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Front wheel with 1/4” of play - not ball joints

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62Ranchero200
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Front wheel with 1/4” of play - not ball joints

Post #1 by 62Ranchero200 » Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:59 pm

Greetings Ford Six fans,

My ‘62 Ranchero has the original type 6-cylinder spindles, hubs, and bearings (bearings have been replaced at least once in the seven years I’ve owned her).

Over the last few weeks, I noticed that my left (driver’s side) front wheel has about 1/4” of play along the axis of the front axle (it can be rocked back and forth, and at the tire tread moves about 1/4”). I raised the front of the car and rocked the tire back and forth - the ball joints don’t have any slack or movement.

Is this type of wear usually in the bearings, hub, or spindle? I’m hoping to avoid replacing the spindle as I think it would be a PITA. Once taken apart, how would I tell (other than obvious, catastrophic wear patterns) which part(s) are at fault?

Thanks
Bob
62 Ranchero, 252 cid, 300 rods, RaceTek pstns, ARP mains bolts & studs, balanced & blueprinted, CI AL head, 1.6 adj rckrs, Smith Bros, 274/274/108 cam, CI int, Holley 500, DSII, CI SS hdrs, PowerMaster strtr and 1wire alt, Optima, V8 rad, T-5z, 10" organic clutch, 5 lug 8" w/3.80 Trac Loc, rear drums, front 5 lug discs, Centerlines. Next: ?.

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62Cometman
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Re: Front wheel with 1/4” of play - not ball joints

Post #2 by 62Cometman » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:46 am

With that much play its most likely the bearings/races. The spindles and hubs are considered a non-wearable item. If it was the spindle moving that much were talking about catastrophic failure of the spindle itself. It honestly just sounds like loose bearings to me. Check how tight the spindle nut is should be snug against the washer if its not then thats your problem. Regardless take everything apart and do a full inspection check for cracks on your spindle and bearings that the rollers are extremely loose inside the cage.
1962 Mercury Comet 170 ci, Dagenham Trans, 2.83:1 7.25 rear.
She ain't fast but she's fun. 8)

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B RON CO
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Re: Front wheel with 1/4” of play - not ball joints

Post #3 by B RON CO » Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:42 am

Hi, before getting any parts you have to find out what is wrong. 1/4 inch of play is a lot. Check the tie rod ends and center link ends. These are common parts that wear. Jack up the wheel and remove the dust cap. The cotter pin and castle nut and slotted washer should be snug to the bearing. If the hub has a lot of play relative to the spindle you need to inspect the bearings, races, and everything to find out why it is loose. The trouble could be anywhere in there, even a loose steering box. Good luck
B RON CO. Still workin' on it!

1933 Ford Pickup - 59A Flathead V8
1966 Ford Bronco - U14 - 170/200 Straight 6
1966 Ford Mustang - 289 V8

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62Ranchero200
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Re: Front wheel with 1/4” of play - not ball joints

Post #4 by 62Ranchero200 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:40 pm

@B RON CO:

I just replaced my steering gearbox with a rebuilt one - that’s why I had the car jacked up in the front and how I noticed the excessive play in the LF wheel. There is no play on the rebuilt steering gearbox other than the expected movement when the steering wheel is turned.

I can rock the wheel back and forth while watching the ball joints and steering linkage, and neither the ball joints nor the steering linkage move. The motion is between the wheel and the spindle - the spindle itself has no noticeable motion. So I’m thinking it would have to be between the spindle, hub and bearings.

Thanks
Bob
62 Ranchero, 252 cid, 300 rods, RaceTek pstns, ARP mains bolts & studs, balanced & blueprinted, CI AL head, 1.6 adj rckrs, Smith Bros, 274/274/108 cam, CI int, Holley 500, DSII, CI SS hdrs, PowerMaster strtr and 1wire alt, Optima, V8 rad, T-5z, 10" organic clutch, 5 lug 8" w/3.80 Trac Loc, rear drums, front 5 lug discs, Centerlines. Next: ?.

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62Ranchero200
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Front wheel with 1/4” of play - failed outer wheel bearing

Post #5 by 62Ranchero200 » Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:41 pm

It turns out that the outer front wheel bearing failed completely - the rollers were completely separated from the inner race and outer cage, and the outside of the hub was riding directly on the spindle.

Strangely, the inner bearing looked ok, although I replaced both bearings and races on the driver’s side as a precaution. The spindle was lightly scratched, so I sanded out the scratches and reused it. Also strangely, the passenger side appears perfectly fine (no perceptible play at the wheel).

So, the question is: why would only one bearing on only one side fail catastrophically?

What I may have forgotten to mention: I installed a front disk brake conversion from “ABS Power Brake” a few years ago. The conversion used a new five lug combination hub / rotor to replace the stock four lug hub and drum. I’m not blaming the conversion kit, although the conversion does move the bearings outboard about 3/16”-1/4” (a spacer moves the combination hub / rotor out for clearance between the rotor and caliper bracket). The displacement to outboard may have been a factor.

Thanks
Bob
62 Ranchero, 252 cid, 300 rods, RaceTek pstns, ARP mains bolts & studs, balanced & blueprinted, CI AL head, 1.6 adj rckrs, Smith Bros, 274/274/108 cam, CI int, Holley 500, DSII, CI SS hdrs, PowerMaster strtr and 1wire alt, Optima, V8 rad, T-5z, 10" organic clutch, 5 lug 8" w/3.80 Trac Loc, rear drums, front 5 lug discs, Centerlines. Next: ?.

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