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View Imakenicefirewood's profile

Unisaw bearings going out!

by Imakenicefirewood
posted 07-29-2016 04:49 AM

17 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile


7533 posts in 2763 days

#1 posted 07-29-2016 04:56 AM

Accurate Bearing


PS: Hard to tell by the picture, but if that serial number is 103-7099, it was built in 1952… if that is a 108 instead, then you are correct, 1953.

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Gentile's profile


357 posts in 2382 days

#2 posted 07-29-2016 03:22 PM

There’s a lot of information here too…

Cool saw! Very much worth rebuilding it

-- "I cut it twice and it's still too short"

View Imakenicefirewood's profile


77 posts in 1920 days

#3 posted 07-29-2016 03:52 PM

Thanks for the input. And I agree…it is a cool saw.

It is 103, so you are right it’s from 1952. I got the saw from my father-in-law a few years ago, and he bought it at a school auction in 1992. So as far as I can tell, I’m the third owner of a 64 year old saw. It’s kind of neat working on a saw that is double my age.

I called Accurate Bearing, but will have to get the part numbers off of my bearings first. I guess I know my Friday night plans. I think I should replace the motor bearings as well. What do you think?

View bigblockyeti's profile


6135 posts in 2284 days

#4 posted 07-29-2016 03:58 PM

If you’re already tearing it apart and don’t mind doing the motor too (a good idea just for cleaning) than by all means do them too, the saw will be ready for another 64 years!

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2050 days

#5 posted 07-29-2016 04:08 PM

I’d do it.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View runswithscissors's profile


3081 posts in 2589 days

#6 posted 07-30-2016 07:44 AM

I’d pull the bearings and take them in to the bearing shop (assuming you have one within reach).

I found the easiest way to work on the bearings was to tilt the saw. Propped the edge up on a 4 X 4, which gave about the right height and angle. Sit on a low stool. If you’re concerned about it going too far, clamp a stick on the far side to brace it. Way easier than scrunching down or crawling inside the saw. Of course, if you were to remove the top . . .

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View MrUnix's profile


7533 posts in 2763 days

#7 posted 07-30-2016 08:08 AM

I would replace both arbor and motor bearings since you will already have things apart. If one bearing has gone toasty, the others shouldn’t be too far behind. And pull the top – 4 bolts and it comes right off; makes it really easy to get to things so you can pull the arbor off. Tip: mark the location of the table before removal so it’s easier to get it back to where it was. A straight edge along the blade and a couple pieces of masking tape work well. If unsure, take lots of pictures along the way.

And yes, yank the bearings first before ordering so you can verify what you have. Older Unisaws used 88503 bearings (extended inner race) in the arbor, while newer ones use more common 6203’s. For the motor; lots of different motors were used in those machines, so you really need to open yours up to figure out what it has as well.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Imakenicefirewood's profile


77 posts in 1920 days

#8 posted 07-30-2016 03:55 PM

You guys are great. These are good tips to help me get it back together.

I taped two pieces of paper to the top and marked the blade alignment as suggested, and then pulled the top off and exposed the inner workings.

I took a lot of pictures of how things were lined up and put all of the parts in little sandwich baggies that I labeled so I don’t forget what went where.

I think the set screw had vibrated a little lose.

Also, those bullet motors are heavy. I left all of the wiring connected, and just sat it on that little platform. That’s where I took it apart.

I got one of the four bearings off last night, but I don’t own a gear puller, so I borrowed one this morning. I will contact a couple of places early next week about getting new ones before I forget how to put everything back together.

Quick question: What is the best way to clean out the inside of the motor? I was just going to gently wipe out the carbon from the housing, and blast the rest with compressed air. Is there a better way?

View bigblockyeti's profile


6135 posts in 2284 days

#9 posted 07-30-2016 06:48 PM

Compressed air should work for every part of the motor. For particularly obstinate dirt and dust an old toothbrush usually works great. I would be sure to blow the carbon from the commutator and inside of the motor while outside and upwind!

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View MrRon's profile


5784 posts in 3807 days

#10 posted 07-31-2016 07:47 PM

One thing to keep in mind. Bearings come in different grades, from general purpose to precision. Precision bearings cost a LOT so be aware of what your wallet can afford. At the least, you want bearings that are double sealed and have dust shields. Being it is a unisaw, I would go with the best bearings I could afford, at least for the arbor. Motor bearings can be general purpose It’s the arbor where the most accuracy needs to be (little to no runout).

View Imakenicefirewood's profile


77 posts in 1920 days

#11 posted 08-03-2016 09:36 PM

I tried to get the bearings from Whitten Supply in OKC, but they weren’t able to get the right ones for a decent price. They could get the motor bearings but they were really expensive, and couldn’t get the arbor bearings, so I ended up ordering from Accurate Bearing as Brad suggested. Hopefully they will be in soon.

I cleaned and lubed all of the gear teeth and areas where there is metal on metal movement with paste wax.

Now I wait.

View Lee's profile


140 posts in 1442 days

#12 posted 08-03-2016 11:28 PM

That’s a cool old saw, one other thing, you probably don’t have a bearing heater, so you will have to drive the new bearings on, use a short piece of pipe just big enough to fit over the shaft and make contact with the inner race, under no circumstances hit the outer race or the dust seals. also I’ve used a very lite film of machine oil on the shaft to help the bearing slide on, to reduce metal dragging. hope this helps, Lee

-- Colombia Custom Woodworking

View Imakenicefirewood's profile


77 posts in 1920 days

#13 posted 08-03-2016 11:50 PM

I agree…it is a pretty cool old saw.

You are correct in your assumption about the bearing heater. Thanks for the good information. I will have to find a piece of pipe the right size.

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 2467 days

#14 posted 08-04-2016 12:16 AM

The bearings are a common size, good grade electric motor bearings are what was used. I highly recommend Accurate bearing for replacements, they will have a selection to choose from, and will give you the best options and price anywhere.
If you have a 100wat light bulb, that is an effective bearing heater. Usually when the bearings are warmed up “under 200f”, the parts will slide together without needing a press.

View Clarkie's profile


489 posts in 2405 days

#15 posted 08-04-2016 01:13 AM

Have you turned the motor on since you found the keystock loose because of the missing setscrew? See if the motor makes noise now, just a thought. Many years ago a friend of mine swore he needed bearings for a drill press he had, it was making one heck of a racket when running. I looked the drill over and saw that the keystock had slid out of place, I returned it and tightened the setscrew and the motor purred instead of screaming. You may have a simple fix.

View CharleyL's profile


223 posts in 3928 days

#16 posted 08-04-2016 02:57 PM

WOW !! That’s a nice looking saw.

I’m here late, so I hope I’m not “too late”, but I hope you kept good track of where each of the shims between the table top and the frame came from. They need to be in the right places to level the top as you tighten the bolts. No two Unisaws have the same thickness spacers in the same places.

After all those years, new bearings and belts are a very wise decision. If you have problems getting the bearings off and on, most auto parts stores have bearing presses and can get the old ones off and the new ones on for you quite reasonably. The belts need to be a matched set or they won’t all be working equally. Each belt in the set has a number on the outside, and you should install them with these numbers in sequential order (601, 602, 603 as an example). If the motor has brushes (I believe that it does) you should replace them while the motor is apart too. Don’t worry about it being only 1 hp. If it has the brushes, it is a repulsion induction motor, and it will have way more usable torque than a standard induction motor of the same hp rating. In a home shop you will likely never wish for more power.

When you get your Unisaw up and running you will have an excellent saw, way better than most of the new saws on the market. There are better fences available now, but wait until you are using the saw before considering an upgrade. Keep your eye out for a good used Unifence at a good price. They came with 36 and 52” front rails and bolt on very easily. The fence extrusion on a Unifence can be moved forward and back, as well as rotated 90 deg for a high or low fence height. You can also buy Uni-T-Fence extrusions in several lengths from Peachtree woodworking that can directly replace the original Unifence extrusion. I switch my fence extrusions depending on which will work best for what I am doing, or if I want to add accessories like featherboards. The Uni-T-Fences have T slots on top and the side for easily mounting accessories like feather boards and Board Buddies. The fence extrusions change out very easily by just loosening two T knobs on the side of the Unifence main casting, slide off one fence extrusion, and slide on another, then tighten the T knobs. You can even very easily put the fence extrusion on the opposite side of the casting when working on the opposite side of the blade. A Biesmeier fence is very good too, but you won’t have the ability to switch out the fence for a different style or T slots to be able to attach accessories.

My Unisaw is a 1986 and it came with the 52” Unifence and extension table. I too replaced the arbor bearings and belts right after I got it about 16 years ago. I have since added a Wixey DRO, the Uni-T-Fence extrusions, a plastic motor cover, and a DIY outfeed table. I’ve owned a half dozen table saws in my lifetime and I had always wished for a better saw than what I had. After getting my Unisaw and putting it into service I have no need for a better saw, and my son will likely inherit this saw when I’m gone. With the DRO I can move the fence to a setting, make a cut, move the fence away and then back to the same setting and then make a second cut, and the width of the two pieces will be within .006” of each other using a Wixey Digital Caliper to measure them.


View Imakenicefirewood's profile


77 posts in 1920 days

#17 posted 08-24-2016 04:46 PM

Thank you all for your input in this project. I got the saw back together and have been using it. Everything seems to be working great. When I was putting the motor back together, I broke one of the four bolts. After a few mumblings under my breath, I decided I’d go to the hardware store and get a piece of all-thread and a couple of nuts. It seems to be working, but if anyone knows where I could locate a replacement(s) I would sure look into getting them.

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