Has anybody out there ever replaced the grease seals on their (early) ball bearing front wheels ?
While greasing my wheels a while back I noticed that the balls could fall out when the wheel came off the axle. Looked to me like the felts and retainers might not be installed.
So I ordered new parts from Lang's and today took the first wheel off the car. After digging through all the old grease I discovered that the seal and retainer were indeed in place. But the felts were so hardened and infused with old grease that they were about the consistency of wood.
I managed to get the first retainer out, but ruined it in the process. Most of the felt has been dug away, but there's still more work to go.
My questions are:
1. Is there a good way to remove the old retainer without deforming it ? The retainer that came out had square ends with a hole at each end for snap ring pliers. But the wheel precludes use of snap ring pliers. I had to get behind one end of the retainer and pry it out.
2. How do you neatly install the new retainer ? Do you spiral it into the recess and then lift it up into the groove ? Do you do that job with the balls in place or install them afterward ?
3. How do you insert the new felt ? Does it go in before the retainer or after ? The new felt is about twice as thick as the space that it will occupy and I foresee all kinds of difficulty getting the retainer into the groove while compressing the felt.
Any help will be appreciated. I'm not interested in doing the roller bearing conversion. Figure this car didn't sit around for 102 years waiting for some dope like me to modify it just because roller bearings would be easier.
Here are some earlier posts on the front ball bearings that should help.
And this one on how to re-pack the ball bearings.
I just did re-pack on Timken roller, and used the old style felt dust retainer because of the old look in the wheel hub as opposed to the better modern seal there. For the felt dust shield, (felt lined steel collar) it was oversize and thick, so rubbed axle grease into the felt to get it softer, used a socket to push thru it, and to compress the felt ring into the collar, to goal to size the felt so it would past over the spindle and push just a tiny bit over the spindle shoulder.
With the dust shield now 'sized' (tested the fit on the axle spindle so it would just slip over the spindle shoulder, THEN greased and install the inner bearing into the hub, then pressed the dust shield over the bearing, and seated it flush with the hub face.
The pushed the wheel and hub fully onto the spindle. Last step was to grease and install the outer bearing. Oh, many don't fill the inner hub grease chamber, but I do gob a lot of grease behind the inner bearing before insertion, and same with the outer bearing before insertion.
Front bearing need grease. Ford recommended to remove and re-pack front bearings every 3 months or 500 miles.
I wonder why Ford said that when re packing can be done with the grease cup?? I must be a little overdue because for 20 years that is what i do.Bud.
20 years is a while
Friend just told me about his recent 'experience'.
Riding down the road in his T, heard a 'squealing' like sound from the front end. Slowed and could hear noise from the left front. Got home in a few miles and knew it was coming from the front wheel. Pulled the wheel, and the inner bearing was rust covered, dry, and starting to squeal. He noted the dust shield looked OK, but somehow moisture got in there. He had been recently in heavy rain.
Well, clean and grease and he was good to go. He did remark that he had been about 10,000 miles without greasing the front wheel bearings!
Time isn't on your side Bud
The metal seal retainers sold by the vendors were too big for my early hubs. Fortunately I had some NOS ones (silly me ordering new reproduction anything).
The felt just slips into the metal retainers after you immerse the felt in grease and work grease into the pores of the felt.
The hub CAP can be a grease cap, just fill it and screw in, that's force new grease through the outer bearing - more fillings and it may come out through the inner seal, if it's the felt type?
I have n.o.s. retainers, Bob
Dan,Your right time is not on my side but once a year i remove the hub caps,give each one 7 shots from my grease gun and screw hub caps/grease cups all the way on.Never fill them as when you try to go over the nut you will get grease all over!!I allways jack up both fronts and check lose wobble tight spokes. I know it's shamefull but i don't know which bearings i have! Bud.
Thank you guys for the help so far. Dan, your hub diagram finally convinced me that there was indeed a dust cover. There were enough layers of old paint and grease that I thought the hub might be all one piece. I had tried tapping around the edges to see if I could hear the thin metal of a cover compared to the thick metal of the hub. But it turned out the dust cover was so substantial that it sounded just like the rest of the hub.
But after seeing the diagram I knew better what to look for. With a crazy lashup that would have made Rube Goldberg proud I managed to jack the cover out of the hub without damage. Thank goodness for that, because this is probably an original type cover as opposed to the composite part that's shown in the catalogs.
Royce & Bob, when you say, "metal seal retainers" are you talking about the part in Dan's diagram that's called a Ball Retainer, or are you talking about what it calls "Dust Ring" ? I still need the seal retainer (what I would call a snap ring) as the parts I bought from Lang's don't fit. The replacement snap ring is .043 thick and the groove is also .043. The original snap ring is more like .035, and that's what I need. Bob, I'll call you tomorrow to make an order.
Correction to previous post. I said I needed "Seal Retainers", but to be consistent with the diagram above, I should have said I needed "Ball Retainers". It's still a Snap Ring to me.
Sure wish we could edit our posts.
The ball retainer is a snap ring Dick.
The vendors carry the ball retainers (snap rings).
That's the part I bought from Lang's. They don't fit into the groove in the hub.