Re: [MV] The Cheap Mechanic- Differential Overhaul Update

Alan Bowes (
Fri, 19 Dec 1997 09:30:02 -0700

Lee Ethridge wrote:
> I'm told that it may be necessary to cut the bearing
> off the shaft. My father-in-law says he can do this
> with a cutting torch without damaging or overheating
> the shaft. As a mere mortal, though, I'll have to try
> something else. Maybe a high-speed grinder (that's a
> Moto-tool to me) with a cut-off wheel would do the
> trick. I'm also thinking about trying to heat the
> bearing or cool the shaft enough to loosen it, but I'm
> afraid I'll heat-damage the shaft if I apply a torch
> to the bearing.


Hi Lee,

Don't use torches or cutting tools or a hammer to remove the bearings.
Bearings almost always come off easily when the right tools are used.

If you don't want to invest in a heavy-duty puller just for this job,
you can take the shaft down to some local shop and have them pull (or
press) it off for about five to ten dollars. You can also borrow or
rent pullers from many auto parts stores.

Bearing separators are designed to work with a couple of different
puller types (or a press). The main thing is to use the correct type of
tools, AND of adequate size, for the job.

Avoid using cheap pullers. These are often subjected to tremendous
stress, and having a tool bend or break when under thousands of pounds
of pressure can be disastrous.

If the bearing is rusted onto the shaft, then you have other
problems...a new shaft may be in order.

Also, revisiting the issue of rust inside the axle housing: Unless it's
deep rust, I really wouldn't worry too much about it. Just scrape/wire
brush/pressure-wash the loose rust off, and thoroughly clean the surface
with solvent and/or detergent to remove all traces of oil. After
cleaning and drying, if the remaining rust is thin and firmly attached,
it won't do any harm and may actually help paint bond to the surface. If
you want, you can use an oil-resistant engine paint (like the previously
mentioned Glyptal) over it. At the minimum, coat the inside with a layer
of gear lube. I'd also suggest using synthetic gear lube in the
differential. Besides its other positive characteristics, it leaves a
more tenacious, longer-lasting film that helps fight corrosion if the
vehicle sits for extended periods between uses.

If it's deep rust, replace the axle housing.



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