Oregon Replacement Spindles
I recently had to replace 2 spindles on my Toro Z-Master. I thought I would be able to replace just the bearing and seals but when I dis-assembled the spindles I found the spindle shafts damaged in the area where the bearing rides. A new OEM unit was around $300 and after reading here on LawnSite I decided to go with Oregon replacement spindles. I received the spindles and compared it to my OEM and they looked identical as expected. Since the Oregon was shipped assembled, I could not see what bearing set was used in the Oregon but I knew Timken bearings were used in the originals. I installed the spindles and was happy with their performance. After about 30 hours of use I noticed/heard a slight squeal from the deck. I inspected the deck and found one Oregon spindle had developed a wobble. I grabbed a torque wrench and checked the torque and the pulley nut was still at 125ft/lbs. I removed the blade and pulley and slid the spindle shaft out of the housing. Right away I noticed the bottom spacer had some damage so I pulled the whole spindle out to inspect it. I then found both the top and bottom bearings bad and that the bottom seal was installed incorrectly. Since I had another Oregon Spindle installed I decided to check it as well. It was OK but it too had the seal installed incorrectly. The repair manual to the mower instructs to install the bottom seal with the lips out. Installed in this manner will allow the seal to "pass" grease along with water and debris. I looked at my OEM and the seal was installed lips out.
I was just wanting to get some feedback from other members on any experiences they have had with Oregon spindles. I was not surprised that the Oregon spindles did not have Timken bearings or CR seals since that is one way to cut cost, but should the assembly of the unit be incorrect? I am adamant on maintenance and keep the spindles greased so when cleaning the Oregon spindles to ready them for new bearings and seals I was surprised to find the bottom seals in both spindles ruptured. I think this is what confirmed my suspension that the seals were installed wrong.
Hopefully some other members can use this information or maybe the Oregon rep can chime in and give me an explanation of the assembly. In the meantime, I'm going to rebuild both with quality bearings and seals and put them on the shelf for spares. Just remember to check those seals!
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Toro Z Master 149 25hp/52" with DFS Collection Sys.
Honda HRB217 21" Self Propelled Hydrostatic
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