Changing spindle bearings

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by jcasper, Sep 18, 2005.

  1. jcasper

    jcasper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    I purchased a Hustler 251K that is in the eneed of new bearings in the right hand spindle.
    I have unbolted the the top bolt that holds the double pulleys and added copious amounts of PB Blaster to the top of the shaft.

    Looking at blow ups it looks like I need to unbolt the pindle from the deck before trying to get the double pully's off with their woodruf key. I think there is a retainor clip holding the spindle in place.

    Has anyone done this, what's the easiest way to get the double pulley's off the shaft without bending.

    Thanks in advance
  2. Jason Pallas

    Jason Pallas LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,335

    Not familiar with the Hustler brand - but it sounds like you're gonna need a 3 arm gear - puller. They're usually the only thing that will take the pulley off without damaging it.
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I'm in the same boat mine is a Toro BUT:

    - Changing the spindle bearings is a process involves somewhere around a dozen or so steps, it's not hard except the steps must be done in order or you can not and will not be able to proceed. If you are stuck at some point, it is likely you inadvertently are missing a step.

    From my own experience, the first time took me about 8 hours and in the end the help of a friend (and a fresh mind) proved invaluable. The second time took 3-4 hours and this time my friend didn't have to do much thou again, had it not been him reminding me of the clip on the bottom... By then I had it down good, the 3rd and 4th time only took an hour each, so in the end it did pay to learn this process as the dealer charges me around 100 dollars in labor to do it.

    On the Toro, do NOT remove the spindle from the deck at first, you need to remove the hex nut from the side of the top pulley AND remove the blade bolt and blade. Once this is done, undo the clip at the bottom and you MIGHT remove the assembly before you remove the clip BUT:
    After you remove the clip, soak the assembly in PB blaster and now you need to find a larger AND spare SOCKET you can use. Said socket must FIT squarely inside the top of the assembly in such a manner that it puts pressure on the shaft which now must be hammered out, a process which will lightly shape and dent the socket and you also need to do this by either holding the entire assembly in a vise OR with the assembly attached to the deck of the mower.
    Once you get the center shaft out (it should come out with OUT the use of a sledgehammer BUT you will need something one or two sizes up from a standard nail hammer - If it does NOT come out, you're doing something wrong, if the socket is bending under the blows of the hammer that is ENOUGH to start it sliding. You do not want to get the shaft out in one blow, instead several dozen slightly lighter taps will gradually pop it out.
    Beyond that, now you'll need an extension to push out the old bearings by hammering at the outside race thou in a pinch you can hit the inner race while taking the risk of breaking the bearing apart which ends up in the outer race still stuck inside the housing (it's up to you but the job is enough of a pita to consider this method).
    Once you get the old bearings out, to get the new ones to seat I used an old blade as a cushion between the bearing and the hammer and slowly, gently tapped it in, also I used the steel extension to lightly tap on the outer race and eventually got it to seat (a light coating of wd-40 on a rag to wipe the outer race until it was slick, also I cleaned out the housing with the rag, this helps).

    And remember the effin' clip at the bottom - You can get it out via the use of a special 7-dollar POS tool AND the use of a long-handle flat-end screwdriver but before you do it make SURE you have the 7-dollar tool because you will NEED it to put it back in (i.e.: you can get the clip OUT without said tool but you'll NEVER get the new one back on - yes, always use a new clip).
    That certainly only covers about half of it, but I hope it is helpful.
    Peace out and best of luck.
  4. dbianchilndscpe

    dbianchilndscpe LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    I recently replaced spindles(for the 3rd time) on my great dane 52in. Does anyone know of a truly sealed housing or a quality greaseable housing?
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I would appreciate something a bit under 50 dollars per set of bearings myself, even if it's the same thing or an aftermarket.
    No, J-thomas at 47.95 plus shipping doesn't cut it.
  6. daytripper

    daytripper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 30

    The Hustler spindle pulleys do not have any screws on the side like some pulleys do. The pulleys stick to the shaft due to rust. Here is the routine that worked for me. Remove the center bolt on the pulley, spray it with a good penetrating oil. Loosen the 4 bolts that hold the spindle to the deck approx 1/2 to 3/4 inch place pieces of wood under the pulley (I used 4 pieces of 1/2 inch hardwood) to prop up the spindle. Next I took out my trusty Snap-On PH50D air hammer with the short 1 inch diameter headed bit bit and applied full force on the shaft. It took a bit of hammering but eventually the shaft started to move. Once it started moving, it progressed right along. I had to loosen the spindle bolts again and off the pulley came. I had tried heating the pulley with an oxy/acetelyne torch, beating it with a 5 pound hammer repeatedly and nothing seemed to work. I had to run a tap through the center hole to clean it up and dress the shaft around the top with the bench grinder but that's it. Everything went right back together easy as pie.

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