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The bearing failures are due to inadequate lubrication, but can be addressed by overfilling the transmission by 1/2 a quart and using a higher quality fluid. At 53k, you were 8k miles past the severe service interval for the fluid change. At 69k miles (most of which were tuned, and many of which I towed trailers with) with the same transmission you had, I have no bearing issues to speak of; something I attribute to religious service with the two available AMSOIL fluids. I'm glad you'll be using a better fluid next time around, and hope this thread would serve as a reminder for others.
 
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