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Discussion Starter #1
I have a craftsman 8/26 model 536.909800

The drive belt keeps slipping off and the shaft for the large pulley is wobbly.
This blower has a belt for the drive assembly that is tightened by the idler and handlebar lever just like the auger (from my searching the internet this seems to be a little unusual). The speed disk does not raise up to contact the friction disk (like most snowblowers), the friction disk lowers to contact the speed disk. The rubber friction disk assembly has a sprocket on one end with a chain drive to a shaft in back, this shaft then turns a sprocket on the other end with a chain that drives the wheel axle. These two shafts (the one in back and the wheel axle) are contained in the aluminum housing parallel to each other. Perpendicular to them in the middle of this housing is the short shaft I'm having trouble with.

I need help getting my aluminum "support and Bearing assembly" apart so I can change the bushings in it. The shaft that has the speed disk on one end and the drive pulley on the other is wobbly and the bushings are worn out. I'm not sure what needs to come off for example: do I take the friction disk assembly off the top? Do I need to take the wheels and axle off? Does everything need to come out? I'm hoping I can just take the friction disk assembly out and that will provide access to slide the short vertical shaft out and replace the bushings without removing the aluminum "support and bearing assembly". Does this sound right? How do I remove the hex shaft with the friction disk on it? It has a sprocket on the left as shown in the 2nd and 3rd photos. I'm not sure how to remove this. Do I have to remove the chain first? It's difficult to reach the bolt (that is in back) with a wrench on that bearing because it is recessed inside the angle iron that the shaft goes through.

I have the manual and parts diagrams and lists so that helps a little, but I still need guidance. I've watched a few of donyboy73's videos on youtube but I can't find any that help me with this particular scenario.

Also, because the friction disk assembly raises and lowers to contact the speed disk, there is sometimes slack in the chain on the left side, (photo attached). There seems to be a spring loaded tensioner but it doesn't appear to be tensioning anything when the disk is in the lowered "drive" position and the slack in the chain looks troublesome to me. How do I adjust this?

Thanks for any help you can provide,

Jim
Massachusetts
just recovering from 15" of wet snow, downed trees and power out.
 

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Bushings

Jim

Take a look at this thread, you'll find some of what you need I believe
http://www.snowblowerforum.com/forum/snowblower-repairs-maintenance-forum/584-alternate-substitute-parts.html
Your pulley/disc wobble is likely due to worn bushings in there

You may also have wear on the shaft, which will either need repair or replacement. To get this assembly out, you'll need to pull the axel along with the upper mount to remove it. There are 6 bushings in that assembly so if this is a keeper machine, I'd change all 6 right away if there's any indication of wear and grease them good during reassembly. There's a void in between the bushings, could put some extra grease in there too.
The bushings on the friction disc assembly are available so if those are worn, replace those too.
You should have an idler on the chain on the left to take up slack, so it may be the bushing issue or a stretched chain so replace that right away if that's the case. On this one, the idler worked best on the outside of the drive chain, pushing it inward to take out the slack.
This one was missing the tensioning mechanism on the disc so I made my own. Originally it had a pivot along with a tensioning spring in the handlebar area. It had gone missing before I bought it, so this is what I came up with after fixing the other issues.

That should get you started with your repairs. I doubt it's everything but until you fix some of them, shot of replacing everything, you need to eliminate some of them before you can identify or repair the rest.

One other thing, get yourself some good penetrant along with some scotchbrite pads, you'll need it to clean up that drive axel to get it out. You will also need some wrenches and sockets, hammer and some punches to remove various rollpins, some white grease and other things as you come up against them.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
disassembly

Okay, all very helpful. Thank you for your quick response.

Focusing on removal for now, I started trying to remove the bearings for the hex axle the rubber friction disk is on. Instead of doing that, I should remove the bracket assembly they are attached to as a whole first (like in the first picture you posted), is that what you are saying? After that I need to basically pull everything out.

I was aware from the manual that there are two bushings for the shaft in question and two each for the other two shafts (six total).

Quote: "On a Craftsman 536.90515 snowblower, there are 2 bronze bushing on the shaft that fits between the pulley and friction plate. If you can’t find one like that, a B&S 50304MA for a auger gearbox was almost exactly the same dimensions (very slight difference in length, otherwise the same) and pressed in a worked perfectly."

It sounds like these might work on mine as well. Besides that, are you saying I need to pull the bearings out to get the dimensions and take that info with me to search out replacements either in store or online?

Quote: "The bushings on the friction disc assembly are available so if those are worn, replace those too"

I searched searspartsdirect.com with the parts numbers from the manual and the only bearings that are available from them are the axle bearings #48666. All other bearings in question (six on the support and bearing assembly and two on the hex shaft) are not available.

btw, the manual actually says, "The replacement of the disk drive on this unit is a major service operation and should be done by a trained technician. The entire disk drive and carriage assembly must be removed."

I'm in over my head I know it, but isn't that what this forum is all about? Thanks again for your help.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
OK, I've made great progress this morning thanks to your help HCBPH. I had a mental stumbling block over the friction disk assembly but now that I realized I just had to remove the 3/4" bolts on the ends of that shaft and disconnect the gear lever, the whole thing came right out no problem.
I also discovered that the chain idler on the left gear (that is not taking out the slack in the chain when the friction disk is lowered), is not working because the spring connected to its arm is too long in the resting position and it keeps the sprocket towards the chain in back but not enough to reach it. I think if I used a compression spring that actually pushes the sprocket to the back that could work or I could use a much shorter spring that pulls the sprocket into the chain in front.
I have the wheels off, I've started taking the bearing covers off of the axle and the shaft in back. I'm concerned how this whole assembly is going to come out. I've removed the gear cover on the right. Everything looks loose but I am wondering if I have to remove the axle first? That's my main question now, do I have to free up the big gear(on the right) on the axle and the locking collar on the left side and slide the axle out before I can remove the rest of the assembly?

According to the manual, the gear has a set screw and a Pin, Drive-Lok, 5/16x 1 1/2".

The locking collar on the left has a Roll Pin, 1/4" x 1 1/4" (indicated as a standard hardware item).

I assume the roll pin can be driven out with a punch but what about the drive-lok pin? Same way?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
diassembly

Okay,

I jumped in and got the whole assembly taken apart. I had to remove the left panel from the snowblower to get the assembly out. then with a little effort, I got all 3 shafts removed from the assembly. The axle is bent and I'll have to straighten it somehow. Any suggestions? Regarding the aluminum housing and the six bearings that are in it: How do I remove them? The bearings that supported the vertical shaft (drive pulley on one end and the speed disk on the other) appear to be the roller bearing type. It had failed and the roller bearings were falling out. I don't know how to remove these, can I just drive them out? Can I hold the assembly in a vise and using a screwdriver, hammer out the bearings?:) Also, the photo shows that there is a little crack in the housing surrounding the bearing. It looks like if I put a new bearing in it it shouldn't be a problem, but I have no experience, what do you guys think? :confused:

What kind of grease do you recommend? low temp grease, axle grease, white lithium grease, my hardware store doesn't have a good selection, I'll have to go to our local autozone or something.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Also, I need 4 bushings for the axle and rear shaft (part #48666 Bearing, self aligning , according to the manual)

4 bushings for the aluminum support and bearing assembly (part #35499 Bearing)

and 2 bearings for the vertical speed shaft (part #41701 Bearing) (these are the roller bearing type)

All shafts appear to be 3/4" although I haven't measured yet. Any advice on bearings? I will search mfgsupply.com and see what I can find but I don't know my bearings so I'll see what I can find!

Thanks again for all the help,

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Jim
I just noticed that the sprocket that takes up the slack in the chain on the left (in this photo) is outside the chain and behind it! Mine is inside the chain and it floats with an arm that extends to the foreground where a spring pulls on it (currently ineffectual). I wonder if mine is intended to be behind the chain like yours? The spring would be the right length then, pulling it into the back of the chain which would take out the slack. The tension from the spring pulling the sprocket into the chain would help pull the friction disk down onto the speed disk. When I get to reassembly, I'll take pictures of this and see if it will work.
 

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Friction drive unit

Jengele

Sounds like your making a good start here. If yours is like mine, it's not rocket science to work on it. The biggest issues you'll have is remembering what goes where and the disassembly process. That's why I take alot of pictures and make drawings or use tape and markers as something is coming apart.
Any roll pins I encountered, if the part would come out without removing it, if it needed to come out I tried to do it after the part was out. If not, I used an hammer and punch and drove them out in place.
When I had mine apart, all the T-Bushings like on the friction plate shaft, where the axel went through the friction disc housing etc all appeared to be compatable with the one I mentioned from B&S. To get them out, I used a long punch, supported the piece and tapped them out from the back side. To put the new ones in, support the piece and used a small piece of wood over the new bushing and tapped them in straight into the receiving part of the item. That upper shaft on mine used the oval shaped bushings like on the axels, the only difference is they only have 1 part of the same clamshell retaining mechanism as on the axels - the other half was the actual sheetmetal of the side panels..
When it came to reassembling the unit, I replaced the rollpins with bolts and safety nuts. I precut some to length so there wasn't too much leftover thread sticking out. It's a whole lot easier to slip a properly sized bolt through the holes than drive back in the rollpins (big hands and all thumbs at times).
I didn't have to take the friction disc off the one I have when I had it apart but I looked at it. Looked like if you took the bushings off the ends of that swing assembly you would work the shaft out. Once out you should be able to do most anything with it. I don't honestly know what bushings it takes there (especially with the hex sided shaft) but I'm sure with a little luck you'll find something if you need it. If you do, look at both Craftsman and probably Roper parts (not sure but I think either Roper or AYP built that snowblower).
If you need a friction disc itself, that's going to take a little more work if yours is like mine. The center opening on mine was something like 2 3/4" with a 6" diameter. I couldn't find one with those dimensions, but I did find one from a Toro with a 6" diameter and a 1 3/4" opening. I had planned to turn the center opening to 2 3/4" and I'd have to redrill the screw holes. Turned out I didn't need it, but it is an option if needed.
The turnbuckle and spring was added because the previous owner had removed and lost the oem tensioning mechanism. Up on the shifter the spring/tensioner for the friction disc was gone and couldn't figure out what it needed. I in turn made my own tensioner, drilled a hole on the the upper section and added the angle iron to hold the other end. Seems to work well and serves the same function as the original, plus that allows changing the amount of tension if needed.

That help any?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
disassembly

"The biggest issues you'll have is remembering what goes where and the disassembly process."

I used ziplock bags for bolts, washers,flanges,bushings,etc and labeled them with a felt pen - left axle, right rear shaft, left panel bolts, etc. the parts really start to pile up.

"all the T-Bushings like on the friction plate shaft, where the axel went through the friction disc housing etc all appeared to be compatable with the one I mentioned from B&S. To get them out, I used a long punch, supported the piece and tapped them out from the back side. To put the new ones in, support the piece and used a small piece of wood over the new bushing and tapped them in straight into the receiving part of the item"

I haven't gotten the bushings out yet. I'm hoping the T-bushings will come out like you say. I have tried to remove the roller bearings however. They are in there good. I supported the assembly on wood blocks with a hole in the middle and I used a wooden 1" dowel in the arbor press. I decided to push both bearings out the same way with the press. The first bearing moved down with a horrible creaking sound until it butt up against the other bearing. Then my wood dowel started to crack so I stopped and decided I will have to use a metal dowel to continue pushing. I'm at work and I have a lathe so I can turn down a brass rod to fit. The insides of the bearings are gone, the rollers are gone, all that remains is the steel casing (I think it's stainless) and on one of the bearings the flange has disintegrated as well so I can really only push them out one way, so my dowel has a good flange to press on. The flange is imprinted with "Bremen USA JV121" I'm hoping that is a clue to finding a new bearing. I'm a little worried about stepping up the force to drive them out. The aluminum is cracked around the bearings (they haven't opened up as I've been pushing them out as far as I can tell) Maybe I'm wrong to try to force both out the same way. I'll post pictures as soon as I am able.

"That upper shaft on mine used the oval shaped bushings like on the axels, the only difference is they only have 1 part of the same clamshell retaining mechanism as on the axels - the other half was the actual sheetmetal of the side panels.."

Mine are like that too. The 2 axle bearings and the 2 upper shaft bearings are all the same part number and are available online from sears (with a manufacturer substituted part)


"When it came to reassembling the unit, I replaced the rollpins with bolts and safety nuts."

I picked up some new roll pins, I don't know what's special about the "Drive-Lok pin" that is on the large gear on the axle? I suppose I'll try the bolts like you did on that one in particular.

"I didn't have to take the friction disc off the one I have when I had it apart but I looked at it. Looked like if you took the bushings off the ends of that swing assembly you would work the shaft out. Once out you should be able to do most anything with it. I don't honestly know what bushings it takes there (especially with the hex sided shaft) but I'm sure with a little luck you'll find something if you need it. If you do, look at both Craftsman and probably Roper parts (not sure but I think either Roper or AYP built that snowblower)."

I think I'll leave that alone this time, I've bit off a big chunk here my first time. And besides, It was the first thing that came off with only two bolts. I can remove it easily in the future to fix it up when necessary.

Oh, I picked up Mobil 1 synthetic grease. Is this good for installing inside the bushings and bearings? Also, I have an oil fill hole in the auger gear box(I've never noticed it before) what kind of oil would you put in there?

What kind of grease would you put on the hex shaft for the friction disk?

thanks again,

Jim
 

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Repair

Jim

I'm guessing you have a bearing on the friction disc assembly, but I'm not sure. I didn't encounter a single bearing in the one I rebuilt in any part I disassembled. If you have some bearings, get some digital calipers and most of the bearing houses have most everything available as long as you have the dimensions on them. That's what I did on the pulley shaft on the auger housing: around $40 through Sears for the whole piece and maybe $5 - 10 for the actual bearing through a bearing supplier.

If you have something giving or cracking trying to remove a part, best to slow down and take a 2d or 3d look at it. Maybe add some penetrating oil or even a little heat to loosen it up first. Don't know how easy parts will be to find otherwise. One other thing I've done is cool something down then hit the outside with a propane or Mas torch to warm it enough to easy the parts seperating. Same thing on reassembly, some times cooling one part and warming another makes assembly easier.

If you can get some photos and description of where the problem piece is and where the part goes, hopefully we can give you some tips on fixing it.

As far as the roll pins vs bolts I used: I had a heck of a time trying to line everything up inside the tractor unit and attempt to drive in roll pins. Even using a correct sized punch from the back side didn't help alot. I just grabbed the calipers, started checking various bolts in the bucket till I found one that was the right diameter and used that instead. Things like that drive sprocket I couldn't get the shaft out untill the sprocket was seperated from the shaft. Unfortunately its easier to get it apart than put it back together in a confined space, so bolts worked and that's what I used.

As far as grease goes, I use white grease mainly because it's suppose to work at low temp and I have it on hand plus it was listed in a couple of the owners manuals to use that. Long as your grease works at the temps you encounter, I really don't see a problem with it.

On auger gearbox lube, all the ones I have where I have the manuals say to use 30W oil so that's what I've been using. Some people use others, and some mfg recommend other weights or types. So far I have not had an issue with 30W. One machine I bought the PO had pumped the gearbox full of moly grease, might not have been bad except the gear had pushed it all to the side so I really don't know how well it was lubing the gears, especially in cold weather. The gears were ok, so when I rebuilt it, I used 30W in that one too.

Keep us posted on your progress.

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter #11
disassembly

Well I got all the bushings out. I turned a brass rod to fit inside the bearing casings (the two roller bearing type) and to have a shoulder to push the casings out with an arbor press(the first photo). The other 4 flanged bearings came out much easier pushing them out using ordinary bar stock in the arbor press as well.
As you can see in the photo, the aluminum casing is cracked. It was cracked before I pushed the bearings out but it did open up a bit from my work. I probably should have heated things up but I'm a little inexperienced here and I got impatient. There are a few more small cracks on that same end as well that are hard to see in the photo. I measured the ID on this hole and it is really bell mouth where it is cracked. I decided to swedge this area down using a 2" brass rod stock we had lying around. I bored a recess into the brass to a diameter of 1.260" (the aluminum flange was 1.280" at it's widest) and I bored a 20 degree chamfer on the end of the brass so that the larger aluminum flange could be drawn in to the hole. Then I took this to the arbor press and lubed it up and forced it onto the aluminum. It worked but It was still bell mouth a bit so I turned the brass stock again to be 1.245" and forced it onto the aluminum casing. This really swedged it down, the last photo shows the swedged aluminum and the 2" swedger behind it. The ID of the aluminum is now a little under 1" just at the end, the rest of it is about 1.002".
What I plan on doing now is to turn an aluminum collar that will fit over the cracked casing. I think I will epoxy it in place and/or push it on with the arbor (do you think epoxy will stand up or should it be soldered/brazed?). Then I can come back with a 1" mandrel and open up the part that I swedged so I can fit a bearing into the casing. (I'm used to working with non-ferrous metals as my day job is a brass instrument repair tech)

I have the oval axle bearings on order but I have yet to order replacements for this aluminum assembly. I will look into the B&S bearings Paul suggested should work for the flanged bearings. You know, I wonder if they would work for the vertical shaft as well? It's a 1" hole with a .75" shaft, if that's what you've got on your machine Paul, might that work in this case as well?
I've been wondering about bearing dimensions and the kind of tolerances they are designed for. Have you had any problems installing new bearings where the casing has opened up too much? I'm hoping the new bearings will have to be pressed in and will work like new!
btw, regarding the flanged bearings. 1 of them had an ID of .78". I'd say that was pretty worn out for a .75" shaft.
 

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Repairs

I didn't expect to see an aluminum housing but that's not the end of the world.
Cracked aluminum could be heliarc'd or as you said use a collar to reinforce it. I suppose you could even use something like a hose clamp.
If you're going to consider epoxy, consider JB Weld instead. I've used that on a number of old woodworking machine rebuilds, when the situation demands something like that, JB Weld has worked great for me.
I don't see any reason why those bushings wouldn't work in a vertical position, horizontal or anything in between. They are a 3/4" ID and IIRC 1" OD. Those were actually for a Tecumseh Auger gearbox but they worked just fine in the drive section of that machine I had the pictures on.
Here's a couple of tricks I've either used or seen someone else use. There's a thick Loctite that I've seen used on the outside of bearings where the receiving opening has too much play. It was used to help lock the bearing in place and apparently works. I've also seen JB Weld used as a thin coat on the outside of a bushing or bearing, with the same intent. Another I've seen used was the OD on a bushing knurled to increase the OD alittle if it was close but not snug in the opening. Another one where pressing 2 things together, put the receiving item in the oven at 150-200 degrees to warm it up and the bearing into the freezer to shrink it. Or reverse that if trying to get a shaft into a bearing.
Most of the axels and auger shafts I've had to put new bushings on were rusted enough the bearing or bushing wouldn't slip on. I have a knotted wire brush in an angle grinder I go over the shaft with to get all the rust and grime off. I follow that up with some emery cloth to clean it up so the bushing slides on. Once it's in place, areas that are open and don't have something immediately touching, I like to use Rustoleum primer and paint to protect them. On axels and auger shafts where there's an auger or wheel on it, I use plenty of grease to add further protection from rust.

One more thing, I was at Fleet Farm (includes farm products), a store here last weekend. I found alot of different size bushings there, both T type and straight. If you need something, that might be a source for you but better if you have something comparable in your area.

Paul
 

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Since you have a lathe you're able to make adapter tubes to install polymer bearings. Igus is the company of choice for those bearings.
igus® - Plastic Bushings, Linear Guides, Cable Carriers, Continuous-Flex Cables
Excellent products and a great company with outstanding customer service. Ok, my personal experience is with the German headquarter only. But I believe the US division will be on par.

Their bearings are way beyond ordinary cheap plastic bushings, the're really a hightech product. Much better than bronze bushings for this application. I highly recommend to give that company a call regarding their recommendation for the right bearing material.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That is really helpful information! I've used Jb weld, that sounds good. I was worried about the new bearings being loose and I didn't have any ideas. Also, cleaning up the axles with a steel bristle wheel sounds like a good idea. I'm going to scrub everything down with degreaser in a rubbermaid tub. We have a " tractor supply company" here. I wish we had a fleet farm or farm and fleet or menards but we don't. I haven't had a chance to look for flanged bearings yet, maybe tonight.

Once again, thanks for the help,

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'll check out igus bearings, but it looks like the flanged bearings I pushed out are a steel alloy. They are hard and heavy and shiny steel looking. The bearings that blew out on the speed disk shaft were stainless steel roller bearings. The flanged bearings have held up quite well considering the age of this machine and the abuse it got here in new England. I certainly do not want even high tech plastic on this short shaft. I'm concerned that bronze isn't even tough enough, the stainless roller bearings didn't do well. but I really don't have the experience to tell.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
My flange bearings are:

3/4" ID, 1" OD ,1 1/4" long, the flange is 1.260"

These look good at mfgsupply.com :

9-3222 - MTD 748-0169 Bearing | MFG Supply

graphite impregnated 3/4" ID, 1" OD, 1 15/16" long and a 1 1/8" flange

Graphite impregnated, could that be what mine are because they look like steel but they couldn't be because they'd rust to the shaft if they were, right?

The extra length would help lock them in because they would be contacting virgin material inside the aluminum housing. A little JB weld near the opening for a filler if need be.

This is what my other bearings looked like (I think, before they totally disintegrated. I had lots of little needle bearings falling out as I took it apart):

Needle BRG, Drawn Cup, Bore .75 In, .75In W - Needle Bearings - Bearings - 4XFJ4 : Grainger Industrial Supply

Needle Roller Bearing, Drawn Cup, Bore Dia. 0.75 In., Outside Dia. 1.00 In, Width 0.75 In, Max RPM 14, 700, Dynamic Load Capacity 3440 Lb, Static Load Capacity 4968 Lb, Temp Range -5 - +212 F, Cage Material Steel

Why would they have used these? What is the advantage over the flanged bearings? I think I might try these, we have a grainger nearby and they won't break the bank, but I'd like to know the reason for using them, I've seen the disadvantage, but I'm still leaning towards using a similar product because it is available.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I checked out grainger and picked up 2 needle roller bearings, $7 each #4xfj4. I also looked into the IGUS bearings. They were not in stock but I didn't realize that they come in a pack of 5 for $11. If they are appropriate then I might use them, I still am worried that they won't hold up to the abuse they'll get and I'm leaning towards something like an oil impregnated bronze or the graphite impregnated from mfg.
 

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If they are appropriate then I might use them, I still am worried that they won't hold up to the abuse they'll get...
Those you linked to would be the wrong choice. They are from one of the product lines for less demanding applications. The T500-series bearings are much better, but also already way more expensive (2 for $ 21).
Flanged Bearing, 3/4 IDx3/4 In L, Pk 2 - Linear Sleeve Bearing - Linear Motion - 2MTE7 : Grainger Industrial Supply
Their load rating is 6-times as high as for the R-series, for loads up to 21,750 psi.
The ultimate choice would be the Z-series. Load ratings same as the T500, but
Igus-website said:
extremely high compressive strength coupled with high elasticity enables iglide® Z bearings to attain their prominent features in association with soft shafts, edge loads and impacts.
Don't find them at Grainger, but you can contact Igus directly. They may be even more expensive then the T500's.

Those bearings (T500 / Z series) have a smaller OD at 7/8", so you would have to machine some adapter tubes. The tubes could be glued into the gear case providing a repair and a reinforcement at the same time.

Edit: The needle bearings can't take any axial load and definitely need a hardened shaft with a very smooth surface.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
axle

My axle is bent. I'd like to straighten it by putting it in a vise and putting a long pipe over it for leverage. Do I have to worry about snapping it off? It's bent right at a hole and I'm concerned that its been hardened and if I push too hard with leverage that it will just break, am I over thinking it?

I still have to get flanged bearings and I'm concerned about the needle bearings, ill decide what to do later.

On the weekend I found some time to degrease some parts and the housing for the transmission. I'm concerned about some of the rust and also, leaving all the steel parts like pulleys and shafts and gears to rust up. Also, do you guys recommend cleaning the chains in degreaser? What should I lube them with after degreasing and drying them or should I do that at all?
 
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