Tech Tip 17 Blown Roller Bearing Removal

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“Blown” Roller Bearing Removal

undefinedIf you have run your wheel bearings until they simply won’t turn anymore, you may be in for a surprise when you try to remove them for replacement. Instead of finding a complete bearing, all you will find is an outer race, inner race w/balls and cage pieces everywhere. Worst case, the entire hub and center spacer are trashed (see photo at right), all from the exploding bearings. Those grooves were “machined” into the steel by engine torque.

undefined The inner bearing race can be
removed quite easily. But just how do you pound out the outer race? A punch sometimes can’t find a purchase to drive it out. And even if you can find a purchase, there is always the risk
of “cocking” the race sideways and cracking an expensive aluminum housing. A “Hot Wrench” (acetylene torch) will be neededundefined to CAREFULLY cut the outer race in two to remove the tension to ease removal. The torch head MUST be placed PARALLEL to the outer wall of the housing holding the bearing. Heat the outer race THEN apply O2. The molten outer race should be blown away and since you are applying heat parallel to the wall, the wall should be protected. Try to pound out the bearing now. If it still won’t budge, apply heat (NO O2) to the outer race a short distance away from the cut end and use a screwdriver to bend the cut end outward removing even more tension. Now the outer bearing race will be easy to remove.

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