wood chipper repair

I extend the life of appliances so they can age gracefully as I am also attempting to do.  But they need attention and repair.  I previously posted how I repaired (or had someone repair) the circuit boards of the wall oven, fridge and treadmill all of which are >15 years old and still work fine.  In August 2013 I posted how I rebuilt the engine of my chipper/shredder (see picture above) after the oil plug came off, the oil escaped and the engine seized.  I believe I bought the chipper new in the 90’s and have used it regularly.  Other than the engine repair, I also replaced the fuel tank (costly part), the drive belt, and the axle bearing.

I heard loud thunking from the chipper this week and noticed that the axle bearing was broken and again needed replacement after some 10 year’s use. 

you can see the damaged bearing and the end of the axle which rotates the chipper and the shredder and needs a heavy duty bearing to service it.  some debris has pierced the bearing brace and replacement is long overdue

What I refer to as the “bearing” is actually 2 components – a housing, and a bearing inserted into the housing.

with heavy hammer and steel chisel I was able to dislocate the bearing and you see it edgewise in the housing

When I last replaced the assembly some 10 years ago I am sure the price was <$20.  Today the price >$60 on all the websites I visited.  Seems a lot.  To find lower prices it helps to use a generic sku (part #) and not the manufacturer’s sku.  I had no success.  But it occurred to me that since the housing was ok, why not just buy the bearing separately?

By magnifying the website picture of the >$60 replacement assembly I was able to identify most of the part number of the bearing.  And by googling various combinations of the number I located the standalone bearing (Timken RA100RRB wheel bearing) and on Amazon prime it was available (including tax) for $17.19.  It arrived a couple days later and matched the defective bearing.

old bearing and new bearing side by side

However, I could not press the bearing into the housing.  Youtube guidance suggested I freeze the bearing and heat the housing.  Just freezing didn’t work and I was under increasing pressure from M. to chip the accumulating pile of branches and to “”just pay the $65 and get the right part”.  So I put pride aside and visited the local tractor dealer and they fitted the 2 together, and refused payment.  With hindsight I realize I was using the wrong technique.  Instead of trying to align the bearing with the housing and then force the bearing into the housing, I should have forced it in edgewise and then rotated it.  My lesson for next time. 

new bearing in old housing installed on chipper.  you can also see the fuel tank I replaced a few years ago, since the old one leaked at the horizontal seam

It was quick work to reinstall the bearing on the chipper and today I chipped >2 hours and the new bearing appears fine.  I should mention this is the chipper I use at the Atlanta house.  North of Atlanta where I have my growing operations I use a large chipper driven by the PTO of my 60hp Case 585 tractor.