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Old 09-21-2021, 09:10 PM   #1
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Default Chevy Express wheel bearing failure

Hi Folks,
I've had the front driver's side front wheel bearing go bad 3 times inb the last 10,000 miles. 04C190P. Once when I was home and twice now while on a trip. I did the brakes and replaced the wheel hub/bearings with good quality parts, second time was in Gold country in California, third time now in Rhode island. Anyone have repeaed failures?
Steve
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Old 09-21-2021, 10:17 PM   #2
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I have not heard this level of failure. Can you list the wheel bearings you used each time?
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Old 09-22-2021, 12:00 AM   #3
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I don't have that with us, I'll post once I get home. Thanks
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Old 09-22-2021, 03:00 AM   #4
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Default Bearings too tight ?

Sounds like you may be adjusting the bearings too tight. They expand when hot and start binding up and get even hotter. Leads to early failure.
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Old 09-22-2021, 10:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Allan View Post
Sounds like you may be adjusting the bearings too tight. They expand when hot and start binding up and get even hotter. Leads to early failure.
These bearings are sealed and not adjustable.
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Old 09-22-2021, 01:06 PM   #6
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Default hot wheel ?

Sealed bearings OK. My 2001 Express still had tapered roller bearings.

Second guess... Have you noticed if the wheel runs very hot? As if the brakes are dragging? Possible caliper sticking.

I ask only because I had one wheel that started to run VERY hot. Brake pads and rotor still looked OK but I feared it was so hot the grease would melt out. I replaced rotor, pads, caliper, bearings. Next trip I STILL had a smoky hot wheel. Groan. A parts guy suggested I replace the brake hose too as they sometimes collapse inside. New brake hose solved my problem.
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Old 09-22-2021, 01:44 PM   #7
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As was mentioned by others above, knowing the bearing brand and part number might help understand what is going on, as this is very unusual I think.

We did have an early failure in our 07 Chevy, though, well under 20K miles when we got it new. In our case it was likely because there was some kind of bearing issue in 07 as we have heard of numerous others also with 07s and not near as much with other years. One got replaced with warranty and I did the other a bit later just in case and both have been fine since.

There really isn't a lot that can go wrong with installing the unitized bearing hubs as long as the surfaces are clean and torques correct.


I take the above back a bit as there is one thing that can go wrong that I have worried about on some vehicles. The ABS pickup is on top of the hub and if the seal fails water can get into the hub and to the bearings. Longshot, but one of the few things that might happen and water will kill bearing quickly. Hubs will actually suck in water when splashed as they cool from the water, so seals need to be good.
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Old 09-22-2021, 01:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Allan View Post
Sealed bearings OK. My 2001 Express still had tapered roller bearings.

Second guess... Have you noticed if the wheel runs very hot? As if the brakes are dragging? Possible caliper sticking.

I ask only because I had one wheel that started to run VERY hot. Brake pads and rotor still looked OK but I feared it was so hot the grease would melt out. I replaced rotor, pads, caliper, bearings. Next trip I STILL had a smoky hot wheel. Groan. A parts guy suggested I replace the brake hose too as they sometimes collapse inside. New brake hose solved my problem.
Had a collapsed brake hose on a Chevy truck once. Like you I replaced the calipers , then figured it was the hose.

Another potential issue is caliper guide pins seizing due to bushing swelling. You can read about that here:

https://www.classbforum.com/forums/f...ing-10349.html
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Old 09-22-2021, 03:37 PM   #9
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I would measure wheel temps using a Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer, looking for differences side to side. My front wheels run about 100 deg. F in warm weather (according to my $10.00 thermometer).

If the wheel gets hot but not due to a brake problem, one thought is that the bearing assy. is deforming due to a poor fit in the knuckle.
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Old 09-22-2021, 05:31 PM   #10
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i replaced mine with these at 100k miles. At 130k now with no issues, yet.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 09-22-2021, 09:41 PM   #11
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The aftermarket wheels put on by Roadtrek with the wrong offset puts stress on the bearings they are not engineered for.
Perhaps that is the problem.
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Old 09-22-2021, 11:33 PM   #12
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Default torque-damage-tire size

More thoughts. When the hub is installed the mating surface must be clean and free of any dirt/rust. And torque to spec. Improper or uneven tightness might cause some stress or distortion in the inner bearing surface. That could lead to short bearing life.

Was this van ever damaged (wrecked)? Offset wheels, as mentioned could be hard on bearings but that would have shown up a long time ago.

Have over sized tires been installed before the bearing failures started ?
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Old 09-23-2021, 12:20 AM   #13
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If the wheel offset is correct, tire size is irrelevant.
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Old 09-23-2021, 12:48 AM   #14
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Great ideas and thoughts, thanks to all.

Stock wheels and tires.

I'm back on the road now after having both hubs replaced in Providence, Rhode Island. If I have the issue again, I'll let all know. I asked the mechanic to be sure to clean and torque everything properly. Don't think he appreciated it, but it was my $$$.

I don't have the make and model of the hub that failed, it was installed in Angels Camp, CA on a previous trip a couple years back.
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Old 09-23-2021, 12:57 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rauscs View Post
Great ideas and thoughts, thanks to all.

Stock wheels and tires.

I'm back on the road now after having both hubs replaced in Providence, Rhode Island. If I have the issue again, I'll let all know. I asked the mechanic to be sure to clean and torque everything properly. Don't think he appreciated it, but it was my $$$.

I don't have the make and model of the hub that failed, it was installed in Angels Camp, CA on a previous trip a couple years back.

Aluminum or steel stock wheels? They have different offsets on them.
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Old 09-23-2021, 01:34 AM   #16
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Default Waiting...

Now we have to wait for him to put on about 3000 miles to see what happens. Maybe he'll make a cross-country trip or two soon?
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Old 09-23-2021, 03:16 AM   #17
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Won't need to wait long for that 3000 mile test! 7,000 miles to go on our current trip LA - Rhode Island - Prince Edward Island - Savannah? - LA.

I am fully expecting that all will be well for the remainder of this trip. The power of positive thinking.

Stock Chevy steel wheels.
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Old 09-26-2021, 04:47 PM   #18
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I had terrible luck with a Duralast bearing and hub assembly from AutoZone, didn't last one year, 10k miles. Replaced with a Moog brand (via Amazon) and is still going strong 40k miles later.
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Old 09-26-2021, 08:33 PM   #19
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even sealed, non tapered wheel bearings have a strict torque requirement.....just sayin'
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Old 09-26-2021, 08:47 PM   #20
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gpdc, these assemblies come as a unit you bolt on, no torqueing of the actual wheel bearings necessary, at least by the installer! Take a look at the link that hbn7hj provided: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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