Front Wheel Hubs and Removing a Stuck Wheel Bearing Race

Restoring a Model T Ford often is an exercise in determining what parts are correct for a certain year, locating those correct parts, and then restoring said part so that it can become part of the finished product. Wheel hubs are on display right in the center of each wheel. Anyone who has knowledge of what is correct will notice a glaring error in this immediately. It is embarrassing to see a restored “Stynoski winning” 1909 two lever with 1918 or later wheel hubs. It’s scary that a big error like that would elude the judges eyes. Note – the car above has the correct hubs. Owner: Milt Roorda

Above, the earliest Model T’s from 1909 – June 1910 had  small 5 1/2″ diameter hubs. Note the short area inboard of the hubcap which is typical of 1909 – 1917.

Above the inner side of 1909 – June 1910 hub.

Above, the early hub plates have round 5/16″ diameter wheel bolts. Beginning in June 1910 Ford increased wheel bolt diameter to 3/8″ and used standard carriage bolts with square locking shoulder. The June 1910 – 1927 plate on the right is 6″ outside diameter while the earlier plate on the left is 5 1/2″ outside diameter.

Above, the 1909 – June 1910 plate laying atop the later plate showing the difference in diameter.

Above the 1909 – June 1910 hub on the left is 5 1/2″ diameter with 5/16″ bolt holes. The 1914 – 1917 hub on the right looks huge in comparison.

Above, hub design evolved over the years. Notice the maker’s cartouche above the hubcap area on this 1914 – 1917 hub. Ford did not make its own hubs until 1917. Ford script did not appear on hubs until 1919.

Above, the 1914 – 1917 hubs were machined for a speedometer gear which was mounted to the RH front wheel. The LH hub was identical, less the speedometer gear.

Above, the June 1910 – 1913 hub has the thin shoulder behind the hubcap, typical of the 1909 – 1917 hub design. Unlike the 1914 – 1917 hubs it is not machined to accept a speedometer gear. It is 6″ diameter with 3/8″ bolts retaining the hub to the wheel.

The hub we are working on had a ball bearing race stuck inside the spindle side. Normally we can heat up the race using a bead from the wire welder and it will fall out. This one remained firmly in place despite repeated attempts. We had to use another method. These early hubs are not slotted inside like later hubs. You can’t access the back side of the bearing race to use a hammer and punch or other means. There’s nothing to push against.

Above, the hub is soft cast iron so it is easy to drill. We begin with a #40 6″ drill bit. there is a slight “ledge” supporting the bearing race. We drill into the ledge two holes 180 degrees from each other.

We step drill using #30, #21, #10 and finally 1/4″ on both of the holes. You can feel as the cast iron gives way and the drill ends up against the much harder bearing race.

Above, with two holes behind the bearing race 180 degrees apart we can use a tapered punch and a 3 pound hammer to remove the race.

Alternating between the two holes we beat the stubborn race out of the hub.

The back side of the June 1910 – 1913 hub showing how the punch is able to push on the bearing race.

Above, beginning in 1918 the hub outer area was not machined as much for hubcap threads, laving more material to support the new for 1918 tapered roller bearings made necessary by the new TT truck. Beginning in 1919 tapered roller bearings were used on cars equipped with generator, starter and 6 volt battery electrical system. Ball bearings continued to be standard equipment on the cheaper cars with non – demountable wheels, however the same hubs were used regardless of the type of bearing. This hub was used on all wood wheels from 1918 – 1927.

Above, Canada had their own manufacturing facilities for wheel hubs. The one above is typical of wood wheeled 1918 – 1927 Canadian production.

Above, our friend Woody can break anything anywhere. He was losing power on hills, thought maybe he had sheared a axle key on a recent tour. After a brief examination it was tie to get his car on the trouble trailer due to a sheared hub.

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