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Thread: Rear wheel bearing failure

  1. #1
    Has anyone ever had this issue? I ask because it happened to me when I was riding home from work this evening. Can anyone point me in the right direction for finding some replacement wheel bearings and is there anything else I should replace or inspect when replacing them. I also wanted to ask if it would be suggested to go ahead and replace the front wheel bearing at the same time?


  2. #2
    If you dont find them soon i can give you the part numbers out of the factory parts manual, but you can download the parts book off this site and look them up yourself, they are availible from almost any bearing house if you take in your old ones, or buy new from a HD dealer, or one of the vendors on this site (Look up on the tool bar sparky)

    theres several ebay sellers as well as amazon sellers selling new bearings and bearing kits, press in the news ones carefully with a press and drift, if you dont know how, have someone who does, use a inside bearing puller to remove, heat up with a heat gun if neccesary and clean the area first, check the manual (FACTORY) on the correct procedure and check for retainers and snap rings

    YES on Rsquare (Remove & replace) the front bearings as well. Look for heat damage, galling, peened over races and lips (from the gorilla who might been in there before you), use a light coating of antiseize on the axles on assy, (moly coat is best) and carefully clean the treads on retainers and fasterners and use Blue loctite on them or safety wire Loctite wont stick to greasy or oily threads so use some aerosol brake cleaner on the threads and use clean compressed air to dry them, clean your brake rotors while you are at it, and avoid lubing brake surfaces.

    if you can preload the wheel bearings, then back off and then torque the axles, read the factory manual,

  3. #3
    Senior Member lunaticfringe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    AmishLand, PA.
    paul: great info from annoyance as usual. i would do both front and rears. i stock new all balls sets here at my shop if you need them. send me email if you do. regards, john

  4. #4
    Senior Member thrstrmech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    All Balls Racing bearings

  5. #5
    Senior Member heagachongoose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Portsmouth OH

    As you can see, my rear bearing was shot. I just went through te whole bearing shenanigans earlier this week. The rear bearings for all 2009 and earlier xb's and 1125's are the same dual bearing system 2010 and on are a three bearing system. The oem HD bearings are actually a rebranded reputable brand of bearings I just can't remember what they are off the top of my head... SKF bearings are supposed to be superior to the oem but I was limited for time and settled for the availability of the oem replacement. Five minutes on and two days in the mail, and viola. Al is a really good guy and will help you out with anything you need. I'm sure keeps them in stock also. I'm not sure about the 08 xb's but the early run 08 1125's had a recall on the rear bearings.

  6. #6
    eeewwwwwwwwwwwwww !!! thats some ugly stuff right there!. hard to imagine riding on a bike and having them look like that. OUCH! When in doubt, replace them! small price to pay for the peace of mind. Ive seen some pretty horrific accidents from wheel lockups or failures. about 15 years ago I was going the opposite direction when i saw a rider go down on the freeway. I learned later there was some sort of front wheel or tire failure and down he went, ran over by several semi trucks.
    My father in law is a retired cop, one of his friends was a motorcycle cop and had his Police Harley bike the tranny locked up at 70mph on a bad stretch of freeway, Down he went. lived to tell about it but was hurt bad enough he ended up on permanenet disability. Shortly after the City switched from HD to Kawasakis for their police bikes.
    the point is,, bearing failure.
    too much to lose and too much to risk NOT to replace bearings if you even think you might need to, then do it and dont think twice.

  7. #7
    Senior Member mmcn49's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Small Island in Puget Sound, WA
    I’ve had a rear bearing failure doing 40 MPH on a 6 lane road in rush hour traffic, not fun. There was only about 4K on the bike when the bearing failed.

    IMHO the bearings are not the main culprit. I did some research and found that our bearings are not really sealed but have what are called “Loose Contact Seals”. Loose contact seals allow the bearing to run much cooler but also allow some dirt and moisture to enter.

    The main culprit thought is the over taught drive belt. To loosen the tension a bit I’ve drilled a larger clearance hole in the idler arm. The belt is still tight, but not overly so.

    Because of the loose contact seals, again IMHO, you should replace the bearings on somewhat of a regular basis. If you’ve reduced the drive belt tension you should replace both front and rear bearings every 10-12K If you run with the over taught belt you should probably do the rear bearings every 4-5K.

  8. #8
    that is good to know, my drive belts squeak a bit when pushing the bikes around (not running) and i am always wondering if they seem too tight.
    keeping in mind a cold belt runs tight, a hot belt runs tighter, the opposite of a metal chain that loosens up when hot.

    the manuals specify some really tight tolerances for belts, but hard to quantify
    so more info if you dont mind on how you did the larger clearance? and what about the belt tensioner on the XB's?

    Im a bit paranoid about this i suppose but have seen a lot of bearing failures in transmissions and wheels on other bikes so very inerested in this issue on these rubber band buells

  9. #9
    Senior Member mmcn49's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Small Island in Puget Sound, WA
    Get a Drill index that increases bit sizes by 1/64th inch. Start drilling out the top hole on the tension arm. Drill out one drill size at a time then reassemble and run the bike after each drilling. Don’t get too carried away. You should be fine drilling up to three bit sizes, just don’t go any further than you have to. I also drilled out the bottom hole on mine one or two sizes but start at the top.

    A lot of things I do I look at as a research project and usually go too far. I did this on one of the bikes but I have a little machine shop and the ability to make and press in a stainless sleeve.

    If you limit the top hole to no more than a 1/32nd or possibly a 3/64th oversize hole and the bottom to a 1/64” oversize you’ll have no problems.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Just replaced my bearings on my 08 bolt. NTN 6006 around $20 apiece. Any bearing supplier can get them, Wayne

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