When adjusting front wheel bearings what keeps the bearings from tightening up when moving in reverse? After the bearing is adjusted do I need to hold the bearing with a wrench while the nut is tightened against it?
The lock nut on the outside of the bearing keeps the bearing from moving when backing up.
Your concern is exactly why some same never to tow a T backwards.
You need to make sure the bearing doesn't turn when tighteneing the nut when you adjust them.
Before you tighten the nut you MUST spin the wheel around several times to get all the rollers to go to the side of the races where they will eventually stay.
As you spin the wheel keep tightening the lubed bearing a little at a time.
The threaded bearing inside race threads are not real tight on the spndle treads.
You can check by threading a bearing on a spindle and without letting it turn you will be able to pull the bearing in and out on the threads.
So when you adjust the bearing so there is no free travel you should know that when you tighten the nut against it it will push the bearing in a little bit. To the other side of the threads, just enough to make it tighter than it should be.
You must adjust, back off and then tighten the nut.
You may have to try several times to get it right.
Remember, if the bearing is too loose it will be loose.
If it is too tight-you can get in deep do do.
There should be a keyed spindle washer between the jam nut and the threaded outer roller bearing. That way the nut won't cause the bearing to be turned as you tighten it. Bob
Thanks for the answer.
I have adjusted these before but this time I got to thinking how it works. What your saying is as long as the nut is tight to the bearing and appling pressure against the threads, the bearing is prevented from rotating away from the nut when the wheel turns in reverse.
Thanks again, Mike
Thank you so much for sharing, but I respectfully need to disagree with your comment "The lock nut on the outside of the bearing keeps the bearing from moving when backing up." If it was not a safety issue, I would not comment on it, but I believe it might inadvertently cause someone to have an accident.
You are correct that in general the outer wheel bearing does not turn or cause problems when people back up with their T. Lots of people back up every day and they do not experience any problems -- the Model T Ford was designed to back up with that configuration. However, it was not designed to be towed backwards at speeds or driven backwards at speed and/or for long distances. Two reasons for that. First the steering has negative caster when backing up -- and you can lose control if you drive it or tow it too fast backwards (the steering tends to lock full left or right due to the negative caster). Second, the threaded outside bearing (or bearing race if you have the ball bearings installed) will sometimes (not always -- but clearly sometimes) turn in the direction the wheel is rotating. That can and has caused wheels to lock up and/or the hub can split.
I have photos of a TT front hub that split because the bearing turned tighter. In this case it was actually the wrong spindle used on the front passenger side. Instead of the bearing tending to loosen as the truck went forward it tended to tighten. The owner was aware of that potential problem -- but had purchased the truck that way. It had been driven some and had never caused a problem yet. So he was going to correct it someday when he got around to it. Fortunately it split while it was being driven forward in his drive way and not while he was going fast (ok less slow) on the road.
In normal driving you will not back up your T so much that the wheel bearings will cause a problem. It normally is noticed when someone installs a T front axle on a trailer and pulls the trailer. If they install it so the bearings tend to tighten as the trailer is pulled forwards, it usually will eventually cause a problem. Similar to smoking -- some chain smokers never have a health problem. I'm sure some folks have had the spindles on backwards and never had a problem yet. But it is a known design issue that was corrected on the 1928 Model A Fords by introducing an outer bearing that was NOT threaded but was just slipped onto the axle.
From memory, I'm 99% sure you can also use that Model A outer bearing on your Model T hub. I'm not at my home computer where I can look things up, so if someone would please confirm that or correct that, I would appreciate it. I don't recall if you need to use the Model A bearing race or the Model T race or if it doesn't matter.
Again, thank you so much for sharing. We all can learn so much from each other. None of us can remember all the details. And your description for how to adjust the wheel bearings will work great. Thanks and happy touring!
Hap Tucker 1915 Model T Ford touring cut off and made into a pickup truck and 1907 Model S Runabout. Sumter SC.
Hap,, You are right a model A outer bearing will fit onto a T spindle and into the same race. All Ford outer bearings are the same way up into the 40's and all will fit.
If you want to carry a spare set of bearings all you need is one inner set and one outer set if you use later outers. You still need to use the washer with the key.
I had a 26 that had non threaded bearings used for years before I got it and still has them years later.
Warm weather is coming, lets get'em cranked up
and ready for Richmond.
For the reasons Hap stated, be careful when backing up. Hold the steering wheel tight, but do not put your thumbs around the wheel. If it should spin to full lock in one direction, you could break your thumb.
Sure, the nut won't always 100% keep the bearing from tighteneing when backing up but I'm pretty sure you'd have a lot more trouble if the nut wasn't there.
I did forget about the washer with the tab that was also mentioned.
If you are backing up or pulling a T axle'd trailer with the spindles backwards and the outside bearing turns and lockup (tightens by itself)-it was not put together, agjusted and tightened up correctly. That bearing shouldn't move one way or the other if the whole thing is done right. Not that I would take a chance but I have seen trailer that were together with the bearings backwards and never gave any trouble.
I was converting the front wheel ball bearings on my early '14 to roller this last weekend. The outer left front bearing is not available. If someone knows where it could be had it would be a help. The alternative is a threaded bearing but there is no place to grab it with a wrench. I got it on but had to have the DB spindle threads real "clean".
Also, the early hub leaves the outer Timken race sticking out about a 1/16" and you need the "thin" tang washer that Langs provides. It lets you get the cotter pin in the spindle.
I have Pruden wheels and they have Pruden/felt grease seals. The modern neoprene seal is too small to fit snug in the back of the hub. I got them in but they are not real tight. I think I will order felts for the old Pruden seals and put them back in.
I will end with a comment/question. I don't know how in the world a fellow would get the Timken roller races out of the hub. There is no slot behind the race to drive them out. I believe I would put ball bearings back in if I had to do it over again.
Ken in Houston
Ken email me at firstname.lastname@example.org