How to upgrade wheel hubs | Project C5 Corvette Z06

J.G.
Update by J.G. Pasterjak to the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 project car
Dec 19, 2021

Photography Credit: Wayne Presley (Corvette), J.G. Pasterjak (insert)

When’s the last time you thought about wheel hubs? When it came to our Corvette Z06 project, we didn’t think about the hubs too much–until we added about 100 more horsepower thanks to a built LS3 and a set of very sticky tires.

That’s when the trouble started.

At first we tried the economical route, using OE-style hubs and parts instead of going to full-on race hubs. We spent about $130 to $260 each time we needed replacements, which turned out to be pretty often.

After replacing the hubs far more times than we’d like to admit, we finally spent some real money on hubs that could actually take the power we were throwing at them: SKF X-Trackers, which we sourced from Stranoparts for around $400 each.

That might sound like a lot, but we look at these sort of parts as “buy once, cry once” items.

Besides being unable to find a Corvette owner whose X-Trackers failed them, the hubs were also straightforward to install:

 

Join Free Join our community to easily find more project updates.
Comments
View comments on the GRM forums
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
12/16/21 3:45 p.m.

I am so glad you made this upgrade!!!!!  I have been thinking about this on my 4th gen.  I want updates as you use and abuse these!  If they are worth it on a car this fast; they should work for me and last.

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
12/16/21 4:44 p.m.

I've never thought about wheel hubs.  Even after more than doubling the power of many of my cars, the factory hubs were always fine.  German vs Chevy I guess...

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
12/16/21 4:48 p.m.

Honestly, we were dumb to try and "save money" on cheaper hubs. These are spendy, but the "buy once, cry once" law definitely applies.

 

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
12/16/21 6:09 p.m.
docwyte said:

I've never thought about wheel hubs.  Even after more than doubling the power of many of my cars, the factory hubs were always fine.  German vs Chevy I guess...

For whatever reason GM went with undersized hubs for the 4th gen F bodies.  Once you go with sticky tires or wide 325 width sticky tires they just don't live very long.  You can either change them often or get the adapters to run the X trackers. I just haven't wanted to spend the $1000 to get the brackets and hubs until I know the hubs are worth it.  That's 4 sets of acceptable Moog hubs for me.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
12/16/21 8:36 p.m.
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) said:
docwyte said:

I've never thought about wheel hubs.  Even after more than doubling the power of many of my cars, the factory hubs were always fine.  German vs Chevy I guess...

For whatever reason GM went with undersized hubs for the 4th gen F bodies.  Once you go with sticky tires or wide 325 width sticky tires they just don't live very long.  You can either change them often or get the adapters to run the X trackers. I just haven't wanted to spend the $1000 to get the brackets and hubs until I know the hubs are worth it.  That's 4 sets of acceptable Moog hubs for me.

That's the logic I was using, too, until I started to just burn through the cheap ones like crazy. When the expenditure on multiple"cheap" hubs looked like it was going to pretty quickly overtake what it would have just cost to buy the good ones and be done with it, it was an easy decision. Plus the itch in the back of ny head wondering whether those budget hubs would fail at a 40mph autocross on a huge concrete pad, or a 110mph sweeper next to a steel retaining wall...

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
12/16/21 9:23 p.m.

$400 each seems pretty reasonable to me.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/16/21 9:36 p.m.

In reply to JG Pasterjak :

Plus, with longer lasting hubs, you greatly increase the drive:wrench ratio!

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo UltraDork
12/16/21 10:17 p.m.

535 horse to the wheels and I never ran into an issue with my hubs on my C5. Wish I could have said the same for every other driveline component.  I did press ARP studs into the stockers.  

BA5
BA5 GRM+ Memberand Reader
12/16/21 10:48 p.m.

Is it the actual hub that goes bad or just the bearing part?

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
12/16/21 11:36 p.m.
BA5 said:

Is it the actual hub that goes bad or just the bearing part?

Both. Bearings start to lop, but we had one where the flange just broke away from the hub itself. Tht could have been baaaaad.

hoffmaw1
hoffmaw1 New Reader
12/17/21 7:12 a.m.

SKF hubs are the way to go. The OEM ones also flex way too much. I was having bad pad knock back on my C6 (with new OEM hubs) until I switched to SKF, problem is gone now.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
12/17/21 9:50 a.m.
hoffmaw1 said:

SKF hubs are the way to go. The OEM ones also flex way too much. I was having bad pad knock back on my C6 (with new OEM hubs) until I switched to SKF, problem is gone now.

SKF OEM hubs on a 4th gen F body will run $250 for a set and last a few events.  The X tracker is an SKF hub made for Corvette racers.  It is a significant upgrade.  Detroit Speed and other shops make adapters to put them on 4th gen F cars.  I'm pretty sure these are what Sam used personally too.  

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/17/21 10:39 a.m.

Turns out SKF makes the X-tracker hub for other models, my 86 has Subaru hubs so these could be of interest to me. They don't show X-trackers available for the Toyobaru on their site, but then they don't show them for the Corvette either...

hoffmaw1
hoffmaw1 New Reader
12/17/21 12:03 p.m.
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) said:

SKF OEM hubs on a 4th gen F body will run $250 for a set and last a few events.  The X tracker is an SKF hub made for Corvette racers.  It is a significant upgrade.  Detroit Speed and other shops make adapters to put them on 4th gen F cars.  I'm pretty sure these are what Sam used personally too.  

Right, forgot to add it is the X-tracker hubs, or racing hubs that I use.

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
12/17/21 8:30 p.m.

Plus one on the ball joint separator.  It's also superior to the "Jesus" fork, which usually results in ripped ball joint boots.  I've tried greasing the fork to prevent boot ripping but they rip anyway.

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
12/17/21 8:34 p.m.

Speaking of which, what brand separator did you use?  I've actually bent a couple in the past.

 

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
12/17/21 9:48 p.m.
Jerry From LA said:

Speaking of which, what brand separator did you use?  I've actually bent a couple in the past.

 

Can't seem to find any receipts for it, but if my patterns hold, it was basically the second cheapest one on Amazon.

EDIT: Pretty good chance it's this one

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
12/18/21 11:31 a.m.

I bought the Harbor Freight ball joint seperator to use on my 911 lower control arms.  Worked great and looks exactly the same as the one JG has.

Sponsored by

GRM Ad Dept

Our Preferred Partners
f60mUi5jRUAWpUxnwffKSjy3EMza50TPgPxaSmymggKMTenAAjVi0Hf5qmZaAV4I