1) How much play should front wheel outer bearings have? How tight should the outer bearing adjustment cone be? How do I test?
2) How tight should the front steering spindle rod connecting bolt fit? On both sides mine seems loose in its socket. How can I tell if it is too loose? What do I do if it is loose?
3) My wheels seem solid. See picture. I want to cosmetically refurbish them probably stain and varnish the wood and either silver paint or galvanize the rims. How do they look?
1 close up with duct tape being removed. The other picture is 1 front and one back wheel. The back wheel looks like it is still galvanized, the front wheel mostly surface rust.
1) No play. The wheel should turn freely, but with no wobble.
2) Ditto the connecting rod. You want all steering connections to turn, of course, but with no free play or wobble.
Shims to take up the slack will cost you 2¢. Use 1983 or earlier. The new ones are zinc, and too soft.
3) Your wheels are decent cosmetically, but fresh paint would be OK. Varnish or paint? Whatever you prefer. I like mine black, as God and Henry intended, but the modern fad of "natural" wheels is wildly popular. You even see them on cars that are otherwise scrupulously "correct". Rims? Galvanize unless the cost is a problem. A rattle can of Oklahoma chrome will make them look OK, but I think real zinc is even better.
You might like Carolina chrome better...lol
That is a great looking wheel Gary !!
I file the drag link and cap until I get a nice fit. No need to put in pennies. I use wheel bearing grease for them, the old original fiber type grease.
Gary I started with pieces, new spokes from Stutzman's, and Steve Jelf's excellent video. Built my Reagan spoke press and put them together. Thanks for the kind words.
Re adjusting front wheel bearings. Steve suggests there is to be no play in the bearings, and ideally that is so. However, if you adjust them so there is no play, and then spin the wheel to see if they might be too tight, it is difficult to tell, given the mass of the spinning wheel and its inertia.
I tend to err on the safe side, allowing just the barest of detectable play. That way there is no chance of the bearing becoming overheated and prematurely wearing/failing. Two things need to be watched though. The play must still be evident AFTER the nut has been tightened against the bearing. Second, when checking the play, a wooden wedge should be jammed between the spindle body and the axle so that any play in the king pins is taken out of the procedure.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.
I like that satin black on those wheels. Looks good.
"steering spindle rod connecting bolt" Are you asking about the upright bolt that the spindle pivots on (spindle bolt)? Or the tie rod bolts?
@Duey I think the spindle bolts. No answer on those yet. The steering knuckle per the directions are loose too which has already been answered.