Changing the bearings in the uprights and a weekend at Gurston Down

The big one. Changing the bearings in the front uprights.  I’d looked it up on the internet and been sent a set of instructions by Simon at Universal.

So its a two step process – remove the central hub from the bearing – then remove the bearing from the upright.  Because of some later problems, I drew it all in Onshape.

The bearing is shown in a sort of yellow, the hub grey and the upright black.

To remove the hub from the bearing you need to support the flange somehow and press the bearing off by pushing pins through the holes in the flange.  (Whilst I’m at: nothing shown on this blog is meant to define a definitive safe way of working – its how I did it and I may have taken some risks that aren’t recommended.)

Problem 1: I used silver steel rods, and the first set bent before the bearing even moved.

I cut a set of rods which only projected a small amount. And when I pressed on these the whole assembly made a sort of clunking noise and the hub started to move.  I cut two more sets of pins and managed to push the hub right out.  Excellent. Pushing the bearing out of the upright was relatively simple.  Job done; well half done at worst.  What’s the word?  Hubris, that’s it.

When it came to repeating all this for the other side, things went wrong quite quickly.   The first evidence of this was that I managed to push the first set of rods all the way in without freeing the hub.  There was no way to get them out.

Problem 2: No way forward as I couldn’t remove the pins

A good friend of mine, Derek Knight, a toolmaker by profession, has a very well equipped workshop, and he managed to remove the bearing by effectively removing critical bits of it. No exaggeration to say that he has saved the day.  As well as being seized in there seemed to be evidence that the hub had skidded in the inner race.  Time for a new hub from URS.

Having completed all this the Midland Hillclimb event at Gurston was next on the calendar.  Being third in the B Championship meant that I was focused on gaining a few points – nobody above me in the league table had entered.  The weekend was hot – on Saturday very hot.  I managed to put in a few times under 47s – one faster than I’d been up the hill without a cage (making the car quite a bit lighter).  However on my first competition run I missed a gear on the run to the finish line.  Nearly 3 seconds slower than my fastest run, but still amazingly, the fastest 1.4 runner.  A somewhat pointed approach to gearshifting in my second run meant that I only put in a semi-decent time, but still fastest 1.4 and hopefully highest scoring Midland B entrant.  I’m somewhat impatient to see the latest Midland positions!




More wet runs at Prescott and a vist to Universal


First some Panda stuff.  Having had an encouraging run out at Curborough it was time to try the new cam at Prescott.  My first run up the hill was a PB at 59.39 – 1/2 a second up on my best time from practice last year.  My next was even better – one of those all too rare runs where you feel that you had it nailed and everything flowed properly.  58.89.  (I’m sure there’s a 57 something to be had!!)   Then the inevitable. Rain, in fact heavy rain.  So 60.00 remains my fastest event time, although my wet runs did win me a few useful HSA points, temporarily lifting me to second in class A1. I must remember to email C&B and tell them how happy I am with their work.


Now Formula Ford progress.  A work visit to Lotus allowed me to drop in to see Simon and Ken at Universal Racing Services. What an amazing operation those guys run.  The pretext was to pick up the newly plated and re-bearinged (is that a word?) front suspension and pedals.  Simon also managed to sell me a GRP moulded suspension cover – necessary when running an RF84 in competition these days.  I was planning to make one myself, but for £35 it was crazy to do anything other than buy it.   As the plan is to change every bearing on the car I also purchased a set of front wheel bearings.


Fitting these bearings needs a press.  A week or so ago the problem of finding a press was solved by the “Machine Mart VAT free weekend” which legally is probably more of a 20% discount weekend.  Anyway the press was delivered and I spent last weekend making an appropriate stand and assembling it.  By the time that was done there was precious little time to actually do anything on the car. Hopefully I’ll get time to work on the uprights next weekend, before helping run the Dreaming Spires model aircraft competition.

Things are changing on the RF-84 project, until a week or two ago I was waiting for parts to come back in a refurbished condition; now they are either back, or in the case of the gearbox almost ready to come back.  A plan to take a few days off work to make some progress on the car may need to be put into action. Soon.