The continueing history of the
Warner/GMCnet
Front Wheel Bearing Puller.




If you want to buy one of these pullers, contact Tom Warner at:

3692 Hogan Road
Vernon Center NY 13477
315-829-3398

 

$200 price includes the split rings, OTC927 attchments and postage anywhere in the U.S.



Project History
All messages are by Thomas Warner unless otherwise noted.

1-26-99
I am assuming that everyone has the same problem that I am having and that is finding a front bearing puller that works, does not destroy the bearings and is reasonably priced.

Finally got time to check on producing a good wheel puller/installer for the front wheel bearings. I have a friend that has a large machine shop full of CNC machines and have talked him into doing them for me. The set will be very close to the Winterfeldt set if any of you have seen it. I have found a source for the OTC 927 bearing puller for $75 + postage (maybe cheaper in quantities of 10 or more), and already have ordered one and it is nice. This is a very rugged unit and can be used to pull harmonic balancers etc also. The rest of the tool set consisting of three pieces, split collar, small insert for pulling the bearing and another tapped insert for reinstalling the bearing. From our preliminary discussions he can make the three pieces for about $100 to include black coating to prevent rust. That would put the total bearing removal tool at less than $200 including postage.

If I can get 9 others to buy I will place an order with him for 10 units. Anyone still interested?


1-27-99
I went to the web site http://www.california.com/~eagle/, ,and looked at the Thoma tool and have to tell you I was not impressed. It is to complicated (2 many pieces) and entirely hand made and welded together. I am not trying to knock it by any means. It works. I like something simple and one that I can take with me and use, and that is very strong. The Winterfeldt tool in my opinion is much superior to the Thoma tool in that respect. Winterfeldt was smart in using the OTC 927 puller as the center of his bearing puller, it is rugged.

If you have a copy of the GMC motorhome News, June 1996 number 8, pages 8-11 features an article on front bearing removal and uses the Winterfeldt tool.
The OTC puller that it uses exerts up to 7 1/2 tons of force. Far exceeding anything you will ever need and far heavier than the Thoma tool. In addition it can be used to remove the harmonic balancers and other things.

The winterfeldt tool is simple and anyone can use it the first time. No color coded parts, no trying to figure out how to set it up. I do not have a Winterfeldt tool so can not copy it exactly. I do have a unit almost exactly like it that a club member machined and it is very nice. The difference is that I will have all of the parts black coated to prevent rust.

I am going to have one made for me, I am not trying to sell them to make money (they will be sold at my cost), just offering to have one made for other owners of the GMC at a cost that absolutely cannot be beat. You will be getting a $550 puller for under $200. Any number less than 10 units will cost me $375 for the split ring and two adapters and then $75 for the OTC puller. Your choice.

If anyone wants a set I have to make a decision soon. Send me your name and a firm committment. This unit is mandatory if you service you own wheel bearings.


1-27-99
Front Wheel Bearing Puller
I just did my front wheel bearing using Ken Thoma's ($500.00) Puller set. Just a piece of cake, not complicated at all. Don't know why anyone would worry about strength of his tool design. They have been used for many years w/o failure. People talk about 7 to 10 ton press required is way out in left field. If every thing is square, not much force is required to remove or install using Ken's method w/impact tool. More damage will be done with high forces than impact tool concept. Thoma's tools are great. He has my confidence w/o question.
(Duane Simmons)


1-27-99
Just received two e-mails from the mailing list that says there is to much controversey over the winterfeldt bearing puller. I am puzzled at what motivated the comments.

From what I remember the front wheel bearing maintenance is the number 1 topic over the last several months.

Am I mistaken in believing that this is a forum for one GMC owner to help another? Are we all looking at performing maintenance on our coaches so that they run trouble free for long periods of time? Are we looking at better and cheaper ways to perform the maintenance on our Front wheel bearings every 25K miles and hopefully learn to do it ourself,do it right, or at least understand how to do it so we don't get ripped off by an unscrupulous repair shop?

How many of you can personally afford the $500-$550 for a bearing puller to do the job right. Almost every GMC owner that I have talked to would like to have a puller of their own. This is not a contest to see which bearing puller is the best. I have access to the technology and machines to produce one for us. I have offered to help others to get a first class puller for $200 or less.

How do others feel? Are we willing to stop this kind of interchange?


1-28-99
I do not have a set of Winterfeldts tools, have never seen them except in the GMC Motorhome news, AND AM NOT COPYING THEM! I see no problem with the set I am having manufactured by a friend. I am not going into business. Does that mean that GM should stop making cars since Ford was first?


At 06:58 PM 1/28/99 -0500, you wrote:
The need for one while travelling brought up an interesting thought. Most of these tools seem to be designed in such a way that the bearing almost needs to be in perfect condition to use the tool (ie to keep it straight, to catch the race, etc).
This requirement is fine when the tool is used for its intended purpose (preventative replacing/greasing). I would expect that if the tool were used during travel, however, that the bearing would have failed or at least started to fail. I wonder how effective these tools would be with a partially/totally failed bearing. Anyone have any experience with this?

The bearing tool that I am suggesting will either pull it off or break it.


1-28-99
Guys you have to understand that the Thoma and Winterfeldt tools are handmade one at a time. That is what makes them expensive. I talked to Darryl Winterfeldt and he told me that he is lucky to sell 2 a year.

I am luck enough to have a friend with 20 CNC machines and everything one could want to make parts. Ij addition I can buy tools at a large discount. The OTC puller by itself is at the lowest $115 anywhere. I get it for $75 Plus shipping.

I have no intention of going into business and competing against anyone. I am willing to furnish them to the members of this thread for exactly what they cost me, $75 plus $5 shipping plus the machining and a little to cover the cost to ship the whole shebang to each person. If Winterfeldt wants them thats OK also. If he gives me one of his split rings and the adapters I will have it copied exactly and than will let him buy as many as he wants for less than he can make them.

We all have a common problem. We want the tools but don't have the big money to pay for them. We are doing each other a favor because of our common
bond the GMC Motorhome.


1-30-99
The OTC 927 puller. It is not a 7 1/2 ton puller. It is a 10 ton puller. specification are: max reach 8 1/4"(thats the lenght that it will pull a bearing off the hub and press it back), spread of the legs (each 6 3/4" long and will fit the split rings), 2 1/8 to 7 1/4", main screw size 3/4"-16X12", first 1/2" is threaded 5/8"-18. Puller weighs 7 1/2# by itself. The split rings and adapters will weigh about the same. This is a very rugged unit.


2-4-99
This thing has gotten larger than I ever expected. Where I originally thought that it would be difficult to get 10 people to buy a puller so I could get the price down to a reasonable level, there are now 35. Can we reach 50?????

Someone is sure missing the boat not catering to this market. makes me think of what Lee Iacocca said to the unions some years ago. I have plenty of $20 an hour jobs. I got no $35 an hour ones.

I don't know if I should assume this but here goes. I think that there are a lot of people that want to service their coaches the right way. However price can sometimes get in the way. If each of these people bought some other puller it would cost over $17,500 for the 35 sets. Together we have a lot of purchasing power and have got the total price to less than $7000, maybe a lot less.

Anyway you look at it patricks site has saved us over $10,000. That will buy everyone a lot of parts.

And lastly please no one send me any money until I have all of the details worked out. I still want to get a new prototype built with the changes I want and make sure that it works perfectly.


2-24-99
From my experience with the toronado front end, the number of individuals and garages that had the proper seal drivers, bearing removers and reinstallation equipment was 0. Few understood how to properly install a seal, what it did and the proper depth to install it.the large socket is the primary tool of choice when installing new bearings and seals, sometimes with a press but more times with a hammer. Ring a bell with anyone? I have to admit that I did it that way at one time because I didn't know any better.

I witnessed mechanics using a bearing packer tool that was air powered, brought from under a work table, with greasy hands that attracts sand like a magnet. In addition the tool was covered with dust and probably contaminated with sand from the floor and than pack grease in a new bearing with it. I would never, never, never,recommend the use of such a tool to pack bearings. It only takes a few grains of sand in the grease to destroy a bearing fast.

This was my motivation for having the proper bearing puller and reinstaller manufactured at a reasonable price, so the bearings can be installed and removed correctly by anyone. Everyone that is going to service their own front ends needs a seal driver and heads for it very economically bought from J.C. Whitney or Summit.

Bottom line is when you install new bearings in your front end, clean everything carefully before you start and don't do anything that could possibly introduce dirt into the bearing, knuckle or hub. Use clean fresh grease and always handle it with clean hands, and keep the grease stored in a closed container high off the floor. Keep the floor covered with a heavy piece of cardboard or something similar so dirt can't be picked up by accident. I even wet the floor down.

I think that the main cause of bearing failure in our coached can be traced to wrong bearings, incorrectly installed with the incorrect grease, and contaminated. Take your pick. I think if we all install new bearings using this procedure we can forget about bearing failures.


5-7-99
The axial clearance of the bearing is marked on the spacer that fits between the two bearings. It should read .095" of clearance, and will be hand written since it is measured for each specific set of bearings.For this reason, do not mix up the bearings pieces (outer bearing set, spacer, and inner bearing set)anything less is to tight unless you know how to calculate or measure the axial clearance AFTER you press the bearings on the hub AND insert it in the knuckle.

Why is that important you ask. Good question. The outside of the hub should measure from 2.0015" to 2.0020". The inside diameter of the bearing that I have, measures 1.970". If I were to press that bearing on a hub with maximum outside dimension of 2.0020" there would be a.032" interference fit. Thats pretty tight and would reduce the axial clearance of the bearing by some amount. How much? I don't really know, however the cinnabar engineers have run tests on the various bearings with maximum and minimum dimensions for both the hub, knuckle and bearing and decided that in the worst case of each, an axial clearance of .095" is the minimum clearance that can be safely used.

Bottom line. I thrust their engineering expertise and chose to follow their recommendations. If you have the expertise to measure each dimension (hub, knuckle, each bearing, and know how to calculate the interference bearings fit that results from different dimensions, go for it. I don't have the time yet.


5-8-99
In my opinion, the purchase of a front wheel bearing puller is one of the most sensible purchases you can make, whether you are doing the work on your own coach or having someone else do it. Very, very few individuals or shops have the proper tools to remove and reinstall the front wheel bearings correctly. I have seen shops use cold chisels taking bearings off the hubs or Toronados (it works but one careless slip can ruin your hub), use a torch to melt it off (careless use of to much heat could change the grain structure of the hub material and weaken it). Why take a chance? If you have your hubs serviced by someone else, buy the puller and let them use it.If you also buy a copy of the June 1996 issue of GMC motorhome news than he will have a step by step procedure to follow complete with picutes.

Netters have gotten together and are having the wheel pullers manufactured for a complete cost of $180 a set. You will never wear it out.


Bearing Puller Instructions
(article from June 6 GMC Motorhome News)

I do not live close to any of the GMC Motorhome Service Facilities, and no one in my area has the tools and the capability to replace my front wheel bearings. The GMC Motorhome Maintenance Schedule calls for their replacement every 25,000 miles, but the X-7525 Maintenance Manual says that special tools are required.
The Kent Moore tools listed in the maintenance manual are no longer available, and the Oldsmobile and Cadillac dealers in my area either can't find them or never had them. Can you tell me where to get the tools and how to do the job? Can you suggest a reasonable alternative short of driving to Sandusky, Michigan?

Finding a competent service facility that is properly equipped to replace front wheel bearings on a GMC Motorhome has always been a problem, Kevin. That is one of the reasons for failures. If the proper parts and procedures aren't used, the end result is generally unsatisfactory. Furthermore, the front wheel bearings have to be removed to replace the front disc-brake rotors, and most brake shops do not have that capability either.
The Kent Moore tools shown on page 3A-10 of the X-7525 Maintenance Manual were superseded with the tools shown on page 3A-11 of the X-7725 Maintenance Manual Supplement and in Service Bulletin 76-IM-15. However, these tools disappeared a long time ago. Many of them broke, including a set purchased by Darrel Winterfeldt of Longmont, Colorado.
At the time, Winterfeldt was a tool engineer for IBM Corporation. Instead of replacing his broken tool, he designed a heavy-duty puller ring that will remove bearings that would break the Kent Moore J26559 puller ring. The Winterfeldt puller ring uses an Owatonna 927 puller that is used in many shops to remove harmonic balancers and other parts. This eliminated the need for the Kent Moore J8433 puller-bar assembly.
To add to the utility of the Owatonna 927 puller, Winterfeldt designed a pilot plug that is inserted in the spline hole in the hub and allows the puller to press a new bearing on the hub. This latter feature totally eliminates the need for a bearing press, and it permits a user to remove and replace front wheel bearings just about anywhere, using the tire and wheel assembly laid flat as a workbench!
The Winterfeldt puller ring, center pad and spline-hole pilot plug sells for $420. The Owatonna 927 puller can be purchased from any quality tool store or with the Winterfeldt tools for $85.To obtain these tools write Winterfeldt, 5468 Gunbarrel Road, Longmont, Colorado 80503; telephone 303-530-4995.

Once you have the proper tools to remove and replace the front wheel bearings, the job is not difficult, but it is a bit time consuming. First, expose the axle nuts on both sides of the motorhome by removing the wheel covers and the chrome dust covers, if applicable. Remove the cotter keys and loosen the axle nuts with a 3/4-inch drive socket wrench.
Block the rear wheels and raise the motorhome so the front wheels are just off the ground. Install safety stands and remove the front wheels. Doing one side at a time, remove the front brake caliper and tie it to the upper control arm with a piece of wire so it does not hang on the front brake hose.
Remove the three bolts holding the triangle-shaped retainer to the knuckle. An older Craftsman 1/2 by 9/16 box wrench has just the right angle to remove these bolts. Let the bolts drop and retrieve them when the hub is removed.
Loosen the axle nut until it almost comes off. Attach a plate across two stud bolts on the hub, and use a slide hammer to remove the hub as shown on page 3A10 of Maintenance Manual X-7525 or X-7725. In most cases the hub will bang out to the axle nut and can be removed by hand when the nut is removed. However, on rare occasions, the ball joints and outer tie-rod end may have to be loosened, and the entire hub and knuckle assembly will have to be removed.
Once the hub has been removed from the knuckle, lay one of the wheels fiat on the floor outside up and mount the hub on the wheel with the bearings up. Use two lug nuts finger tight to secure the hub to the wheel. With your thumbs or a prying tool, push the old 401024 outer seal down against the retainer. Install the puller ring in the opening between the seal and the bottom of the bearing. The ring should clamp without binding.


Attach the Owatonna puller to the puller ring and pull the bearing off the hub. Remove the seal and the retainer.
Clean the hub and the female spline and measure the hub. The hub should not be tapered or have a step in it. It is a ground dimension and should uniformly measure 2.0015 to 2.0020 inches. If it is tapered, has a step in it or is smaller than 2.0015 inches, it should be replaced with a new 701998 hub.
Inspect and measure the brake rotor. If necessary, have it machined or replace it. Now is the time, because the bearings get in the way.
Take a break and use a 3/8-16 NC tap to chase the retainer-bolt threads m the knuckle. Clean the retainer bolts on a wire-brush wheel so they will virtually jump into their holes. They are very hard to reinstall unless you have long fingers!
While you are working on the knuckle, inspect the CV boot and consider replacing it and re packing the CV joint. Again, now is the time, because many of the boots are very old and they are easy to replace when the hub has been removed.
Remove the old 401026 inner seal from the knuckle and clean the knuckle and the male axle spline. Inspect the knuckle for grooves and steps. If it appears to have been damaged by a bad bearing, replace it with a new 700830 (NH) or 700831 (LH) knuckle. The knuckle should uniformly measure 3.2510 to 3.2525 inches. A knuckle bore can be 0.0015 inches out of round if the average diameter is within the tolerance. However, the minimum diameter must not be less than 3.2510 inches. Knuckle measurements are best made with a three-point, cylinder bore measuring tool when the axle shaft is not in the way.
If the knuckle has been removed, a new 401026 seal can be installed from the back side of the knuckle. However, the knuckle is not usually removed and the seal is more difficult to install through the bearing cavity. Maintenance manuals X-7525 and X-7725 show the seal being installed using Kent Moore tool J26485, which is no longer available.
While many GMC Motorhome owners have used old spacers and other tools to insert a new 401026 seal, a properly sized aluminum cylinder with a reduced diameter on one end does the best job, and it will not damage the seal. Furthermore, when inserting the seal through the bearing cavity, it must be inserted beyond the bearing stop. It must be inserted so the back of the seal is almost flush with the back side of the knuckle. Otherwise it will not ride on the face of the CV joint and keep dust and water out of the bearing. The 401026 seal has two lips. They both must be lubricated and they both must be in contact with their sealing surfaces when the job is completed.
Carefully unpack a new 12351677 bearing set. Note that each bearing has a number and one of the cones and cups have the letter A after the number. This numbering system should prevent a cone from being installed in the wrong cup so the bearing match will be maintained. Pressure-pack each bearing in the set with GM high-temperature, disc-brake bearing grease, part number 1051344 or equivalent. Reassemble the bearing set and prepare it for the hub.


Clean and install the retainer on the hub with its opening up. Debur the outer edge of a new 401024 seal with a file and lightly grease its lip. Install the seal on the hub with its opening up and push it down to the retainer. Press the bearing set on the hub until it bottoms on its stop. Remove the pressing tool, and pull the 401024 seal up until it contacts the bearing.
Install the hub in the knuckle. It will usually push in, but sometimes it needs to be encouraged with a 2 x 4 block and a small mallet. Pull the axle shaft through and install the axle washer and nut. Tighten the nut but do not try to apply torque until the wheels can be partially lowered.
Install the three retainer bolts and keep a civil tongue! Install new disc-brake pads if needed and reinstall the brake caliper. If new brake pads are installed, make sure that new metal bushings and silicone rubber grommet are used and thoroughly lubricated with the grease supplied. These parts allow the caliper to float and make the pads wear evenly.
After doing both sides, install the front wheels, remove the safety stands and partially lower the front end so the wheels will resist turning. Torque the axle nuts to 140 ft-lbs and attempt to install a new, properly sized cotter pin. If a slot in an axle nut does not line up with one of the two holes in an axle shaft, tighten the axle nut until a slot lines up with a hole. Final torque should not exceed 280 ft-lbs.
Install the chrome dust covers and the wheel covers if applicable. Completely lower the front of the motorhome and remove the blocks from the rear wheels.
Finally, can I suggest a reasonable alternative short of driving to Sandusky, Michigan? The answer is yes. If you don't want to invest in the tools but you or your local mechanic can remove the hubs or the hub and knuckle assemblies, put them in a box for UPS shipment. Telephone the nearest GMC Motorhome Service Facility listed on page 14 and arrange to have the bearings replaced. UPS delivers hubs to Sandusky every day, and we charge one shop hour to replace the bearings on two hubs. The suggested list price for the 12351677 bearing set and a 401024 and a 401026 seal is $80 per side. A typical bill is $205 plus shipping. If the hubs or rotors need to be replaced and you have not so indicated, the Service Facility will contact you with a revised estimate. The turnaround time is usually one day. If new hubs, knuckles or rotors are required, the bill will be higher.
I drove my 1976 GMC Motorhome out of the factory in December 1975. It now has 80,000 miles on it, and I have changed the front wheel bearings three times. The hubs and knuckles are the original hubs and knuckles, and they all measured within the above tolerances the last time I changed the bearings. Proper preventive maintenance saves a lot of time, money and grief.


5-8-99
Each of you may order your own OTC-927 from "The Tool Source", Fred Keppers is your contact there via e-mail at: "FRED B KEPPERS" TOOLSOURCEONLINE@CLEVELANDNET.COM, or via telephone at 800-344-9777. Cost for the OTC-927 puller attachment is $75 plus postage of about $5.


Instructions for OTC-927 Push-Puller
(
Included with tool)


The Push-Puller is designed, to quickly remove or install gears, bearings, pulleys, couplings, sprockets, shafts, and other press-fitted parts without damage to the part. A variety of adapters, attachments, and legs may be used with the push-puller to apply either pushing or pulling force.

Assembly
1. Consider how the tool will be used, and determine whether the forcing screw will be pushing or pulling.
* If the forcing screw will be pushing (removing a gear from a shaft):


a. Insert the forcing screw into the cross block with the forcing nut and washer assembled below the cross block. See Figure 1.
b. Slide a leg assembly into each end of the cross block with the sliding plates and nuts assembled above the cross block and the washers assembled below the cross block. See Figure 1.
* If the forcing screw will be pulling (removing a shaft from a housing):


a. Insert the forcing screw into the cross block with the forcing nut and washer assembled above the cross block. See Figure 2.
b. Slide a leg assembly into each end of the cross block with the nuts and washers assembled above the cross block and the sliding plates assembled below the cross block. See Figure 2.
! Caution: To help prevent personal injury caused by tool failure, the sliding plates MUST be assembled on the opposite side of the cross block from the forcing nut.

2. Regularly clean and lubricate the forcing screw to ensure the correct operation of the tool.


5-10-99
Buy the Timken bearings from any of the regular sorces as long as they assured you that they have .0095" of axial clearance. when you receive them visually check them to ensure that the spacer has that clearance etched on the bearing spacer provided for the two matched bearings. don't mix bearing parts or you will be back to square one.Gateway has since raised their prices from $77 a set to I beleive $80

Cinnabar 1-800-720-2227
Buskirk 1-800-715-1133
Golby 1-800-872-1462
Gateway 1-800-654-0374
Alex sirum 941-763-1121


8-4-99
For all of you (54 of you)that ordered the puller for the front wheel bearings, they will be finally finished the end of today. I just got back from inspecting them. Took my front hub and bearing assembly over and sampled several of the pullers to make sure everything was as designed. They all worked flawlessly.

I think everyone will be pleased with the quality of the materials and finish. I believe this puller is stronger than anything currently on the market. As I said earlier it is made of a solid block of 4140 pre-hardened steel and than machined. the finish is just beautiful.

I should be able to start shipping them Monday the 9th.

Sorry this took so long but as I explained earlier my friend was doing us a favor and he is in business to make money. He had to run the big orders first. Will send a list of UPS tracking numbers so everyone can track their shipment if they want.


8-4-99
The closest thing to this tool is the Winterfeldt tool for $500+. The bearing puller that I designed is even stronger than the winterfeldt tool We purchased 55 front wheel bearing pullers for $175 each. A nice savings for netters.


8-5-99
Started with a 6' diameter 2" long piece of 4140 pre-hard steel, which is very hard. cut it across its diameter, drilled and tapped for outside cap screws, than turned the bottom in three sections, turned the inside in three sections, drilled the 5/8" rod holes, and polished everything.Than made the inserts and the buttons separately. Lots of machine work even for a CNC.

But the tool is beautiful!


8-11-99

If there is enough interest my friend will make another 50 of them for the same price as before. There will be an extra $10 charge for the packing and shipping this time. The shipping averaged almost $9 each for them. The pullers averaged 9# each. The total this time would be $110 instead of $100. Still a bargain.


8-31-99
I had 68 bearing pullers manufactured and all are finally shipped except the last 13.

Just thought of something after talking to another GMC'er today. I went through a lot of trouble and time designing the puller for manufacture by CNC and then prototyping and testing and finally packing and shipping. In addition I made a deal with the SPX Corp to get the OTC 927 at dealers cost of $75 instead of normal $115. I did not do it for the money as anyone that has seen the puller can testify to. We got them manufactured at cost.

I would expect anyone that no longer needs this tool to sell it to another GMC owner at no more than what you paid for it. I think that is only fair to everyone. I guess I would be upset if I saw one of my pullers on the market at a high price.

I had more orders for pullers than my friend had material for. I have been asked by additional people if more can be made. They can be but not in small quantities as the cost than becomes prohibitive. If anyone else wants a puller we will have another batch made. Cost is the same $100 for the puller but this time $10 for packing and shipping.


9-6-99
As a professonal engineer, and former Metrologist, I have a tendency to over engineer everything I do. But in the case of the GMC front wheel bearings I am satisfied that there are no problems if they are serviced with the correct bearings, greased correctly, and assembled in within tolerance hubs and knuckles, and lastly pressed on the hub in the correct manner. Past attempts at redesigning the hubs and kuckles such as the wallace hub, in my opinion resulted in expensive parts and a WEAKENED suspension.

The front wheel bearings are in fact a special bearing (hand etched with the axial clearance) even though they may appear to have the very same part numbers as a off the shelf Timken bearing. The correct GM front wheel bearing set is fitted with a spacer (no two are alike in my experience) such that the axial clearance is held to .0095". Why that clearance? Because General Motors Service Parts Operations Engineers (GMSPOE) did extensive tests and analysis of the many failures of early GMC motorhomes in 1989-90 and concluded that in a worse case scenario of a (small inside bearing diameter and largest tolerance hub(2.0020")) that the assembled axial clearance was reduced by as much as .007". They therefore had Timken design a new front wheel bearng set that had .0095" of axial clearance and 20% more load bearing capacity. And yes it is possible to have a similarly looking roller bearing with this increased load bearing capacity. How? Tighter tolerances, maybe diffent cone angles and thus longer rollers. I really have not compared the standard bearing with the new ones to see how they did it.

Lets get to the bottom line on all of this since that is what most netters want. We have beat this front wheel bearing problem to death and concluded long ago that there was nothing wrong with the GM system. Install the correct bearings, pack them correctly, use in tolerance hubs and knuckles, and you will have a trouble free hub. Don't do it and you are going to have trouble. The choice is yours.


9-6-99
The best bearing is a good, used,correct, for the application, bearing that has been running well for some time. I would not hesitate to pull a bearing that has been running well, clean it, repack it and reinstall it with new seals for another 25K miles. The only time that I would not do that is when I did not know if the bearing was the correct one or did not know its origin. Then I would replace it and continue on to remove them every 25K mile and the whole routine again. Look at it this way. If you have access to a bearing puller it pays for itself at the first service. .You can than remove the bearing safely and reinstall it as many times as you want. The puller that I am having made has such close tolerances that there is no slop. The bearing can be safely pulled since it is pulling on the inner race and not the cages or outer race.



9-7-99

I finally got my Warner Bearing Puller today. Here's a picture of it.

It's got a very fine finish. Appears to be very high quality workmanship. I'm pleased with it.
bdub


9-16-99    (First complaint, even if it is 2nd hand.....didn't we know there'd be one?)

Recd this message from friend who had bearing failure at Sears store which we had discussed previously. He decided to wait and use my puller when it came. He wants to mill collet for tighter fit. Any comments, suggestions?
Bill Satterfield

Borowed Bill Saterfeild's Warner brg puller. Did not work The collet halves have too much clearance Probably over an 1/8 inch.Kept slipping over the inner cone of the brg. My brg was in bad shape only had the inner cone left on the hub.Next step may be the machine shop.

Virgil


9-18-99
Everyone of the pullers we made went through a quality control check before I shipped them. They were made in an ISO9002 compliant facility,,which should tell give you an idea of why they look so nice and are dimensionally correct in every respect. Everyone of the pullers was identical within manufacturing tolerances which is very tight.They were designed to fit the bearing with very very tight tolerances.

Who ever used the tool did not know how to use it and I can guarantee that they left the grease seal under the bearing,never pushed it down so the puller could actually fit the, hub and outer bearing race as designed, and tried to tighten the two halves together which accounts for the problem they had, and the 1/8 inch space they had. When the two halves are tightened they will be snug with the outer bearing but you can still spin it on its shaft.

The puller is OK and nothing needs to be done to it. It will pull even the inner race off if that is all that is left.

Use it again.


9-18-99
Tom, could you give us a little more advice on how to avoid this misuse, I don't quite follow this specific part above... I would assume the seal would be pushed out of the way and then the two halves WOULD be tightened, no?
(John Dolan)


9-18-99
Its simple. You have to push the bearing retainer all the way to the bottom and then the seal far enough down so it does not get caught in the puller halves. If the halves go tightly together just by pushing with your hands then it is on right. If there is any gaps it is not. That simple.

That puller is the strongest on the market. And is made to much closer tolerances than anything you can buy regardless of the price.


9-18-99
Checked the puller setup this morn and puller was installed correctly Not over seal and both halves were firmly together. There was so little of the old bearing left that the puller slipped over the remnant and came off. Am not putting down puller, just stating facts. I dont believe there is enough left of the bearing that any type of puller would work. He is going to take hub to machine shop to remove brng and check if it can be reused or will have to be replaced. We pulled bearing on other side and it came off very easily. Now the thingthat concerns me is that both bearings were cinnabar, installed at the same time by same person. One of them suffered meltdown, the other one was in good cond. They had less than 25,000 mi (not much) and he had no warning that there was any problem.
(Bill Satterfield)


12-31-99


Here's some good pictures of the Warner Puller assembled with the OTC927.
Split Ring    Split Ring bolted together    Complete Assembly


Date: 27 Apr 2000 21:44:58 -0000
I am down to the last 22 Warner front wheel bearing pullers, from the 53 that were manufactured last week. I have decided that it is just too labor intensive to keep manufacturing them with all the resultant packing, shipping and customs in the case of shpment to Canada. To be fair to everyone concerned they will go to the first 22 people that notify me and send a check for $200 which includes shipping. I have also been notified that OTC will have a $10 price increase for the OTC927 after tomorrow. I have reserved 22 more of them at the old price. I hope that the over 200 Warner pullers that have been bought by netters all over the US will go a long way to alleviating the front wheel bearing problems that we used to have. This has been a great experience. Not a day goes by that someone calls me with a question either on the puller of front wheel bearings.
Thanks for the vote of confidence.


Date: 7 Jun 2000 19:19:04 -0000
The following shipments were made via UPS today. Thats the last of the Warner bearing pullers. I have to admit that orders are still coming in (over 10 so far),which causes a delima for me. I had not planned to make anymore. I just have to lay out way to much cash upfront $5500 plus cost of packing.


Date: 4 Jul 2000 20:56:20 -0000
Sometime in the very near future I will write up a procedure for removing and reinstalling the front wheel bearings on the GMC motorhome, including pictures of the areas I feel are important and critical. The procedure will be written with a couple of goals and caveats.

1. I believe if you properly service the front wheel bearings using the procedure I will outline, you will never have a bearing failure. Contrary to popular belief the front wheel knuckles, hubs and bearings are not weak and overloaded in this application. They have simply been abused by either no or improper maintenance., or improper lubrication.

2. The procedure must be able to be used on the road using the tools carried in the coach since the bearing puller was designed with that purpose in mind. We have owners travelling all over the continental US and Canada and they need the peace of mind of knowing they can pull the rotors in case of brake problems or repair the bearings if the need arises.

3. The procedure can be understood used in any GMC repair shop or by any mechanic using regular tools they have, giving them the procedures and the wheel bearing tool.

4. The procedure must be simple enough and explained clearly enough that the average GMC owner with tools can accomplish it.

5. The complete front wheel bearing tool kit must be compact and easily transported in the motorhome, whether the OTC927 or hydraulic version is used.



Date: 5 Jul 2000 01:43:25 -0000
For those doing the wheel bearing procedure before I complete the writing two words of caution. When you assemble the warner puller to the bearing make sure that the seal and retainer is pushed all the way down BEFORE installing the puller over the bearing. In addition when installing the OTC927 to the split rings do it after installing the split rings to the bearing. Make sure that the OTC927 is installed in the exact center of the bearing shell. If you do not than it will take an excessive amount of torque to remove the bearing. If you start the pull and it is really tough to move it, than loosen everything up and make sure it is centered. And one last thing. Make sure everything is lubricated including the part that rotates on the small insert to the hub. You do not need large wrenches on both parts of the OTC927 since the lower nut will wedge against one of the long bolts when the top threaded rod is turned.

 Date: 7 Jun 2000 19:56:05 -0000
Yesterday I shipped the last puller. I had informed everyone previously that I was not going to make anymore. The price to manufacture them was going up $20 so the total would have been $220 for the set. I was reluctant to do that since I had agreed originally to manufacture the set for less than $200. And boy this takes a lot of time and energy to ride herd on the manufacturer and than keep track of everything and pack them all up and UPS them.

My phone is now ringing constantly everyday with GMC owners either asking questions about the puller ( many of them responding to the GMC mart ad) asking for still more pullers. I am now getting calls from Revcon owners and one cortez owner also. I am in a quandry now. I am reluctant to lay out $6500 for the next batch and than find out there is no more market for them.
I have to admit the last 50 went very fast however.

I need some opinions. Is there still a need and market for additional pullers?

I already have 10 more that want them and if I get 15 more I will order the next 50 if there is a positive response. I just hate to end up with that much money tied up for a long time.


Date: 15 Jun 2000 12:42:34 -0000
OK OK OK OK no more phone calls please on the issue of front wheel bearing pullers. I give up. Would you guess I got phone calls from a Revcon owner too?

I have put in an order for 50 more pullers and have been told they will be ready next week. The price has gone up a little as I expected and the complete tool will now cost $220 if the price of steel and wages does not go down(yeah sure who sees anything go down). I have touched base with my supplier of the OTC927 tool and they will give me the tool at the same price as before until the end of July. There was supposed to be a $20 increase for that to but because we have bought so many from them they got a concession from OTC to supply more at the same price.

That extra $20 also includes my cost now for the boxes and packing material. Those industrial boxes by the way are not cheap. Crazy world I guess. The price still includes shipping anywhere in the US. Canada is about $10 extra because of customs. I have to ship the OTC927 tool here and than reship it causing a double shipping cost. Suppliers are getting finicky about shipping to Canada until it becomes part of the US again they dont like the paperwork (lets see how many catch this).

Please tell your friends in the GMC clubs about this so we can get one into every coach. Can I stop then?

My little contribution to the restoration of the GMC motorhome


Date: 3 Aug 2000 06:45:41 -0000
I just suceeded in finding another distributer of the OTC927 puller attachment after talking to another netter, who alerted me that he has been buying them in quantity cheaper then I was paying.

I have to buy a large quantity of them to be able to save a substantial amount. The new cost will allow me to sell the complete bearing removal set which includes the split shells and the two inserts and the OTC 927 for the old price of $200 which includes shipping instead of the previous $220. I have decided to do it since that was one of my original goals in 1999 when
this started to sell it at a price not to exceed $200.

The catch is that I have had to commit to buying these in quantity and shipped to me at a substantial cash outlay. This means that I will have to sell the puller complete to include the OTC927 and the split rings. The split shells and insert will no longer be sold separatly. To do otherwise might mean that I will get stuck with OTC927s that could not be sold. I hope everyone understands and it causes no one an inconvenience. I now have 65 complete sets in stock and the GMC mart will shortly reflect that price.


 

 


From: Vic Marks <vmarks@hartleyandmarks.com>
Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2001 02:39:08 -0800
Subject: GMC: Intellectual Property Rights & MORALITY

I don't want to flog a dead horse as Tom has changed his position on this issue but I think that it has raised a few issues that we should give some thought to for the long term health of the GMC parts marketplace.

Lawrence wrote: I wonder if Lee Harrison 4 bag system is patented?

Tom wrote: Guess I will buy a set from Leigh Harrison , copy the dimensions and start manufacturing them and selling them for $200 a set. Think I will make them out of stainless steel though. Do you think there would be a market for them? Can you imagine the uproar if I showed up at a rally with 50 sets of his 4 baggers all made in my shop? Surely Vic Marks must be
joking about his comments about intellectual property rights?

Tom: I'm not joking in the least. Not even cracking a smile. In regards to the Leigh Harrison system, I doubt that it is patented. There is a fellow out of Texas who is producing a competing four bag system. I believe that he had made an automatic leveling improvement (I wasn't paying much attention as he explained it as I wasn't in the market for a four bag system). Obviously Leigh is a far better marketer because I haven't seen the other system in the marketplace at all.

Tom wrote: The tool that you reference (GIL) can be duplicated by the OTC with the addition of the shorter arms at far less cost then the $80 he appears to be charging. The bottom line is that no one can produce the Warner tool at anywhere near the cost I sell it for and absolutely not the quality.

Tom: You may be right but what is the relevance? We're talking about the marketplace here. If you think that your tool combination is better priced and of better quality, then let the market decide.

Tom wrote: As far as intellectual rights go you have wasted your time documenting your arguments. You left out the most important one....morality.

Tom: now we're getting to the tricky stuff. MORALITY. The bugaboo of the 21st Century. The question becomes whose morality? Yours? Mine? The marketplace? The bottom line is that you did a knockoff of the Thoma tool with some improvements. Darren did a knockoff of your combination with some improvements to the tool. Who has taken the more moral high road? Depends on who you are and what your perspective is in life. Thankfully, the GMCnet (with Patrick's guidance) members generally takes the more tolerant route and try to allow everybody to co-exist despite their differing views on the
proper way to conduct themselves.

I publish books. A series of books that I publish are very beautiful blank journals for writing. What happens in this sideline to the book industry is that people continual knock off the other guy's great idea. At present I produce a unique handstitched journal that lays flat. It looks beautiful and is amazingly functional. It took me six months to figure out how to get it manufactured. Nobody has managed or bothered to knock it off -- yet. I fully expect that somebody will do a knock off my design in a year or two. Just as I will knock off somebody else's design if I can figure out how to do it better than them (or less expensively). This is the reality of the marketplace, and this is what creates a better line of goods. We are continually trying to one up the other guy and gain market share. If the Japanese manufacturers didn't knock off (and improve) the front wheel drive
design which Morris (Mini Minor) brought to the mass market, then who knows if the GMC Motorhome would even exist today.

So, for purposes of this discussion, I'd like to look at this from the perspective of the morality of the marketplace, and review the issue in terms of basic economic theory. (And if there are any real economists out there please forgive me my trespasses, as I am basing this on my fading recollections from Economics 101.) You have approached the making of the bearing tool as community service, in that you are passing it along for cost. From an economic point of view this makes no sense. However, money isn't everything. Clearly you don't need to make money on this (after all you own a couple of Mercedes, a Corvette, an 8000 square foot garage, and you no longer have to put in your 40 hours a week working for the MAN), you have the working capital to produce & inventory the tools, and you have the time it takes to arrange their manufacture and to ship them out. However, from an economic perspective, this has to have a cost (unless of course you are working your way to sainthood). As I see it, the economic cost has been that you are an unreliable supplier (as opposed to an unreliable person which I'm sure that you are not). You have ducked in and out of the marketplace two or three times now. This is quite understandable given that
you have no economic incentive to keep the pullers available. However, this isn't so great for the GMC community in the long run. So along comes Darren, the GMC entrepreneur who is the new entrant in the economic formula. He sees that the marketplace is still in need of a puller, looks at what was available, figures that he can spice it up a bit, throw it together with another product that he already sells (bearings), add his 25 or 30% markup, and he has a new product line. However, you have changed your mind once again and come charging back into the marketplace. At first you were outraged that anybody else should produce "your" product. With great moral indignation, you consigned a copycat version of your copycatted puller into the dustbin of immorality. Now you've adapted to this new environment, and presto, you are doing a knockoff of Darren's and Jim's ideas for the tool. Are you now the immoral trespasser on intellectual property? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on your Moral perspective. Back to economics. At this stage you are an unfair competitor (or maybe a saint, as I said, it depends on your perspective), or shall we say, a dumper of goods on the marketplace below the cost of production. One of the tenets of fair trade (and up here in BC, we are all very familiar with the tenets of free trade and its shortcomings when our neighbours to the south decide that free trade ain't really fair when we gain market share) is that you "thou shalt not dump goods into the marketplace below the cost of production".
Cost of production (for free trade purposes) generally is made up of the cost of goods manufactured, cost of marketing, cost of overheads and a modest profit. When you sell your pullers, you're selling these at the cost of goods manufactured and absorbing the other costs. This has the short term affect of driving your competitors out of the marketplace. And as you
have said very clearly, no one can compete with you on price, as you sell at cost. In pure economic terms, you are "distorting" the marketplace to preclude others entering it and becoming that dreaded antagonist of modern capitalism - a MONOPOLIST. However, this is great for the consumers (us) in the short term. It is generally always good for the consumer in the short term when manufacturers "dump" goods on the market. Who doesn't want to save money by paying 50% less for a manufactured good that they would like to own? However, the long term interests of the marketplace may not be so well served by this bargain.

Which brings us to the conclusion of this long winded exploration: what is best for the GMC coach owners? Reveling in your charitable act for the community or paying slightly more for an entrepreneur to produce a variation of the same product? Now most people in this newsgroup might consider my question an uncharitable absurdity. But is it really? Darren and others build their businesses by developing a line of goods that will pay their overheads (which most hope will eventually include a decent wage for time expended). If they can't achieve this in a reasonable period of time, they will leave the marketplace. Do I really want to pay Darren 30% more for a product that I can buy from you or somebody else who is supplying the goods as a hobby? Or let me put it another way: do I want to pay Darren 30% more for a tool now so that he will be a viable supplier of
unique battery trays or wheel bearings in the distant future? There is no easy answer to this question. But I do know that putting barriers in front of somebody who is trying to create a reliable supply of a necessary tool is not in any members best interest.

Others (Heinz? Henry? Emery?) have voiced their concerns in the past when it was suggested that we could do a group buy on something and get a better price than we've been getting from the current suppliers. My take on it is that our interests (as GMC coach owners) are best served by having vendors compete aggressively in the marketplace for our business. It pains me to
come to this conclusion but I believe that if we start doing group buys or group "manufactures" on a regular basis, we are going to destroy the marketplace, and in the long term, end up the losers. I'd rather see us come up with some innovative product ideas and put them out to "bid" for vendors to supply to GMCnet members. What the vendor does with the idea after that should be not be our concern.

If you have better ideas for how to make sure that there is a healthy marketplace supplying GMC coach parts, then I would sure like to hear it.

Vic Marks
Vancouver BC
75 Transmode


Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2001 06:06:11

Vic there is no need for a long winded response from me, but really Vic your response is the basis from which half truths, innuendos and myths are generated. You simply do not chose to understand.If you had taken the time to carefully inspect the Thoma and winterfeldt tools and compared them to the Warner puller you would see the differences. Before I decided to produce my puller there were few front wheel bearing pullers in coach owners hands, unless you could of course shell out the $600 necessary to buy one. But of even more significance was the fact that coach owners were sure that their front wheel bearings would fail at the very next trip, since there seemed to be some sort of witchcraft associated with their underdesign(another myth) and care. We have hopefully eradicated that myth as Arch would say.

Even a child can see that there is no similarity between the puller that I manufacture and the Thoma or winterfeldt puller. Sure they are round and both split in two pieces, but from that point on they are very different. I spent a great deal of time designing that puller and did it without the benefit of having any of them to feel, inspect and measure. My puller is precise, very carefully machined, and is strong. It is machined so carefully that it is difficult to even see where the two parts are joined. This precision machining is expensive. One customer in fact chided me for sending him a solid puller that he could not take apart. He wondered how he could get it around the bearing.

Since I started this crusade of producing the Warner front wheel bearing puller I have never failed to supply a puller to anyone that requested them. While it is true that I made a decision to stop producing them the reasons are well documented. As for the cost Vic, that was a carefully chosen and documented decision as I felt the necessity to price it at a cost where everyone could afford one. My goal in the beginning was to manufacture it and ship it for less then $200. Clearly both the Winterfeldt and Thoma pullers do not do that. I have now sold over 400 warner front wheel bearing pullers more then all the others producers combined. From my conservative estimates my puller has saved the GMC community in the neighborhood of $160,000, no small amount of change by any standard. But in my opinion it has served a far greater purpose. Its availability on a mass basis has destroyed the myth that the front wheel drive bearings are a weak link in the system. Now anyone can buy the too
l and service their coach with confidence.

One last thing and that is the cost you so brazenly brought up. In the beginning I set a goal of selling the warner front wheel bearing puller at a cost not to exceed $200 WHICH INCLUDED POSTAGE ANYWHERE IN THE US, and that is extensively documented due to the good will of Billy Massey. Boy that was difficult to do. If everyone remembers I only thought there was a market for 10 pullers and thats what I at first had made. But to my amazement the orders started coming in and I kept increasing production. In the beginning the cost of the OTC927 was a major expense of the puller since believe it or not they were hard to find in quantity. They listed for $115 and distributers were reluctant to give me much of a price break since they only sold a few during the entire year. I had to promise to buy them in large quantities to gradually get the price down to where it is now. Scott Nehoda clued me in on how to do that, so you owe him a thank you also. The same goes for the split rings and
the adapters. As the quantity went up we could produce them cheaper. There is a certain fixed cost in producing the pullers whether you produce 5 or a 100. The 6 inch bar stock of 4140 prehard steel has to be bought in 20 foot lengths and that meant we had to eat a large piece of money if only 10 pullers were made from it. It will produce about 75 and that is now how many I buy at a time.

Which comes to the most important part Vic, I now make a profit on each puller that is sold. But I did it by controlling the fixed costs and finding distributers that would sell the OTC927 at very near their cost. As i reported last week I can now sell OTC927s cheaper then a large distributer in Syracuse can buy them. Isnt that the American way Vic? And now due to this latest change of combining Gils idea of a long wrench to work with my puller and the hub removal tool I believe I can farther reduce the cost and benefit everyone. I believe this will have the added advantage of making the warner puller available to even a wider market.

And one last very annoying thing. I am not wealthy and the two Mercedes and a corvette do not arich man make. The Mercedes are a 1984 300D turbo diesel sedan with 180,000 miles on it which I dearly love and drive every day and keep in as new condition, and a 1988 300TE station wagon with 150,000 miles on it but still like new. The corvette I bought new and it sits now dejected in my garage, out of favor since buying this wonderous machine called a GMC motorhome. The 8000 square foot commercial garage is shared with two very close friends who run an electronics business from part of it. I help them with my knowledge of that business and they have prospered over the 20 years this association has developed. We have common interests and share a very close relationship based on mutual respect.

So without even intending to I have produced this long winded response that hopefully has exploded all of your perceptions of the situation surrounding the Warner front wheel bearing puller and laid to rest the myths too.

have a good day,

tom