Ask the Editors: Extending the Life of my Bearings

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Caring about wearing bearings.

Dear ATVC: I have a 2006 Honda FourTrax 350 ES 4×4 with Artrax tires of front and back. They are very aggressive and awesome but I have to replace my front bearings every 4 months its seems. They’re always blowing out. However, I do ride hard in a lot of mud and fast speed with quick turns (but no road riding). I was wondering if I’m doing something wrong or if there’s a special trick to make them last longer. Please help. Thank you. Chandler_

Even in wet conditions, a full bearing swap every four months sounds a bit extreme. Keep in mind the key to extended bearing life is always one of adequate lubrication and factors that break down lubrication (such as moisture, mud and water) are sure fire ways to accelerate internal wear.

The first thing we would recommend would be to remove the seal and race of the next set of bearings you take off your Rancher and do a little investigating as to what is causing the premature failure. If inside you find a grayish soup, this is indicative of water contamination within the bearing.

Similarly, if the bearings inside happen to be dry or show surface rust, it is likely more regular waterproof grease packing of the bearing will greatly increase the lifespan.

If, your bearings are literally breaking externally, then your only real solution would be to shop around and experiment to find a heavier duty offering (we’ve had decent success with going from OEM to Moose brand bearing/ seal kits) designed for the type of loads your more aggressive tires may be transmitting to the bearing assembly. However, we suspect packing the bearings you’ve been running at regular intervals, especially before prolonged exposure to mucky conditions will solve all of your troubles.

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