In The Shop: The Skinny On Installing Bearings

Published on: 20:30PM Feb 08, 2011

 Kudos to Timken Bearings! I installed a Timken pillow block bearing today, and included in the box was a nice little set of instructions with useful tips on installation that answered many questions customers have asked me over the years. Here's a quick rundown of the pertinent points:

First: the brochure states on its cover that, "...this product is manufactured by American craftsmen in Pulaski, Tennessee, U.S.A."  Hoo-rah, Timken!

Second: Here are snippets from the brochure that speak to questions I've been asked:

-"The bearing should not be mounted on a worn section of the shaft." Yes, you can "peen" the shaft or use Liquid Metal to fill the gap between a worn shaft and a new bearing, but it's a stopgap, emergency measure that will not last long.

-"Rotate lock tapping lightly with a drift punch in the direction of shaft rotation." There's no need to smack the lock collar super-tight. In fact, over-tightening often cracks the cammed face of the bearing race where the lock collar attaches, requiring replacement of the "new" bearing.

-"General Relubrication Recommendations: Indoor service--not required. Outdoor service--2 - 3 times per year. Severe outdoor exposure--once a month. High contamination/washdown--once a week. Relubricate until a thin bead of fresh grease is visible at the seal lip."  My rule of thumb: follow the machine's owner's manual recommended lubrication interval, but UNLESS SPECIFICALLY DIRECTED BY A MECHANIC YOU TRUST, do not grease more often than recommended. As it says in the brochure: "Excessive relubrication may cause high operating temperatures due to grease churning."

Isn't it cool what a guy can learn if he takes time to read the instructions...?