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Well it's my turn for the rear axle bearing failure, I was in Maggie Valley last month attending SSITS 2019 when that awful creaking noise started under 5 MPH, every rotation of the rear tire:arghh:.

So when I got home I cleaned the drive belt and loosened the drive belt tension...with no success, I jacked the rear tire up and rotated the wheel first with the belt installed then I removed the belt to confirm the bearing noise every 360 degrees of rotation. I could hear the bearings click, click, clunk!!
I just turned 5K miles on my 2016.5 Slingshot and don't want to waste the entire Summer driving season at my local dealership so I dove in my garage removing the old bearings and ordered all three replacements from Polaris.
By now I have searched all of the related threads and read hundreds of posts about these bearings and their issues and after I inspected my failed bearings I have formed my own opinion of the failure and what I can do to help extend the life of both bearings.

First I will post some of the damaged bearing pictures, IMO the reasons they both failed were belt tension (too tight) and heat from lack of grease.
This in-turn this caused the needle bearing bushing to rotate against the OD of the axle tube which causes more heat, melts grease in both bearings, and loosens the clamping force of the double nuts, (because of the aluminum spacer and bearing expansion then contraction, not because of the nuts loosening).
look closely at the roller bearing and the swingarm bearing bore you can see melted grease then look at the needle bearing bushing, it has spun free around the axle tube, this bushing should always stay clamped tight from the 250 lb.- ft. torque from the double nuts.

I will post more pictures hopefully this week when my OEM parts are back from my local machine shop.


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Does that outer race not have a groove and hole in it? The early bearings had the groove so adding a zerk was worth while. If no groove, a zerk won't work.
 

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The replacement needle bearing OD does have the hole and grease groove and I did drill and tap for a 1/4”-28 grease fitting. But that’s only part of the issue.
I will show my fix after I get the parts back from the machine shop hopefully this week!
 

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First off let me say this is MY attempt to extend the life of the axle bearings, this is not a fix for bad engineering by Polaris and is not a simple fix-all solution for dealerships but I do hope Polaris is watching!

Ok, my parts are finally back from the 2nd machine shop! My first attempt was not a success because I didn't know how hard the needle bearing bushing was.
The first machine shop tried to cut a keyway and estimated the Rockwell hardness was 60 or above they recommended another machining process called EDM electrical discharge machining.
Our axle tubes are case hardened at each end of the bearing surfaces and can be milled.
I will post more pictures soon and write a follow up report.
Test fitting bushing..jpeg


Here are additional pictures of the two parts I had keyed, this ensures no rotation between the needle bearing bushing and the axle. I feel that when lack of grease is at the OEM needle bearing, it starts a friction that rotates the bushing which causes more heat, wear, and bearing noise. Note the grease starting to be pumped out between the needle bearing and the new bushing. Between adding a grease fitting that can be greased and locking the bushing I should greatly reduce the chances of heat, wear, and bearing failure.
bushing greased via greased fitting..jpeg

Test fitting bushing..jpeg
Sprocket double nuts installed..jpeg

New bushing with keyway cut..jpeg
Keyway length..jpeg
Keyway width..jpeg
 

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After my swing-arm was replaced under recall, my rear bearing made some initial noise and I thought, "Oh, great!", but it stopped and I haven't noticed the clicking in 20000+ miles since then.
 

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Update: I just returned after a test drive, all is quiet now!

I did have to readjust the drive belt tension and realign the belt before the test drive.

FYI, I'm keeping my belt tension set at 7/8" COLD now as IMO the factory specification is too tight at .625".

P.S. I will be driving my SS from Maine to Tannersville, PA attending SSITP 2019, so far I'm very happy with my "fix" and can't wait to go on my next SS road trip to PA. Hope we have a good turn out and good weather!
 

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Thought you guys might want to keep your ears open for noises in the rear end, I noticed mine at 4K when it started a rubbing sound that I could hear when I coasted up to a stop, The noise would increase with the speed and then it went away for awhile then came back stronger. I hope Shack can post the video I made of the noise.
I took it into Cycle Springs and Noel got me right in and had it fixed in a few days, Polaris shipped the parts right away. It pays to have a good dealer that knows how to get the job done. There are 2 sets of bearings in the axel housing, and one is American made and the other was same company but stamped Japan ,It was the Japan one that failed on mine, but both replaced. The American bearing ,top pic was the big View attachment 14043 View attachment 14044 ger of the two.
Hi thanks for the knowledge can you tell me the part # so I can Ofer them mines is doing that exact noise
 

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These parts sheets are from a polaris web site to use as an example only.

Please double check your slingshot part numbers before ordering your bearings as they can get rather costly if you have to replace more than the needle bearing!

I replaced Fig. # 17 & 18 then after I had everything tore down and did a condition inspection and found that I also needed to replace Fig. # 12 & 13.
 
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