Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Idler Bearing Not Budging

<This post is part of the 'Winter Project 2014/15 - (Gearbox Refurb)' project>

Before the engine can be reassembled, I want to change the idler bearing on the transfer case. The problem is though, the transfer case I intend to use has been sent off for soda-blasting, so I will have to wait until it gets back. But before that, I can practice on a scrap item I have in the hope I can work out the best method for this job.

Greasy Bash Method
One method that was recommended was to fill the hole with grease, find something that just fit inside the bearings and bash the other end with a hammer. As the grease is none compressible, it should force the bearing out.

It's worth a try so I found a socket that was the tightest fit and filled all the holes with grease.

Lining the socket up with the hole, I whacked it with a hammer and...

 ... unfortunately, it not only didn't work, it got stuck in there! Eventually I got the socket back out with a vice and some heaving and had another go with the same result. I'm not sure if there is a knack to this, but it's not working for me.

Heatie, Hottie, Bearing Droppy Method
I'm not sure if that's the official name, but another method I heard of is to heat the transfer case up around the bearing area, as it expands, the bearing will simply fall out. Sounds great.

Getting out my blow torch, I applied the heat to the back of the housing behind the bearing.

Alas though no matter how much heat I applied, the bearing remained stuck. I persisted for about 25 minutes and eventually gave up. I'm beginning to suspect that the bearing may be glued in.

Generally Trash the Bearing Method
Getting a bit desperate for ideas, I decided to pop the rollers out of the bearing and see if I could pull what was left of the bearing out of the case. Taking a large screwdriver, I hit the cage that holds the rollers in place and levered each roller out.

Only the outer part of the bearing is left in the case now.

There is a small gap underneath the bearing, just large enough to get a bearing puller in. Great if I had one, but I don't and I want to avoid the cost of getting one if I can help it.

I tried a variety of things to try to get the bearing out.

So with the bearing still stuck in there, I'm left with a number of possibilities:

  1. Buy a proper bearing puller tool
  2. Try to cut the bearing out with a small Dremel like tool. It's quite hard metal though.
  3. Stop and have a big think to find another method.

As I'm trying to save a few pennies, I'll put off option 1 for now. Option 2 seems like a load of work and may damage the case, so option 3 is still the better option for now.

I'm going away now to have a big think, I'll keep you posted

<This Post> - 'Idler Bearing Not Budging'
<Previous Post> - 'MOT Time'

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