Trailing arm Tapered wheel bearing setup


Well-known member
Mar 23, 2008
St. Charles, Missouri
I'm in the middle of upgrading my 1969 Blue Angel vert with RideTech suspension and have a question for you guys. (Hope GTR1999 chimes in).
All the how-to articles recommend setting the trailing arm wheel bearing endplay to .002" max. My buddy who owns Competition Marine Center and has much experience setting up tapered bearings on off shore race boats etc. tells me that I should set them up with 7-14 inch lbs of preload. I did a little internet research and found articles like this (preload vs endplay) which tend to support his position.

So, maybe I'm poll vaulting over mouse turds here but which way is best and why?
When I did mine (prepared by Gary) I had to torque the whole setup to 100lbs and then check for the .002" endplay.
Less than that and the bearing are too compressed and will heat up, less you got too much play.
There is online rebuild guide somewhere even if I couldn't find it right now.
Yes, That is the procedure I am familiar with and have used multiple times in the past. The point my buddy is making is that it is better to put a slight preload on the bearings. Evidently not enough to cause excessive friction heat that would effect bearing life. See attached article I found on the internet.


You'll find that 7-14 is also common on the tapered pinion bearings on a diff.. That being said, I imagine the 100lbs/ft to make sure the races are seated and then the end play has come from year of experience setting these up. From what I understand there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to do it. My cousin rebuilt mine several years ago and used the end play method.
It seems like the preload on the bearing would be proportional to it's size.
When it comes to setting up the trailing arm wheel bearings, there are two main considerations: endplay and preload. Endplay refers to the clearance between the bearing and the races, while preload is the compressive force applied to the bearing. You can check more bearings info at

The recommended maximum endplay of .002" is to prevent overloading or damage to the bearings. Overloaded bearings can lead to instability, premature wear, or even failure.
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