Author Topic: Roller Bearing Conversion for 1950s Cadillacs  (Read 299 times)

Offline gaypipes

Roller Bearing Conversion for 1950s Cadillacs
« on: October 02, 2018, 05:13:43 PM »
I recently had a massive front bearing failure from 5-yr old ball bearings that resulted in damage to the spindle on my 1955 Fleetwood 60S.  So, Iíve got to replace that.  With many comments about the failings of the old style ball bearings as well as varying quality in available replacements, Iíve been exploring switching to tapered roller bearings that became standard in Cadillacs after 1960.  Thereís not been too much discussion on this forum, but I ran across a Swedish posting online from 2015 about converting a 1956 Cadillac to roller bearings ( that caught my attention.  This conversion (and that of a 1958 Cadillac, too) used the original brake drums and didnít swap them out for 1960 drums as some other folks have done.  A supplier was mentioned ( who I contacted.  It appears they have been supplying these kits for about 35 years and have had great success.  The cost is about $155 USD per wheel.  Has anyone had experience with this company or done their own conversion?  Iím seriously thinking of doing this conversion.  My bearing failure could have resulted in a fire.  The grease cap was blown off the hub with a tremendous bang that fortunately did not dislodge the hub cap. The remains of the bearing and inside of the hubcap look scorched, so maybe there was a small fire.  Fortunately, all that happened is a failed bearing and damaged spindle.  I feel very lucky.

Offline PHIL WHYTE CLC 14192

Re: Roller Bearing Conversion for 1950s Cadillacs
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2018, 01:51:40 AM »
That would probably be a good conversion to do and the price for the kits seem pretty good. The Swedes love their 50s Cadillacs so I reckon it will be a quality kit. As for the failure I don't think that that was down to the original set up. It could be a few things, full of grease and no air gap, spindle nut too tight or too loose, not enough grease or the wrong grease etc. Phil

Offline Jon S

Re: Roller Bearing Conversion for 1950s Cadillacs
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2018, 07:49:58 PM »
I concur. Ball bearings if properly lubricated last a very long time. One key factor is using the correct tan high temperature grease; not the blue stuff.

Offline 50sCaddy

Re: Roller Bearing Conversion for 1950s Cadillacs
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2018, 12:44:07 AM »
I have updated my í56 Eldo with this bearing upgrade kit from TA Motor. Certainly original wheel hub/brake drum assembly was reused. Basically there was nothing too complex to do it, in fact very much same steps as you would do normally when changing wheel bearings. I think upgrade kit included some instructions too. About the company, I have bought lots of parts from them and I can highly recommend TA Motor. They are very nice guys to deal with.

Br, Harry