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'17 Buick D-35 Wheel Issue


Charlie Dill

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I have a '17 Buick. One of my wheels needs repairs (I'm going to send it to Stutzmans). I tried to get the wheel off and it won't come off. I limited my force so as not to damage anything before asking for help. Plus, cars on jacks scare me to some extent. 

A few pics are attached below. I noted that there is slot in the hub and associated washer that I assume is meant for a Woodruff Key. There was nothing there - should there be. 

More importantly, does anyone know if there's a trick to get this wheel off. Is the screw on the side of the hub in the second picture likely to be involved?

Buick Hub from Top.jpg

Buick Hub Straight On.jpg

Buick Lug and Washer.jpg

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OK, you Buick enthusiasts out there, I have a couple of questions also.  Would I be correct in thinking that the 4-cylinder models DID NOT have a full floating rear axle?  IF they indeed did not, then he is going to be in need of a hub puller?  This hundred year old technology sure is cool ain't it!

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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For cdilljr edification, A puller has the same threads that are on the cap.  it has a threaded bolt in the center.  You screw the puller onto the hub as if you were putting the cap on.  Then you tighten the center bolt until the hub pops loose.  The hub is mounted on a tapered axle shaft and it takes considerable force to break it loose.  All this is on the condition that  Terry is correct .

 

Bob Engle

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I have had my 1923 6 cylinder apart several times and it is free floating but I have some faint memory that the 4 cylinder is different.  Sorry I can't help.  I have 6 acorn nuts where you have those carriage bolt heads.  Remove my 6 acorn nuts and the outer hub along with the shaft all come out as one greasy heavy long unit including the nut you show that you don't have to loosen.  Those carriage heads have me thinking you are different too.

 

On a 6 cylinder, you never want to remove the nut shown, you want to keep that keyed, tapered, axle/hub joint as dry and locked up as possible as it is what transmits all the drive torque to the wheel.  There is supposed to be a star/eared washer under that nut that you bend up to keep it from loosening and one side is a left hand thread too.  Many of these loosen up over the years and then the key transmits the torque for a while until you pound out the keyway in the shaft.  I have one shaft where the keyway had been welded up several times years ago before I was born.  I finally found a like new shaft and replaced it.  Funny the key and hub never got damaged, guessing the shaft is the softer/weaker link. Torque is force x distance and as the shaft is smaller than the hub, the force is higher at the small shaft diameter distance.  The key is machine steel like what you make an old lathe cutting tool out of, hard as heck.

 

Brother Shaw where are you?  He will know on a 4 cylinder.

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And Wayne Funk told me after you get the shaft and hub taper really, really clean and any burrs removved, a little chalk dust in the joint will make the two 'bite'.  Standing on a two foot long wrench helps too, to tighten that nut.  :P

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Brother Brian, in my lowly, humble opinion I need to tell you that you have things backward about the shaft and hub and the key also,  My hat is in my hands here folks.  One just does not tell a General Motors Engineer that they are wrong, but, I'm gonna do it anyway.  Brian, those rear axle shafts are harder than the hubs of Hell.  The hub is gray cast iron.  The square key is of a soft material that will shear in the event that things lock up.  It is the weak link to protect the two mating surfaces.  The reason I know this is that the axle shaft nut somehow worked loose during the lifetime of my '16 on the driver side and the hub was wallowed out.  I was able to find another hub and set things back like they were supposed to be.  You are absolutely right about that axle nut having to be tight, and I mean TIGHT!

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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Great advice / teachings.  I'm guessing (only guessing) that the hub puller is the tool I need.  I posted this wheel question on my Model T Forum (I have one of those too).  One commenter gave me this link:  http://customhubpullers.com  Seems pricey.  How likely is it that a local mechanic has a hub puller with the right thread?

 

I took a look at the other 3 wheels.  Rear Left (the one I've posted a photo of above) has a large nut and a horseshoe shaped washer with a groove for the "key".  There definitely wasn't a key in there when I took it apart.  The washer also has a perpendicular tab (pretty heavy duty) that seems to be designed to go along side the nut and lock it in to some extent.  I'm guessing this is part of the problem as the axle torqued at one point before the wheel moved.  The other rear wheel.

 

The other Rear Wheel (right side) has the star washer mentioned above. 

 

The front wheels have a much smaller castle nut and safety wire to hold them  in place.

 

 

IMG_9862 3.jpeg

Rear Right Spokes.jpeg

Rear Right wider.jpeg

Rear Right.jpeg

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Yes, you will need a hub puller; unless you want to try the old timer's method of removing the wheel:

 

  • Jack up the opposite wheel & put a jack stand just inside the brake backing plate.
  • The wheel to be removed should rest on the floor.
  • Loosen the axle nut to make it flush with the end of the axle.
  • Using a block of wood to protect the axle, use a 10# sledge hammer to firmly hit the end of the axle.

Basically, this method moves the axle away from the wheel.  It works about 50% of the time...

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I have used Marks method (taught to me by my dad) many times. It eventually works, but you have to really HIT it hard. Having the nut flush with the end of the axle accomplished 2 things. Doesnt damage the trheads and the wheel will not come completely off and have the car drop to the ground.

 

Good luck

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I have never had the method Mark Shaw described fail but it is easier if you have the puller that screws onto the axle and then you hit it and the very best is the proper puller that screws onto the hub.

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Thanks all.  I'm definitely more inclined to get a hub puller.  

 

Among other things, I don't see how the jack stand will fit in the right spot.  When i jacked up the car for this initial attempt, I had a hard time finding a safe place for the jack stand.  There's a rod of some sort directly below the axle that goes all the way across to the other side.  No way I would put any weight on that rod.  And for my Model T, I read on forums that the weight of the car should never be put in the center of the axle as they could bend.   Jacks / Stands all need to be as far outboard as possible.  Does this apply to the Buick?

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Does anyone have a hub puller for the Buick that they would be willing to loan?  The hub puller at $240 is pricey for something I'm not likely to need more than once.  Just asking...

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The early 20's Buick 4 cylinder and the 1925 Buick Standard share the same rear axle.  It is a 3/4 floating axle.  The 6 cylinder and Master of this era had the full floating axle.  There should be a rectangular key (in cross section) about 5" long that holds the hub to the shaft.  I do not know why the tab washers are so hard to find, but they are.  They are sometimes available die cut.  When I bought mine, I bought 2 spares.  The screw in the side of the hub is for adding grease.  They just did not leave a grease nipple sticking out.   I need to order a puller from George myself.  I agree that the key should be softer than the shaft.  Like fuses, people just keep going up in amperage until a penny is wedged under the screw in fuse.  I am still trying to figure out what is the best thing to put between the shaft and the hub before I crank down on the wheel nut.    Hugh

592ec9fd9ddce_brakelever1.thumb.jpg.6e14da89da752eff0589055ea657fbb6.jpg592eca3848c70_Buicktabbedwasher.jpg.1df1d97188bb0d19b36014bc5d54deda.jpg

 

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Hi Hugh,

Thanks a lot for your commentary and photo.  My car is a '17 D-35 so I'm not sure what looks similar to yours or not (although it appears similar on the outside).  You've confirmed the existence / need of the long, rectangular key.  Where to source that???  Theoretically, I could get someone to make one, but what alloy seems to be critical.  

 

My right side rear has the star washer that's been noted above.  On the left side rear (the one I'm working on getting the wheel off) did not have that washer, but did have the one pictured above that has a perpendicular tab that I think was meant to block the nut from spinning off.  

 

I've contacted George about a hub puller.  I also feel like I should find the 5" key and the hard to find washer you mentioned.  You'd think that Google could find anything.  I'll search around.  

 

Charlie

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Charlie,

   Measure your keyway width and height with a micrometer.  I bought my keystock from Grainger.  Mine are 1/4" x 3/8".  They come in 12" length.  They were available  a couple of thousandths over and undersized as well.  About $5 each.  I did not worry about hardness.  Just buying keystock.  My car will never see the abuse that the old roads and previous owners did to it, so I am not too worried about it.  When I buy a woodruff key, I just buy one and I don't know the metallurgy.   I will PM you on the tab washers.   Hugh

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I'm chuckling at Dr. Doo Dah's comment.  Takin' a swing and the Big Guy.  I admire your spirit.  LOL.

 

I still have that pounded out shaft so I will find it and take a pic because you think I make this stuff up.  Why, I can even bring it to Brookfield but I won't since I'm driving 1200 miles round trip in my '23 and don't want to carry an extra 10 lbs..

 

Better yet, a Forum witness in Mark Shaw, who, while on the PWD After Tour (South Bend) the subject shaft and hub started to really chuck so we pulled the shaft and hub apart in a parking lot (Hostetler's Hudson Museum in Shipshewana, nice place).  Observed the pounded out shaft keyway and the bad weld repairs of same, cleaned the joint up really well, fashioned a (soft) aluminum filler repair shim from a diet Coke can and placed it in the taper area of the shaft and hub and key, (think of a piece of that can about the size of a playing card), 320 degree wrapped on the shaft and put everything back together, using an eared lock washer donated from Bill McLaughlin who was also there (he carries everything) and a 3 foot long wrench and pipe from Randy with the '27 Roadster which I stood on (the pipe and wrench, not Randy, (but maybe Terry . . .)) and even jumped.  And yes we toured on.  I fact, that G.I. Ingenuity (my Dad's term) kept me touring for another year until I found and bought a spare axle assembly with perfect shafts.  My thanks again to Brother Shaw as we were both filthy when we got done.  Handy fellow that Shaw.

 

And I agree the key should be the soft weak link.  I'm just reporting what we observed.

 

Or maybe I dreamt all of this. . . . . . . somebody pinch me.  Ha.

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And yes, those tab washers are the devil to find.  I went to a Machine Tool Tech Show where they had a water cutting tool demonstration among other things.  I had the bad tab washer in my modern car's cup holder after several hardware store stops looking for one.  I ran out, got it, and I showed it to the Tech and asked if  his million dollar machine could make me a couple of these.  10 minutes later he had a simple program written and handed me 4.  I'm sure he thought I was going to place an order for his machine.  Sorry about that.

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If I could manage to find the right "internal tab keyed washer", am I looking for a basic flat washer (like the horseshoe one I have in the photo above, but keyed internally), or more like the one on the other side of the car which appears to be a star washer.

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I needed the "tab washers" for my Pontiac.  One day I was walking through a John Deere garden tractor showroom.  They use a solid washer that you bend one side up to lock the nut.  I found one that looks different but exactly fit my axle and nut.  It was for a John Deere 430 tractor, part number M73-054.  Might be suitable for your application or another one of theirs might fit.  Not original but holding the nut on is vary important.

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12 hours ago, Brian_Heil said:

I'm chuckling at Dr. Doo Dah's comment.  Takin' a swing and the Big Guy.  I admire your spirit.  LOL.

 

I still have that pounded out shaft so I will find it and take a pic because you think I make this stuff up.  Why, I can even bring it to Brookfield but I won't since I'm driving 1200 miles round trip in my '23 and don't want to carry an extra 10 lbs..

 

Better yet, a Forum witness in Mark Shaw, who, while on the PWD After Tour (South Bend) the subject shaft and hub started to really chuck so we pulled the shaft and hub apart in a parking lot (Hostetler's Hudson Museum in Shipshewana, nice place).  Observed the pounded out shaft keyway and the bad weld repairs of same, cleaned the joint up really well, fashioned a (soft) aluminum filler repair shim from a diet Coke can and placed it in the taper area of the shaft and hub and key, (think of a piece of that can about the size of a playing card), 320 degree wrapped on the shaft and put everything back together, using an eared lock washer donated from Bill McLaughlin who was also there (he carries everything) and a 3 foot long wrench and pipe from Randy with the '27 Roadster which I stood on (the pipe and wrench, not Randy, (but maybe Terry . . .)) and even jumped.  And yes we toured on.  I fact, that G.I. Ingenuity (my Dad's term) kept me touring for another year until I found and bought a spare axle assembly with perfect shafts.  My thanks again to Brother Shaw as we were both filthy when we got done.  Handy fellow that Shaw.

 

And I agree the key should be the soft weak link.  I'm just reporting what we observed.

 

Or maybe I dreamt all of this. . . . . . . somebody pinch me.  Ha.

Hey.! I helped... well maybe only my foot to hold the wrench on while you danced on it.

Larry

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Yes indeed, I will bear witness to the field repair described by Brother Heil. 

 

This was not the first time I used a soda can to fix an axle while on tour..... 

 

I used the same method to get a 1913 Oakland back on tour in Yakima WA with the HCCA. 

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12 hours ago, dibarlaw said:

Hey.! I helped... well maybe only my foot to hold the wrench on while you danced on it.

Larry

 

Indeed, as I recall, you were leaning over providing some amount of shade for Brother Shaw and me to work under.  :P

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Larry Schramm,

 

I spoke to George twice yesterday.  I've been taking lots of micrometer and caliper measurements of my hub per his instructions to get the sizing right.  The number of different Buick hubs is ridiculous.  He may or may not already have the right one.  My measurements were good yesterday, but maybe not good enough.  I needed to verify and re-check to make sure that I had the right measurements.  I would prefer to send George one of my hub caps which he says he can make the puller from, but he's resistant (for my convenience) and is sure he can build based on my measurements.

 

Bottom line is that he's great and I enjoy talking with him.  I'll get it done.  At this point, because he's so nice, I feel compelled to buy a puller that I will probably only need once.  I want to sell one of my inherited antique cars (I can't rationalize 2 antique cars in my life.)  I love the Buick, but the T is much less valuable and easier to repair.  The hub puller will just be included as a dedicated tool for that car.  

 

And all this is in addition to a couple other early 1930's era vehicles.  A Cletrac K20 and a McCormick Deering tractor.  I've managed to sell a '15 Model T, '26 Seagraves Firetruck, '29 Model A and '37 Lincoln Zephyr (I wish I'd kept that beauty).

 

Next step - update my profile.  Thanks for all of your help.

 

Charlie

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Charlie,

 

The changes look great that we talked about.

 

Glad to hear that you talked to George.  I would recommend that you send him a "good" hubcap that has good threads and is not damaged and goes on the car correctly.  That way you will be sure to get a puller that fits properly and works well.  That is what I did and I am very pleased with the results. George is good people.

 

From the Buick perspective, are you a member of the Buick Club?  If not I can help facilitate that.  If you are able, it would be great come to the Buick National meet in Milwaukee, Wi in July.  Look here for more information.http://forums.aaca.org/topic/293563-2017-bca-national-meet-activity-schedule-updated-may-30/ 

You will get to meet a lot of great people.

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Hi Larry,

 

I haven't joined the national Buick Club, but am certainly willing.  I am a member of the '15-'19 Buick and McLaughlin Club.  Are you aware of that one?  It's run by a guy named Dean Tryon in North Carolina.  Membership is very inexpensive and he sends out a newsletter quarterly.

 

It would be fun to get out to Milwaukee in July.  I honestly have to say that this would be a bit of a long shot for me.  But I'll check into it.  Travel in some cases was a lot easier when I lived in St. Louis.  The whole USA was at most 1/2 way across the country.  Now, on the East Coast, everything seems further away - except Boston.

 

Charlie

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