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Unread 12-11-2011, 10:22 AM   #1
Not Yet Wild
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 20
Default Front wheel hub trouble.

I've been using the Harley cart around the property and loving it. On the way back to the house yesterday I started hearing a faint squeaking noise at low speed, and when I got there...I investigated.

The front wheel hub has an irregular pronounced bulge in the steel around the perimeter of the hub, the wheel doesn't turn freely by hand, and the hub was hot.

I'm guessing this means I've had catastrophic bearing failure and have pretty much trashed the front hub, bearings, and possibly axle, right?

When I get some time I'll pull it apart and photograph.

Anyone have a good used front hub assembly? I'm in the market. :) I think we previously identified mine as an 81, but there's been mixing of parts on her, so photos are probably key.

Thanks for any advice. I imagine getting that axle out of the hub will now be an adventure.

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Unread 12-11-2011, 07:36 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 20
Default Re: Front wheel hub trouble.

So...any tricks on getting that front axle removed? I see the hole where you're supposed to stick a rod or screwdriver through. I see the thread on the other side and it's standard...counter clockwise should unscrew it.

A screwdriver won't budge it.

I soaked it with PB Blaster for 4 hours, then I made a 3ft long bar with a chunk of hardened tool steel sticking out the end of it, engaged the hole, and gave it all I had. I broke the bar off.

Then, I put a 6" long bolt through the hole and went at it in the counter-clockwise direction with an air hammer on the bolt trying to get it to turn. Nope.

I'm now at the point where I'm thinking about welding a big 1 1/2" nut to the "hole" end so I can put a 3/4 air impact on it and get it out (or break it off).

Before I do that, any tips?
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Unread 12-11-2011, 09:25 PM   #3
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Default Re: Front wheel hub trouble.

Read the manual again, it spoke of a set screw (which I never found originally) so I went looking for it again. This time I found the hole where it's supposed to live, but no set screw. I cleaned it well and verified I had threads all the way to the axle shaft (it wasn't broken off in there).

Wanting to get this apart so I can order parts, I decided to try the torch and candle was trick taught to me by an old farmer for getting rusted exhaust manifold bolts off of tractors.

I took my map gas torch and heated up the threaded axle side until a birthday candle bursts into flame when touched to it. Then, I fed the candle to the threads where it met the fork and the resulting steam/heat/flame forces that wax into the crevices of the thread. I fed it two candles, then went over to the other side, put in my screw driver, and it unscrewed like it was never stuck.

Score. Inside the hub, I found carnage. One of the bearing races was broken in 6 parts and the bearing was mangled. The other side looks better, but I've seen better bearings at the bottom of the ocean, so I'll be needing to place an order shortly.

I got the numbers off the side that wasn't exploded, so I should be good to go.

The decision now is whether or not to replace the hub. That bearing got hot enough to burn the paint off the outside, and I think the metal is slightly bulged on the side that had the race damage. I'm sure I can get a new race into position, but I'm not sure it will have all the support it needs from the hub since it looks like the hub is damaged some. I guess bearings are cheap...try that first and see what happens?

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Unread 12-12-2011, 11:06 PM   #4
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Location: Columbus, Ohio
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Default Re: Front wheel hub trouble.

i think the bearings arent a problem to get, local yellow and blue auto store can get them if they can get a good set of numbers. skf or timken, all are usaully interchangable. can get seals too, as far as hub if it wee mine, i would get a new one to.
go to vintage golf carts and look at there harley site, they have harely part numbers on there page if you dont havethe part book. i have a part book fo the harley i got off of here. has nice diaghrams too! graig out of wisconsin sometimes has parts laying around he might help you.
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Unread 12-13-2011, 01:30 PM   #5
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Default Re: Front wheel hub trouble.

I machined a stainless ring the same OD as the hub with a slight lead-in taper and pressed it onto the outside of the hub with a 20 ton press. The resulting force pushed the distorted hub metal back where it belonged, and I cleaned up the ID on the lathe to make sure there were no imperfections that would keep me from pressing the race in easily. I'm leaving the ring installed as reinforcement

The seals are the same as a 1970 Ford F150 Steering Knuckle seal (1 day delivery, special order at AutoZone) and the bearings were standard and on the shelf at my local trailer supply shop; a common wheel bearing used on small utility trailers.

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