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Simple arbor replacement turns into marathon debacle due to out of spec B&S part


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Maybe I should have posted this in "Senior Moments".  I procrastinated an extra month in attending to a center arbor replacement on my 42" 1690022 deck, so I was behind the eight ball from the start.  Things just got worse from there.  I now have 8" tall grass, completed only tearing apart what went together wrong, and feel like I finally completed the job.

First I troubled over making a key for that which is NLA.  It turns out that key comes WITH a new B&S arbor.  Strike one.  I bought a brand new, sealed in the box B&S arbor on Ebay.  That arbor came with a hard coat of black paint all over it.  I now distinctly recall buying one of these about 15 years ago, and remember the shaft was NOT painted.  The shaft would not go into the bottom bearing.  Strike two.  I called B&S "customer support" and they knew nothing, but the representative said finally "that part is supposed to have paint all over it."  A rep I spoke with several hammer blows and an hour later said "I can't say what she told you is credible - none of us would know that, and there is no technical support here to state that."  Strike three.  I called what is now my "local" B&S dealer, and the person was cranky, would not put me through to the parts counter, and ultimately said "I don't know what to tell you except if the part is painted, it should be painted and you put it in that way!"  More hammer blows, the flange needs to go 2" more but the shaft is now seized.  Strike four.

I posted here, and Bill said "here is the spec of the bearing" and after I posted my measurement of 0.754 "get the paint off of there."  Bill asked if I used a micrometer, which reminded me I might have my dad's, and I then measured the shaft (with the seized bottom bearing) at 0.7512.  Strike five.

I used paint remover for the first time in my life above the bearing, and the shaft came down to 0.7500.  A good start.  But how to get the bearing off.  I only needed to move it 3/4" to get to less paint thickness now.  Not happening.  I went to the auto parts place, and the pully pullers all were about 3/8" too short.  Strike six.  Came home, convinced myself a puller was the only way, and decided to use longer side plates.  Back to the auto parts store to get puller.

Success!  I now am ALMOST ready to put it together - after I get the paint off the bottom 2-1/2" of the shaft.  I have new bearings to replace the ones I ruined, and my fingers are crossed that I haven't totally ruined the threads of the arbor, where I smacked the nuts too hard that I used to try not to bugger the top end.  All because clueless idiots at B&S chose to paint a machined surface that is metal on metal in use.  When I bought the paint stripper, the guy looked at me and said "who the heck would paint it - because when the paint wore off it would be loose!"  Yeah, that is just one good reason.

This is the most aggravating experience I had with my "simple" tractor.  I think it feels that way because the grass is 8" tall - but that is my fault for waiting so long.  Thanks to Bill for the expert advice.  I wrote Zippo also, and his response was "do what the people on Simple Tractors told you - get that paint off of there!"  The Ebay ad bragged that Briggs and Stratton parts are "guaranteed to be within specification."  What a load of salmon, or bass, or a fish that rhymes with tarp.


got the shaft.jpg

Edited by BakingDude
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I have found in other situations that machined parts were painted.  They usually do this because it is a cheap way to keep them from rusting until use.  Wrapping them in oiled paper, or coating them with rest preventative costs more, expecially when other portions of the part need to be painted anyway.  On a deck spindle, the part that is exposed when it it assembled needs to be painted.  By painting it all, they keep the shaft from rusting until assembly, and save the cost of masking off the shaft.  The guys at your dealer should know that.  It is so frustrating to deal with the supposed "experts" who know nothing, and even more so if they try to B.S. their way thru it.  A simple "I don't know that, let me try to find out for you" would be so much better!  Thankfully, most everyone on here has good common sense, and I have found that there is always someone on here who can answer any question you might have.  And, the guys who don't know will tell you so.  

Another reason this is the best $10 a year I spend!


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