Front wheel bearings - advice please

Hi having trouble with the front bearings on a 1975 S2 front end. I have new stub axles and bearings all from SNG Barrat but I cannot get the bearing to slide down the stub axle it stop an inch or 2 short of the oil seal in front on the hub carrier, I understand they should just firmly slide on - has anyone else experienced / solved this?

Hi James welcome to the forum, that is the opposite to what I had with replacement stub axles for my ‘65 ’S’my inner bearings had too much play, about .0015-002” clearance.

Snug is good. Provided you aren’t miles out, find a stout piece of pipe the size (ish) of the inner race and have at it. Warming the bearing and freeze-spraying the stub will help, but usually the problem is loose fit on used stubs.

There are two sizes though, I believe. They went up in diameter around Series 3 XJ IIRC. Not super-obvious just looking at the parts, but perhaps the bearings are for the earlier type or stubs for later cars?

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Thanks I’ll try the hot cold approach, I’ve double checked the part numbers and they are definitely correct so they should fit. Just a bit nervous about drifting them on.

Just make sure you don’t drift via the rolling elements - be they ball, or in this case taper rollers. Inner race against stub or outer into hub is OK. So is a bar drift used carefully on opposite sides so as not to jam the two parts at an angle. A 360-degree pipe is good, especially as placing it flat shows if the two parts are roughly in line before hammering,

In my mind “have at it” and “hammering” conjures up something more than overcoming a “snug” fit. :slight_smile:

Personally, I’d be uncomfortable with anything more than a couple light taps.

Just IMO


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As mentioned you may have the larger diameter stub axel and the smaller bearings…best i can give you at the moment is that the smaller stub has a diameter of 1.25in where the inner bearing sits

Whip out some emery cloth and a bit of oil use the shoe shine technique and deburr the edge of the machined portion.

AKA "fettling’ so i learned…


I ALMOST typed “tapping” instead of “hammering”. Coulda, shoulda…

I plead lack of experience Doug - having only ever experienced light tapping at best, unlike our new friend. My default decision has normally been “Is this too loose for Loctite Bearing Fit?”

I copper-plated a stub once, when the answer was “yes!”

On the plus side, if parts are correct, an exploratory tap or two will leave him nothing more to do. If the parts are wrong, then hammering won’t work and the seller should accept return of marked incompatible parts supplied in error. So the big no-no (driving round on damaged parts) would be impossible IIRC, as they couldn’t be assembled.

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Given two versions of stub and bearing as mentioned by others, James - I would not force the bearing on at this stage. You may have the wrong match…?

I know Murphy’s advice; “Dont’ force it - get a bigger hammer” - but there are limits, and I think you may be passed them…?

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UKNZ)

Thanks for all the advice, great to find such a helpful forum. So I check the part numbers and they are correct, I heated the bearing a bit and cold sprayed the stub and was able to get it on with moderate tapping. I did notice a slight ridge part way along the stub axles and wonder if this is the cause of the issue!

Did not heed my emery suggestion, huh!!!

If you simply made it hot (not red hot) and the stub cool (impossible to do more without liquid nitrogen) you should be fine. That trick only alters the interference fit by a thou or two.

I wussed out of taking Emery to a new part I am afraid.

Yes that all the heating and cooling I did - it was snugger than I would have liked still but one side is on at least!

All that means is when you need to replace again you are going to cut the inner race off.

…but will definitely not have the race rotating and wearing the stub axle!

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No sir. A proper generic bearing extractor, of the type that many bearing factors will loan customers on request, will easily pull it off. JEC in the UK run a tool loan service same as JCNA m.

And when you are out beyond the black stump in Aussie a die grinder is going to do the job :sunglasses:

Just tell us if you have any trouble adjusting the play, James…

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)