Some of the parts dealers sell only Timken-type roller bearings for front wheels, some also sell balls and retainers but no cups, and some catalogues show the complete ball bearings – cups, balls, and retainers. I know that some folks use the ball bearings in the earlier hubs, and say they're fine. On one hand, the ball bearing cups can be driven out of the early hubs without resorting to the welder, and Timken cups can't. On the other hand, Ford must have had a good reason for switching from ball bearings to rollers.
So which type is best for hubs made before the switch, and why? Let the argument begin.
Well, I can't give any good advice here. Tapered wheel bearings were the main staple for a long, long time. However a lot of ball bearings (sealed type now) have found their way back into cars with the advent of front wheel drive.
So what is truly better?
I think they both work just fine, tapered will take more side loading--but will it matter on a Model T wood wheel that goes 30-50 MPH on most cars? I think regular greasing would be more important than anything here.
Steve rollers are the best bearing for front wheels. Why= Ford changed to them back in the Model T Times and Chevrolet still used ball bearings on the front spindles until the 60's they and some other makes were mad that they didn't change before Ford and refused to admit they were wrong. It is like Ford verses other Auto manufactures or todays Republicans verses Democrats in DC. or Democrats verses Republicans in DC. The bottom line is the angular contact of a taper bearing in practical use in a front wheel bearing is superior to that of a round ball in regards to surface contact and distribution of force.
Ball bearings create less friction than rollers and ball bearings were the choice of the early racers for that reason. The unfortunate issue with ball bearings is they became a victim of poor maintenance. The inner felts were not maintained and hub caps were missing and allowed water and dirt to enter. This was a perfect opportunity for Timken to enter the market. There are a variety of hubs with different lengths and on some hubs the rollers were longer than the hubs. Ball bearings were most likely cheaper to produce than the Timken style. I feel that if a ball bearing system is well maintained will offer equal service to rollers. The change to rollers was probably market driven but not necessarily any better.FWIW.
In a former life, I had a '57 Chevy pickup which came with ball bearings in the front hubs. I had bigger tires and reversed-rim wheels on it, which put more stress on the bearings than they were designed for. I replaced them several times, then finally switched to tapered roller bearings. End of problem. That made a believer out of me.
Use the ball bearings just because you can and because i use rollers and you should do something different.
Hello Steve Dad put rollers in the 12T 54 years ago and they are as good as the day he put them in, new grease and were good to go. We used bower bearings there also made in the US. Cheers
Tapered roller bearings are vastly superior to ball bearings in handling axial loads.
The only thing about using rollers in early hubs that bothers me is that you can't drive them out with a drift. Arc welding a bead on the race appears to be the only practical method of removal. Maybe I should just go with that and let the next guy worry about getting them out when the time comes.
A couple of interesting wrinkles on these: the Ford parts books list some pieces with the wheel parts, and some with the front axle; as near as I can tell from the catalogues, only one parts dealer sells all these pieces. Among the rest of the dealers, one guy sells a few pieces and the next guy sells a few other pieces.
"The only thing about using rollers in early hubs that bothers me is that you can't drive them out with a drift.
Any chance you could put some grooves inside the hubs (w/a dremmel or similar tool) so the roller bearing races could be driven out?
Ford started using Timken Bearings in 1919. Did they really think by adding a starter and generator, that the car would need a roller bearing? I think not, and those balls are huge compared to what GM was using in the '50s for much heavier cars. When I was restoring my '13 roadster, I put a NOS set of ball bearings in the car that I bought from Bob Sr years ago. I have never used them before. Here is what you can to to make a Timken style hub look like an early one. Find a good machinist that can machine the threads back to the same place they are on an early hub. I did that 50 years ago on my '13 touring, and they are still on there.
Ken, I don't think so. It looks to me like you'd have to cut so deep it would weaken the hub. So this morning I dropped in at the juco and had the welding teacher lay a bead on the old Timken race to get it out.
Did laying a weld bead on the bearing race help any ? I've used the same method and have yet to see a race "fall out". Especially on the outer race where the hub is fairly thin wall, the benefit from heating seems to be small. But in defense of this method, removable seems to go from IMPOSSIBLE to POSSIBLE. After doing the weld I have been able to drive the race out with a punch.
I believe that the problem with using the weld method on the outer race lies in the low thermal mass and low rigidity of the hub nose. In other words, the hub nose heats up and expands right along with the race, thereby failing to restrain the growing size of the race. The weld bead method seems to work much better when the part to be removed is in a heavy wall casting such as a transmission case.
I have had somewhat more success with removing the outer race if I wrap a wet rag around the hub nose before applying heat. This keeps the hub a little cooler and minimizes expansion. But it sure is hard to see what you're doing with all that steam !
Welding a bead inside a bearing to shrink it NEVER failed us.
UH, no notch to put a punch into to knock them out? I have a bent punch,about 3/8ths dia, that seems to work fine. Must be a different hub than the 1's I messed with.
Mack, yes, the earlier hubs wont let you knock the Timkens out with a drift, even a bent one. There's no notch because with the ball bearings you didn't need one.
In this morning's operation, a piece of scrap steel welded across the race made it easy to knock out from the other side.