This article originally appeared on ScooterDad.com and has been reposted here for posterity.
Having trouble removing bearings from your metal core wheels? Try using the bearing spacer trick!
Everyone wants metal core wheels because of their superior strength, performance, and durability. However, they have one disadvantage over plastic core wheels: they are much more difficult to get bearings in and out of because they do not flex at all. There are some tricks to removing bearings from metal core wheels and I’m going to show you one method that utilizes the bearing spacer.
“But ScooterDad, what if I don’t have a bearing spacer in my wheel?” Well, then you haven’t been paying attention when I say ALWAYS use a bearing spacer in your wheel! :o) But don’t worry; I’ll give you an optional trick for this later on in the article. You really should have bearing spacers in your wheels. If you don’t now, take the opportunity to order some heavy duty bearing spacers from Inward Scooters and install them the next time you have bearings out of your wheels. Or, if you buy Phoenix Pro Scooters wheels, then your wheels come pre-loaded with bearings and spacers!
Regarding the tools listed below, I can’t stress enough that you should not be using L-shaped allen keys to work on your scooters. These are the biggest cause of stripped bolts due to their inability to apply proper pressure and leverage on the wrench at the correct angle to the bolt head. You can buy a full set of T-handle metric allen keys for less than $10 at Harbor Freight and I highly recommend that you do so.
Holding the wheels and wrenches in place while hammering can be tricky. Be careful and have a parent help you if you’re having difficulty.
The following instructions describe a potentially dangerous procedure and should not be performed by children or anyone not comfortable with tools. If you are a kid, have a parent do this for you. Improper use of tools could result in severe injury. Always follow tool instructions and wear safety equipment.
Please read all of these instructions and watch the video before attempting this technique.
What You Need
In order to remove your bearings using this method, you’ll need a few things:
- Metal core wheel with bearings for removal WITH spacer
- An extra wheel or a block of wood
- Scooter axle
- Mallet or hammer
- T-handle allen key wrenches of various size, such as these: http://www.harborfreight.com/10-piece-t-handle-metric-hex-key-set-37862.html
Here’s how you can remove your bearings from metal core wheels using the spacer trick, also shown in the video below:
- Take a 5mm T-handle allen key and insert it into your bearings and place the tip on the spacer between the two bearings.
- Push the T-handle sideways at an angle against the outer edge of the bearing like a lever so that it pops the spacer out of alignment from the bearings.
- Try to get the spacer as far out of alignment as possible so that when you look through the bearings you can see as much of the spacer as possible.
- Lay the wheel on a firm, flat surface, like a table, with one side propped up on another wheel or a wood block about the same thickness as a wheel. This will allow room for your down-side bearing to pop out of the wheel.
- Insert a 6mm T-handle allen key into your bearing so that it rests on the edge of the spacer.
- Use a mallet or hammer to hit the handle end of the T-handle. Start gently and tap it increasingly more firm. This will drive the spacer into the bearing pushing it out the other side of the wheel.
- Once you hear the bearing pop out, set the removed bearing and spacer aside and flip the wheel over placing it in the same position as you just had it.
- Take your axle and place the head inside the wheel against the remaining bearing. Because the bolt head is thicker than the bearing hole, your axle won’t be able to slide through.
- Hold your axle steady on the center of the bearing and tap the opposite end of the axle with your mallet or hammer being careful not to damage the threads on your axle. If you’re worried about damaging your axle, you can just use an even larger T-handle allen key that won’t fit through the bearing. Increase the firmness of your taps until your bearing pops out the other side of the wheel just like the first one did.
Spaced Out Space Case
If you don’t have a bearing spacer, you can use a similar method shown in this video, but you’ll have to start at step #4 and at step #5 you’ll have to place the T-handle at an angle inside the bearings so that it goes through the first bearing and catches on the edge of the down-side bearing. This can be difficult to do, but hopefully you have a spacer in your wheels already and you won’t need to use this method.
Hardcore Metal Core
Did I mention that you should be using a bearing spacer? Okay, okay, I know. I’m driving the point home because it improves performance and longevity of your bearings and makes it a lot easier to remove them using this trick. Removing bearings shouldn’t be a nightmare but rather a quick step in the overall maintenance of your scooter. Be sure to share this tip with your friends!
Good luck and have fun!