I added grease to the front wheel bearing without taking them off the spindle by injecting with this syringe. Find them at any animal supply store usually less than $2. Even found more grease oozing out the back ball bearing seal.
Why not use the hubcap/grease cup as Ford intended? Bud.
Once a bearing is greased and properly sealed it does not need to have grease added. It however should be removed, cleaned and repacked every so often depending on mileage
Several years back a co-worker and I were discussing greasing front wheel bearings. Now Gordy was a nice guy but lacked what is best called common sense. I drew him a cross section view of a front wheel axle, bearings, seals, etc. I explained how to remove the wheel, wash and grease the bearings, put it all back together including tightening the wheel nut, adding the cotter key, and so on. What I neglected to tell him was how much grease to put in the bearings. I few days later he told me he had grease all over his front wheels. When I asked him how much grease he put in the wheel bearing he told me, with a straight face, he filled hub full.
At the risk of sounding ignorant, how much grease is required for the front bearings? I packed my hubcaps full but have read that it is excessive. It does create a nice storage space for some spare grease on-the-go though ;)
Most hubcaps I have seen were at most 1/2 full. Is that still too much?
On the lube chart how often should they be greased??
There's only one problem with the syringe method: The bearings need to be removed, cleaned and inspected to make sure nothing is wrong with them. Especially if they are the early ball-type bearings.
I never pack the hub full. Here's how I do it:
First, I smear some on the entire spindle. After cleaning the old grease from the hub and inspecting the races, I get a big glob (now that's a precise unit of measure, huh?) of fresh grease on my fore-finger and smear it around on the race so there is about a 1/4" thick layer on the race surface. If your glob was big enough, a good amount will spill over the back side of the race into the inner hub cavity. I pack the bearings (timkens) by pressing the bearing's fat edge into a glob of grease in my palm until the grease exits the thin edge between the rollers. I do this all the way around. Then, I still coat the outer edge of the bearing. For the inner bearing, I press it into the coated race and install the seal. For the outer bearing, you have to wait until the wheel is on the spindle so you can thread it on.
With this method of packing, I find that the hub ends up about 1/2 full of grease. Nothing more is needed.
I do not fill the hubcap.
You got it James. Exactly right on all counts. A hub cap full of grease is a storage place if you need some on the road. Nothing more.
In terms of how much grease. The bearings must be fully packed by either the "palm of your hand" method or a special grease packer tool. The hubs should only have a smear of grease to prevent them from rusting and none in the caps are required by the bearings but it can be a source of grease for other jobs. If the hubs are completely packed, overheating will must likely occur.
Has anyone on earth ever had a front wheel bearing on a Model T overheat from being full of grease?? How do you pack the early exposed ball bearing?? How did Ford do it?? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
Bud, here goes a Saginaw T wheel bearing story for you. Two men from the Stroebel farm on Center Road were traveling by Ford T in a western state. The father and son were entertained for many miles by the sound of a front wheel bearing rumbling away. When they finally arrived at a general store in some small town, the offending wheel was removed and the bearings inspected. The son threw the balls from the bearing across the gravel road, and walked to the store. After all, every store had Ford parts. When the son returned empty handed from the store, he found his Dad setting on the running board cleaning the ball bearings with his handkerchief. The bearing was put back together with the bad parts, and they continued on. I think of this tale often, as I am repairing things. I don't toss any parts until I am sure the job is done. The down side of this, is the way my shop looks.
As Alan mentioned, the bearing packer tool is the way to go.
Recently had my 61 tractor lock up the power steering which made it useless with a loader bucket.
It was slowly becoming useless with me thinking its old and two expensive to fix.
After some checking I discovered the zerk fitting on one side was not taking grease like it should,
Took a torch with the wheels off the ground and heated the spindle, it then would easily push the old hard grease out and the tractor now is back in service.
only time I ever saw a bearing burn up with grease so to speak is when they weren't enough in it.
I admit to not being the brightest bulb in the hallway and sometimes I flicker,buzz,go out, but as for the grease getting past the seal,that is NOT good.
If you don't have a bearing packer tool and you don't want to get really greasy, I put grease in a zip lock bag, put in the clean bearing, zip it and then you can smash the grease all around into the bearing.
Ed,I think both you and i have packed many tapered or Timkin bearings by hand without any machine.Ford and many makes of the time had threaded grease caps on the wheels,but why?? As cheap as Henry was would have this have been done if there was not a need or purpose?? Why were the threads a very fine thread? If i had the best seals,i would run heavy oil as trucks do!! Were things different way over 100 years ago or did everyone have and carry a bearing packing machine with them? Other than Railroad use i wonder when the normal grease gun was in use? Ford sold 15,000000 like that,so why?? Bud.PS Back in the old days on our farm we had several things i had to grease before using like the side rake and mowing machine and they had grease cups,but why? Bud.
Yes Bud, I do them the same way as you. Maybe that's the way Dad was taught during the war? The modern cars with hub assemblies provide me with much income, though. I scrapped a pickup bed full of them this spring, and it's already full again. And that's only from me working alone in my shop, 1/2 days. 12 hours at a time.
I just saw Mack's post and he is 99% right!! If you see grease coming past a modern seal That's Not Good!! If you have felt seals will a little grease coming out keep water and dirt from going in?? Bud.
Throw in salt air with sand you have more issues then some leakage.
Modern rigs often driven on the beach here usually have locked up calipers rusted drums and rotors the auto parts are kept in business supplying parts-----smart folks drive there rigs through fresh water puddles or a car wash to remove as much as they can.
I am going to disassemble, clean and re - pack with fresh grease since this event where I was hubcaps deep in water:
Great discussion and information!!! You guys are amazing with your knowledge and expertise. Thanks!!
Royce, If you want to do more low water river fording you can use boat trailer wheel bearing grease and the modern type seals. I enjoyed your U-tube post on the river fording.
I must be the only person still using ball bearings in the front wheels of my '19 Touring! I live on the edge......
If you read the Ford Manual you know you're a sinner - or most of us, I think.
Not many modern T:ers follows Ford's advice:
"How often should the Bearings be lubricated? Answer No. 93
Every three or four months the wheels should be removed, the old grease taken out and the hubs and bearings thoroughly cleansed with kerosene. Then repack the hub and bearings with clean grease and readjust the bearings."
I rationalize my negligence with the better grease available today and the modern seals - but if I was fording streams, I would probably check the bearings soon after. And three - four months daily use back when new may translate to several years use today, and after a few years it should be time to check - at least survivor ball bearings, that has a slightly rougher life.
There is no sinner worse than i because i do not know if i have ball or roller bearings! I have never seen mine as they are covered with grease. I jack the wheel up and see how it rolls and add grease to my grease cups which forces old grease out and new grease in.In 22 years of model t'ing i have never had a problem with a wheel bearing on a model T. Bud,burning corn for heat in Wheeler,Mi.
I clean or replace them when I get a model a or t.just so we get started off on the right foot. I haven't been putting extra grease in the cap. Are you supposed to? I do put extra grease in the cap of my car trailers. Thanks for for the info in advance. Tim
Kenneth raised the point of the very fine thread in the hubcaps. Given the thickness,[or lack of it to save costs] of the caps, the thread needs to be fine. The TT rear caps weigh almost double that of front ones, and can stand the coarser thread.
Allan from down under.
Allen,I always thought the fine thread was for power to push grease in??Bud.
I don't think so Kenneth. As others have mentioned, the bearings need to be well greased before fitting. The cap is just a dust cap, or perhaps a reservoir for some extra grease for later use. It should not be filled to drive grease through the bearing like the caps on greasers on the driveshaft for instance.
I could be wrong.
Allan from down under.
Allen,Myself i would not assemble any bearings without packing them full of grease first,but why should hubcaps/grease cups not be filled to [drive grease through the bearing]?? Of course you do not want to push out the felt seals but have you seen a model T wheel overheat from too much grease?? 100 plus years ago when many simply dumped in more oil instead of changing the oil did people remove,wash with kerosene,re grease,and install,or did they put a little in the grease cup like the rest of the machine?? Bud.
I'll stick with the old methods! I can't imagine getting wheel bearing grease in that thing!
Same here, just like Roger and Larry.
Ford Service always be my guide
Clean bearing, inspect, pack fully the bearing with grease. Pack the hub cap with grease.
That grease filled Hub Cap, plus a good seal on the big inner bearing will help keep out water in the front bearings.
Wire wheel hub cap / dust cap, fill it too. Extra oozes out, when fitting, just remove enough grease for the cap to stay in place.
Post above was the cleaning of these front bearing on Dixie.
Run the in rain and ford the T too!
What the front bearing looked like prior to clean and re-grease at about 3K miles. Hub cap packed with grease, still can see good red clean grease, but on the bearing the grease is starting to break down and turn dark. But the bearings were spotless of any rust or pitting.
So the Ford Service manual says first "fill hub with grease" ? So is this a good or bad thing to do? Others are saying don't do it, just smear the spindle with grease.
Likely a good thing as the inner hub is a good grease chamber.
While most times not 'filling completely', as excess would be pushed out when fitting over the spindle, have always smeared large gobs of grease around the inner front side and the inner rear side of each front hub where the bearings sit.
Have found that likely helpful to be sure the grease you put only on the race and on the cones doesn't just run into a bare hub. Having grease inside the hub is OK.
Illustration from Dyke's Automotive Encyclopedia
Is the grease smeared on the spindle going to get into the bearing? Will grease smeared on the spindle keep water and dirt from entering the hub? Why did Ford tell/show to waste all that grease by filling the hub? Bud.
The way I do it is I have an old hubcap that I soldered a zerk fitting to. I first clean all old grease from the bearings and inside the hub, I then give the bearing and races a good coat on the outside and then replace the dry bearings back onto the axle without a seal and the washer or axle nut. I then fill the hub cap with the same grease that Im going to pack the bearing with and turn it onto the hub. I then take my grease gun and start filling the hub cap while every few pumps I spin the wheel a few rotations until the grease has come out the back side fully. I them take everything apart and put in a new seal and finish the job. This way the entire inside is packed with grease. The downside of doing it this way is as you drive the car some grease will come through the new seal and make a small mess. You just need to bring a rag with you for the first few miles until the system neutralizes.
Not a good idea in my opinion Will, if the entire inside is packed with grease there is no room for expansion as the wheel gets warm, hence the mess. Ive been an ASE master tech for over 25 years and have never filled an entire hub and dust cap with grease, there is simply no reason to do it.
If you properly pack the bearings, put a glob in
the hub and install a good seal those wheels
will be good to go! Especially on a T that's not driven every day.
I wonder if the lubricating qualities of grease in Henry's day had much to do with the direction to pack the hub full? With today's modern lubricants, high road speeds, high temperatures with disc brakes all adding to significant loads on wheel bearings, it is not necessary to pack the wheel hubs full. Nor is it required to remove and re-pack the bearings at just 3000 miles. It would be interesting to compare manufacturers recommendations for this procedure.
My Thai sourced Ford Ranger diesel traytop is known to have trouble with front wheel bearings. So the manufacturers recommend repacking the wheel bearings every 12000 km! And these much smaller bearings which suffer much higher loads than any T model, were replaced at 90000km.
I ran out of grease in my last tin two months ago. At the last local swap meet I bought two 5 pound tins for $5. As one was only half full, I need to conserve these supplies, so my bearings are packed and left to do their job without using up all that extra.
Allan from down under.
Remember, if the bearing gets hot enough to melt out the grease it is toast, No matter how much grease is in the hub and cap it will not get back in to the bearing. All that is needed is to make sure the race and bearings are greased weather ball or roller and maybe a little smeared around the spindle cause that's the way you were taught. Wheel bearings are meant to be serviced fairly regularly on old cars, thanks to modern seals new cars go much longer thankfully because most people never have them checked. KGB
If there is anything i have learned from this thread,is that about 85% now know better than Ford!! I went to town today with my stock 14 model T and i find here it's a wonder i made it! Bud.
Theres been fabulous advancements in vehicle
repair, parts and chemicals since the Model T
manual was written Bud!
My model T is the same.
It has a lot to do with how much you drive your T and where you drive it. Naturally, if you ford streams you will need to do it more often. If you drive 1,000 miles a year in good weather, you can go several years between packing the wheels.