Description & Plans for a Hub Puller

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After becoming the proud owner of a 72 TR-6, I drove it for a couple of years. Eventually the rear hub began to make noise and exhibited the characteristics of worn bearings. I read the manuals, consulted the Triumph List, realized that pulling the hub required a special puller and that most (if not all) local machine shops did not have the special tool and would try to use a standard press. Most people do not recommend letting a machine shop try to remove the hub because of the high risk of permanent and irreparable damage as a result of bending the hub flange.

Given that I didn't have a hub puller and wanted to get my TR back on the road, I bought a rebuilt hub and kept the old hub (forfeiting my core charge). I decided to use the old hub to see if I could build a hub puller and rebuild the old hub to have on hand for when another rear hub bearing goes bad. I started by examing the drawing of a hub puller in the back of the Bently manual. It appeared to bolt onto the hub with a mechanism for pulling the hub off the spindle (or pressing the spindle through the hub). I thought a large screw mechanism would probably work if I could find or fabricate the rest of the tool.

I visited a local metal scrapyard to get some miscellaneous items and noticed a flange that was just what I was looking for. They sell their scrap steel for about $.20 a pound. I bought two of the flanges for about $4. (The image to the right shows one of the flanges before any modifications or painting) I took them home and began to measure the hub for dimensions I would need later. I visited a local fasteners (nuts and bolts) supply house and got a nut that just fit inside the center tube. I also purchased a 5" long x 1" diameter bolt to use with the nut. Using a nut and bolt will save you from having to visit a machine shop for special machining. This save costs and allows you to fabricate the puller entirely on your own (if you have a welder).

These are the parts of the puller in its disassembled state. The bolts are grade 5. I got them at the fasteners supply house but I believe you could use hardware store bolts. In most cases you will be using the existing wheel studs and nuts. The large ring is used as a spacer to accomodate the lip on the hub. The center hole in the puller was not large enough to fit over the hub lip. It caused the puller to sit about 1/8" above the hub flange which would have allowed the flange to bend - thereby ruining it. If the center hole in your puller is large enough, this large ring is not needed. I provide additional details and photos below.

You may notice that in all of the following images, the wheel studs have been removed. I removed them and put them on the rebuilt hub I bought. You could leave the studs in the hub and use the studs and wheel nuts instead of buying four nuts, bolts, and washers.

The puller has been bolted to the hub in preparation for the ultimate test. If all goes well, the hub flange should release from the spindle with no damage. I turned the bolt using a large pipe wrench with a short piece of pipe for extra leverage. I put the spindle nut on to prevent the spindle end from 'mushrooming'. Once the bolt makes contact with the spindle and nut, it will only take a small amount to wrenching to free the hub flange. Once the hub flange is loose, you have to remove the puller and remove the spindle nut before the hub flange can be completely removed. (It took me a couple of seconds before I realized why the hub flange wouldn't come off - even though it was loose)

It Works !!!!!

Additional Fabrication Details

The left image is a side view of the rear hub showing the flange lip that must be accounted for in your dimensions. I didn't initially account for the flange lip, the inside diameter of the puller was too small and the result was a gap between the puller and the hub flange (right image). I corrected the problem by making a spacer plate (the large ring in the first photo). The spacer ring was made from 1/4" steel plate and was cut with a gas cutting torch. The cuts were not as smooth or pretty as I would have liked but the ring works just fine. I drilled the four holes with a 9/16" drill bit with a 3/8" shaft in a 3/8" drill.

The left image shows additional detail of the nut and how it was welded to the puller. This is one step where patience and attention to detail is needed. The nut needs to be aligned so the screw is vertical. I tack welded the nut at one spot, inserted the screw and adjusted the alignment until the screw was vertical in all directions. (HINT - Ensure the threads of the nut are protected from welding spatter. If you don't protect the nut threads, the spatter will 'ruin' the threads requiring a trip to a machine shop so they can run clean the threads by running a tap through the nut. It was cheaper to pay the machine shop than to buy a 1" tap.) The image to the upper right shows a bottom view of the puller. I tried grinding the opening to make it fit over the hub flange, but I soon realized this was not going to be easy or work satisfactorily. This is when I decided to make the spacer ring. The image to the lower right shows the spacer ring mounted on the hub.

One very important point - The Hub Puller Flange should be as thick as practical. On my hub puller the flange is 3/4", the spacer plate is 1/4", and the hub flange itself is 1/4". This gives a total thickness - when everything is bolted together - of 1&1/4". This thickness is what prevents the hub flange from bending when the tool is used. Better thick than sorry.

I have included an engineering drawing (sort of) of the hub puller. There is absolutely no reason why you cannot modify the puller to be built with whatever materials you have on hand. If I had not found the flanges in the scrapyard, I would have cut about four of the steel spacer rings and welded them together to form a 3/4" to 1" thick piece. I would have bought some regular 2" or larger steel pipe, cut it to length and welded it to the steel flange. I would have then followed all of the other steps listed above. I hope this gives you some ideas and that you are able to begin rebuilding your own rear hubs.

Tools Needed
Electric Drill with 1/2" or larger bit
Welder (Arc or Mig)
Cutting Torch

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Comments? Questions? Request? Send email to Robert and I will try to answer ASAP