Rear wheel bearings advice requested

Jon BJon B Posts: 7,456Administrator
I happen to have both rear axles out of my '37, and was thinking that this would be a good time to replace the old bearings with some of the new #25877-T cones (thank you, Paul Largetype!)

The old bearing cups look shiny and new, but should one always install new cups with new cones?

If so, are these #25820 and are they readily available (and if so, where)?

Does a new cup / cone affect the in-out axle clearance, or would it remain essentially the same as what it was with the old bearing?

If necessary to check the clearance, does anyone have a method besides using a dial gauge?  (I'm not an engineer and plus I don't know where to find one!).  Always looking for a handy-dandy shortcut out there...

I'd be grateful for any help on this.


  • bob wardbob ward Posts: 1,359Senior Contributor
    If it were me I would install new cup and cone as a pair and I would check end float whether using the old bearings or the new.
    The cups are available on line, they are used with other cones not just the elusive 25877-T, search Timken #25820 cup.
    Make sure the cones are correctly seated on the axles, think Goldilocks. Too tight and you can crack the inner race, too loose and your carefully set end float will double or triple after you have been around a few corners.
    Dial gauges are cheap and readily available nowadays (gauge and magnetic base $50 or so on Amazon) but 60 years ago when that wasn't the case end float was often set with feeler gauges.
    Lockyer Valley, Queensland
  • Jon BJon B Posts: 7,456Administrator
    Thanks for your thoughts, Bob.  I agree that the play ("float" to you?) should be checked, and the proper shims used.  Dial gauges are a new concept to me.  I can't imagine getting an accurate reading while holding it against the end of the axle, motionless in my hands.   

    Many years ago I had a strange experience with my Terraplane.  Every time I made a left turn, I'd hear a "click-click-click" from the right rear wheel, which went away when I straightened the car out.  No mechanic or Hudson person had any idea what was wrong.  Later, I had a mechanic change the rear brake shoes for me and he made a startling discovery. The thrust button at the inner end of the right axle shaft had worn down to nothing.  So the axle "floated" in and out by 1/8" to 1/4", especially when the car made a turn.  When the shaft "floated" inwards, the rivet heads on the inside of the right brake drum would contact the wheel cylinder, machining it as a lathe might.  Thus the click-click-click, as the rivet heads ground a slot into the wheel cylinder.

    An NOS axle with the correct thrust button cured the problem. 

    One of the truly amazing Hudson quirks I've seen over my 50 years of Terraplane ownership.

  • bob wardbob ward Posts: 1,359Senior Contributor
    A dial gauge is typically used with a magnetic base and an articulated arm. For checking Terraplane back axle end play stick the magnetic base on the brake back plate and go from there.
    Doing it with feeler gauges is sort of similar but using a cobbled together bracket that bolts to a suitable hole in the backing plate.
    Let me know if you need more details.
    Lockyer Valley, Queensland
  • Jon BJon B Posts: 7,456Administrator
    Bob, I'm not sure I have all the tools with which to cobble up a bracket.  But could you please explain the procedure in general terms?  (I have a great imagination!)  No involved details, just a general description.  Thank you!
  • GeoffGeoff Posts: 4,605Senior Contributor
    Jon, you can use my "feelometer" method.  Jack both sides up,  grip the wheel and move in and out.   if you can feel any movement, usually accompanied by a slight noise, then there is too much clearance.  You must have no movement, and no loading on the bearing either. 
    If you're stuck in a hole, stop digging.
  • Jon BJon B Posts: 7,456Administrator
    I thought you needed a slight amount of "play", or else it meant you might be wearing something down (like the thrust button)?

  • bob wardbob ward Posts: 1,359Senior Contributor
    You need a piece of all thread and a pipe spacer, those attach to the backing plate.
    Then a piece of say 1" x 1/4" flat with 2 holes in it, one hole goes to the all thread, the other hole should be on centre with the axle.
    Then a bolt in the second hole that you can adjust in and out to get the head within a few thou of the end of the axle.
    Move the axles away from the adjuster bolt and measure the gap with feeler gauges. Push the axles towards the adjuster bolt and measure that gap.
    When you get 4 thou difference between the in and out measurements the job is done.
    Lockyer Valley, Queensland
  • Jon BJon B Posts: 7,456Administrator
    Thank you, Bob, very ingenious!  I can pull the shaft out, adjust the bolt so it just touches the outer end of the shaft, then push the shaft in.  Then, just measure the depth of the "new" gap between the end of the bolt and the "inward" position of the axle, to get the clearance reading.  And, Bob's your uncle!

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