Well, I finally got the two old bearings off the shaft. I got a loaner 2 ton puller from an auto parts
store, and it did not budge them. I went to Home Depot and found a galvanised pipe with a 1" ID and after filing down the internal seam it fit over the head
of the shaft and rested on the upper bearing. With a galvanised cap screwed on the end of the pipe, and the shaft resting on a block of oak, I took a big, red, plumbers wrench and pounded the end of the pipe. It took that little bit of extra ooomph
in every stroke to barely budge the bearings. But after a lot of effort over a couple of days, soaking in PB Blaster inbetween - and only nicking my hand once - I got them pushed down to the end of the shaft. At that point the puller worked the final inch until they were both off.
Now the next stage begins: getting the new bearings on.
I read somewhere about putting the shaft in the freezer
, which I did overnight. This morning I took the new bearings from the pack and with a little lithium grease - after wiping the frost off the shaft - tried to get one on. No go.
The puller would not work with the shaft reversed so I tried setting the bearing on a plank, and with a block of oak on the cap end of the shaft took a rubber mallet to the block and carefully knocked it in. Had a couple adjustments right away to make sure the shaft was straight, and with just a little effort bearing #1 was on.
How do I get this bearing all the way down to the cap end of the shaft? The pipe trick won't work as it pressed right against the balls - which was not a problem for the old bearings I was removing, but I cannot do that with the new ones.
Suggestions? (FWIW the repair kit came with 4 bearings in case I mess a couple up).