correct installation of tapered roller bearing shells into standard softail front hub.

Discussion in 'Wheels' started by zoob2, Sep 13, 2019.

  1. zoob2

    zoob2 Member

    hi guys, i have a new 16" rim ,s/s spokes,standard 40 spoke front softail hub and was trying to install the shells into the hub- a friend said "put the shells in freezer and heat up the hub"- i put the hub in the oven at 150 celcius for 1/2 hour and then removed with my old bike gloves and then proceeded to tap the shell as evenly as possible using a large socket but only managed to sink the shell into the hub till it was level with outer surface and then decided to put the whole kit and kaboodle back into the oven and set the temp to 250 celsius,so while thats happening i figured i will ask you guys if i have messed up or maybe the heat wasnt enough on the hub in the first place,cheers in advance-nick.
  2. Breeze3at

    Breeze3at Experienced Member

    I hope you have taken it out of the oven by now. I only have info for '91-'92 cast wheels and don't know if spoked hub procedure is different. Shells (cups) should be oiled and pressed into hub until seated (using a HD inst. tool). The "until seated" part is important for the next part. Install bearing spacer and shims into center of hub, lube and install bearings, Using HD bearing installer, measure runout, adding or removing shims until spacing is within spec. (I don't know what yours is). So, without using a press, it will be difficult to know exactly when your shells are seated (and perfectly flat to hub). This may cause runout problem later. I'm sure lots of bearings have been replaced using your method of temp. variance, but I would find an available arbor press to finish the job. Note; any damage however slight to the shell, ruins it in my opinion.
  3. fin_676

    fin_676 Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    Not having access to a press when i changed the bearings in my softail custom 21" front wheel i used the heat and cold with a little brute force to fit the bearings
    Wife complained about motorcycle parts in the freezer but got the shells cold i heated the hub with gas blowlamp ( think may be called a torch where you are) and drove the bearing shell in with a suitable sized socket and large hammer once the noise of the hits with the hammer changes then you will know the shell is seated
    Fit the spacer and shims along with the bearngs into the hub dry fit wheel on to bike and torque to spec then using a dial guage check the end float of the bearing and add or replace shims till within spec then diassemble and pack the bearings with grease and fit the oil seals
    and you are ready to go
    A service manual is a must when doing this as it will give the spec of endfloat and the sizes and part numbers of the shims
    I used the info from my clymer manual as the Hd one only has imperial measurements for 92 softail clymer has the metric measurements and as my dial guage is a metric one i used the best source of info for my environment
    If you are unsure of what you are doing take it to an experienced mechanic or shop to do the job or to check that you have done it correctly
    Even though i have replace tapered wheel bearings on German and Italian motorcycles in the past i fully read and understood the procedure of all stages of the job before i started
    Take care and get it right and you will have many safe miles on the bearings

  4. zoob2

    zoob2 Member

    Thanks Fin and Breeze-i found that the higher heat allowed for the shells to be tapped in with the socket far easier than the first side and yes i noticed the change in tone once the shells had reached the bottom of the seat. I probably should have added that those were new parts and the rim i have yet to take in to the bike shop for lacing with the new s/s spokes and hub with new bearings.The front hub was a billet front hub ,60 spoke s/s and reputedley a Buchanan rim back and front but cant identify for certain,however the back rim split open on one ride[two up] and i replaced that with a fatboy rear and the chrome on the front rim was rusty and peeling even though the bike is well cared for so i decided to go for standard harley 40 spoke and return to standard-many thanks for taking the time to chime in with the good advice,cheers -nick.
    Breeze3at likes this.