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Thread: Can you change the for bearing on a Tilite?

  1. #11
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    It's not feasible or practical to replace balls or rollers on modern bearing systems. The bearings are formed and pressed into place within specific tolerances by the manufacturer. Also, if the ball/rollers are worn on a bearing, then so is the bearing race. To rebuild a bearing properly you would need to remove the whole bearing and replace the worn parts with specific tolerances. Not worth it. TiLite's fork bearings are probably pressed in and a press would be required to remove them.

    But I have done what Curt suggested to remove bearings. Impact sockets and metal punches can sometimes work. But you need to be aware of what you're doing (and hammering on). Be careful not to damage the bearing seats.
    Last edited by ala; 07-04-2014 at 04:32 PM.

  2. #12
    Senior Member grommet's Avatar
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    Wow Curt, on the side of your leg? I can't actually picture how that works. It seems to me your leg would absorb most of the blow and you wouldn't get a good knock but since you've done it, it clearly works. I might be able to figure something out. By the way I do have some C-clip pliers. Bought them years ago and I think they are somewhere. By the way I have found that a 1" socket fits perfectly when knocking in R8 bearings. Worked great on my wheels. Nothing else did at all then I remembered to use the socket and snap, right in. Maybe I should buy a used Tilite on eBay just for the parts. Having extra forks around might be a lifesaver. That's why I really need a backup chair. Coming up on 19 years and I almost have the wheelchair thing down.

  3. #13
    Senior Member grommet's Avatar
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    I think you are right about replacing the balls. Curt's idea for replacing the bearings works so that is something I will eventually try. Thank you for the advice to be careful, it is very important advice. This is not the place to create a ding or rough spot. Slow and careful. I wish these chair weren't so expensive and you could get a package of six Tilite's at Costco but that ain't the life.

    "It's not feasible or practical to replace balls or rollers on modern bearing systems. The bearings are formed and pressed into place within specific tolerances by the manufacturer. Also, if the ball/rollers are worn on a bearing, then so is the bearing race. To rebuild a bearing properly you would need to remove the whole bearing and replace the worn parts with specific tolerances. Not worth it. TiLite's fork bearings are probably pressed in and a press would be required to remove them.

    But I have done what Curt suggested to remove bearings. Impact sockets and metal punches can sometimes work. But you need to be aware of what you're doing (and hammering on). Be careful not to damage the bearing seats. "

  4. #14
    I'm trying to get a new Right fork for my chair as there is a lot of slop in it because I lived with a bad bearing for so long it wore the hole larger where the caster shaft goes into the fork. My problem is the serial number sticker on my chair peeled off and is gone so I don't have it. Called a couple suppliers yesterday and the first thing they wanted was that number. Best I could do was send them a picture of the fork and hopefully they will get back to me Monday with the holiday weekend and all. For now I just cant go very fast as the right wheel flutters pretty bad with all the end play it has.
    "Life is about how you
    respond to not only the
    challenges you're dealt but
    the challenges you seek...If
    you have no goals, no
    mountains to climb, your
    soul dies".~Liz Fordred

  5. #15
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    grommet...

    Buying a second chair off eBay can be a great idea. I did it recently. But beware. There is a lot of junk out there. TiLite's eBay store is good. Look at the pictures carefully on the used demos. TiLite's been using smaller pics lately. You can't always see the wear, unless you look close. Still, their used chairs are probably all mechanically good. They all run over 7 hundred dollars now. You can get an awesome new chair, if you can find one that fits you well enough. My new ZR would cost about $5000 or more from Sportaid with all the cool extras. I paid $1200+$56 shipping.

    Ki Mobility also sells new rigid chairs for as little as $695, and that includes shipping.

  6. #16
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    Friction fit bearings like your fork bearings should be set in using a wooden dowel, or drift block, or really any scrap of wood with a square end. Metal tools can easily damage the seals or race housings. Even minor damage will accelerate failure of the bearing assembly. set it by tapping around the outer perimeter which is the friction surface.

    In a shop setting, you would remove the old bearing with a slide hammer. In real life, the easiest way is to just destructively disassemble the bearing. Easily done on fork bearings with a tapered awl and a small hammer. Use the point of the awl to poke out the bearing seal. Then insert the point in the triangular space between two adjacent ball bearings and the inner race/housing. Tap the awl through while twisting it side-to-side. Once the inner race is sufficiently deformed it wil pop out or fall through, releasing the ball bearings. With the inner race and ball bearings removed, it is quite simple to deform and remove the outer race and housing. Don't be too worried about scratching the surface of the housing. It's not a working surface, only the inside race rotates. Clean the housing well before reassembly. Do not use oil (wd40, machine oil, etc.) to lubricate the housing.If it gets in the bearing, it will dilute the bearing grease. If you feel the need for a lubricant, sparingly use graphite, or vaseline, or automotive wheel bearing grease. If the housing is clean, you really shouldn't need lube.
    Your first time, you will probably not be aggressive enough. But once you get the feel for it, it's really easy. And fast.

  7. #17
    Senior Member grommet's Avatar
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    Sorry about your sticker. First thing I did when I got my TR was memorize the serial number. It comes out of me faster than my phone number. I got tired of suppliers asking me for the number and having to get down and find it while I was on the phone. I am curious to know the price they give you for the new fork. Maybe you could let us know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Curt Leatherbee View Post
    I'm trying to get a new Right fork for my chair as there is a lot of slop in it because I lived with a bad bearing for so long it wore the hole larger where the caster shaft goes into the fork. My problem is the serial number sticker on my chair peeled off and is gone so I don't have it. Called a couple suppliers yesterday and the first thing they wanted was that number. Best I could do was send them a picture of the fork and hopefully they will get back to me Monday with the holiday weekend and all. For now I just cant go very fast as the right wheel flutters pretty bad with all the end play it has.

  8. #18
    Senior Member grommet's Avatar
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    Stubby, thanks for the great info. I feel dumb not thinking of the slidehammer. Thanks for detailed explanation on how to do the work. I copied and saved them. :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Stubby View Post
    Friction fit bearings like your fork bearings should be set in using a wooden dowel, or drift block, or really any scrap of wood with a square end. Metal tools can easily damage the seals or race housings. Even minor damage will accelerate failure of the bearing assembly. set it by tapping around the outer perimeter which is the friction surface.

    In a shop setting, you would remove the old bearing with a slide hammer. In real life, the easiest way is to just destructively disassemble the bearing. Easily done on fork bearings with a tapered awl and a small hammer. Use the point of the awl to poke out the bearing seal. Then insert the point in the triangular space between two adjacent ball bearings and the inner race/housing. Tap the awl through while twisting it side-to-side. Once the inner race is sufficiently deformed it wil pop out or fall through, releasing the ball bearings. With the inner race and ball bearings removed, it is quite simple to deform and remove the outer race and housing. Don't be too worried about scratching the surface of the housing. It's not a working surface, only the inside race rotates. Clean the housing well before reassembly. Do not use oil (wd40, machine oil, etc.) to lubricate the housing.If it gets in the bearing, it will dilute the bearing grease. If you feel the need for a lubricant, sparingly use graphite, or vaseline, or automotive wheel bearing grease. If the housing is clean, you really shouldn't need lube.
    Your first time, you will probably not be aggressive enough. But once you get the feel for it, it's really easy. And fast.

  9. #19
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    Also...
    If you don't have a vise to hold the fork, you can improvise with a tin can, or small bucket or pan. Find a can that's slightly larger than the caster wheel. Leave the wheel on the fork and stand it upright in the can, with the leading side of the fork up against one edge of the can. Stuff rags tightly on both sides. Not as firm as a vise, but works quite well in a pinch...
    Last edited by Stubby; 07-05-2014 at 04:22 AM. Reason: stupid Dragon...

  10. #20
    The new Fork is $149.00 each. I found a pic one that looks just like mine from Southwest Medical, they are working to make sure it's the right one. I'm going to email Tilite to try and get the serial number of my chair as I bought it from them as a demo 3 years ago, hopefully they maintain records that long. It was off ebay for 500 bucks.
    "Life is about how you
    respond to not only the
    challenges you're dealt but
    the challenges you seek...If
    you have no goals, no
    mountains to climb, your
    soul dies".~Liz Fordred

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