micrometer.

Keep us posted.
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post #7 of 35 Old Sep 14th, 2010, 5:42 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

I examined 2 rear drives this weekend.

First: Dman dial indicator .020" measured at least 12 times
epoxy also showed .020" measured 8-10 samples
This converts to .51mm
add .05 or .10mm preload
Shim should be .55mm or .60mm, existing shim was .90mm


Second: Dman dial indicator .008" measured at least 10 times
epoxy also showed .008" measued 12 samples
This converts to .20mm
add .05 or .10mm preload
Shim should be .25mm or .30mm, existing shim was .60mm
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post #8 of 35 Old Sep 14th, 2010, 6:37 pm
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

It would be interesting to try using a piece of solder, it should flatten nicely and hold its dimension nicely.

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post #9 of 35 Old Sep 14th, 2010, 10:47 pm
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

When removing the crownwheel assembly from the cover after checking the gap, I heat the cover to ease removal. On some drives quite a bit of force is needed to remove the bearing from the cover. Using a press or hammering the bearing out of the cover could be damaging to it.

Solder might melt.

Dan, I wonder if you are heating to remove the cover and what temps you are using?
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post #10 of 35 Old Sep 15th, 2010, 8:31 am Thread Starter
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieVT
When removing the crownwheel assembly from the cover after checking the gap, I heat the cover to ease removal. On some drives quite a bit of force is needed to remove the bearing from the cover. Using a press or hammering the bearing out of the cover could be damaging to it.

Solder might melt.

Dan, I wonder if you are heating to remove the cover and what temps you are using?
I use a heat gun to heat up the cover prior to installing. Or just stick it in the Texas sun for a while. 150-200 deg is all I want. When using epoxy the cover is only in place long enough to tighten the bolts,take the bolts out,remove the cover and crownwheel assembly and tap the bearing loose with a rubber hammer. Never considered the harm to the bearing because up to this point the bearing is going to be replaced anyway.
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post #11 of 35 Old Sep 15th, 2010, 9:54 am
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanMartin
I use a heat gun to heat up the cover prior to installing. Or just stick it in the Texas sun for a while. 150-200 deg is all I want. When using epoxy the cover is only in place long enough to tighten the bolts,take the bolts out,remove the cover and crownwheel assembly and tap the bearing loose with a rubber hammer. Never considered the harm to the bearing because up to this point the bearing is going to be replaced anyway.
One of the possible reasons for bearing failure I have wondered about, in addition to improper preload, is trauma to the bearing during installation. Mechanical engineers I have spoken to on the subject have indicated that it would certainly be possible to cause micro-fractures in the balls or races that would lead to eventual failure. I don't know how much pressure would be too much.

I remove the bearing and crownwheel assembly from the cover using both hands, holding the cover with fingers and pushing the hub with both thumbs. If I can't get the bearing out doing that, I put the whole assembly back into the oven at 250 degrees F for a few minutes. The bearing will drop right out after that.

Not sure what that heat would do to you epoxy. You could try lesser heat. I've had some drives where I could press out the bearing from the cover when all components were equal temperature, but that is the exception. Most of 'em require some amount of heat to get the bearing out without pounding, tapping, or using a press.

(It is kind of surprising to me how much variation there seems to be between drives in terms of machined tolerances.)

Thanks for posting your experiences with the epoxy method. It seems to be a method most easily done by do-it-yourselfers.
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post #12 of 35 Old Sep 15th, 2010, 6:17 pm
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanMartin
I use a heat gun to heat up the cover prior to installing. Or just stick it in the Texas sun for a while. 150-200 deg is all I want. When using epoxy the cover is only in place long enough to tighten the bolts,take the bolts out,remove the cover and crownwheel assembly and tap the bearing loose with a rubber hammer. Never considered the harm to the bearing because up to this point the bearing is going to be replaced anyway.
I may be reading this wrong, but are you saying you are checking the shim measurement with the OLD bearing rather than the new one?

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post #13 of 35 Old Sep 15th, 2010, 7:26 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager
I may be reading this wrong, but are you saying you are checking the shim measurement with the OLD bearing rather than the new one?
Yes, that way I will know what shim to order. The bearings do not vary by much in thickness. The 2 I checked this weekend were different by .0005 at the most. I will install the new bearing and verify shim thickness before installing the shim and closing it up.

These 2 drives were overshimmed by .30mm each. This goes along with what Curtis has been finding on his rebuilds.

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post #14 of 35 Old Sep 15th, 2010, 9:08 pm
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Don't get fooled into measuring and comparing just the bearing race thicknesses. You also have to measure the net result of bearing ball-to-race clearances on the thrust face alignments. This would require some sort of a fixture, and can vary substantially from bearing-to-bearing. It could easily vary more than say .004 inch - especially between manufacturers.

I really wish there was a way to measure the axial (thrust) stiffness of an assembled FD as this would be a better way to make sure the crown bearing balls are rolling on the correct lines on the races. It would eliminate the effect of varying shaft and housing diameters. It also would allow a FD to be evaluated without disassembly.

My guess is that the axial stiffness of the assembled FD axle with respect to the housing (K in lbs/inch), would increase sharply with applied load, but that with say 500 lbs of thrust will be on the order of 10^6 lbs/inch. The opposing tapered roller bearing would be in parallel to that but I suspect its axial stiffness is an order of magnitude less, so it wouldn't dominate the measurement.

Those are my WAG numbers.....
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post #15 of 35 Old Sep 16th, 2010, 12:48 pm
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanMartin
The bearings do not vary by much in thickness. The 2 I checked this weekend were different by .0005 at the most. dan
The one I am doing now has a solid 0.003" difference in race thichness from old to new.

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post #16 of 35 Old Sep 16th, 2010, 3:45 pm
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

John, would you say that given Dan's process, you could make the measurement of bearing races and then add or subtract the delta depending on if the new bearing is thinner or thicker to determine the shim thickness?

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post #17 of 35 Old Sep 16th, 2010, 5:00 pm
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

I have to agree completely with Mr Petersen......
Now, what did he say????

Sure is good to have such a group of smart fellas subscribing to this forum!

Loren

Quote:
Originally Posted by niel_petersen
Don't get fooled into measuring and comparing just the bearing race thicknesses. You also have to measure the net result of bearing ball-to-race clearances on the thrust face alignments. This would require some sort of a fixture, and can vary substantially from bearing-to-bearing. It could easily vary more than say .004 inch - especially between manufacturers.

I really wish there was a way to measure the axial (thrust) stiffness of an assembled FD as this would be a better way to make sure the crown bearing balls are rolling on the correct lines on the races. It would eliminate the effect of varying shaft and housing diameters. It also would allow a FD to be evaluated without disassembly.

My guess is that the axial stiffness of the assembled FD axle with respect to the housing (K in lbs/inch), would increase sharply with applied load, but that with say 500 lbs of thrust will be on the order of 10^6 lbs/inch. The opposing tapered roller bearing would be in parallel to that but I suspect its axial stiffness is an order of magnitude less, so it wouldn't dominate the measurement.

Those are my WAG numbers.....

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post #18 of 35 Old Sep 16th, 2010, 6:28 pm
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanMartin
Yes, that way I will know what shim to order. The bearings do not vary by much in thickness. The 2 I checked this weekend were different by .0005 at the most. I will install the new bearing and verify shim thickness before installing the shim and closing it up.

These 2 drives were overshimmed by .30mm each. This goes along with what Curtis has been finding on his rebuilds.

dan
This is a poor practice in general. Bearings CAN vary much more than what you measured, especially if there is a change in manufacturer from one to the next. It is also a challenge to measure a bearing consistently across both races and the rollers/balls and ensure all slack is removed. However, I agree that generally bearings are made to pretty precise tolerances.

However, since you are checking the new bearing you should catch any changes before you button things up.

As an aside, given that 0.30 mm is about 12 thousands, half a thousandth is still a 4% error, but well within the 2 thou or so that BMW allows. However, should you get a difference between bearings of 3 thousandths or so, the error is now 25% and substantially exceeds the tolerance BMW allows.

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post #19 of 35 Old Sep 16th, 2010, 6:45 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager
This is a poor practice in general. Bearings CAN vary much more than what you measured, especially if there is a change in manufacturer from one to the next. It is also a challenge to measure a bearing consistently across both races and the rollers/balls and ensure all slack is removed. However, I agree that generally bearings are made to pretty precise tolerances.

However, since you are checking the new bearing you should catch any changes before you button things up.

As an aside, given that 0.30 mm is about 12 thousands, half a thousandth is still a 4% error, but well within the 2 thou or so that BMW allows. However, should you get a difference between bearings of 3 thousandths or so, the error is now 25 and substantially exceeds the tolerance BMW allows.
Agreed. I had to order new bearings and went ahead and ordered a new shim. I can reuse one shim hopefully.
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post #20 of 35 Old Oct 6th, 2010, 2:46 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanMartin
First: Dman dial indicator .020" measured at least 12 times
epoxy also showed .020" measured 8-10 samples
This converts to .51mm
add .05 or .10mm preload
Shim should be .55mm or .60mm, existing shim was .90mm
Did some more work on this drive this week.
With a new bearing installed,the dial indicator shows a .021 movement. Epoxy shows a .031 gap. Also tried using solder for the first time today. Picked a solder that
would need to compress to no less than half thickness. Found a .047 solder
in my stash. It compressed to a .031 thickness. Same as the epoxy.
Picture attached of the solder setup. I used six 1/2" long pieces set in grease to hold.
Did 4 pieces of epoxy at the same time.

Shim needed:
.021=.53mm + 5-10 for preload =.60 shim
.031=.79mm + 5-10 for preload = .85 or .90 shim

I am thinking that maybe the solder is too hard to compress. Am going to try
the epoxy again by itself w/o the solder.
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post #21 of 35 Old Oct 6th, 2010, 6:00 pm
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Dan, another of your great jobs and info. Looking forward to saturday.

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post #22 of 35 Old Oct 6th, 2010, 10:03 pm
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Dan -

If you repeat any of your solder tests, use a much shorter length of solder - like maybe only 1/8 inch or so. You might even try to test your solder in a drill press (or equal) to see how much force it takes to compress things to a measurable thickness To get a better idea of how much force you are putting on the bearing during the measurement process.

I would guess the total axial thrust on the crown bearing when it is properly set up is gonna be on the order of maybe 500 lbs. And that's strictly a guess. You don't want to exceed that when making measurements via solder spacer. I assume you are using at least three solder spacers to spread the load? More yet would be better.

The solder spacer method has good possibilities - in the hands of a careful mechanic. the solder has the advantage that it does apply a realistic preload to the bearing during the measurement.

Last edited by 11862; Oct 6th, 2010 at 10:22 pm.
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post #23 of 35 Old Oct 6th, 2010, 10:21 pm
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

I just ran a test on my carefully calibrated drill press.

On a .045 in diameter 5 core 60/40 electrical solder (the really good high tin stuff), it took maybe 300 lbs to compress the dia/thickness from .045 in to .020 inch for a 1 inch length of solder. Doubling the load still only brought the thickness down to about .016 inch

That means scattering maybe 5 X .20 inch lengths around the face perimeter of a bearing & then averaging the final thicknesses to determine the clearance - but only valid if your final clearance is ~.020 inch

Of course YSMV (Your solder may vary - and so will the final desired clearance).

I think I like a dial indicator setup yet though, but maybe a two step procedure could eliminate the effect of random initial clearance?
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post #24 of 35 Old Oct 6th, 2010, 10:27 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Quote:
Originally Posted by niel_petersen
Dan -

If you repeat any of your solder tests, use a much shorter length of solder - like maybe only 1/8 inch or so. You might even try to test your solder in a drill press (or equal) to see how much force it takes to compress things to a measurable thickness To get a better idea of how much force you are putting on the bearing during the measurement process.

I would guess the total axial thrust on the crown bearing when it is properly set up is gonna be on the order of maybe 500 lbs. And that's strictly a guess. You don't want to exceed that when making measurements via solder spacer. I assume you are using at least three solder spacers to spread the load? More yet would be better.

The solder spacer method has good possibilities - in the hands of a careful mechanic.
I intend to keep trying the solder method at least a half dozen more times. I used six 1/2"-5/8" long solder pieces this time. 3+ inches may have required too much pressure to get a good reading. I will try shorter pieces tomorrow.
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post #25 of 35 Old Oct 13th, 2010, 11:58 am Thread Starter
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Tried the solder method again. Used 3 pieces 3/16" long each spaced around the bearing and held in place with grease. Lost one piece as I tried to pick it off the bearing. The other two compressed from .032 to .024 while dial and epoxy both showed .021. I think it takes too much pressure to compress solder and the cover is too flexible. Will continue to try as it fascinates me. Might try limited heat to soften the solder.

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post #26 of 35 Old Oct 13th, 2010, 12:07 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanMartin
I examined 2 rear drives this weekend.

First: Dman dial indicator .020" measured at least 12 times
epoxy also showed .020" measured 8-10 samples
This converts to .51mm
add .05 or .10mm preload
Shim should be .55mm or .60mm, existing shim was .90mm


Second: Dman dial indicator .008" measured at least 10 times
epoxy also showed .008" measued 12 samples
This converts to .20mm
add .05 or .10mm preload
Shim should be .25mm or .30mm, existing shim was .60mm
I reassembled these two drives this week. With new bearing the first showed .021" gap
instead the original .020". Used .60mm shim. The second still showed .008 gap and used a .30mm shim. On this one I used a non-BMW sourced bearing. Used vxb.com to source
a 61917 bearing. No money saved but much quicker service vs. Chicago BMW.

dan
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post #27 of 35 Old Oct 13th, 2010, 1:02 pm
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

What type and diameter of solder are you using? You want it to be as small diameter as possible.

I don't think elevated temperature would help much at least in any practical range. You do have an interesting methods progress, but some method has to be retained that puts a realistic low number of hundreds of pounds thrust on the bearing.

I really wish there was an economical way to measure the tiny amount of as-assembled hub deflection vs applied thrust load when the shims are installed - preferably when rotating at slow speed. That would be the very best way to consistently preload that crown bearing given that there are probably randomly varying diameters in the housing bore and the shaft that would affect the final rotational line of ball contact in the races. If I was BMW, that is the fixture etc I would be using to set up these FDs. The advantage is the qualification could be very rapid. The instrumentation cost though would be in maybe the low $K range.
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post #28 of 35 Old Oct 13th, 2010, 1:14 pm
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Dan..
I wonder.. what if you put the "solder" assembly into your kitchen oven? I would imagine putting the assm inside a "brwn and serv" bag would minimize coating inside the oven.

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post #29 of 35 Old Oct 13th, 2010, 1:32 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Quote:
Originally Posted by cfell
Dan..
I wonder.. what if you put the "solder" assembly into your kitchen oven? I would imagine putting the assm inside a "brwn and serv" bag would minimize coating inside the oven.
I think I would have to get it to at least 400 deg to make a difference. I don't want to subject the seals to that temp. Localized heat might work. Besides, I'd have to do it when Kathy is not around.

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post #30 of 35 Old Oct 13th, 2010, 3:20 pm
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Guys, don't forget lead-tin solder will creep at room temperature. So you can give it time instead of heat to achieve the same result.

Has anyone tried using Plastigauge to measure? This epoxy and solder method is similar to what Plastigauge does except the elastomer is premeasured and 'calibrated'.
http://www.plastigaugeusa.com/how.html

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post #31 of 35 Old Oct 13th, 2010, 9:20 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

Took another drive apart this week. I know the history to this one. It is the original on my '03LT. Failed at 36k,rebuilt by dealer,reinstalled on my LT at 47k and removed at 86k for exam. First one that I have seen with negative preload. Gap measures .011". This equals .28mm and indicates a .35mm shim. A .15mm shim was in the drive.
The tech did tell me that there were 2 shims in place with one folded partly along the bearing.

dan
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post #32 of 35 Old Mar 6th, 2011, 7:57 am
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

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Originally Posted by DanMartin
Took another drive apart this week. I know the history to this one. It is the original on my '03LT. Failed at 36k,rebuilt by dealer,reinstalled on my LT at 47k and removed at 86k for exam. First one that I have seen with negative preload. Gap measures .011". This equals .28mm and indicates a .35mm shim. A .15mm shim was in the drive.
The tech did tell me that there were 2 shims in place with one folded partly along the bearing.

dan
40k miles with a negative preload? how does the bearing look?

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post #33 of 35 Old Mar 6th, 2011, 10:14 am
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

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40k miles with a negative preload? how does the bearing look?
I bet it is just fine. Remember the purpose of the preload is NOT for the big bearing, but rather for the tapered bearing. It is that the big bearing suffers from excessive preload on the tapered bearing.

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post #34 of 35 Old Mar 6th, 2011, 10:55 am
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

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I bet it is just fine. Remember the purpose of the preload is NOT for the big bearing, but rather for the tapered bearing. It is that the big bearing suffers from excessive preload on the tapered bearing.
ahh...
so, the small shim under the taper bearing is only for gear lash adjustment?
I would think both big and small shims might have an effect on the gear lash... especially negative shim..

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post #35 of 35 Old Mar 6th, 2011, 5:19 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Epoxy method of Bearing shim check

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Originally Posted by johnT
40k miles with a negative preload? how does the bearing look?
Felt ok. Did not cut it open,can't now because I don't know which one it is. Have 3 or 4 hanging in the garage.

dan
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