I'm still going on my '27 coupe rear end and am considering the "floating" rear hubs, modern inner bearings, as well as other options. I've noticed that Lang's sells a modern bearing, sometimes on Ebay, made by a company called "Wrightway" that requires the same modifications as some of the "floating" hubs. That is cutting off the end of the housing that protrudes out beyond the backing plate. But it doesn't include the hub, it's just the bearing.
Anyone have any experience with these types of bearings and/or any recommendations? I'm shooting for a nice "driver" with "cosmetics" as original as I can afford.
I BOUGHT MY FLOATING HUBS FROM GATORS ANTIQUE AUTO 251-765-2677 THEY WORK GREAT AND I AM VERY SATISFIED & HE WAS A LOT OF HELP WHEN I WAS INSTALLING THEM.
If you install some sort of aftermarket ball or roller bearing it is absolutely imperative that which ever bearing race rotates is securely attached to the rotating shaft or housing if that is the case. The non rotating race can be a slip fit. The floating hubs that use the large flange mounted bearing will have the outer race secured (press fit or locktited) the inner race can be a slip fit on these. I have used this design for years and can safely endorse this design. I have never actually handled a "wrightway" but I believe it is of a type that fits to the axle. Please satisfy yourself that it has a method of securing the bearing to the axle (and also that it will be possible to remove the bearing with some ease) when the inevitable rear axle rebuild time comes.
Thanks, Les, I believe I'm leaning toward the floating hubs since one also gets a worn hub replaced as well as the new bearings. Do you know if their are a number of different makers or are they all made by the same manufacturer?
As far as I know you do NOT get a new hub with the floating bearing. It use the bolts that hold the wheel and brake drum together If you have a badly worn taper in the hub then you will still have to deal with that (either a better hub or axle shims (some of us have found that home made ones made from aluminum beer/pop can work just fine. You may need more than one layer. Try one and see if it moves the hub out enough, you can always use two if need be. I am not sure what the maximum safe number would be but I don't think I would use more than 3 layers of the can from your favorite beverage. Rear hubs are not that hard to find?
Can't tell you about the different mfg of floating bearings. I have usually made my own.
The saying that "experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted" sure was true for me when I made and installed the "Wrightway" type setups on our T and 2 cyl. Buick. Both of them gave trouble with the bearings walking, which wore grooves in the shafts. Les is absolutely correct that the rotating element of the bearing must be securely attached to the rotating shaft. I have since installed floating hubs on the T and used Locktite to secure the shafts on the Buick. Hope I never have to take them apart.I probably will get some more experience if that happens.
Hope this helps,
Thanks, Les and Art for the advice...It does help.
If you read this, maybe you could answer this question.............If you could've kept the "walking" of the bearings from happening, would the "wrightway" setups have been less trouble and a quality as good or better than the originals?
IF I had a set of good condition FORD originals I would us them. The only exception would be if I was building a really powerful speedster that I was planning to abuse(OK drive really hard/fast) then I would use the "floater" as it prevents losing a wheel if you break a axle. The problem is good originals are becoming really hard to find. As Art has said if you Loctite them on you will solve the walking problem but you have created a new problem; how to disassemble the rear axle.
I know for a fact that people have had the axle part company at a awkward time with the small internally mounted replacement style bearings. Perhaps "Wrightway" has a foolproof solution although Art implies that is not the case
Thanks, Les,I appreciate your time and your candor. I'm definitely going to reconsider my options.
From a bearing standpoint I think the "Wrightway" style is fine. On ours I used a 1.25 inch bearing and made a 2 inch or so long sleeve to fit on the axle which was slightly under 1 1/8 inch in diameter. This helps spread out the stress some but I think that the highest stress point on the axle is between the wheel hub and the bearing.
I changed to the floating hubs because I wanted the peace of mind that I wouldn't loose a wheel. It doesn't happen very often, but it does happen.
If you are considering installing the floaters here are some pointers on what I did. I'm sure others can also give good advice on how they installed them. The job will require some work but it is not very complex and really makes for a nice setup.
Installing the floating hubs along with Rocky Mountain brakes and the regular emergency brakes requires some modifications. Because of the additional thickness that the floating hub and the rocky brake add, the nuts on the hub bolts will hit the threaded end of the spring perch. To get more clearance, I bored out the emergency brake drums to allow the floaters to recess in closer to the hubs and plug welded the emergency drums to the Rocky drums. This also helps keep the Emergency drums from being too far out and not covering the brake shoes when installed. Additionally, I had to remove about 3/16 of an inch from the threaded end of the spring perch to get adequate clearance. I drilled a new hole for the cotter pin very close to the end of the perch and removed about 1/16 of an inch off the back of the nut and took enough off the cotter end to make it flush with the end of the perch. This gave just enough room to get a cotter pin in while giving the maximum amount of thread length on the perch and the nut.
I also installed lined emergency brake shoes and found they fit much better with 1/16 inch removed from each side. This is often required when installing them alone. If the axles or hubs are worn then a shim also may be required. Shims alone could be used to space the hub out but I was not comfortable with a real thick shim or with multiple shims.
One other thing I did was to try to minimize the runout of the drums and T hub when mounted to the floater. I added alignment pins to the assembly rather than depending on the hub bolts for the alignment. To do that I first mounted the hub on an axle in a lathe and found the diameter that contacts the spokes was reasonably true. Since the spokes in my wheels contact that surface I felt it would work for the centering the wheel. Next, I clamped the part of the floating hub that fits in the axle housing in a vise and loosely attached the Rocky drum and the T hub to the flange on the floater. By carefully tapping the drum and T hub while rotating them and checking them for runout, I was able to get the T hub aligned very well and the Rocky drum reasonably close since it was not perfectly round. I then clamped them together with 2 bolts and then thru drilled a couple of 1/4 inch holes for alignment pins in the flanges at 180 degrees to each other but at slightly different diameters so the positions would not get mixed up during re-assembly. Since the flange of the floater ran very true I used it to align the bored out emergency brake drums that were plug welded to the Rocky drums.
To make sure the axle key is not too thick or is not in the correct position when the wheels are installed, first put the wheel on without the axle key and lightly tighten the nut. Measure the distance from the end of the axle to the hub. When the wheel is installed with the key, the distance from the end of the axle to the hub should be equal or greater than the first measurement.
I could not keep the key from moving when installing the wheels. Finally I cleaned the key and axle with acetone and used Locktite to attach the key to the axle. I made sure it was dry before I attached the wheel.
Art....very informative...thanks for your time.