1954 9" model A headstock bearings

John Losch



I am about to remove the spindle from my 1954 Model A 9” lathe, which I bought new in 1954.  It has been the workhorse of my shop for over sixty years, and is still nearly like new.  Except right in front of the chuck the scraping is still visible on the bed, and only the jaws of the 3 jaw scroll chuck show appreciable wear.  

Several years ago I replaced the Vee belt (16 speed Cone pulleys) and I admit I butchered the process of removing the spindle.  I used a wood mallet to drive the spindle out of the bull gear, replaced the belt and reversed the process.  Sorry I did that, but I am older and smarter now.  Right now I need to replace the spring-wick oilers because the front spindle bearing is not taking oil.

There is a series on you tube with a fellow named Halligan who gives a pretty detailed demonstration on removal and reinstallation of the spindle.  He seems to know his stuff.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eheyzA9h-yc   This is the part on reassembly (including that he forgot to put the endless belt in place), and I did not, at the moment, find the URL on removal of the spindle.  It involves the use of a long screw, and pressuring the spindle out of the bull gear.  All well and good, and I will follow his advice.  

There is one part I question, however.  He advises to loosen the cap screws at the front and rear bearing of the spindle.  This is the model with wick oilers, and only one screw at the front and rear bearings.  There is no top oiler.  The purpose was to allow shimming of the bearing.  He gives instructions on resetting the bearings, but I still wonder why I would “mess” with the still good settings.  I have checked play.  

My question is why would I disturb the setting of the bearings if they are within specification?  The spindle is designed so that the bearing areas of the spindle should slide in and out of their bearings unless they have been badly worn and shimming has been changed.  Nothing has been changed on my lathe. 

I would appreciate any advice or opinions more experienced South Bend Guys have to offer.  

Thanks in advance
John Losch 

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