A quick trick for pulling blind ball bearings

It often happens as you are working on rebuilding or restoring some old iron, machine tool, etc that you come across a blind bearing in some machined pocket. These can be a real bear to remove, especially if as in the case of my 70’s era Trackmaster bulldozer it’s a nasty mess in need of restoration. You can see the blind bearing in the top middle of the photo below.

Trackmaster dozer transmission housing by d-Fab Engineering a devision of Fruehauf Corp Route 202, Montgomberyville, Pennsylvania USA

I looked for a puller tool, they make them but even cheap ones are still a bit pricey for a single pull. This bearing, like all of the others was trashed, so I knew I wasn’t going to be reusing it, and as such I went with the tride and true method. I’ll share with photos below the details of one of the best ways to get a stuck bearing out.

Blind bearing removal Tip Step 1: make a threaded bushing for the ID of the bearing, or use a nut that fits the opening well enough.
Blind bearing removal Tip Step 2: insert your a threaded bushing and weld it carefully to the inner race, you can mig or tig depending on what you have.
blind bearing removal trick step 4: screw in your bolt, and press out the bearing from the blind pocket. Even if it was stuck before, often the heat from welding and cooling will allow it to press right out. Never discount the force generated from an inclined plane wrapped around a cylindrical axis in any pressing operation. *Wear eye protection. Every now and again the bearing explodes into shards of sharp metal that fly everywhere.
The inside of the 3 speed bulldozer transmission has cleaned up relatively well. A bit more work cleaning and it will be ready for the reassmbly.

Summing up my favorite blind bearing removol trick in steps:

  1. Make a threaded bushing for the ID of the bearing, or use a nut that fits close enough.
  2. Place in or on the bearing with the threaded hole centered as best you can.
  3. Weld in place, and let everything cool fully. (you don’t have to go nuts, three good spot welds spaced are usually enough)
  4. After it cools, thread in a good quality bolt with some crease or oil on the threads
  5. Start turning and let the screw press out your blind bearing.

This of course requires a welder, but many of the tools I looked at cost as much as a cheap HF welder. Go buy the welder, you will be happy you purchased it rather than a fancy one time use blind bearing removal tool.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *