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Wheel Bearing Removal - including video! ( ST1100 ) *

Started by KoTAOW, March 21, 2008, 03:19:47 PM

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original AOW post courtesy of John OoSTerhuis:

                                ST1100 Wheel Bearing Removal
                                            by  Frank Warner, STOC 2768

Wheel bearings can usually be removed with a hammer and drift as per the procedure outlined in the Clymer and Hayne's repair manuals.  Unfortunately, the drift can be applied to only a very narrow area of the inner race, which can be a problem if a lot of force is required. 

Last summer I had to remove an old set of bearings which had been in place for about seventeen years.  I spent a frustrating afternoon rounding off the edges of several drifts. The next morning I decided on Plan "B" and, after a little measuring and head scratching, I came up with a tool that easily popped the little bugger out of it's bore.*

I do not claim this idea to be an original, I'm sure I must have seen something similar in a book or manual years ago.  I make no guarantee this will remove every recalcitrant wheel bearing it is ever applied to.  I have no idea how many times it can be used before the thin raised edge gets pulled off of the tool.  I only know that it worked well for me and I offer it to others in the hope that it may save them the irritation of futilely whacking a drift that keeps slipping off of its intended target.

This tool is used to remove one of the 20mm (I.D.) bearings from a front or rear wheel.  After removal, the inner spacer tube can be pulled out.  This will give easy access to the remaining bearing which can be driven out with a hammer and drift.  Note:  On a rear wheel, use this tool to remove the bearing on the left (brake disc) side, it's narrower than the opposite (final drive) side so it should be easier to pull out.

Tool Kit Contents: (Fig. 1)

A.   Slide Hammer *
B.   Slide Hammer Rod *
C.   Bearing Removal Tool
D.   5/16" Allen wrench segment

Instructions for use

1. Remove the outer spacer and pry out the seal.
2. Remove any grease or debris from the inside bore of the bearing and the first inch or so of the inner spacer tube.
3. Loosen the tapered threaded plug from the slotted end of the tool until it's barely engaged (1 or 2 threads). (Fig 2)

                                               Fig. 2

4. Slip the slotted end of the tool through the bore of the bearing until you feel the raised lip slip into the slight recess between the bearing and the inner spacer tube. (Fig. 3)

                                               Fig. 3 
Note: The bearing shown has been removed for clarity.

The lip is 0.005" larger than the hole so there will be some resistance.  If the tool won't compress enough for insertion, make sure the threaded plug is sufficiently loosened. 

5. Reaching through the opposite bearing, securely tighten the threaded plug with a 1/4" drive ratchet, extension, 5/16" socket, and the 5/16" Allen wrench segment that is supplied with the kit.  (3/8" drive will work if a 5/16" Hex bit socket is used instead of the Allen wrench segment.) [edit: the kit now has a long 5/16" hex-bit socket in 3/8" drive - see the tool loan link below.]

6. Support the wheel between two benches or sawhorses of a similar height.  Lay the wheel on it's side, with the bearing to be removed on the bottom, using wooden blocks between the rim and the tables. Do not allow the brake disc to contact the blocks or the tables.

7. Thread the slide hammer* rod all the way into the bottom of the tool.  Snug the locking nut up against the tool to stop it from backing out.

8. Check to make sure that the rod is perpendicular to the wheel rim. (Fig. 4)

                                               Fig. 4

9. Whack the slide hammer* downward against the large nut on the end of the rod a few times.  If the wheel is parallel to the floor and the tool is properly seated the bearing should pull straight out.  It might be a good idea to check its progress after each blow to make sure the bearing doesn't get cocked to one side.

Note 1:  Put some cardboard/carpet/plywood on the floor to protect the end of the slide rod* when it drops free.

Note 2:  Safety glasses should be worn during step # 9.

I hope these instructions are sufficient, I could have had the bearings out of ten wheels in the time it's taken me to type them out. ;)  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at

Good luck.

Frank Warner  STOC #2768

[Frank has graciously donated his special hand-made ST1100 wheel bearing remover tools to STOC. 
Go here to learn how to borrow them:

* updated info from John O:

Frank and I thought there might be another way to use the remover and thereby reduce the shipping weight and size (not use the 20" slider rod and slider weight) of the tool kit.  This is the method that was tested and confirmed by MD Turley and shown in his video.

reply from MD Turley:

BearingSTOC at my shop went fairly flawlessly... the tools are amazing.... We changed all 6 bearings in STroll without a hitch really... and yes the slide hammer is not necessary to remove the wheel bearings... the alignment tool drift into the plug system worked perfectly fine.

The tool for the Head bearing race removal is nothing short of amazing... what a great design. and the race installer takes no effort to press the new races in... fantastic.

A couple of quick notes... (and I'll update this with more detail and photos soon) There were a couple of things that were not obvious to us...
1. it might sound stupid, but the old stem bottom bearing race and seal is not used in the tapered bearing conversion... it is difficult to remove and I galled the stem a bit getting it off.  A ribbon of crocus cloth cleaned it right up.

2. It takes a bit bigger hammer / blows than I expected to drive the wheel bearings out.  The expanding tool / plug works very well and it tolerated the force better than I would have thought.  I tightened the plug to about 15l ft/lbs and it held fast to the bearing and allowed an amazing amount of force. 

Driving them in is easy but the speedo side seal requires some finesse and very little force... I used the heel of my hand on the seal installer rather than a hammer.

Thanks so much to John and Frank and the whole tool design team.

I have posted a video of the Wheel Bearing R&R here:

and from Tom Melnik:

Posted video to run on forum:

ST1100 Wheel bearing replacement