One side of my swamp cooler isn't spinning right, it's like it's spinning the "whole thing" instead of just the shaft inside. I presume that it's a "seized bearing" on that side. But in trying to remove the old bearing off the shaft, there's a reason the whole thing is spinning, it's really seized on hard. How to get off a very stuck one?

  • 1
    I use a angle grinder if the surface is damaged from a frozen bearing using a gear puller or trying to hammer it out may ruin the shaft, I use thin blades to cut the block off getting down to the inner race then I grind it until it starts to discolor, meaning it is getting thin, they will uuually crack at that point with no additional shaft damage, note some pillow blocks have set screws on the sleeve of the inner race make sure that screw is backed out as it may be holding the shaft in place. – Ed Beal Jun 8 '19 at 15:08

Oof, what a pain, I had a Champion swamp cooler with the same issue, except the collar was also rusted on. There's absolutely no way of getting leverage outside of possibly removing the entire squirrel cage, but then I'd be chancing the other side not coming off after the effort of removing the pulley wheel etc.

Wasn't sure what I was going to do but after reading your post I decided to give the hacksaw option a try, $10 and 15 minutes later and everything was off! So happy I found your post, would have been more money or a technician coming out otherwise.

I cut enough of a groove into each segment I was removing to insert a good flat head screw driver then gave it a little twist and they popped off really easily.

  • Yikes I'm not sure what to do with a stuck collar. Maybe could get a pulley puller on there, or hacksaw it like you did! :) – rogerdpack May 21 '20 at 1:59

Most common answers I've seen from around the interwebs: use a "pulley puller" (aka "jaw puller" -- you can rent them from your local auto store for free) tried it on the bearing, it removed the outer part of bearing but didn't remove the small copper core that seats around the shaft. Which of course must be removed. Might work if it's not seized entirely (or pull the thing off by working it back and forth as you slide it off). You can even buy a small pulley puller from home depot, but like the autozone one, it works great on pulleys, not on bearings, which is what this question is about.

Some people have luck with using penetrating oil. Didn't seem to be enough in my case (gravity isn't working in favor of the penetrating oil in this case). For some it works. Maybe theirs isn't seized totally, that's why.

Some recommend using heat. I didn't try that.

I did it the old fashioned way, with a hacksaw. Remove any collar with a hex screw. Carefully cut a groove in the bearing all the way down but trying not to cut into the shaft. Use a screwdriver every so often to try and pry the sides apart and see if you've cut it through enough. After cutting, the two sides can be pried apart and bearing removed. Clean shaft with "fine wet sand paper" or "emery cloth" before installing the next one.

  • 1
    I have always found that once you have "knicked" the bearing surface sufficiently to get through the surface hardening then a decent chisel hit smartly with a hammer will crack the bearing race easy especially as the race is under some tension... takes seconds instead of ages... – Solar Mike Jun 8 '19 at 6:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.