$2 Motorcycle Wheel Bearing Puller

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Introduction: $2 Motorcycle Wheel Bearing Puller

About: Hi, I'm Ben. I like mechanical engineering, and using free stuff/"junk".

The shop wanted $50 a wheel to change out the bearings. 

The internet wanted $60 for the tool to do it.

I knew there had to be a better way.

The official name for this tool is a 'mandrel bearing puller.'

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Materials
1/2" Button head machine screw, at least 1 1/2" long, available at any hardware store
Flat head screwdriver with a somewhat large head and an impact resistant handle (this may get destroyed)


Tools
-Drill
-Hammer (any type, even a rock will do)
-File or belt sander to speed things up
-Hack saw, or band saw to speed things up
-Some sort of clamping device (vice)
-Safety goggles for power tools and hammering

Step 2: Shape the Head

Mount the bolt in the drill chuck.

While the drill is spinning, use the belt sander or file to shape the head until it just fits through the inside of the bearing . Profile it to  have a narrow edge, like an umbrella. The edge allows the tool to fit into the chamfer (space between the bearing and spacer) to grip the bearing.

Step 3: Cut

Now cut the bolt lengthwise, through the head and down most of the shaft, leaving about 1/4" uncut.
I used a horizontal bandsaw, but a hacksaw and some elbow grease should do the trick.

Bend the two sides away from each other just SLIGHTLY by pressing the screw driver into the slot.


Step 4: Make a Handle

This probably wasnt necessary, but I made a handle with a bolt, a lot of washers, and a nut. The tool threads into the other side of the nut.

Step 5: Using the Tool

To use the tool, insert the bolt head side of the tool into the bearing until you feel it reach the indentation on the other side of the bearing.

Next, press the screw driver from the other side of the wheel into the slot in the bolt head. Tap the back of the screw driver lightly with a hammer, and then harder to drive the bearing out.

Repeat for the other bearings.

DISCLAIMER: THIS WILL DESTROY THE BEARINGS. NEVER APPLY FORCE TO THE INNER BEARING RACE WHEN TRYING TO SEAT THE OUTER BEARING RACE OR VICE VERSA. THIS DESTROYS BEARINGS. DO NOT USE THIS TOOL TO INSTALL NEW BEARINGS.

Destroying the old bearings doesn't matter as the whole reason to remove bearings is to replace them.

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    29 Comments

    I guess, I would have to way the balance of time vs money. Seems like alot of work to make one of the most janky looking tools I have ever seen. Not to mention you should never strike the end of a screw driver with a hammer, screw drivers are for screwing screws, they are not punches or pry bars. Not to beat this up but this is not a good idea and a huge waste of time. Oh and did i mention dangerous. Get the right tool for the job or don't do it. This is a perfect example of how you can break things, cause an extra headache for yourself and make a job way harder than it should be. If your lucky you won't be angry and injured at the end of this. Pay the 50 dollars and let the mechanic do his job or get yourself a nice new tool. After all this is your motorcycle wheels (or maybe some other part) here how cheap do you want to be with such an important area of the vehicle. I'm just trying to give some good advice here for the more inexperienced people out there, sorry if I seem to stern.

    0
    wyldemedia
    wyldemedia

    Reply 17 hours ago

    I think you make a good point and in principle I agree sometimes in some repair situations it is a waste of time, money and a safety risk that should be avoided. In this case I don't think it is as the risk is small, the bearings are small, not like a car wheel bearing needing a press to extract. My idea of an avoidable dangerous task is changing coil springs on a car, even with the right tools thats scary scenario when doing it for the first time, and unnerving thereafter. I am talking more about car repairs and mechanics here but idea is the same. I have a very good car mechanic and he is of the approach "if it aint broke dont fix it" which saves money in short term, but I am more of a "while your at it replace that as well" approach so I tend to overspend on a simple repair in exchange for longterm reliability of the repair and parts around it. If there is something I can do mechanically, I do it because the parts I buy even oem quality are way cheaper, the mechanics around me tend to overcharge on parts(maybe its a guarantee thing or softens the labour cost). I buy brand new oem quality aftermarket parts online at automotive parts sites not ebay at 25% of the parts price the mechanic charges - so it makes sense replacing some wear items around the repair - I leave the harder jobs for the mechanic and bite the bullet paying his bill rather spend days getting myself out of a bind trying to repair something beyond my competance.

    0
    bigshnitzeljesse
    bigshnitzeljesse

    Reply 11 months ago

    Maybe this is the "right" tool if it works. High grade bolts are probably stronger than consumer grade extractors and if someone damages a screwdriver, it's a learning lesson to use something stronger. This is a DIY, not how to shop or pay someone

    0
    kadawson1979
    kadawson1979

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Depends on what you mean by "janky"...by that definition, a collet to you probably looks "janky." This works on the same principle as most machine tool holders, using a lever to translate force from linear (the wedge in the mandrel) to angular (outward grabbing force on the bearing). You speak of the balance of time and money; most of the people here are here because they have the former and not the latter. Personally, to quell your issues with a screwdriver I might substitute a similarly beveled cold chisel with some length but the principle does not change and the idea is to avoid owning a $60 tool with a singular purpose when the same can be had for a bit of labor and more than likely less than $1.00. It doesn't matter whether you use an expensive tool or a cheap tool, the mechanical forces exerted on the rim are roughly identical. Any interference fit bearing is going to require significant impact or other force to remove. The bearing will be completely ruined, but it should come out as a complete unit and not damage the wheel. The device he has made is one of the oldest clamping tools devised for machining; you may not like it, but it's mechanically sound in the ways that count.

    OP: Nice instructable! I was looking for a way to pull/install bearings in a different scenario and came across this one. Won't work for this instance but loved the creative use of a homemade mandrel.

    0
    greg.gardner.796
    greg.gardner.796

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Ok you used your big words here I get the principal but you obviously are showing your lack of mechanical experience. It's one thing to talk in theory but honestly how many hours have you actually spent turning wrenches? I was not trying to cause trouble but I have thousands of hours logged in the technical aspects of power sports and it does matter if you use a cheap or expensive tool or procedure for that matter. Just trying to point people in the right direction.

    0
    kadawson1979
    kadawson1979

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I'm a full time mechanic working on multi-million dollar equipment for the federal government as well as an auto mechanic on the side and understand your complaint. The thing is, you're absolutely right about the aspect of doing things correctly. However, if someone's here looking at an Instructable, they're probably in a position where cost or distance or some other factor is limiting. I don't think it's irresponsible of the original poster--where I work, we have a huge budget and a room full of parts and expensive specialty tools and yet I wind up making tools, arbors, jigs, and all kinds of things because the manufacturers of the products I maintain don't always provide quality support for their product and the designers aren't the manufacturers and so you wind up with a product that is made by whoever bid the lowest and no aftermarket support because it's used in one product for one industry.

    You're using a lever to create a wedge, which by proxy becomes a slide hammer in reverse. It's not the best way to remove a bearing, but I really don't see much harm coming to the race; if anything, I can see a situation where a bearing's inner race comes free of the cage and bearings during the process, so I'd definitely recommend safety glasses and gloves. But the technique provides pretty evenly distributed force, and is less likely than a drift (as you'd use on a rear wheel bearing or a trailer bearing) to score the land where the outer race fits.

    But do I recommend this technique over a bike shop or a bearing puller? No. Only for expedient repairs when the correct tool is not available. My admiration is for the creative use of leverage to create an ad-hoc puller out of cheap, hardware store parts. Let's not have a war over whether sometimes quick and dirty, while not ideal, is apropos.

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    wyldemedia
    wyldemedia

    18 hours ago

    Thanks for a great instructable, this trick will come in handy for next set of bearings.

    0
    03superglide
    03superglide

    7 months ago on Introduction

    Luckily my Harley wheel bearing job was postponed a couple days. Had a chance to see and tomorrow make this tool. I was just going to use a hammer and a drift but never felt good about what I'd do if there wasn't enough edge to catch. This will be a more controlled approach.

    0
    fred27
    fred27

    8 years ago on Introduction

    What's wrong with the standard technique of pushing the spacer to one side with the screwdriver and hammering the bearing out from the inside using a screwdriver directly on the bearing? I've done it loads of times. As long as you rotate the wheel after each tap it comes out evenly.

    0
    bigshnitzeljesse
    bigshnitzeljesse

    Reply 11 months ago

    The tool pushes bearing out perfectly straight without the side forces hitting one side causes. High forces break bearings

    0
    kylemoe
    kylemoe

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    There isn't always enough space to get a screwdriver (or a proper drift) between the spacer and the bearing.

    0
    jmegyes
    jmegyes

    1 year ago

    This is GENIUS! I spent most of the day trying to remove rear wheel bearing from Honda ST1300, and broke a blind hole bearing extractor in the process, and was getting nowhere. I have a machine shop, and I even turned an improvised tool, similar in principal, that used a 1/4NPT pipe plug to expand the "fingers" cut into the tool end. Nope. Didn't work at all. Ruined the tool. Searching on the internet, I saw this post. It took me 5 minutes to turn a carriage bolt head as described and saw the slit, and BOOM! The bearing came out first time. I'm totally pissed about breaking my $60 bearing extractor, but I'm glad I got the job done in spite of it. Sometimes, even a purpose specific professional tool isn't quite as effective as a DIY one-off. PS: The screwdriver I used is 1.5 feet long, and the steel goes through the handle right to the end, so it's designed for striking. I wouldn't do this with a plastic handled screwdriver, it would never survive. Long skinny cold chisel even better if you have one. Brilliant, dude!

    0
    DavidW877
    DavidW877

    1 year ago

    A stupid idea isn’t stupid if it works

    0
    Ozthomas
    Ozthomas

    4 years ago

    Worked a treat. A coach bolt and 10 minutes with an angle grinder. I didn't have room for a drift or screwdriver.

    0
    Redd1958
    Redd1958

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Been using these for years on Bike Wheels and they work Fine!! Also good to have in your Tool Bag if you have to work on your Bike on the side of the Road!!

    0
    AaronK16
    AaronK16

    Reply 5 years ago

    I dunno about that, I see what you are saying but anyone who is smart enough to change out their own bearings ought to be smart enough not to need to ever pull a bearing road side. That would be a hell of a job - and I once had to replace my reg/rec & wiring roadside.

    0
    AaronK16
    AaronK16

    5 years ago

    I get along just fine using a drift and a small lump hammer, you have to be careful and patient but otherwise no problem. Looks good though - I'll probably give it a go some time just because I like making

    Better Idea: Make a clinch-style tool (the kind that grabs the inner side of the race), and then tap it out. Just go to your local DIY shop and pick up some concrete anchors in the fastener section. They are designed just for that purpose, only with concrete. Get the right size for the hub, tighten it down, and tap it out. Works for just a few bucks.