Ball bearings are the forgotten force that help make our cars go. They withstand extreme heat, cold, force, thrust, and sometimes, neglect, yet they just keep right on goingkeeping our wheels rolling. Most of us will occasionally pack our front wheel bearings, replace a rear axle bearing or heater motor bearings, but there are other kinds of bearings that we rarely see.
In this article I will cover the types and servicing of many of the ball bearings used in our old cars and trucks.
THE BASIC DESIGN FOR BEARINGS was patented by Phillip Vaughan, a Welsh iron master, to support the axle of a carriage. This evolved into the wheel bearings used in early cars of the late 1800's and what we use today.
THE BASIC MAKEUP OF A BALL BEARING consists of two grooved race rings, a set of balls and a separator. The two rings, one placed concentrically with the other, are held in position by the balls which are equally spaced. When either of the rings revolves, the balls roll in the grooves.
THE BALL BEARING'S FUNCTION is to connect two machine members that move relative to one another, so that the frictional resistance to motion is minimal.
The balls and rings of a ball bearing are made of hardened steel with precision tolerances and with a high surface finish. Any abrasion or injury to the contacting surfaces usually leads to premature failure, so when we remove or install them, the following should be avoided:
1. Hitting or forcing the bearing in a way that distorts its rings.
2. Letting dirt or metal chips get in the ball or race surfaces.
3. Use of incorrect lubricants, especially now with new multi-viscosity rear end
and transmission lubes. Follow your manuals. If our Packards require straight
90-weight, we use 90-weight.
SINGLE ROW RADIAL, LOADING GROOVE
Contains a maximum number of balls, inserted through a filling notch or loading groove. Not usually used to interchange with non-loading groove type because of the difference in thrust capacity. Look for loading groove before mounting to avoid mistakes.
SINGLE ROW RADIAL, NON-LOADING GROOVE
Has fewer balls than loading groove type, but has comparatively high thrust capacity. Used in transmission and transfer cases as shaft axial locating bearing. To make sure identification is correct, look on both sides to be certain there is no loading groove.
SNAP RING BEARINGS
The function of the snap ring is to provide a shoulder for the axial location of the bearing in its housing. Snap ring bearings may be either loading or non-loading groove type, with or without shields. Snap rings are removable and bearings may be used to replace non-snap ring type in case of emergency.
Made single shielded as shown in the illustration, or with shields on both sides. May be either loading or non-loading groove type. Care must be exercised during removal or mounting, not to pound or apply pressure against shields.
SINGLE ROW ANGULAR CONTACT
These bearings are intended for combined loads with thrust from one direction only, therefore care must be take to mount this type with the thrust faces in the correct position. Since the ball race shoulder is low on the non-thrust side of the outer ring as shown in the illustration, pressure against non-thrust faces during mounting or removal will result in serious damage to balls and races. In practice, single row angular contact ball bearings are nearly always applied in pairs, mounted opposed, or with one bearing at each end of a shaft, or two butted together to form a double row bearing. Be careful that replacement bearings are mounted in exactly the same relationship to each other as the ones replaced.
DOUBLE ROW ANGULAR CONTACT
Double row angular contact bearings are built to resist combined loads or thrust from either direction with minimum deflection. If any looseness or end play develops through abrasive wear, bearings of this type should be replaced. They are also provided for some applications with shields on one or both sides, but it should be noted that double row shielded bearings of different makes are not always interchangeable regarding width.
These are made with permanent seals on either one or both sides. With seals on one side only, great care should be taken to keep clean when handling, since dirt is very difficult to remove from this type. Bearings with seals on both sides, as illustrated, can not be cleaned or re-lubricated, and if excessively rough feeling, must be replaced.
Ball bearings are nearly always tight fit on the shaft and a push fit in the housing. Most care in removal is, therefore required in disassembling bearing from shafts.
Never hammer on a bearing, especially on the outer ring as in Figure A. To do so will nearly always cause some damage to the balls and races in addition to the possibility of fracturing the extremely hard race ring.
Use of a hammer and drift is bad practice. The drift may slip and damage the separator or shield and there is always the danger of cocking the bearing or cracking the tight fitted ring. If a hammer must be used, follow the method shown in Figure H, not Figure B.
If an arbor press is used, never place the flat blocks under the bearing so they can slip outwards and permit the full force of the press to be exerted on the outer ring, Figure C. Keep blocks snug against shaft as in Figure E.
Never spin a bearing before it is cleaned inside, Figure D. When dismounting a bearing is relatively loose and oil carries dirt between balls and races. If it is spun in this condition, the dirt can cause scratch marks, which may later lead to spalling.
Practically all bearings when removed after use will contain a certain amount of dirt, often introduced during removal. Treat all bearings alike. Avoid introducing more dirt during handling, and do not spin.
An arbor press is one of the best demounting tools and should be used wherever possible. Rest the bearing inner ring or both rings (never the outer ring only) against a pair of flat blocks of the same size and using a firm, steady pressure, force the shaft out, Figure E.
Be careful to keep the shaft straight to avoid damage from coking and dont let it strike the floor when it is suddenly released from the bearing. Also be careful not to drop removed bearings, especially on a hard or dirty floor.
If a press is not available, use a puller of a type which can be inserted behind the bearing inner race, Figure F. Be sure that the jaws are set so that they will not slip over the inner race and damage separator or shield when pressure is applied. Exert an even pressure and pull straight. Cocking from unequalized pulling can damage both shaft and bearing.
In cases where gears or other removable parts do not allow the puller to contact the bearing directly, use the puller on the parts as in Figure G.
The use of a hammer is to be avoided unless other methods cannot be used. Split sections of pipe or tubing with welded lugs, as in Figure H can be used for shafts of various sizes. Alternating blows on opposite sides will prevent serious cocking. Be careful that pipe is free of chips that would be shaken into the bearing. In removing a bearing by pounding, care must be taken not to hit or scrape locknut threads on the shaft. Cover bearings with cloth or paper as soon as they are removed.
We will continue next month with ball bearing cleaning, inspection and mounting. Spring is here! Enjoy your cars and keep em driving!
door to make sure they were opened, and put in some new weather stripping around the door. From this car forward, we will always trace each window onto white paper, label and file it in that cars project folder as the car is being disassembled. When glass is ordered, we can send our own template to make sure the glass is cut correctly. TO REMOVE DOOR GLASS:
1. We removed window roller and handle using a tool for GM lock springs. The tool is for 1935-1960 GM cars, and the lock springs fit 1954-1960 GM cars (these are available from vendors). We unplugged the power window switch and removed the door panel, then we removed the front and back access covers, then lowered the door glass until the window assembly screws were visible through the front and back access panels.
2. We disconnected the battery (for cars with power windows) to prevent accidental operation of the window. Our windows work with the ignition switch on or off.
3. The Cadillac manual recommends removing the vent window and frame, but we found that to be unnecessary. It is necessary, however, to remove the belt finish molding. This is the metal strip at the top of the door that the window stopadjustment screws are mounted in (under the door panel cap).
4. Then we removed the four screws, securing the window assembly to the regulator (motor) cam.
5. Separate the window assembly from the regulator cam by hand, raising the glass to the almost-closed position, then tilted the window inward and remove it from the door. On power windowcars, do not operate the window motor with the window assembly out. It will damage the window motor due to no load.
6. Install the glass in reverse of the above, and put the door panel back on. When putting the window roller and handle on, check the other side to make sure they are in the correct positioning.
TO ADJUST DOOR GLASS MISALIGNMENT:
1. To adjust the upward limit of the glass travel (with the door panel removed and the belt finishing molding in place) loosen the lock nut and turn screw Cup or down as required to make window stop in correct position. This moves rubber-bumpered stop screw up or down to push against tab on window assembly, stopping upward window travel. After setting is achieved, re-tighten lock nut.
2. To adjust door glass in or out or to align door glass run channel with door glass, loosen glass run channel attaching screws D at the door lock pillar (Fig. B), loosen adjusting stud nut and turn adjusting stud E and position glass run channel at door lock pillar as required for window to travel freely. Re-tighten screws and nuts.
3. If the door glass is cockedin the glass run channels, loosen stationary screw Fand raise or lower rear end of cam as needed, then re-tighten screw.
4. Hook up battery, then operate door glass up and down to re-check.
These basic principles apply to most old car applications. A little adjustment and rubber replacement at the first sign of trouble may save time and money later on. Spring is almost here! Enjoy your cars, and keep 'em driving!