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Front wheel bearings

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  • Front wheel bearings

    When I rock my front wheels by the top of the tire I can feel a very slight movement between the brake drum and backing plate. How can I tell if it is loose bearings or kingpins?

  • #2
    deliberately tighten up the castle nut to remove all lash. Not crazy hard, just snug. Do NOT rotate the tire right now, you can harm the bearing. Repeat your test to see if the play is gone.

    I have also discovered backing plates to be loose.

    When done with testing, return the castle nut to the correct lash


    • #3
      I'm starting over as to not repeat Daves info...

      If it is the bearing and they have not been serviced / repacked i would certainly do that.
      3~ Tudor's & 1~ Coupe
      Henry Ford said,
      "It's all nuts and bolts"
      "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."

      Mitch's Auto Service ctr


      • #4
        About 8 years ago I worked on a Model A that had bad steering. The first thing I did was check the front bearings, and found the left side 2 1/2 turns loose, and the right side 1 1/2 turns loose. I set the bearings, and the car drove great. This simple fix was one of the reasons the owner sold the car.

        After cleaning and repacking the bearings, I snug the nut, spin the wheel while lightly tightening the nut, then back off so the nut is no tighter than if a 10" adjustable wrench was on the nut in a horizontal position. This is the same as grabbing the nut with pliers sticking straight out (in line with the spindle) and snugging the nut, then insert the cotter pin.


        • tbirdtbird
          tbirdtbird commented
          Editing a comment
          a lot of cars that have come in here have the castle nuts too loose.....

      • #5
        Thanks guys, there is nothing like experience.


        • #6
          With the car on axle stands. To determine kingpins, you will see the play at the back of the hub, by pushing and pulling the wheel with your hands at 6 and 12 O'clock. To see the play between the backer plate and the drum, indicates the loose bearing. Hope this helps. Jeff
          Twiss Collector Car Parts


          • BNCHIEF
            BNCHIEF commented
            Editing a comment
            Good tip Jeff and what helps new owners.

          • Greynomad
            Greynomad commented
            Editing a comment
            The movement at the back of the hub might be a bad king pin OR the eye in the axle is flogged out. Only disassembly will reveal which without ambiguity. Exactly right about movement between the backing plate and drum being lose bearings.

        • #7
          When I went back to check the play in the front wheel I noticed the backing plate moving. God bless castellated nuts. Why on earth did they make them? They had to be more costly than a nut and lock washer.


          • #8
            Originally posted by carolinamudwalker View Post
            When I went back to check the play in the front wheel I noticed the backing plate moving. God bless castellated nuts. Why on earth did they make them? They had to be more costly than a nut and lock washer.
            Someone must not have had them tight enough when the cotters were installed, or someone used too thick of paint between the parts. Every time you hit the brakes the backing plates are trying to turn on those 4 bolts, then going backwards they try to turn the opposite direction, so the nuts need to be very tight before the cotters are installed.


            • #9
              I like Mr.Bill Williamson's method for adjusting front wheel bearings.

              Hope he can address the bearing end play regarding this most delicate subject.

              In my humble opinion, Mr. Bill's front wheel bearing adjustment method is the best!


              • Mitch
                Mitch commented
                Editing a comment
                He also knows how to properly bend cotter pins. Maybe he can do a VFF seminar on these two topics.

            • #10

              Many years ago I called and spoke to Mr. Bill Williamson after returning from Europe.

              For anyone that does not know the "real" Mr. Bill Williamson, this gentleman is a Walking Encyclopedia who has vast detailed knowledge about many different subjects..

              His expertise is not limited to vehicle mechanics.

              Thanks Mr. Bill for sharing your "Right-On" Model A opinions.


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