Two Questions About Outer Front Wheel Bearings

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2018: Two Questions About Outer Front Wheel Bearings
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Don - Conroe, TX on Monday, October 15, 2018 - 11:24 am:

I installed a better set of front wheels on my 24 Touring this weekend and, in the process discovered the screw-on outer bearings (wasn't expecting that).

They seemed to be in decent shape so I cleaned them with acetone, then repacked them with new wheel bearing grease and reinstalled.

Now I have a couple questions:

First...is there a specific wrench made for grabbing the little grooves on these bearings? I simply used an open-end wrench and it worked fine, but it'd be cool to have the tool, if such a thing exists.

Second...how snug should the screw-on bearings be? With modern, slip-on bearings, I was taught to snug them up so that the wheel would spin, but not completely freely. In other words, if you had the rim and tire installed and gave it a good spin, it would turn a revolution or two but some degree of pre-load would cause it to stop fairly quickly. Is this the accepted practice with these screw-on bearings?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rich Bingham, Blackfoot, Idaho on Monday, October 15, 2018 - 11:34 am:

The Ford stamped hubcap wrench fits the jam nut and bearing as well as the plugs in the oil pan and differential.
Lore from my grandfather who was a Model T owner and an experienced mechanic on all sorts of machinery in that era, with the bearing run up where it seats, spin the wheel and tighten the bearing bringing the wheel to a stop, then back off a little less than 1/4 turn.

Others will disagree or post their methods.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Monday, October 15, 2018 - 11:36 am:

The Ford hub cap wrench has the hole for the front bearings. I adjust mine just a little bit looser then yours.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Don - Conroe, TX on Monday, October 15, 2018 - 11:42 am:

I appreciate the info.

I have the hub cap wrench. Guess I should've put two and two together since I had it out already.

Sounds like I may have my bearings just a bit too tight according to yall's practices.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By G.R.Cheshire (La Florida!) on Monday, October 15, 2018 - 11:42 am:

I use the same method that Rich B. described.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Monday, October 15, 2018 - 11:44 am:


First: Wrench #1349. The biggest hole is for the hub cap and the one next to it is for the bearing. The most common Ford wrench. Don't pay over $3 unless it's an exceptionally nice one.

Second: Yes. Just a slight drag. Maybe more than two revolutions, but some pre-load.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Don - Conroe, TX on Monday, October 15, 2018 - 11:53 am:

Thanks again for the responses. Yall are awesome.

That wrench was the first T specific tool I bought after I bought the car. I wondered what the other holes were for...now I know.

In order (from left to right...looking at Steve's photo) - hub cap - wheel bearing - oil pan plug - differential plug. Is that correct? Is there anything else?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Monday, October 15, 2018 - 12:21 pm:

Also the rear wheel nut. That's why this wrench often has mashed sides from people whacking it with a hammer to loosen the nut.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange - Hillsboro, MO on Monday, October 15, 2018 - 12:22 pm:

It also fits the oil plugs in the engine crankcase and the rear axle (for those cars with the hex plugs). :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Allan Bennett - Australia on Monday, October 15, 2018 - 05:39 pm:

Don, I was taught that it is better to have the bearing a little on the loose side of optimum rather than with some load. Accordingly, I set mine so that I can feel the slightest play when pulling on the top of the wheel.

Two things to watch when setting them. Checking for play without the locking nut snugged up will lead to the bearings being too tight when the nut is tightened.
Secondly, when checking for play by wobbling the wheel, make sure any play you detect is not movement on the kingpins/bushes. A wooden wedge between the axle and the spindle will take this out.
Hope this helps.
Allan from down under.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Don - Conroe, TX on Monday, October 15, 2018 - 05:48 pm:

Thanks Allan.

I was surprised to see that, on this car, the king pins are quite tight.

Based on what you and the others have said, Iíll go back and readjust the bearings this weekend.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Frank van Ekeren (Australia) on Monday, October 15, 2018 - 05:51 pm:

And taught right Allan,
A slight loose bearing will do thousands of miles but a slight to much pre-load and you only get around the block!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Walter Higgins on Monday, October 15, 2018 - 06:42 pm:

Just so someone searching in the future doesn't take this as a one-size-fits-all tutorial, the above described procedure is for tapered roller bearings. Ball bearings should not be set up loose.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Frank van Ekeren (Australia) on Monday, October 15, 2018 - 07:33 pm:

Just to add to that Walter, no pre-load either on the ball bearing type, wheel to spin freely,(Ford service) hand tight works fine on both types.
As Allan has stated, back off for a slight play then the lock nut when done up will eliminate that play, all should spin freely, no feel of pre-load.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Walter Higgins on Monday, October 15, 2018 - 07:57 pm:

Not loaded so as to prevent them from spinning, but not erring on the side of loose, either. My Ford Service "black bible" explains as you describe, but it also doesn't show early enough to detail ball bearings. The description given in Paragraph 66 that points to an illustration shows a tapered roller. Ball bearings are not as forgiving about being set up loose as people tend to do with tapered rollers.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Alan Long Western Australia on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 03:46 am:

And more importantly, left hand threaded bearing on the right hand side of the vehicle!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 07:25 am:

I do mine like Allan Bennett. Just a hair loose, especially on bearings that have already been run in, like in the case of just repacking your existing bearings.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Stroud on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 06:50 am:

I have always been taught to have just a bit of preload on Timken type tapered bearings, from cars to Caterpillar wheel type scrapers. As for our T's, set the threaded bearing just a bit loose, then tighten the locknut and see what you have. The locknut will always tighten the bearing a bit, it sometimes takes a bit of trial and error to get the desired results. I do think the ball bearings should have some preload too, maybe not as much as a tapered bearing though. If you can wiggle any wheel bearing, it's too loose. JMHO Dave


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By kenneth w delong on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 10:11 am:

As with many of the wrench's Henry provided the length of the wrench might determine the slight preload needed? Too tight and you run the risk of burneling the ball's roller's and races.Bud.


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