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what is acceptable tolerance for front wheel bearing / spindle fit?

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  • Wheels / Tires: what is acceptable tolerance for front wheel bearing / spindle fit?

    hi,
    ready to put the front wheels (and new bearings) on my '57 Golden Hawk. I know the inner bearing is supposed to "slip on" without need to press it on, but how loose is too loose? The bearings slip on VERY easily..... Don't ROCK, but... at what point are they going to possibly spin on the spindle?

    I measure one spindle at 1.249" and the other at 1.248", with bearing ID at 1.250".

    I was surprised, I can't find a single post about this in the Forum, nor a single comment or spec in the Shop Manual or Parts Manual.
    This seems like a critical item, if too loose... My old bearings show evidence of some 'spin" and measure 1.251 or more, but the spindles themselves are not discolored or galled. Would be nice to know the original diameter and the tolerance for this!
    Not sure if I should "prick" around the spindle with a punch and hammer to "snug up" the fit a little or not?
    Thanks!
    Barry

  • #2
    If the spindle shows now discoloration, and no grove as a result of a spun bearing then you are fine.
    Originally posted by bsrosell View Post
    hi,
    ready to put the front wheels (and new bearings) on my '57 Golden Hawk. I know the inner bearing is supposed to "slip on" without need to press it on, but how loose is too loose? The bearings slip on VERY easily..... Don't ROCK, but... at what point are they going to possibly spin on the spindle?

    I measure one spindle at 1.249" and the other at 1.248", with bearing ID at 1.250".

    I was surprised, I can't find a single post about this in the Forum, nor a single comment or spec in the Shop Manual or Parts Manual.
    This seems like a critical item, if too loose... My old bearings show evidence of some 'spin" and measure 1.251 or more, but the spindles themselves are not discolored or galled. Would be nice to know the original diameter and the tolerance for this!
    Not sure if I should "prick" around the spindle with a punch and hammer to "snug up" the fit a little or not?
    Thanks!
    Barry

    Russ Shop Foreman \"Rusty Nut Garage\"
    53 2R6 289 5SpdOD (driver)
    57 SH (project)
    60 Lark VIII 2dr sd (driver)

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    • #3
      Don't... and I mean never, try to knurl the bearing surface with a center punch. This is a bad practice and only puts the inner race of the bearing out of round causing other problems. The way you describe it I don't think you have problems with wheel bearing fitment. They will not spin on the shaft easily unless there is a problem with the bearing itself. Put in new bearings that have been properly packed with wheel bearing grease, adjust the preload according to the shop manual. Then put the locking pin in the castle nut and the cap on. Take it out for a short drive stop and check bearing temperatures and if they are ok put the wheel cover back on.

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      • #4
        Thanks guys. Exactly my thoughts, as a 'farm boy', packed HUNDREDS of wheel bearings for hay racks, grain-trailers, tractors, lawnmowers..... (ie: my dad was much more into the wood-working and "farming" things, and left mechanics to me....). Plus we had five old cars (of which the '28 Stude President Victoria now belongs to ME :-). Glad I took care of it in my youth! Still all original and goes 70mph if you aren't careful and quickly slow down! Brakes are ALSO "old"!!!!).

        But those were not "high-performance" cars with life or death hanging on their performance or failure. So wasn't sure for a 'modern' (ha!) V8 car driven more miles and a lot faster, what protocol is. Appreciate the feedback.
        As a mechanical engineer, no-one teaches you about bearings or machine-shop 'basics' anymore, but you ARE taught to be anal about specs.... So not FINDING any for things like this drives me crazy. Will the bearing spin with .001 or .002" or not? Seems "not" with pressure of car on the bearing (and least-resistance is that well-greased new roller bearing, right?).
        Anyway, thanks for confirming my gut-feel, sounds like it should be fine with new bearings AND cones.

        This poor car was so mis-treated by previous (and/or original?) owner, based on the kingpin "pin & bushing" condition, I'll bet the wheel bearings never got greased either, the last many years, thus undeniably 'spun', visible on the ID of BEARING...AND wore a thousandth or two! But fortunately, apparently not enough miles in that condition to discolor or make a discernable wear mark in the spindle itself. Can the spindle actually be "HARDER" than the hardened steel bearing race? That is some HARD steel. Funny it isn't more brittle then, usually go together (harder the steel is, generally the more brittle it is). But you don't hear of spindles snapping off.... Don't have a Brinnell hardness tester to check; would be fun to know and compare (ok, maybe only "fun" for an anal engineer. My wife is rolling her eyes about now. :-)
        Barry

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        • #5
          Hi Barry- Axle spindles will be tough steel as apart from hardened. Roller bearings are tough steel (softer on the inside and case hardened around the surfaces to provide a hardened wear resistant surface. This combination gives shock resistance as well as wear resistance- a good example is a hammer head.
          I owned a Jaguar XJ6 for a while and it failed roadworthy inspection because the car is so heavy over its front axles, the bearings actually imprinted into the lower sides of the front axles, which causes the bearing inner races to wobble on the shaft I had to cough up for new (reproduced NC turned) axles to pass.
          Steve

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          • #6
            Thanks Steve, too many years since that single Materials Science class! That all brings back memories. ;-) Funny that my bearing had distinct visible marks from having 'spun', where-as axle (though one a .001" worn more than other?) looked like NOS surface... I've never thought about it; are the IDs of a roller bearing, NOT meant to move, case-hardened? If not that would maybe explain why it was visible there and not on the spindle.... Whatever; they are put together now! Call me weird, I love packing bearings, never minded that job on the farm! (and have old bearings on my desk at work to 'play with'....)

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            • #7
              Hi Barry, all of the surfaces of Roller/ball bearings are hardened. The inner race should never turn on its mounting spindle and that's always amused me because these are only a 'slide-on' fit. A two thou clearance is getting a bit much in my opinion though, in mind of my earlier reply about the XJ6. A little Loctite 641 (bearing mount) on assembly wouldn't hurt mate, then go in confidence .
              Hope the chassis re-assembly is going well
              Steve

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              • #8
                I have a Studebaker drawing of a 1932 President spindle. It shows the steel type as Analysis 52, heat treatment H-11, Brinell hardness 223-285. I don't know what the equivalent modern steel type would be. Where the inner cone goes, the spindle dimension is 1.4990/1.4995" o.d. The cone bearing is type 2788, for which Timken shows the min. i.d. is 1.5000 and the max. i.d. is 1.5005. The cone mates with cup 2720, and both parts are still in common use in trailer hubs. This is a close sliding fit, does not need to be pressed on. The location for the outer cone (2799) is also shown as .0005"-.0010" under 15/16" (0.9375).

                If you know the Timken bearing number, you can find the tolerances here: http://www.timken.com/engineering-to...ng-tolerances/
                Gary Ash
                Dartmouth, Mass.

                '32 Indy car replica (in progress)
                ’41 Commander Land Cruiser
                '48 M5
                '65 Wagonaire Commander
                '63 Wagonaire Standard
                web site at http://www.studegarage.com

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                • #9
                  Thanks Steve and Gary; the spindle/bearing specs are likely pretty standard (which is why I was surprised to not find them but maybe SO standard they expected any decent mechanic to simply KNOW (and have feel for 'too much' wear) to bother putting in manual. "Insulting"? :-) So my one bearing that spun is likely from the almost 0.002" under spindle.. and the other spindle may be ok, but if doing one, easy to do both. I assume that 641 breaks loose reasonably well when it comes time to remove wheels for something?

                  Not a bad idea to pick up some Loctite; I never heard of using it for that INTENTIONALLY (on Loctite's part), though I considered one of my various 'thread lock' colors for the job before going with nothing at all. BUT, the wheels are coming back off anyway, once I get the brake lines made and my Turner dual-master cylinder plumbed in; NO WAY I'm going to trust my (own work) rebuilt master cylinders with DOT5 under pressure without WATCHING each one for leaks. THEN the nuts get torqued / cotter-pinned.

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                  • #10
                    Hi Barry-
                    Loctite 641 is specified 'Medium strength, when periodic disassembly is required' and shaft to bore clearances up to .008" (huge !).
                    That is the way to go. You can look up the specs here....
                    http://www.loctite.co.uk/loctite-408...=8802627649537
                    I would not use any of the higher strength compounds unless you wanna resort to heat and pullers- not required.
                    All you need is for the inner race to be made unable to rotate on the shaft. Job done.
                    Steve

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