Rear Wheel Bearing Removal

Today I finally finished removing the rear wheel bearings from both axles, a process that has been going on over a week. Before I began, I found a very useful write-up by Tom Walter (who happens to live in the same town as me, small world!) in the roadster mailing list archives.
Below is a picture of the axle assembly from my manual and one of the axle assembly before I began.

As shown below, the wheel bearings were held in place by a collar that has a ridge around its center. The bearings and collars are pressed into place. What I took from Tom’s post was that it may be preferable to cut off the collars rather than press them off, so that the wear on the axle is kept to a minimum and the new bearings and collars, once pressed on, will be less likely to come off. That is, pressing off the collars may wear-down the axle unduly and reduce the life of the axle, which is typically good for a finite number of pressings. Rather than using a Dremmel (mine is very wimpy and didn’t cut effectively at all), I used progressively larger drill bits to work away at the collar.

The 1/8″ bit I was using worked its way through the ridge in the collar.

Then I switched to a 3/16″ and then a 1/4″ bit, enlarging the hole in the collar each time.

The drill left a groove through the collar at least as deep as the ridge. I then inserted the tip of my cold chisel into this groove and started pounding with my 3-pound sledge hammer.

After around ten to fifteen solid blows with the cold chisel, the groove in the collar was getting deeper and the inner diameter of the collar began to expand. Eventually the collar came loose around the axle and slid off.

Here is a shot of the collar after it slid off the axle.

Next, in order to remove the wheel bearings, I held the backer plate in my hands, axle-end down, and slammed the axle downward into a block of wood on the floor. The idea was to use the force of the backer plate, which has maybe a half and inch of play up and down on the bearing, to knock the bearing off the axle.

On the left axle this worked nearly immediately. On the right side it did not. After my hands got sore from the impacts, I decided to soak the bearing in Liquid Wrench, which I did each night of the last week. Then I switched over to PB Blaster which, after several days of soaking, worked the stubborn right axle bearing free.

After the bearing slid off, there was a small spacer and then the backer plate, then the grease catcher that rests against the axle hub.

Next I went to work on the backer plates themselves. On the outside of the plates reside the brake cylinder and the adjustor, opposite. On the inside of the plates the cylinder and adjustor are fastened to the plates.

First I removed the cylinder, which was covered by a rubber dust cover.

The cylinder itself was held up against the inside of the backer plate by a series of clips. On the left side there were four of these clips, on the left axle side (shown) there were only three. I pushed the clips off using a flathead screwdriver, and the occasional tap of a mallet.

Off it came, and underneath were two more interlocking clips, that appeared to be copper.

I removed these to opposing clips in the same manner.

This allowed the cylinder assembly to fall back off the backer plate.

With the cylinder removed, I began to work on the brake adjustor, onto which the opposite ends of the shoes attach.

On the opposite side the adjustor was held in place by two nuts, which I removed using a 7/16″ socket.

The adjustor didn’t come off immediately, so I tapped the ends of the bolts lightly with a hammer, and it came free.

The adjustors appear to be frozen, but I will make an attempt to get them working again. If not, I will find replacement parts.

Next I took the backer plates outside and cleaned them up.

The backer plates are the last of a lot of parts I will send off to be sandblasted and powdercoated. When I get those parts back I should be ready to re-assemble the chassis.

Rear Wheel Hub Removal, Part II

Two weeks ago I was removing the rear axles from the differential and had trouble getting the left axle free–it was stuck in place. I learned a trick from Dave Kaplan on the forums at that solved that problem. Here is the stubborn axle in place. I tapped it with a rubber mallet to no avail. A slide-hammer should work, but I didn’t have one on hand.

So what I did was this: replace the brake drum on the hub, only put it on in reverse (inside-out if that helps). Then put the lug nuts on and tighten them down only a couple of turns.

What I don’t have a picture of, because I had to use both hands and therefore put the camera down, is what I did next: grab the drum at three and six o’clock and push it in and then pull it back out so it taps against the lugs. Repeat a few times and it is a homemade slide-hammer. After just a few pulls the stubborn axle came right out.

Here are shots of the inner axle backer plate with the wheel bearing and collar and the differential’s axle housing, which still holds the inner oil seal inside.

Rear Wheel Hub Removal, Part I

This evening I started removing the rear wheel hubs so that I can clean-up and re-build the rear brakes.

I started by simply pulling the brake drums off. With the wheels removed from the hubs, there was nothing mechanically holding the drums in place. The drums were aluminum and finned.

Here is the hub after the drum was removed. On the right I began to pull the brake shoes off. They are spring-loaded and I first tipped on shoe forward and off its mounting point.

Then I freed the other end of the shoes from its mounting point and popped the shoe assembly free.

Here is a shot of the hub after the shoes were removed.

The hubs have a backer plate that bolts directly to the rear axle. I removed the four bolts that make this connection using a 1/2″ socket.

With those bolts removed the hub came free, with the half-section of axle attached! Apparently the wheel hubs need to be backed off the inner end of the axle.

Both the hub backer plate and the end of the axle case had shim/gaskets on them. Below left the rear wheel bearings are visible up against the backer plate.

I will need to have the bearings pressed off in order to get the brake assemblies off the axle. That is something for another day.

Emergency Brake Arm Removal

This afternoon I removed the emergency brake assembly from the rear of the differential and then gave the diff a second cleaning. The e-brake assembly consisted of an arm that spanned the two rear brake drums and would apply pressure to the brakes if the lever in the car was pulled. The e-brake cable, attached to the handle in the car, attached to a bracket on the right side of the differential. I began at the wheels and worked my way in.

Starting on the right side, I unscrewed the Philips head screw that held the spring tensioner to the brake cylinder.

With the screw loose the small tab could slide outward towards the wheel hub, relieving the pressure on the spring.

On the right side the arm was attached to the brakes by a pin which had a cotter pin through its bottom. I pulled the cotter pin and then worked the retainer pin up and out of the arm.

This allowed me to disconnect the right e-brake arm from the wheel hub.

On the left side was a similar set-up. I loosened the spring screw, and removed the spring from the hub. Then I removed the cotter pin and tapped the retaining pin free using a nail-set and mallet.

That freed the left e-brake arm from that hub.

Just right of center, the two arms that activate the left and right rear brakes came together on a pivoting arm; this is where the emergency brake cable came in. I removed this mechanism next. First I pulled out the cotter pin below the mechanism and pulled off the retaining washer.

Then the piece slide of a bracket mounted onto the differential case.

In order to slide the assembly off the differential, because the left arm fed through a small loop on the diff. I had to remove the spring assembly from that end in order to pull the arm back through the loop. I removed the mounting screw and then pried the retaining bracket back to get the spring piece off the arm.

Then I removed the rubber cushion from the inside of the loop an order to slide the left arm through the loop and off the differential.

The center linkage for the e-brake mounted to a bracket on the differential. I removed this by taking out the two bolts using a 1/2″ socket.

After removing the emergency brake linkage from the rear wheel hubs and differential, I spent another hour cleaning the differential. More Simple Green and a good scrubbing with some #2 steel wool pads made it come remarkably clean.

Front Wheel Bearings, Removal from Hubs

This morning I removed the seals and inner bearings from the front wheel hubs. It took some effort, but I want to replace those seals and the bearings with new ones “while I’m at it.” The first step was to remove the bearing grease seal from the inner surface of the hub. It is a rubber gasket with a metal ring that helps it maintain its circular shape. The seals fit tightly into the inner circumference of the hub. I began by prying the seal outward using a flat head screwdriver, working may way around and around.

After going around a number of times, the edge of the seal began to come proud of the inner face of the hub. I was eventually able to grab its edge with a pair of pliers and pull it out. Easier said than done.

With the seal removed, the inner wheel bearing fell out.

The bearings were accompanied inside by a metal ring, known as a race, inside of which they rotated. The races are held tightly in place on the inner hub surface by friction. I had to pound them out of the hub. The outer race was the smaller of the two. I used a screwdriver and a mallet to pound it out, alternating from the right to the left side with my blows. Eventually it worked its way out.

The larger outer race was not as easy. Luckily the inner circumference of the hub is larger than the outer, so I was able to fit my pickle fork into the wide inner edge of the hub. The fork applied pressure to both opposing edges of the race simultaneously, so I could move the whole race with one strike. I used my 3 pound sledge hammer (and safety glasses) on the fork and the race came out willingly.

Differential, Clean-Up

This afternoon I pulled the differential out of the garage and started on it. It clearly was in need of a good cleaning. My plan for the rear end is to leave the differential gears alone and just address the rear brakes, grease seals, and wheel bearings. This afternoon I spent around an hour cleaning off much of the years of dirt, grease, and grime.

Here is the differential as it was when I pulled it off the frame:

I removed the hard brake lines that connect to the right and left rear brake cylinders from the junction with the soft rubber line above the center of the differential. I used a 7/16″ open wrench to loosen the hydraulic fittings after spraying on some Liquid Wrench. The lines came off without much trouble.

I removed the line on the left side in the same manner.

Here are the brake lines removed.

Then I spent a full hour cleaning the differential and axle case. I used some Simple Green, a wire brush, and a lot of scouring pads. Much of the dirt came off and revealed that the black paint on the differential is actually in pretty good shape. There are some surface rust areas, but nothing to be overly concerned about.

Front Brake Caliper Disassembly

This morning I took apart the hydraulic cylinders from the front disc brake calipers. The cylinders mount on each side of the caliper and hold the brake pads, which they squeeze together on the rotors in order to slow the wheels.

Here are the assembled calipers prior to taking them apart.

Each cylinder was mounted on the caliper by four bolts, one at each corner of the cylinder. I removed these bolts using a 3/8″ socket in my socket wrench. The bolts were not torqued down very tight at all.

With the bolts removed the cylinder was still attached, so I used some persuasion in the form of a few taps from the rubber mallet and some prying with a Flathead screwdriver.

In short order the first cylinder came free.

The brake pad had a groove from the center out to one of the narrow edges. A pin on the cylinder slid up into this groove to hold the pad to the cylinder. I slid the pad off.

Then I repeated the same operation to remove the cylinder on the opposite side, beginning with the bolts.

On the rear edge of the caliper was a keeper plate that I removed. It was held in place by a single bolt, which I removed using a 10mm socket and wrench. I then just slide the plate back and off the caliper.

The calipers I plan to clean-up, address any rust, and re-paint using a high-temperature caliper paint. The cylinders I will have re-built. I am thinking of sending them off to Whitepost Restorations in Virginia, who will completely sandblast, refinish, re-sleeve, and replace hydraulic components in brake cylinders. They quoted me a price of $80 per cylinder to fully overhaul each one, which adds up for four brake cylinders. But hey, stopping is pretty important. Whitepost also offers a lifetime guarantee, so I would never have to pay to have my cylinders re-built again. I haven’t completely decided to go that way, but I am leaning pretty heavily in that direction.

Separating Hubs from Rotors

This weekend I didn’t have much time to work on the car, but I did spend some time separating those stubborn front wheel hubs from the rotors. The pieces bolt together, but I had already removed the four bolts on each hub when I disassembled the calipers last week. The whole thing was an exercise in using controlled force. I needed to use a hammer to break the two parts free, but didn’t want to mar the edge of the hub. I needed to use tools to pry and force the halves apart, but didn’t want to scrape either mating surface.
The first thing I did was to soak the assembly with PB Blaster. I sprayed some on the bottom of the rotor.

Here is a close-up of where the hub and rotor mate. I sprayed this area thoroughly with the PB Blaster.

I allowed the hubs to soak overnight to give the spray time to work its magic. This morning I gave the hubs another spraying and a few careful taps with the small sledge hammer to jar the pieces hopefully apart.

The hammer seemed to help and I started to work my putty knife down into the joint between hub and rotor. By tapping the knife with my rubber mallet I eventually got it down between the two parts.

After working my way all the way around the hub and working the putty knife into each of the four joints between hub and rotor, I had enough daylight to start my small Flathead screwdriver in between. Again, I tapped the screwdriver with the mallet, carefully working it down and towards the center of the hub, its increasing width forcing the two parts apart. I worked around the hub several times until the screwdriver easily bottomed out on the center of the hub.

Next I used my pickle-fork, which is a tool typically used for removing ball joints. Its tapered ends were just right for tapping down into the widening gap between hub and rotor.

Victory! The hub came off the rotor after I turned the fork sideways and gave it a final tap with the mallet.

Here are some shots of the top and bottom of the hub.

Next I repeated the same process on the other hub and rotor. After working the fork down to the center of the hub, I once again turned it sideways and pounded it through, forcing the hub off the rotor.

Currently I’m working on obtaining a new pair of rotors from Down Under. I am also planning to replace the inner and outer wheel bearings in the hub, and get new seals as well.

Front Wheel Hub Disassembly

This afternoon I disassembled the front wheel hubs, which included the axle and wheel bearing assemblies, the brake rotor and wheel hub assemblies, and the brake caliper assemblies. The hydraulics in the brake cylinders will certainly need attention. I actually tried to do this work last weekend, but didn’t get anywhere as I was unable to get enough leverage to break loose the large bolts that mount the calipers to the wheel hubs.

Here is a picture of the wheel hub as I left it after I removed it from the car, during the front end disassembly. Note the odd shape of the assembly; neither side is flat and the piece is designed to rotate, which made gaining leverage to loosen bolts very difficult, even with a breaker-bar.

In order to lay the hub flat, I stacked up some 2x4s so the disk (on one side) and caliper (on the other side) could rest at different heights. This enabled the axle to sit up off the floor and the inside of the hub to rest relatively level. In order to get the leverage I needed, I used my new impact wrench, bought on sale for half price at $40 from Harborfreight this week.

I used a 3/4″ impact socket to loosen and removed the caliper mounting bolts. The caliper was still tight on the rotor, so I used a 3/8″ socket in my socket wrench to loosen the four cylinder bolts.

The caliper assembly was still firmly in place, so I flipped the hub over to loosen the four bolts on the other cylinder.

That allowed the caliper assembly to come loose, but I noticed that I’d missed a bolt that attached the hub plat to the small junction block where the rubber brake line feeds the hard line at the caliper. I removed this bolt using a 1/2″ socket and 1/2″ wrench to hold the nut while I loosened the bolt.

This enabled me to slide the caliper assembly free from the hub.

Brake fluid reaches the caliper via a rubber brake line, that attaches to the hard (steel) brake lines further upstream toward the brake pedal. Stomping on the brake pedal forces a plunger into the master cylinder, mounted on the firewall, to push brake fluid into the brake lines and down towards the calipers. This fluid flows through the rubber line and back into hard lines that directly feed the wheel cylinders mounted on either side of the caliper. The fluid forces the wheel cylinders (and brake pads) to clamp down on the rotor, which slows the vehicle.

There were two separate hard lines on the caliper assembly, one feeding fluid to each of the cylinders. I began by removing the line that fed the external cylinder from the internal one. I used a 7/16″ wrench to removed the fittings.

After loosening the fitting on the external cylinder, the short section of brake line came free.

Then I flipped the caliper over and removed the fitting from the inner cylinder. This enabled me to remove the hard line, soft line, and junction block assembly from the caliper.

This left the caliper-cylinder assembly. I plan to remove the cylinder, perhaps have them re-sleeved, rebuild the hydraulics, and clean up the calipers, but not today.

Next I returned to the wheel hub. The rotor and hub are pressed together. On the inside of the hub is an arm assembly that connects to the upper and lower ball joints, which bolt into the suspension arms. This arm assembly has the short front axle length that feeds through the rotor/hub piece and wheel bearing. The wheel hub and rotor spin on this axle and the car’s wheels bolt to the hub. There are four inner hub bolts that I removed using a 5/8″ box wrench. I had to tap the wrench with a mallet to break some of these bolts free.

I then pried off the outer axle cap using a flat-head screwdriver. It came off without much trouble after prying in different spots around the edge.

Through the “castle bolt” on the end of the axle was a cotter pin, which I straightened and removed using needle nose pliers.

I was able to remove the castle bolt without using my 1 1/8″ socket, because it was loose enough to turn by hand. Hence the reason for the cotter pin, which prevents the hub and wheels from flying off the car!

With the axle bolt off I was able to separate the hub assembly from the axle arm assembly. I slide the wheel bearings out of the hub.

There is a retaining plate on the inside of the rotor which bolts into the axel arm. The plate is connected by two sets of two bolts, with locking plates that have tabs to prevent the bolts from backing out. I pried back these tabs using a flat head screwdriver and then loosened the bolts using a 9/16″ socket.

I removed those bolts, one of the short and one of them longer, and then removed the other pair of bolts above those.

Then I removed the plate from the axle assembly, freeing up the arm onto which the steering linkage mounted. Below right is a close-up of the axle assembly with the upper and lower ball joints attached.

On the face of the axle was a mounting plate for the caliper. With all of the bolts out I could tap this plate off using a screwdriver to wedge between the two pieces.

I spent a bit of time doing a first cleaning of all the parts, which were some of the most greasy I’ve pulled off the car. They will need another cleaning prior to giving them a new finish, replacing the wheel bearings and seals, mounting new rotors, and rebuilding the cylinder hydraulics.

Alternator Removal

This afternoon I removed the alternator from the engine, which is currently mounted on the engine stand. The alternator is mounted to the front of the engine block on the driver’s side. It’s pulley is driven by the fan belt.

Towards the top the alternator is mounted by a bolt through a slotted bracket. This allows you to mount the belt on the pulley and then swing the alternator outward until the belt is tight, and then tighten down the upper bolt to fix the alternator in position. I loosened this bolt using a 1/2″ socket.

The alternator is mounted at the bottom by a long bolt that threads through a knuckle and holds the alternator to the block. I loosened this bolt using a 9/16″ socket. With the bolt broken loose I was able to rotate the alternator upwards and towards the block, which provided enough slack to slip the belt of the alternator pulley.

Then I removed the lower bolt the rest of the way. I rotated the alternator downward on the mounting knuckle and then slid it off the block.

With the alternator removed I gathered it and the starter, which I removed when I pulled the transmission, and took them both outside to clean them up.

I wiped down the starter and alternator to remove as much grease as I could. I plan to take both out to a local place and have them rebuilt. They are both nearly 40 years old, after all. After that I will clean them up further.