Ask AndyCategory: TransmissionRear Wheel Bearing Replacement
sdbolander asked 3 months ago


I thought that I had asked this question before, but I don’t see it in the Q&A. So, if this is a duplicate, I apologize. Also, I am not certain which category is best since my question is related to the rear wheel bearings and stub shaft.

My dilemma:
Recently bought a 1972 standard beetle. The right rear, outer wheel bearing (inner race) was broken. I replaced both bearings and seals on the right side. As I put the stub shaft back in, it turns smoothly. However, as I begin to tighten the axle nut the wheel becomes very tight. I took the other side apart to compare and to ensure that I did not leave something out, or put something together wrong. It appears that I have it put back together correctly.  I even replaced the stub shaft in case the original one was damaged (I didn’t see any damage). Any ideas what I should look for?



1 Answers
Michael Glass Staff answered 3 months ago

Hi Steve,

Thank you for your question. On the rear IRS axle bearings, this all goes together as a stack of parts. Starting with the inside of the stub axle you have in order the following parts;
• Axle spacer with an internal relief
• Inner ball bearing
• Long spacer between bearings
• Outer roller bearing with removable (floating) inner race
• Outer spacer with an outer relief/grease seal race
• Drum or rotor
• 36mm castle nut

All of these parts stack on top of each other so that when you torque down the 36mm castle nut the pressure transfer through to the inside of the stub axle. I believe you are either missing a part in the stack or have a misaligned part or a wrong part in the mix.

If the bearings are not seated correctly a side load could be placed on the bearing causing it to bind.  I have also seen an outer roller bearing where the inner race didn’t float on the rollers, this could cause the bearing to bind.

Rear Wheel Bearing Assembly: 1) Rear Axle Tube, 2) Brake Backing Plate, 3) Bearing Housing, 4) Axle Shaft, 5) Inner Spacer, 6) Ball Bearing, 7) Cover, 8) M10 Bolt – four per side, 9) Washer, 10) Large O-ring Seal, 11) Small O-ring Seal, 12) Oil Seal, 13) Paper Gasket, 14) Outer spacer, 15) Oil Deflector[/caption]

Hope this helps move your project forward to get it back on the road!