How to Install a Pinion Bearing on Your Own Without a Press
An irritating sound coming from your pinion bearing is a sign that it needs lubrication, or that it's damaged and needs replacement. The kind of sound from your pinion bearing will tell you its location. For instance, if you hear a humming sound, this is from a pinion bearing on the differential. In contrast, if you hear a grating noise, this is from the pinion on the steering rack. You need to replace a damaged pinion bearing immediately because it'll damage other parts to which it is attached. Here's how to install a pinion bearing by yourself sans a press:
Difficulty level: Moderate
Things you'll need:
- Two to three pounds of dry ice
- Dead blow hammer
- Thermal gloves
- Air gun or a long breaker bar
- Wood shim or plastic shim
- 1 ¼- inch pipe (16 inches long)
- Heat resistant gloves
- Pinion bearing races
- Crush washer
- Bearing separator
Step 1: Remove the pinion shaft by using a wrench to loosen the yoke nut. Take out the housing from the transmission as well. Once you have taken out the pinion shaft and the housing, pull out the pinion nut using an air gun or a long breaker bar.
Step 2: Wearing thermal gloves, place dry ice into a towel and put the pinion shaft into the dry ice. Then, wrap the pinion shaft with the towel and let it stay in the dry ice for about five to ten minutes.
Step 3: Still wearing thermal gloves, set up the pinion in the case and the 5th gear nut to the shaft's end.
Step 4: To prevent pinion gear damage, put some towels in the differential area to buffer the pinion shaft as it falls from the pinion housing.
Step 5: Remove the shaft from the bearing housing using a soft, dead blow hammer. Once the shaft has been removed, snip the bearing retainer cage. Doing this will enable you to install a bearing separator. After you have installed the bearing separator, allow the pinion shaft to warm. Then, use dry ice to freeze it again close to the bearing.
Step 6: Boil the pinion bearings in a pot. Put plastic shim or wood shim between the pinion bearings and the bottom of the pot.
Step 7: Take out a boiled pinion bearing from the pot and immediately drop it on the pinion shaft, which you should remove from the dry ice just before you get a pinion bearing. Make sure that the pinion bearing is in the right alignment before you drop it on the pinion shaft.
Step 8: Using a 1 ¼- inch pipe that is 16 inches long, drive the pinion bearing onto the pinion shaft. Use a dead blow hammer to get the pinion bearing in position. Make sure that the pinion bearing is in flush position at the pinion's rear.
Step 9: Put the pinion shaft once again into the dry ice in preparation for the next pinion bearing to be installed.
Step 10: Boil the housing, which should already have new pinion bearing races and a crush washer. Freeze the pinion bearing races. You can apply the same temperature differential method to the housing just before you start with the pinion shaft.
Step 11: Set up the pinion housing in the right position and install the crush sleeve.
Step 12: Install the second bearing by following the procedure in step 8.
Always wear protective gloves while carrying out this pinion bearing installation process to protect your hands from injury.