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Rebuilding Sears Mower Spindles

mower spindle bearing rebuild

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37 replies to this topic

#31 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted May 29, 2012 - 12:17 AM

Glad you got it fixed and Mom is happy!

#32 caseguy OFFLINE  

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Posted May 30, 2012 - 08:40 PM

Glad that you got it up and running for Mom! Congrats and we hope to see those pics when you get the chance!

#33 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted May 30, 2012 - 10:17 PM

US, glad Mom is happy and the Sears is back doing it's chores.
Thanks in advance for the pics.

#34 Utah Smitty OFFLINE  

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Posted May 30, 2012 - 10:44 PM

Glad that you got it up and running for Mom! Congrats and we hope to see those pics when you get the chance!

Okay, here goes...

After I discovered I couldn't install a lip seal on the mandrel, I still had to make a lower spindle cap, since the original was torn up trying to get the bearing off the shaft. The parts exploded view shows a "metallic seal". Based on input from Old Cow Hand and my own observation, I think this was basically a thin metal washer with a shallow cup. However, I didn't figure that out until after I had assembled the spindle--if one existed for the lower housing, it was destroyed when I tried to remove the bearing.

The lower part of the spindle housing measures 2.000" OD. I was able to measure the diameter off the old cap-- 2.030" ID. This is pretty close, but necessary to help keep the grease from flinging out. I figured I'd have to weld something up to replace it since they aren't available anymore. I found that a piece of 2" I.D. tailpipe is actually approx. 2.080" inside. This leaves too big of a gap, but when I pulled a piece of tailpipe from my scrap pile, I noticed the end had been cut off with a pipe cutter. This leave a large burr that points to the center of the pipe.

I cut a 1/2" high piece of pipe off with my abrasive cut off saw, then set the piece on the top of my vise and tapped around the burr, pushing it level. This gave me an I.D. of 2.040" at that point, which is more to my liking.

I then bought a washer with a 3/4" hole. The O.D. is a couple thousandths shy of 2"--just enough to ensure good penetration. I had to open up the hole a little with a half-round file since the shaft is .866" diameter. I put a couple of spacers under the washer to hold it slightly above the ring, then welded it on the OUTSIDE, which left a flat surface on the inside between the washer and the bottom of the housing. I smoothed the bottom of the cap by putting it against the side of a grinding wheel so it would ride evenly on the top of the flange.

GT 18 Spindle Cap 1.jpg

This picture compares the old, damaged piece, and the fabricated piece:

GT 18 Spindle Cap 2.jpg

In hindsight, I would have made the ring just a little taller--maybe 5/8" or 3/4", but this should work okay regardless.

I drove in the bearing cups using one of the discarded cups with a slit cut in it. I made the slit with a 3" diam. cut off wheel in a die grinder:

2012-05-28_13-47-19_687.jpg


The other thing I had to do was find a way to grip the bearing on the shaft as I had shaved approx. .003" off when I turned down the welds. I tried to use the knurling tool from my Harbor Freight lathe but it wasn't long enough to get past the flange on the end of the shaft. So, I used the tried and true remedy of punching a series of dimples with a center punch--

GT 18 Spindle Punched 2012-05-28_.jpg

At this point I drove in the cups for the bearings. You can buy a matched bearing set for this spindle from NAPA, or even O'Reilly Auto Parts. Ask for a "Set 16" which will give you a matched cone and cup. I paid about $10 for each set.

I now packed the lower bearing, placed the cap on the mandrel shaft and the housing over the top and started the bearing by tapping gently with a soft faced hammer. I later used a 1" OD pipe--it is just the right size to slip over the spindle and contact the center part of the bearing cone to drive it on.

GT 18 Spindle Install 1.jpg

I then used the 1" OD pipe to drive the bearing on the shaft all the way down. I found that I didn't need to put near as many dimples as I did--the shaft is basically a slip fit, or a slight interference fit. At any rate, the bearing is good and snug, now.

GT 18 Spindle Install 3.jpg

After that I packed the inside of the housing with grease, packed the upper bearing, and pushed it on the shaft and into the housing. The thin metallic seal (not shown) slides over it with the cup side facing down, then the sheave is slid on to the shaft.

GT 18 Spindle Install 4.jpg

You adjust these bearings just like you did the front spindle bearings on a 2wd car or truck. Carefully turn the nut down and check by turning the hub/housing. Stop when you feel just the slightest drag. If you go too far, back off the lock nut a quarter turn or so, hit the end of the mandrel with a soft faced hammer, and readjust. Make sure you tighten down the set screws AFTER you adjust the bearings. (With attribution to Old Cow Hand)

BTW, the nut is 1-1/16", so you'll either need a big socket or a big box end wrench. A crescent or open end wrench can't get in to the nut very well, which increases the risk of damaging it.

One last note: You install the spindle through an oblong hole in the mower deck. Because of greater wall thickness on the fabricated cap, you'll have to widen the hole--I just used a half-round file--in a few minutes it slipped right in.

Well, you can all wake up, now--my long-winded discourse is finished. Hope it was helpful.

Regards,

Edited by Utah Smitty, May 30, 2012 - 10:54 PM.

  • olcowhand, MH81, KennyP and 1 other said thanks

#35 caseguy OFFLINE  

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Posted May 31, 2012 - 04:49 AM

That was a good read Smitty! Very detailed and thorough! I think that cup will far outlast the original by a couple of decades. Nice work on it. That sheave assembly looks bullet proof too! Thanks for posting the pics and telling the story!

#36 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted May 31, 2012 - 05:14 AM

Thanks for taking the time to detail what you did. I'm sure someone else will be looking to do this at some point. Your post should be a huge help!

#37 Utah Smitty OFFLINE  

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Posted May 31, 2012 - 01:36 PM

That was a good read Smitty! Very detailed and thorough! I think that cup will far outlast the original by a couple of decades. Nice work on it. That sheave assembly looks bullet proof too! Thanks for posting the pics and telling the story!


I figured someone else might be in the same situation, and wanted to provide any benefit of my experience.

Thanks to all of you for your comments and encouragement.

#38 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted May 31, 2012 - 05:23 PM

I will echo the thanks for the detailed info. This WILL happen to someone else, so having the info in print with pics is great.





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