1966 Honda CL77 Scrambler – Wheel Bearings

Work continued this weekend on the 1966 Honda CL77 restoration, with wheel bearing replacement being the focus.  In a few weeks the new Borrani aluminum rims should arrive, so I needed to get the new wheel bearings pressed into the hubs before lacing of the spokes could begin.

Replacing wheel bearings is normally a quick process, but as luck would have it, one bearing came apart during removal, leaving the outer bearing race stuck in the hub.  Furthermore, the three screws that secured the bearing retainer had stripped heads and needed to be drilled out.  That’s never fun.

Fortunately, drilling out the screws was fairly easy with the drill press.  I then used a large screw extractor to bite into the screw and unscrew the remaining screw material.  All three backed out fairly easily.  The threads in all three holes are in excellent shape, so no new tapping is required.  That’s one problem out of the way.

On the same hub I still had to remove the stuck outer bearing race.  There was no edge or lip exposed from inside the hub, so I couldn’t pound it out from the opposite side.  My only option was to cut it out with a rotary tool fitted with a small abrasive cutting blade.  The tool cut into the hard steel race with no issues.  I was careful to avoid cutting into the aluminum hub.  After a few minutes of cutting, I was able to pry the two halves of the bearing race out of the hub.

I heated the hubs to around 400 degrees in order to expand them, making it easier to press the bearings in.  The bearings were frozen, to contract them a bit, also to aid in pressing them into the hub.  All 4 bearings were easily pressed in, and they roll as smooth as silk.  These hubs are ready for lacing once the rims arrive.