Front Wheel Hub & Rotor Installation

Today I installed the rotors onto the front wheel hubs and attached the completed hub and rotor assemblies onto the front suspension.

I bought a pair of new Disk Brakes Australia (DBA) rotors from Dean at datsunparts.com for $230. As far as I can tell (and I looked around) DBA is the only company that makes aftermarket rotors for the roadster (#DBA 610) and new rotors are NLA from Nissan. DBA also offers slotted rotors but I went with the plain ones. The new rotors come wrapped in plastic and with a thin coating of oil on the surface, presumably to prevent any surface rusting prior to installation.

The rotors bolt into the backs (insides) of the hubs in four places. I cut-out just a square of material from the top of the packaging that would enable me to access the bolt holes without fully exposing the rotor to the dust, grease, and other debris in my work area.

I used a bit of brake cleaner to wipe off the surface I’d exposed.

I made a similar cutout on the bottom of the rotor to acces the opposite sides of the bolt holes.

I added the hub on top of the rotor. I slide the rotor towards the edge of my workbench so that the bolt holes underneath would be accessible from below. Using an extension and a 5/8″ socket, I fed the first bolt up through the hole in the rotor and into the threaded hole in the hub.

I rotated the rotor and hub 180 degrees and started the bolt on the opposite side of the rotor in the same manner, but threaded it by hand at first.

After getting all four of the hub-rotor bolts started I tigthened them down sequentially around the hub. This ensured that the rotor and hub met parallel and prevented the bolts from binding up. After several passes around the rotor the hub and rotor pulled together.

I flipped the rotor over (now that the risk of the two pieces coming apart was gone) and did some further tightening with the wrench, again moving in sequence around the rotor.

I got the bolts fairly tight by hand.

Then I used my impace wrench to do the final tightening of the four bolts on each rotor and hub.

With the rotors attached to the hubs, I went ahead and packed the outer wheel bearings with grease.

When the grease came out of the bottom of the bearing I knew it was fully packed.

I placed the outer bearing into its race in the hub and placed the spindle washer on top of it.

Next I removed the protetive wrapping from the rotor, wiped it clean using brake parts cleaner, and prepared to place it onto the spindle.

With it on the spindle I rotated the spindle washer until its tab locked into the groove on the bottom of the spindle. Then I began to twise the castled spindle nut onto the spindle.

I tightend the spindle nut usine a 1 1/8″ socket. Then I torqued it down to 35 pound-feet.

Then I backed the nut off 1/8 of one turn.

I added a 1/8″ 2″ cotter pin through the castled spindle nut and bent it around to prevent the spindle nut from ever backing off.

A while ago I bought a pair of new spindle end caps one ebay for around $12. My old ones were pretty scarred-up. I believe these are still available from Nissan.

I added the new cap onto the end of the hub. It took a good smack from the mallet to drive it on flush.

My final step was to clean off the outer surface of the rotor using some brake cleaner and clean paper towels.

Once I put the brakes on this thing will be ready for wheels!

Front Wheel Hub Assembly

Tonight I installed the new front inner wheel bearings into the wheel hubs. It is easier to get the bearing races into the hubs prior to installing the rotors onto the hubs, because the races need to be pounded into their places and the rotor, once installed, makes accessing the inside of the inner hub difficult.

I bought the new bearings from partsamerica.com. These are SKF bearings, part #BR30206 for the inner (larger) bearings and #BR30204 for the outer (smaller bearings). I paid $16.99 each for the inners and $14.99 each for the outers. These bearings are readily available from many sources. I also bought new front seals, which hold the inner bearings in the back of the hubs. I got these from Carl Yaeger, who stocks plenty of roadster parts for $13.00 for the pair.

I started by adding the race for the small bearing in the outer end of the hub.

I used the old race, which I had removed from the hubs with the old bearings, as a driver to drive the new race into the hub. This enabled me to avoid pounding directly on the edge of the new race. Pound on it I did, using my 3-pound sledge hammer.

Once the old race began to enter the hub I looked around for something longer to drive the new race down further. I settled on my 1 1/4″ impact socket, which was just wide enough to match the inner diameter of the race but narrow enough to fit into the hub.

Shortly the small outer race was bottomed-out against the inner ridge inside the hub.

I turned the hub over and went to work on the larger, inner race. I used my mallet and the old race in the same way.

I didn’t have a large enough socket, so I just continued to pound the old race in on top of the new one, until the new one bottomed-out in its position. Before pounding the old race down I flipped it in such a way that its widest inner edge was facing down into the center of the hub. This made it easier to remove the old race from the opposite side of the hub using a screwdriver to tap that wider edge, which acted like a shelf for the screwdriver to rest on.

Next I tapped the old race out from inside the hub.

I cleaned up both of the races using some brake-part cleaner and wiping with clean paper towels. I also took the opportunity to spray the bearings with brake cleaner to get any finger grease off and hung them up on a wire to thoroughly dry.

I obtained a device from OEM products that is used to pack bearings with grease. I got mine at Autozone for around $9 I think. It has a conical shaped base on which the bearing rests. (Note: if the hands placing that bearing appear more feminine than mine, it is because they are not my hands!)

Then I put the top on, which has a threaded pipe that attaches to the base and grease fitting to which I attached my grease gun.

I pumped in grease until it had packed the bearing and started to flow out of the bottom of the bearing. I then removed the top from the base.

Next we plucked the grease-packed bearing from the top and placed it into the inner hub, so that it rested on its installed race. I placed the new inner hub seal onto the hub.

I tapped the seal into place using my mallet and the old race again as a driver.

I installed the bearing in the other hub in the same way.

Rear Wheel Bearings, Pack with Grease

In preparation to re-install the rear axles, this afternoon I packed the new rear wheel bearings with grease. I bought some Mobil 1 synthetic grease that should be high quality and happens to be a distinctive magenta color.

Since grease can be very messy, I applied some masking tape over the holes on the inner side of the backer plates to prevent any grease from smearing over to the brake-side of the plates. Then I began by applying one pump of grease on the bearing.

When cleaning some grease off the corner of the ridge of a bearing collar using a Q-Tip, I had an idea. A Q-Tip with the cotton cut-off was just about the perfect size to pack the grease down into the nooks and crannies of the wheel bearing. Small, disposable, and I have an entire box of them on-hand. I’m sure there is a more elegant way to accomplish this, but the Q-Tip method worked pretty well. After packing down the grease I added another pump in three positions around the radius of the bearing.

After adding and packing grease another three or four times, it seemed to be filling the bearing substantially.

It was easy to tell that the bearing was packed full of grease when I rotated the bearing and it had a very solid feel. So I cleaned off the excess grease from the edges of the bearing and the collar.

Then the axles were ready to install in the differential.

Grease Zerks

The Datsun 2000 has a total of 20 grease zerks, primarily for keeping the front suspension components lubricated. I’ve found there are three different types of zerks in these 20. The center rod has two of part #00932-10200, priced at $1.27 each from Nissan. The lower A-arm spindles (4 total fittings), upper A-arm spindles (4), and lower ball joints (2) use part #00932-20200, priced at $1.21 each. And the upper ball joints (2), tie rod ends (4), hand brake (1), and idler arm (1) each use part #00932-30200, which cost $1.68 each.

I believe that 00932-10200 is a straight fitting, 00932-20200 is a 45-degree fitting, and 00932-30200 is a 90-degree fitting. I should be able to measure the threads of the zerks on the suspension and buy the right sizes pretty cheap from the hardware store.

Small Parts Order

I’ve just placed a parts order with Nissan. It was a bit tough tracking down the parts numbers, but the pdf microfiche available at 311s.org was very helpful. Here’s what I’ve ordered:

Part Name Part Number Price
Air Filter Element 16546-25600 $20.65
Carb Gaskets (for air-box assembly) 16523-U0800 $4.18
U20 Oil Filters 15208-H8920 $4.89

All of these parts should be available, but we’ll see if there are any problems.