Apr 9, 2014 update to the Mazda Miata - Sunburst Yellow project car

Join us at Sebring

After removing the brake assembly and the dust cap, all you have to do is unstake the nut and yank it out. An air gun helps; these are torqued on tight.
The new bearings are disassembled, blueprinted, and repacked with high-temperature grease.
Our old bearings had just a tiny bit of play, but they wouldn't have lasted another race.
It's a lot easier to put a dust cap on than to take it off.

The entry deadline for the 24 Hours of LeMons race at Sebring International Raceway—officially dubbed The Humidi TT because, well, Florida—is fast approaching. If you want to race against us (and probably fly past our underpowered Miata), you’d better sign up now! Applications are due April 26.

We’re getting ready to go. Near the end of our LeMons race at Barber, we were starting to feel and hear the wheel bearings getting a bit iffy. Just a bit extra noise and vibration under hard braking had us wondering. So we checked them out after the race.

Sure enough, there was a little bit of play in our front bearings. Miatas are known to eat front bearings under regular track use, so we weren’t surprised. We knew about the blueprinted, upgraded bearings that Flyin’ Miata sells, so we called them up to see how much better they really are.

Keith Tanner gave us the scoop: “In 2011, the 949Racing team (with me as a wrench) ran stock hubs in the Thunderhill 25 Hour race. I think we changed about 5 of them on two cars. In 2012, they ran upgraded hubs. Either the same ones [as ours] or something similar. Four cars, not a single failure.”

Considering we’re regularly running these long races and wheel bearings don’t count against the LeMons budget, we figured we’d go for it. At $185 apiece, they’re not quite twice the price of the Raybestos front hubs available at RockAuto. But these should last a fair bit longer than the two races we’ve put on our original ones, and we shouldn’t have to change any bearings mid-race for a while. That sounds to us like a good deal.

Yes, yes, you can get “Value Pro” brand front hubs for $22. Would you run a 14-hour race with budget wheel bearings?

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Comments
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Tyler H
Tyler H SuperDork
4/13/14 12:37 p.m.

There is nothing fun about working anywhere in the vicinity of the brakes in the middle of an endurance race. Money and time well-spent.

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