The MGA With An Attitude
BEARING REMOVAL, Ball and Roller Bearings -- UT-141

spindle bearing How do you remove a stubborn ball bearing that is press fit or otherwise stuck on the shaft? First thought might be a three jaw puller with jack screw and big wrench, if you have space for the tools. A three-jaw puller and slide hammer also comes to mind. Bear in mind that pulling hard on the outer race to remove a bearing from a shaft, or hard on the inner race to remove a bearing from a housing, can possibly flat spot the balls or dimple the races to destroy the bearing.

On many occasions I have used a small grinding burr in a hand grinder to remove the rivets from the ball retainer. Once the retainer is out, move the balls around to one side of the bearing and the outer race will drop off. (This is reverse of originally assembly). Then use a thin abrasive cut-off wheel to grind most of the way through the inner race. In most cases a nick in the shaft or shoulder does not matter, but watch out for the seal seating ring behind the inner spindle bearing for wheel bearings. Once notched, smack it with a cold chisel and heavy hammer to break the inner race and it slides off. Done a lot this way. Bit of work, but never fails and never any damage.

Someone suggested squeezing the outer bearing race in a vice until it breaks. Wear personal protection, because it will explode like a grenade. Never tried it. Must take a BIG vice to crush a big ball bearing.

You can (sometimes) use a "gas ax" (acetylene torch) to cut the bearing off. This takes a certain amount of talent to do the deed without damaging the spindle or other nearby parts. I wouldn't try it on a wheel bearing spindle or rear axle housing, or any part you can't afford to lose.

If you have any intention of saving the bearing to use again, then a bearing separator may be useful. This is s split plate that slides in behind the bearing, tightened with a couple of large lateral bolts to pull the bearing forward. Sometimes just the first motion is critical to get it started, after which it may be easier to pull.

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