View Full Version : TR2/3/3A TR3A front wheel bearings and seals

05-21-2006, 05:18 PM
I started repacking the front wheel bearings on my 59 TR3A this weekend. I've read lots of step-by-step instructions, but never done it myself. I did the first wheel, and it seemed to go ok.

One thing I noticed, though, was that the new felt seal I ordered had a metal backing. The felt seal that came off the hub did not have the metal back. Are they done both ways? If so, is there any difference in procedure?

The instructions I was following called for tapping the metal seal backing into the hub. This would appear to create a metal-to-metal contact zone between the seal backer on the inner part of the hub, and the shoulder of the stub axle. Is this correct? Do you just some grease here?

On the second wheel, the metal seal backer doesn't want to fit in the hub (the hub surface is not smooth here, looks like somebody hammered on it in the past). I can probably pound it in, but I'm worried about pushing metal shavings into my newly packed bearings.

Any helpful comments for a novice?


05-21-2006, 07:08 PM

Yes, the metal backings get pressed into the recess in the hub. Often a large socket and plastic mallet will do the job. No grease is necessary between the felt seal holder and the recess in the hub, but a light smear wouldn't hurt and might help the metal "cup" tap in more easily.

Are you certain there aren't old metal backings still in there? Often the felt seal separates from the backing, leaving the metal "cup" in the hub. I've not seen any without the metal backing. (Note: If this happens with the new ones, just "glue" it back in place with something like Permatex hardening gasket sealer, before oiling up the felt.)

One problem with most felt seals I've seen in recent years is that they are way too thick. They really only need to stand slightly proud of the metal backing lip/edge of the hub. All I've used I have found it necessary to trim the felt with a single edged razor blade, to roughly half the thickness.

The reason this is important is that too thick felt will make the hub feel tight, when you go to adjust the bearings. The adjustment is to tighten the retaining nut until the bearings start to feel tight, then back off a flat or two until the cotter pin can be inserted. In fact, with the too-thick felt you'll feel the felt dragging against the surface on the vertical link long before the bearings are anywhere close to as tight as they should be. It fools you into thinking the bearing adjustment is tight. Left like that, the bearings will actually be loose and it's possible the they will be ruined before you realize it, putting the car back on the road with this adjustment incorrect.

Hope this helps.


Geo Hahn
05-21-2006, 08:14 PM
FWIW, this is a quote from a generally reliable TR owner...

The TR2-3 service manual was written when they had front drum brakes and the instructions for setting up the front wheel bearings results in the bearings being too loose.

You need to follow the instructions in Triumph service bulletin SPORTS/10/R dated October 1956. It basically says tighten the nut to set the bearings, loosen the nut, tighten by finger until you reach the point where you can not sense any wobble, then stick in the pin.

I've found that new felt washers compress a lot from use so suggest setting the play, driving about 100 miles then reseting the bearing play.

[/ QUOTE ]

IOW, tightening then loosening may compress the felt and resetting after some driving may be an alternative to cutting the felt thinner.

05-21-2006, 09:11 PM
Thanks, guys!


05-14-2016, 01:35 PM
This post was really helpful. Thanks. I was pulling my hair out trying to get the hub back on after installing new bearings on my TR3. I still can't get that felt seal to sit in the hub, though. That metal cup just won't fit into the hub. I don't have a large enough socket to fit around the metal cup, which is what I assume you meant. Am I perhaps misunderstanding what you intended?