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1997 V6 Tacoma 4x4 5 speed manual
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey guys,
I am replacing the notorious, low hanging idler pulley bearing again. Would guess that I have done it well over a dozen times over the past 22+ years. This bearing fails on me so often and so quickly that I keep 2 spare pulleys in the truck ready to install. Had the best luck so far with a Timken 6301-2RS-C3 bearing that I completely cleaned then repacked with WD-40 True Multi Purpose Grease which has the excellent wash out properties of a marine grease with a super high drop point (650F IIRC) and excellent EP qualities. The Timken bearing lasted a full year of torture in my '97 Taco 4x4 hunting/shooting truck which sees 150+ days a year off-road, many of which are in deep mud/high water. Going back with an NGK Japan 6301-DDU/6301-DU2 bearing which was the OEM bearing in the pulley from Toyota. Any words of wisdom on this common and recurring problem would be appreciated. TIA!

EDIT: All done. The bearing noise has been replaced with the sound of a well maintained Taco yet again! IIRC, the OEM NGK JAPAN 6301-DDU bearings gave excellent service life both times I used them on this '97 TACO.
 

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2020 Tacoma TRD PRO
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6 Posts
Hey guys,
I am replacing the notorious, low hanging idler pulley bearing again. Would guess that I have done it well over a dozen times over the past 22+ years. This bearing fails on me so often and so quickly that I keep 2 spare pulleys in the truck ready to install. Had the best luck so far with a Timken 6301-2RS-C3 bearing that I completely cleaned then repacked with WD-40 True Multi Purpose Grease which has the excellent wash out properties of a marine grease with a super high drop point (650F IIRC) and excellent EP qualities. The Timken bearing lasted a full year of torture in my '97 Taco 4x4 hunting/shooting truck which sees 150+ days a year off-road, many of which are in deep mud/high water. Going back with an NGK Japan 6301-DDU/6301-DU2 bearing which was the OEM bearing in the pulley from Toyota. Any words of wisdom on this common and recurring problem would be appreciated. TIA!

EDIT: All done. The bearing noise has been replaced with the sound of a well maintained Taco yet again! IIRC, the OEM NGK JAPAN 6301-DDU bearings gave excellent service life both times I used them on this '97 TACO.
I would advise against repacking a new sealed bearing in any application.
 

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1997 V6 Tacoma 4x4 5 speed manual
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I had my doubts about repacking the bearing. But the 6301-2RS bearings supplied by NAPA (SKF bearings IIRC) were failing in as little as 6 weeks of torture in my Taco. That won't work. So I bought (2) Timken 6301-2RS bearings. The first was installed as-is from Timken. It lasted much longer than the NAPA bearing, about 5 months. But the 2nd Timken was carefully disassembled with a dental pick, completely cleaned in carb cleaner to be sure there were no grease compatibility issues, repacked with WD-40 True Multi-Purpose grease, then reassembled. That is the bearing I just replaced after a full year of torture in routine deep mud/high water wheeling. The bearing will be taken apart to see just how much water/sandy mud got inside. I will now conduct the same test with (2) OEM NGK bearings. First impression with the NGK bearing is that the seals appear to be much tighter than the NAPA or Timken bearings I have used which is just what I need. So the first NGK was installed as-is from the factory. Time will tell how long it lasts before squealing. Then I will try a repacked NGK bearing to see how it stacks up against the first one. If the NGK bearings don't last longer than the Timken bearings did, I will probably try a couple of Nachi 6301-2RS bearings next. I fully expect any of the super high quality JAPAN bearings to give a decently long service life in this application even given the torture I put them thru. And at this time, the double sealed NGK and Nachi JAPAN 6301-2RS type bearings on Amazon and Ebay are only about $10 each delivered. That is a steal!
After wrenching this '97 Taco for 22+ years, the 2 areas that require the most attention & mtx have been the "pulling themselves apart" LBJs and this low hanging idler pulley bearing. Toyota could have done it better in those 2 areas. And a solid front axle would have been better than the IFS for my purposes. Everything else has been a breeze compared to the (2) M38/M38A1 military Jeeps, (3) CJ5s, & box Bronco I have used & wrenched over a life-time of hunting/shooting/hiking/fishing. .02

EDIT: This is the repacked Timken 6301-2RS type double sealed bearing that failed after 1 year of wheeling in deep mud/high water. The grease inside of the repacked bearing was originally blue/green as are most greases with marine application. The little dab of grease up top is what was used. This bearing was completely submerged in muddy water many dozens of times in that year. Not bad longevity at all given the ultra harsh conditions.
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