View Full Version : Use a bearing shield!

05-12-2007, 05:38 PM
I had the luxury of replacing the wheel bearings on a ford 9" axle this weekend. As I pulled the shaft out of the housing I realized that the reason the bearing was making so much noise was that the outer race was broken in a bunch of pieces. All that remained pressed on the shaft was the inner race, cage, a few ballsm, and about 2/3 diameter and 1/2 the thickness of the outer race.

I threw a bearing splitter on and put it in my little chi-com press. Like most people that own that little $100 press I dont have a bearing shield or blanket. That bearing was on there so tight that presses premium quality Chinese steel started to bend before the bearing pressed off.

I pulled it back out and surveyed the situation. I could grind the race off....nah too much work. I have to drive right by work to get to the parts store anyway.

I stop at work. Its a small shop, no body there on the weekends. We have an animal of a press. I have no clue what-so-ever on the tonnage, but its got about a 8" diameter ram on it. I get everything set up in the press. Now I know what you are thinking. A "real" shop should have some kind of bearing shield or blanket....well no. Safety is always a second concern where I work. I throw a wet rag over whats left of the bearing. I dont really expect any thing because of the lack of balls/outer race, and the fact the splitter is right on the inner race. I give her some pressure. Nothing. Again....Nothing. Then I hear a loud POP followed by a supersonic wizz as one of the balls flys by my head and lodges itself in the ceiling. I am fairly confident that if it had hit me that the next time someone would have seen me was 6am monday morning when I was found laying in a pile of my own **** and piss.
Well after I cleaned my shorts I got on her again and really gave her a helluva pressing. Eventually the bearing came off. I figured for sure I had bent the shaft but I threw it in the lathe and ran an indicator down it....seems ok

Cliff notes.... Be careful, use safety protection, if you dont have proper protection do not attempt the job and finally tell someone where you are going if you are doing something out of your normal routine.

05-12-2007, 06:50 PM
I agree Cav.But the bad thing is so many of us work with no one else around so safty has to become our 1st way of doing anything.

05-13-2007, 12:43 PM
FWIW: a little heat on the inner race will work wonders getting an old bearing off the shaft with little or no pressure needed. You were going to replace the seal anyway, right?

We had a keg-cooler/old fridge with shelves removed in a shop I worked at that we would put the axles in when we took our lunch break. Meanwhile, the new bearings would be left in the sun or on a hot engine. Back from lunch the new bearings and retainer would literally fall into place...

05-13-2007, 01:24 PM
I have never been a fan of heating an axle shaft any more than necessary due to the possibility of removing the temper. I understand that you just want to heat the race but the axle will suck a lot of heat away in the process.

The new bearing and retaining ring were put on hot...no press needed at all. I have a $5 garage sale toaster oven just for such instances. 275* for 20 mins seems to work for most bearings without cooking the grease or melting the seals.

05-13-2007, 01:32 PM
A cut off disc in a die grinder makes short work of bearing removal. Even if you don't want to cut all the way through cut almost through and a little pressure in even a chi com press wil pop it and it will fall off.

There are many ways for removal without resorting to the suicide method...

Or keep doing it your way and get a Darwin award.. :D

05-14-2007, 09:57 AM
275* for 20 mins seems to work for most bearings without cooking the grease or melting the seals.
We must exchange recipies! I just cooked out some suspension bushings over the weekend. I used the gas grill, also known as the torch.

05-14-2007, 02:41 PM
dripping rubber brulee is one of my favorites!

05-14-2007, 08:15 PM
Reminds me of a similar situation. When I was 16, was taking a tire off of a split rim. Thought that I had all the air out....had removed valve stem...but the tube had evidently shifted and was pinched. When I pried the ring off the wheel, it went straight up about 15' Lucky I was off to the side rather than hovering over it.