Front hubs.

September 7th, 2011

Tonight I completed stripping down the front hubs. I wanted to remove the bearings to see what condition they are in. Austin 7 front hubs are in two parts. The rear half has the wheel studs riveted to it and holds the rear bearing and a felt seal and washer. The front half contains the smaller front bearing and a spacer that goes between the two ball races. The brake drum fits over the front half and is held in place with three small screws and the wheel and wheel nuts. The three smaller screws are just to stop the brake drum falling off when you remove the wheel.

To get the bearings out I used a socket to press on the races and used the vice to slowly push the bearings out. On one side of the car the large bearing was stuck in the back half and on the other it was stuck in the front half. The technique is the same in both cases.

IMG_0682_1 Pushing out bearings.

In the back half there is a thick felt washer that stops grease coming back through the stub axle and going all over your brake shoes. That would not be good! Between the felt washer and the bearing is a special flat washer with a dished side. This fits in a particular way. I am not sure which si the right way but this is how I found mine when I took them apart.

IMG_0676_1 Felt seal and washer.

The bearings didn’t seem too bad. I haven’t fully cleaned the old grease out of them yet. The smaller ones definitely seem a little ‘gritty’ when spinning them. I will replace all the bearings which can be done for less that $50NZ.

IMG_0679_1 Front bearings.

Below you can see all the hub parts laid out. I will clean everything up and reassemble it with new bearings and felt seals.


One thing I found was the rear part of one hub was somewhat bent, possibly due to someone pulling the hubs with a conventional three legged puller and not the proper Austin one. I straightened mine by drilling three holes into a block of wood to match the wheel studs. With the hub pushed onto the block I was able to make small adjustments with a big hammer! The wheel studs are held on with rivets which can work loose but a hammer and a punch will sort that out.

IMG_0683_1 Hub adjusting block.

I found a few other things of interest when sorting out my bits in order to figure out what parts I need to order. The king pins I have are different sizes. A king pin kit is cheap (new pins, cotters, thrust washers, bushes, etc) so I will be replacing these. I am also not sure if the grooving on the brake actuating levers I have is normal or the result of wear. It seems to me the brake cable ends have worn into the ball joint?

IMG_0690_1 IMG_0688_1King pins and brake levers.

The other thing I noticed is the spaces are slightly worn where they touch the front ball race. I don’t think that will matter too much.

IMG_0692_1 Worn spacers.

Finally I pulled down the chassis and got it back on its wheels! Well, some wheels.

IMG_0685_1 Chassis and temporary door table.



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