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Old 01-23-2018, 06:17 AM   #1
phartman
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Default '34 Pickup Front Wheel Bearings- Technical

I am beginning to suspect that the front wheel bearings on my '34 pickup are going bad. I can hear a pulsing noise coming from the front, and sometimes feel the same in the brake pedal. The truck has 5,000 miles on it since coming to me- the bearings have never been touched as far as I know.

What are the symptoms of a bearing going bad? What are some ways to diagnose a bearing going bad?

Should I pull the bearings, repack, and see if the noise changes?

Go ahead and replace the bearings?

The brakes were upgraded to the modern Lincoln Bendix style when I acquired the truck.

Thanks for your guidance here.
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:54 AM   #2
Kurt in NJ
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Default Re: '34 Pickup Front Wheel Bearings- Technical

Pulsing noise-- and feeling in brake pedal to me would indicate out of round brake drum, bad wheel bearings usually make more of a rumble, most likely you are due for cleaning/repacking , look at lubrication chart in owners instruction book

When you take a bearing/ roller assembly out look at the grease between the rollers, if you see glitter (metal flakes) the bearing or race is coming apart
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Old 01-23-2018, 08:01 AM   #3
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Default Re: '34 Pickup Front Wheel Bearings- Technical

Is it possible that I am hearing a bad universal? Do those two noises ever imitate each other? The research seems to indicate that, didn't know if in fact that might be the case.
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Old 01-23-2018, 05:31 PM   #4
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Default Re: '34 Pickup Front Wheel Bearings- Technical

Check out both. Anything can need work on these old babies.
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Old 01-27-2018, 07:42 AM   #5
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Default Re: '34 Pickup Front Wheel Bearings- Technical

Checked the lube level in the transmission- it was awfully low. Gotta stay on top of this stuff. I looked at my records and it is embarrassing how long ago I had crawled under the truck to check it.
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Old 01-27-2018, 08:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: '34 Pickup Front Wheel Bearings- Technical

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How long ago has it been since the u- joint has been greased
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Old 01-27-2018, 09:00 AM   #7
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Default Re: '34 Pickup Front Wheel Bearings- Technical

The tranny feeds oil to the u-joint . If your tranny was real low that does not look good for your u-joint .
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Checked the lube level in the transmission- it was awfully low. Gotta stay on top of this stuff. I looked at my records and it is embarrassing how long ago I had crawled under the truck to check it.
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Old 01-27-2018, 09:25 AM   #8
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Default Re: '34 Pickup Front Wheel Bearings- Technical

Jack up the front end and spin one wheel at a time, should be able to feel/hear a bearing going bad. Also grab tire at top and bottom and try and jiggle it. If sloppy could be bearings, or king pin bushings.
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Old 01-31-2018, 06:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: '34 Pickup Front Wheel Bearings- Technical

The drivetrain was converted to open drive. The u-joints are the modern type that don't require regular maintenance so I have ruled that out.

However, my '40 still has the closed drive. I did not realize the transmission fluid lubed the universals there. Better check that level, too.

Thanks for the info.
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Old 03-17-2018, 05:07 AM   #10
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Default Re: '34 Pickup Front Wheel Bearings- Technical

It's this noise- not an early Ford transmission, but this same noise:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIInGCnAM18

I am pretty sure I have found the culprit- a piece of the reverse idler gear shaft was in the transmission fluid when I drained it. This piece:



Is this a common problem? Anyone else run into it? Other than the noise, what is the risk in driving the truck until I can pull the transmission.

Thanks.

Last edited by phartman; 03-17-2018 at 05:16 AM.
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Old 03-17-2018, 09:18 AM   #11
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Default Re: '34 Pickup Front Wheel Bearings- Technical

The risk is a severely damaged transmission and coming home on the end of a tow truck. Sounds to me like you need to park that little pickup and start a maintenance program from front to back.
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Old 03-17-2018, 10:31 AM   #12
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Default Re: '34 Pickup Front Wheel Bearings- Technical

What is the cause of the shaft to break in the first place? Are top loaders prone to this failure?

And not to argue, but to learn...what is the risk immediately? The idler gear direction interferes with another cog, gets in a bind and breaks? What would cause the severe damage?

The problem will get fixed, but I am trying to learn something about transmissions here, i.e., how the gears interact.

Last edited by phartman; 03-17-2018 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 03-17-2018, 10:44 AM   #13
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Default Re: '34 Pickup Front Wheel Bearings- Technical

Something like this could happen, only on a smaller scale. This occurred from a piece of shift fork broken off and getting between gears. So yes, it can get bad!
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Old 03-17-2018, 10:49 AM   #14
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Default Re: '34 Pickup Front Wheel Bearings- Technical

I would not drive it till you figure out what is going on in the box. There is not much room to spare inside the case.
Forgot to ask, is this the original 3 speed? Or like most, upgraded to a 39ish tranny?
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Old 03-17-2018, 11:02 AM   #15
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Default Re: '34 Pickup Front Wheel Bearings- Technical

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Originally Posted by RalphM View Post
Forgot to ask, is this the original 3 speed? Or like most, upgraded to a 39ish tranny?
It is not the original. It is a floor shift 3-speed circa 1948 or so.

And I distinctly remember when the piece let go...I was driving down the road about 50mph and not horsing it around. There was a snap.

Here is the piece that came out of the fluid when I changed it:

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Old 03-17-2018, 11:04 AM   #16
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Default Re: '34 Pickup Front Wheel Bearings- Technical

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Something like this could happen, only on a smaller scale. So yes, it can get bad!
i see a rebuilt transmission in my future.
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Old 03-17-2018, 11:05 AM   #17
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Default Re: '34 Pickup Front Wheel Bearings- Technical

piece gets caught between gears---locks up rear wheels at speed, trans case splits in 1/2, car spins into traffic while it is rolling 3 times
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Old 03-17-2018, 11:07 AM   #18
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Default Re: '34 Pickup Front Wheel Bearings- Technical

Looks like a part of a bearing. Input shaft to main shaft possibly?
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Old 03-17-2018, 01:17 PM   #19
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Default Re: '34 Pickup Front Wheel Bearings- Technical

Looks like the pin that locates the shifter lever to the tower.
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Old 03-17-2018, 01:22 PM   #20
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Default Re: '34 Pickup Front Wheel Bearings- Technical

Could just be the pin that^ was talking about or it could be a bearing . Park it before it parks you !
These are like modern cars , get a shop manual and look at the frequency for checking and replacing fluids , brakes etc . Anytime something odd happens DONT keep driving , something on the car is talking to you , saying STOP , HELP ME !
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