photos and story by Derek McCallister
- 6FT piece of All Thread. It does not necessarily need to be an acme thread, but it should be of good quality. You WILL be putting a lot of force on them.
- 5 nuts which will fit your all-thread
- Really good wheel bearing grease or preferred lubricant. This will be necessary when putting force on the All Thread, otherwise you can expect ruining your all-threads. Ask me how I know.
- 2 heavy duty washers that also will match the All Thread
- 6ft of ½” pipe. Inner diameter must be thin enough to fit OVER the nose of the torque tube shaft so that you do not harm the insert for the pilot bearing.
- 3” diameter washer. Yeah, really.
- Dishwater soap
- Tape measure
- Huge hammer
- Safety Glasses
- A heavy pulley, boards, or something you’ll be able to use as leverage to pull and push bearings out of the tube.
Step 1 - Measure the length of your torque tube. You will want to make sure that your All Thread is just a little bit longer than the torque tube. Ultimately it needs to span the length. So far, the torque tubes I’ve worked with are pretty close to the All Thread length, somewhere around 6ft, maybe a hair less. Set a nice large area aside. Torque tubes are heavy, huge, and long. This is not something you can just put on your work bench to rebuild, unless of course you have a really badass work bench. In which case, if you do, I’m envious.
Step 2 - Measure the depth of your bearings the best you can. Also measure each tip of the torque tube shaft to see how far it protrudes. Once you put the shaft back in, it needs to protrude the same amount, otherwise it may not insert into the pilot bearing properly. This is going to be a critical step to ensure it goes together the same way it came apart. Upon reinstalling the bearings, they should be in roughly the same places. Measure in with your tape measure and make a mark against where you start at the tube. For instance, if bearing 1 is 8 inches into the torque tube, mark that on a piece of paper as “bearing 1”. Measure the rest of the bearings and how far in they are and you should have various measurements for each as they go further down the torque tube. We will come back to this part later.
Using your soapy water, be generous and do what you can to get the water in the coating of the torque tube. You’ll want water lining the walls. Shake it around if you can, spin it, do whatever you can, get the inside as wet as you can. Using the above diagram, you will want the plate and nut on one side of the torque tube, with the 3” washer at the other side.
Reversing the process is easy. One bearing at a time, we are going to use the 3” washer and same method; except we are going to do it one at a time. Starting with the bearing closest to the front, insert it and use the all-thread to pull it up to the measured point for bearing 1. Then do bearing #2, bearing #3, and then finally the last one. This may take you a while because you need to be very careful about measuring them as you do it, not to mention, you’re basically repeating the same process 4 times. As each bearing is pushed up the torque tube, you can measure from the opposite end and measure how far it takes before your tape measure hits the 3” washer and then if it’s deep enough, you know the bearing is in place. Ensure that they are going down the torque tube STRAIGHT.
If you’ve done this then congrats, you’ve rebuilt your torque tube! That wasn’t so hard was it? Although if you used a torque-wrench like I did, you’ve probably got one super beefy arm by now.