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Removing and Maintaining Splined Hubs

Removing and Maintaining Splined Hubs

(and how to live to tell about it - really!)

Hello to all,
I have big problems. Driving my 150 home from work last night, as I pulled
away from a stop light, I heard a grinding metallic sound coming from the
rear. I was able to duplicate the noise at a couple of rapid starts after
that, and limped home being very careful on both acceleration and braking.
After I got home I removed both rear wheels and sure enough, the splines on
the right rear hub, both the axle hub and the wheel hub were worn down.
Interestingly, the wear was not even across the splines. The first one half
inch looked pretty good, but after that, they were cut down to almost
nothing. So, now on to changing them.

The reason I said at the beginning that I had big problems is because I
have done this before. About ten years ago I changed the left rear spline.
I first used a bearing puller to try and pull the hub off the axle. That
only succeeded in ruining the bearing puller.

After trying every other imaginable trick, I finally gave up and pulled the
axle out with the hub attached. I gave it to a friend who worked in a
maintenance dept of a major university here in Chicago and who had access
to a large hydraulic press. He tried to press the hub off and quit before
he thought he would break something. Eventually he put the axle/hub on a
lathe and cut the hub off.

Does anyone know any reasonable method in removing the hub? I was a member
of the Jaguar Enthusiast's Club for a while and I remember seeing they sold
a tool for removing hubs. I recall it was expensive, especially if you only
had to do it once.

Is there any other way? Ten years ago when I did this I swore that if I
ever had to do it again, I would pull the hub and axle off and replace both
of them rather than fuss with trying to remove the hub. There must be a
more economical/efficient way of doing this. I will appreciate any
Best regards, Don Sime


First my simpathies.

The one example of this that I saw was a wire wheel that had been cut apart
with a torch to remove it from the hub. :-(

It was a display at British Wire Wheel in Santa Cruz with a sign on it that
said "Don't let this happen to you!". At this point the wheel and hub are
shot, so removal method does not need to be surgical in nature. Reasonable
is in the eye of the owner, but it would seem there's not much of a penalty
for "hot wrenching" it off. I too cringe a bit at the suggestion but in the
cold light of day it's not an unreasonable approach.


Ken Boetzer


I'll add my sympathies.

I've removed hubs over the years and never run into the problem... until
this spring. Like you, I thought THERE MUST BE A WAY!!! However after
increasingly heavy duty pullers, heat and breaker bars, all being applied
nightly over the course of 2 weeks, it occurred to me that things were
getting dangerous and I'm not a youthful fool anymore (emphasis on
"youthful") thus no longer impervious to the consequences of doing dumb
things over and over.

All the advice I got came down to: remove the axle and take it somewhere
(or take the whole car somewhere); and, cut off the hub. The third school
was from those who haven't (yet) had this happen and these people have the
same chirpy advice on every problem: "You must not be doing it right; it
was a breeze for me!!"

As it turned out, I removed the axle and took it to Ed Miller in
Stormville, NY. Ed's wife, Karen "is" Jaguar archives in Mawah and races an
XK 120. They know Jags. Even with Ed's equipment he had a tough time but he
got the job done. This afforded an opportunity to do a little extra work on
the axle, paint it, rebuild the shocks and links, and by the time it was
all done I figured I was that much ahead of the game so what the heck.

Good luck! Incidentally, I had an XK 150 long ago and had the same problem;
came ripping down a freeway off ramp at high speed, hit the brakes, and
it's the MOST ungodly, gut-grabbing sound I've ever heard come from a car!!
Not to mention the brakes pull like crazy toward the opposite direction so
you think all Hades is about to break loose.

Dick Rowley
'54 XK 120 FHC SE

My 150 OTS had both rear splines so worn that I remember driving home from
school in Ithaca, NY back to New York City without being able to use the
brakes because in doing so it would have spun off the knockoff hubs. I had
to downshift all the way to 1st (no synchro) and then turn off the ignition
to stop all the way. That was back in 1968. You're going to love this - The
low budget solution was to drill 1 inch holes through the wheels and spline
and shove in bolts to keep the wheels from spinning on the hubs.

Later - 1972 - I built in a machine shop a hub puller. It screwed on the
hub and had a long 1 inch diameter screw that pushed against the axle. The
device was relatively easy to build if you have access to an engine lathe.
At that point I replaced all four splines.

I still have the car and it was fully restored back in 1987.

Regards, Jeff Koch

Hi, Don -

My favorite method is to take an old knock-off (eared or not, doesn't
matter, unless you're a purist), left and/or right, depending on which
hub(s) you want to remove) and bore a 1.5" hole in the center of it. Loosen
about 3 full turns (but don't remove) the (cotter/split pin and)
castellated nut holding the hub to the axle shaft. Hand-tighten the holed
knock-off onto the hub, engaging threads for at least two full turns, and
use a 10"-12" gear-puller (preferably 3-jawed, for safety) to engage the
hub flange (with the jaws) and put the bolt through the hole to the end of
the axle shaft. The castellated nut should cover the end threads of the
axle shaft, and act to keep the bolt centered. Apply pressure gradually,
until you have put about 250 foot-pounds of force on it. At this point you
can either strike the end of the gear-puller bolt smartly with a heavy
maul, small sledge, or ball pein hammer, or use an impact wrench.
Alternately, at this point, you may gently heat the hub (propane or MAPP
gas; too easy to get carried away with a "hot wrench" (oxy-acetylene
torch)). Keep at it; it'll eventually loosen! Tighten the gear-puller, and
beat on the end of the bolt. It'll come off!

Caution! You're storing a lot of energy in compressed steel through this
procedure. When the hub breaks free from the long taper fit on the axle
shaft, it want's to release all that force at once. Do NOT stand in the
'line of fire' (in line with the longitudinal (main) axis of the axle
shaft. When the hub breaks free, let it cool, then undo the knock-off,
remove the castellated nut, and proceed with your tasks!

Of course, you could buy the Churchill tool (for about $500!!!).

Note - the knock-offs are phosphor-bronze and are very tough; I used a
fly-cutter in a drill press for one, and a series of small holes and a rod
saw for the other; today, I'd use a lathe or find a good machine shop to
bore the holes.

Best of luck; stay safe!

Larry Schear
Twin Cam, Inc.

Several years ago I had the need (?) to remove the rear hubs from my XK120.
I was able to rent an suitable ("suitable" meaning it worked) puller at the
local tool rental dealer. It was a project of patience and effort and
insight (stand to the side) but eventually the hubs separated from the
axle, although considering the effort & rental cost it would have probably
been no more expensive just to have shipped the axle/hub assemblies to the
fellow (Joe Casale) doing the hub resplining for me. Regards,
Mike Plechaty
Saratoga, CA

I used this method in the even younger, even sillier days than now. Or
should I say attempted it. Wrench, heat, bang, wrench, heat, bang, into the
wee hours to no avail. This was on a Mk II I was piecing together for sale
after buying a basket case. The work was taking place in the driveway of my
mother's home in Rochester, NY, USA. I was really disappointed at the lack
of progress when I gave up and went to bed. Imagine my surprise when I
looked out the second story bathroom window the next morning to see the hub
lying in the yard, about eight feet from the car! And no sign of the gear
puller! Found it later in the flower bed another ten or so feet past the
hub. Of course my mind flashed back to a picture of myself, the previous
evening, sitting cross legged, acetylene torch in hand, in front of the
loaded cannon, trying to get the "fuse" lit!

The Lord watches over fools and children... (and XK lovers?)
Dave Gomes
XK120 OTS #670640

I bought a used Mk II engine and other miscellaneous parts in Florida many
years ago. The buyer gave me a crude looking tool which he said assisted in
removing hubs. I took it and stored it for years. When the splines on my
first 150 hub stripped, I used the tool to remove the hub.

It is about 18" in length, made of 1 1/2 " wide x 1/4 " thick steel straps,
must be bolted/unbolted and fits longitudinally over the hub/rear axle
housing. After bolting the device around the hub, I must use a 20-ton floor
jack against the axle nut, which has been previously slackened. While the
device is heavy and cumbersome, it removes the hub safely once the hub
separates from the axle taper.

A friend had a machine shop make a hub puller similar to one discussed by
someone else on the list. The main piece is like a large tube which is
internally threaded to screw over the hub. (The machine shop knurled the
outside so it can be screwed onto the hub.) A centered, threaded hole in
this tube accepts a shaft of about 1/2 " in diameter. One end of the shaft
fits in the center of the axle and the other end is octagonal. The
octagonal end accepts another piece which slips over it and is struck with
a sledge hammer until the hub is freed.

Bob Oates

Echoing the comments of others, I too have been intriqued by the many
comments on the issue of splined hub removal. With at least 2 of my 150
wheels candidates for renewal or replacement, the condition of the hubs has
obviously been a concern too. Although my assumption at this point is that
mine are OK, it brings up a question regarding the materials of the Hub vs.
the Wheel. My naive technical intuition tells me that the wheel steel is
softer than the splined hub, and therefore somewhat sacrificial (when new
and the costs were lower). Does anyone have any data on the type and
hardness of these materials??

Bill Burke
150 DHC 838839

To all:

My friend Joe Casale has rebuilt thousands of these Rudge spline hubs for
all makes of cars. I called him last night to get his perspective on the
hubs. He thought the best way to remove the hubs was to remove the hub and
axle from the car, install a puller like Larry Shear had mentioned, place
the assembly in a vertical position, tighten your puller, and then strike
the end of the puller with a sledge hammer. Make sure that the sledge
hammer's blow is on center. He has tried heat and also a monster industrial
press, but he found the heavy duty three jaw puller coupled with a modified
old knockoff works the best. It's the combination of the pressure and the
shock that pops the assembly apart. People have sent him hub and axel
assemblies after having failed to remove the hub. He said he has had to
repair a lot of threads, tapers, and flanges that had been damaged in the
owner/shops unsuccessful dissassembly attempt. He said he prefers to remove
the assembly from the car because it allows you to make your sledge strike
in a downward motion, which is more accurate, and also he didn't like
whacking the axle in the car causing the spider gears, bearings, and other
axle parts to absorb the shock.

Two precautions: one, leave the nut partially on so the parts don't fly
apart; two, don't attach a puller to the brake drum or rotor flange. He
said the hubs are a mild steel forging and the flange will bend very
easily. Most important is to keep the hubs coated with a grease to prevent
rusting and also keep the knockoff good and tight.

Joe's son in-law John Fielding now does the hub resplining, he is listed on
the XK Jaguar Lovers webpage, in the parts and supplier list.

John Fielding
37 Leominster Rd.
Princeton, MA 01541
Phone 508 464-2747


Wray Schelin

Err...hold on a minute folks.
Acknowledging the fact that some hub removal situations call for more
extreme applications of force and sometimes heating than others, I would
like to caution the as yet, "un-blooded" (literally speaking of course) in
this most fascinating demonstration of the release of potential energy that
collateral damage to the axle shaft end, wheel bearings and bearing
housings might also be expected as the intensity of the blows with the
sledge hammer on the puller increases expotentially to the number of blows
applied before defeat is considered as a safe option.

My own earliest experience of trying to remove Jag splined hubs from rear
axles came when as a lad, I was the proud owner of a beautiful little MK IV
saloon that I was going to take on a 3 month tour around France and Spain.
A few days before departure, I sheared the internal splines of an axle
shaft within the diff. For 15 pounds U.K. I bought a used, spare rear end
but with only one good splined hub! I tried all the obvious approaches to
pulling the hub off the damaged shaft but to no avail. In desperation, I
asked our neighbor (he was a professional "Automobile Engineer" as they
were called in those days) for advice and he kindly took the shaft and hub
assembly to work and removed the hub from the shaft by using a force of 12
tons on a hydraulic press but without applying excessive side load or shock
to the bearing as can possibly happen when the job is performed on the car,
without the correct type of puller that will remove the hub without
resorting to excessive hammer blows.

Just remember, every time you hit a puller with a hammer, some shock is
transfered indirectly to the wheel bearing but sometimes of course, ya just
gotta do what ya gotta do.
Incidentally, the MK IV made it around France, Spain, and Germany too with
the other complete spare half shaft and hub assembly tied on top of the
front bumper and 2 tents stowed between the front fenders and the bonnet.
The only other problem was a leaking oil pipe to the gauge which was fixed
by crimping the pipe closed. (On the journey, we met an old retired Lt.
Colonel from the British Army at a campsite in France who showed us how he
smuggled gin back to the U.K. in extra-large windshield washer bottles that
he had fitted to his Humber Super Snipe- we thought that was the big-time
back then).

John Morgan

Was sobered and instructed by the thread on Splined Hub Removal. I'm sure
this is covered in the manual or a FAQ somewhere... but for a newbie, what
is the current modern thinking and practice on maintaining and/or servicing
the splines, so that one (hopefully) does not get to the point of needing
to replace stripped splines?

Ed Mellinger
'59 150 FHC

Good Morning,

First a clarification. The part that I mentioned as having seen cut with a
torch was the "hub" of the wire wheel. That was what I was referring to as
being "hot wrenched" off. All "hub", as in the splined, threaded dingus
that gets real happy being attached to the drive axel, removal advice is
valid, and the process can be quite arduous. Good luck.


The advice I got from British Wire Wheel was to keep the splines clean and well
greased. Every six months or so remove the wheels, clean the old,
contminated grease off and regrease. For cars driven as little as some of
ours this could be once a year or every two years. Anyway cleanliness is
next to you know what.
Maybe greasyness too.? ;-)

Ken Boetzer

There was nothing (& I mean NOTHING) in the XK120 or the 140 supplement
manuals from the factory about splined hubs. Perhaps by the time the 150
was introduced somebody at the factory thought to include a section. I
remember having a Mk I manual in my hands at one time, too. Don't recall
any mention in it, either. But, that's been many years ago, not that the
memory does become overloaded with odd bits and pieces as age progresses.
Probably the best maintenance is to keep the splines both on the hub and
the wheel greased & free of rust & other crud. Any sign of spline wear on
either the hub that attached to the suspension or the hub that is attached
by spokes to the wheel rim should be attended to immediately. British Wire
Wheel has a very informative page on the subject that has been printed in
various enthusiast newsletters. Regards,
Mike Plechaty
Saratoga, CA

With regard to comments below, when the wire wheel "gets real happy" (well
phrased!!) being attached to the splined hub that's attached to the axle,
to the point the wheel won't come off, I don't know if anyone has already
mentioned an old but effective trick that often works. With the wire wheel
still on the car, loosen the knockoff-- not a lot!!-- but enough to allow
some potential lateral motion of the wheel on the axle hub. It might be
worth removing the knockoff, squirting some penetrating oil in, then
replacing the knockoff loosely. Then, well, just drive at a very leisurely
pace (slow!), weaving around, hitting the brakes, somewhere nobody will
crash into you or arrest you. Check progress frequently; the object is NOT
to get the wheel to fall off, but to "work it loose" then lift the car and
(hopefully) remove the wheel. It's nutty sounding but if it comes down to
this or cutting the wheel hub, try this first. As someone sagely said,
sometimes "ya gotta do what ya gotta do."

This tip comes from an old friend who used to work at Candy Poole's shop so
nutty or not, it was good enough for the old time pros! Not to make this
thread TOO much longer but another good tip on hubs comes from Ed Miller.
He has found that SOME new as well as rebuilt axle splined hubs are
machined so closely that the wheel won't go on!! His advise is to make sure
the hubs are going to fit your wheels properly BEFORE (!!!!) you put the
hubs on the axles. Now that's darn good advice.

Dick Rowley

I did something similar to this to get an MGB wheel off - in addition, I
used coat hanger wire to make a retainer to keep the loosened knock-off
from turning by wrapping the wire around a couple of spokes and the ears of
the hub nut. I then continued to drive the car to work and back as it
didn't come loose under controlled conditions. I checked the wheel at the
end of each trip. If I remember right, it took almost two weeks of regular
driving before it finally came loose. I was concerned all the while that
the tire might go flat and I would be stranded but as was said above: "ya
gotta do what ya gotta do."
Bruce Cunningham, XK120

I know there are folks on this list more techically qualified to address
this topic, but here are some "practical experience" .

1. Amount of grease on splines: Splines are not gears! The hub/wheel spline
interface needs to be protected from rusting but does not require a lot of
grease. Grease gets all over the place, weeps through the spoke holes and
may ultimately act as a bonding agent. I use a minimum amount of dry-stick
or graphite lubricant on clean splines and on the knock-off/wheel contact
area and hub threads.

2. Knock-off tightness: The obvious danger is "not tight enough". I
personally deliver only four or five serious blows with my "Thor" (or
equivalent) hammer after the knock-off has snugged-up. The tightness which
results has precluded spline-stripping over several .....(choke) decades.
The bottom line is,... even the slightest relative (rotational) movement
between the wheel and hub splines is too much! Make certain the hub is
tight. Over-tightening will protect the splines but it may also bring tears
to your eyes trying to remove it, not to mention damage to the knock-off
ears. Find that happy medium, better on the tight side.

Dick Cavicke
120 OTS & FHC

I asked my friend Warren Cossitt what he does to remove wire wheel rear
hubs. He said that many years ago he had bought the correct Churchill tool,
and that it works excellent. He also said that he slips a nail in the
cotter pin hole in the axel, the purpose is to prevent the hole from
collapsing when you strike the end . He also places a brass cup over the
axel end to protect it from mushrooming. He said that John Farrell in NY
sells a nice hub remover tool that is a close copy of the Churchill tool.


Wray Schelin

I've had to cut numerous wheels off hubs, including one that the owner used
a dry lube on.
Too much grease will result in an unsightly mess as Dick pointed out but
will not result in any bonding. If it's gooey, it will be more difficult to
pull off due to the surface tension of the grease causing moments of
adhesion which may be overcome by steady pressure when removing. A light
application of grease to the splined surace of both the wheel and hub is
very important, but even more so is the application of grease to the
beveled surface of the hub the wheel is forced against when tightened. The
design of the knock-off is to be self tightening, therefore I don't think
you can really overtighten it. You can however bash your knockoff so that
you crack the chrome and distort the ears. If one uses the correct hammer,
that will not occur. Grease on the threads AND the lip the knockoff bears
on when tightening is equally important. The types of grease are myrid but
stay away from thick gooey greases. A light grease, synthetic or
metal-filled, may be used. The wheels should be removed every 3 months or
3000 miles, which ever comes sooner, and regreased. Once a year, the wheels
and hubs should be cleaned with solvent and regreased. If the splines on
the hub are razor sharp, you have a problem. The above maintainance
schedule only applies to daily driven cars. Trailer queens need not apply.
They don't even have to use grease so they won't soil the spokes. Probably
a dusting of baby powder will sufice.
This has worked for my customers and myself for the last 30+ years. No
black magic or olde wives' tales, just good solid logic. Good luck ya'all.

George Badger

To all
Dick's comments on the marginal suitability of straight grease are right
on, especially if the assemblies are left together for extended periods.
Better choices, and MIL-SPEC approved at that, are marketed under the trade
name of SAF-T-EZE by Wiraco Trading Co. For the purists there is even a
color choice:
Silver: Zink/Petrolatum Part# ZPBT_8
Black: Graphite/Petrolatum      Part# GP-16
Klaus Nielsen

Geo, always enjoy your comments............. I cleaned throughly, and then
spread silicone adhesive (RTV) around the spoke ends so that grease would
not migrate out, then greased the hell out of the the splines and have
never had any trouble...either with spline failure or greasy wheel hubs!!!

David M. Drenzek

I see the comment that the angled cone bit of the hub should be greased.
Someone else told me not to grease it because it offers a friction fit for
the wheel hub that helps stop it moving. Any comments? By the way, I also
suffered spline failure on the road, drove home in fear and trepidation,
trying to avoid using the brakes at all (made it ,I'm glad to say).

Regards, John Elmgreen

Another comment about the splines and hubs.  If you hear a solid
"clunking" sound from the rear especially when you have just engaged
the clutch to start forward or backwards, check the tightness of the
knockoff.  I have attended concours events and distinctly noted  the
sound from the wire wheels.  While the car may have pleased the eye,
someone has overlooked a basic maintenance item.   As the driver
moved his car forward and backward you could hear the telltale sound
of a loose knockoff.  (And if you can visualize what is going on inside,
you can see metal being ground away.)

It was previously noted that "zero" rotational movement between the
wire wheel hub and the axle hub is correct.  Any movement removes
metal from the profile of each spline.  Removed metal or "spline wear"
means the near-term need to replace the wire wheel and hub.  And we
all have heard from so many others about the grief in finding a suitable
hub removal tool along with the safety concerns needed when removing
the hubs.  With hub replacement, you, of course,  have a high cost and

It is my view that all this can be avoided if one continually checks the
tightness of the knockoffs.  Of course, this is especially true of daily
drivers.  When I think about it, spline wear and deterioration primarily
occurs because of loose knockoffs.  So, it only makes sense (and limits
the loss of cents) to keep them tight.

Bob Oates
See Hubs, Rebuilding for more...

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