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Comments on the Bearing Page   Updated 11.28.99
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            Which bearing for the tranny mainshaft? Updated 11.28.99 (Click here for just the updates)
            Clutch release bearing.

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Comments on the Chief bearing chart.

Which bearings for the tranny main shaft?

I'd like to comment on the bearing 39216 for the main shaft clutch side. This was until 1952 a special 207W bearing with close tolerances and very little end play. In 1952 Indian went to a radial 207 bearing, this bearing will transmit over 80% of thrust loading that the original thrust bearing did. The play in the thrust direction is minimal with this bearing. This bearing looks like a 6207 but is has more balls. The end play of the Indian gearbox is a problem, and when you use a 7207 bearing, problems with end play and setup of the gearbox is getting worse.  bennie bakker  11.2.99 
 
 

I just read Bennie's comment about the tranny clutch side bearing for the Chief. I agree with him about the end play setup when using the 7207 bearing but I'm not clear from his message if he is recommending the 207W or the '52 style bearing for which no number was specified. Also, a reference to his comment should be attached at the point of the specific bearing listing instead of at the list end where it could be overlooked. Better yet would be to replace the number I sent (7207) with the bearing he recommends and eliminate any confusion. John 11.9.99
 
 

John, I changed the link from the listing to the comments like this. Does that work better? Moen
 
 

Bearing number is 207. This is available in 207-2Z meaning that it has two steel closures. This bearing is not totaly closed, as far as I know this type of bearing is not available completly sealed off.
bennie bakker 11.9.99
 
 

For the price I replaced both bearings with the 207 which is the same size but is the "high load" bearing with extra balls. The 207 was $29 Canadian in a good brand as opposed to $9.95 for a cheap brand for the 7207.
R Essegern 11.9.99
 
 

The original bearing for the clutch side is a fafnir 7207(WD) This very special contact bearing is not made no more, as far as I know.
The problems is, when you go to a bearing supplier and ask now for an 7207 bearing you get an other type of bearing than the fafnir 7207. You get for instance a (SKF)7207 bearing, and normally you need two of these bearings left and right or back to back. Nobody asks where the bearing is used for, they just compare numbers.
I have in front of me:
6207: It uses 9 balls, this bearing is often used for the right-side bearing because you can buy it everywhere for a minimum sum of money in various shapes; open, closed, etc.
Fafnir 207WD: Uses 12 balls. I do not know where the WD stands for.
For a replacement I use a BCA I207S (confusing, confusing!) that is made in the U.S.A. and is sold as a 207-2Z meaning a 207 bearing with two steel closures.
Yes you're right the kickstarter side bearing is a 207, its often replaced by a 6207 because its sold sealed off, and is readily available, and everybody else uses them! But this is not as bad as to replace the Fafnir 7207 by a new 7207 because this completely messes-up the setup of the gear box! bennie bakker 11.13.99
 
 

Thanks, Bennie, for the number but I'm still a bit confused. My supplier said that the 207 bearing is the same as 207W bearing (both are maximum capacity single row ball bearings but different makers). I now believe my replacement number 6207 is in error and should be replaced with a #207 maximum capacity ball bearing for the kickstart side. My confusion is still about the clutch side and please don't take the following as argumentative. Questions concerning this bearing have arisen before and I feel that we need to arrive at a resolution that will recommend a bearing that is best for all applications. Could it be that the '52 change was associated with the clutch brake as it also introduces thrust on the mainshaft that did not previously exist?
    I inspected two original pre '52 tranny cases today and found Fafnir 7207W angular contact bearings in both on the clutch side and 207W bearings on the kickstart side. My '48 parts book lists it as 6207W? with 207W for the kickstart side. Your comment places a "special" 207W on the clutch side, Could the "7" prefix designate it as special? (The "7" does designate angular contact bearings in this country).
   Are you saying that the 207/207W bearing replaced the "special" 207W in '52? If so, the numbers in my parts books do not reflect this as they show a third number for the left side in '52. I don't recall what my '52 used as it was years ago that I was in it. Thanks, John 11.13.99
  PS: my supplier did say that some differences exist between European and US numbering systems and this may be introducing some of the confusion but I don't really know in this case.
 
 

-And here's Bennie's answers to John's letter above (sorry if this is hard to follow, but I think it is important that we all know the reasons for these bearing recommendations! Moen):
 
 

> My supplier said that the 207 bearing is the same as 207W bearing (both are maximum capacity single row ball bearings but different makers.
Yes, I also do not know what the W means

> I now believe my replacement number 6207 is in error and should be replaced with a #207 maximum capacity ball bearing for the kickstart side.
Yes, but this bearing is not available completely sealed

> Could it be that the '52 change was associated with the clutch brake as it also introduces thrust on the mainshaft that did not previously exist?
I don't think so, the bearing was simply not available no more.

> I inspected two original pre '52 tranny cases today and found Fafnir 7207W angular contact bearings in both on the clutch side and 207W bearings on the kickstart side.
Yes, this is the original set up!

> My '48??? parts book lists it as 6207W? with 207W for the kickstart side. Your comment places a "special" 207W on the clutch side, Could the "7"prefix designate it as special?
I am not sure but I think the Fafnir (7)207 is a special 207. My 44-53 catalog lists 7207W for clutch, and 207W for kickstart side and this is what I find in original gear boxes and you also found the same bearings in your gearboxes.

> (The "7" does designate angular contact bearings in this country).
Yes. Just as over here! But I suspect that the Fafnir bearing was a one of only made by Fafnir, and the number is at a later date used by several bearing manufactures for a (real) contact bearing.

> Are you saying that the 207/207W bearing replaced the "special" 207W?
No, its simply a very bad thing to replace the original Fafnir 7207 by a modern (SKF)7207!

> in '52? If so, the numbers in my parts books do not reflect this as they show a third number for the left side in '52. I don't recall what my '52 used as it was years ago that I was in it.
Yes, in this case the parts book is clear. Chief parts list 1944-1953, Chief supplement 1950-1953, page 7, group 32- transmission:
39923 case main bearing, right side 1950-1953
39216 case main bearing, left side 1950-1951
189015 case main bearing, left side 1952-1953 why this is not the same number as for the right side(39923), I do not know, maybe it had an extra steel closure, etc

> my supplier did say that some differences exist between European and US numbering systems and this may be introducing some of the confusion but I don't really know in this case.
I don't think so, you just can not replace bearings and just look at numbers! bennie bakker 11.13.99
 
 

I think I made a mistake at the beginning of this discussion by making not clear enough that the bearing number Fafnir 7207, as used by Indian, can not be replaced by a SKF 7207. I had to learn this the hard way by going to the nearest bearing supplier and ask for a 7207 bearing, I got a SKF 7207, and when I tried to adjust the end play of the main shaft it did not seem right, I then asked SKF Nederland for help, they first told me that this was the right bearing, only when I explained the problem to a bearing expert, SKF came up with a solution, the 207 special automotive bearing. This problem was also mentioned in the "tech corner" of Bob Stark 15? years ago, I do not have the IMCA papers no more, I only have a note in my 1944-1953 parts catalog. The Indian parts catalogs do not specify the many changes of parts, why  they change, or even that they have changed, etc.... bennie bakker 11.13.99
 
 

As far as I can tell, there is a lot of misinformation or just plain confusion on both sides of the bearing sales counter. A 7207 is the same type and size as any other 7207 regardless of manufacturer. A 7207 is an "angular contact" bearing, which is specified by engineers for supporting axial and radial loads at the same time. Think of this: The 7207 bearing was put there for a reason; that reason being to support the mainshaft and hold it in the center of the bearing bore in the transmission case as well as TAKE THE THRUST LOAD OF THE CLUTCH RELEASING, (PULLING) AGAINST IT. That's why it's commonly referred to as a "thrust bearing ."Yes, it is the same size as a 6207 or a 207 bearing. Yes, they all will fit in the same place. No, they do not all do the same jobs. You can buy the cheapest grade available and slap it in there if you want, but I wouldn't recommend it. As far as the 2 bearings having to face together or apart; yes, this is done too in some cases like milling machine spindles, but in a case like that they are probably going to be an ABEC-7 precision or higher ($700 minimum), but that is a whole 'nother story. If you are having trouble with mainshaft endplay, first start with the right parts and then install them correctly, and 99% of your troubles will evaporate instantly, guaranteed. Victor Blake, Ohio 11.21.99
 
 

Victor,  Bennie says (above), that he has personally experienced the original (Fafnir) 7207W, specified by Indian, not being identical to a modern 7270 from SKF. Are you saying that they are? You seem to know a lot about bearings, and you are right that there is some confusion as to which modern bearings should be fitted as replacements for the original bearings, which doesn't seem to be available anymore. Moen  11.21.99 
 
 

There is a lot more to say on a gearbox repair; here is some more information why the bearing changed.
Bearing problems, end play gearbox main shaft 74012 rigid chief 741, 75545 late chiefs.
The endplay of the mainshaft is mainly controlled by two hardened steel rings (39695 etc). This setup is not the best of Indian engineering because either the rings wear or the mainshaft wears.
This means that when you are at the end of your street on your first ride after rebuilding the gearbox and taking care to get everything just right, the end play of the mainshaft has already changed, and certainly not improved!
And if you use a modern bearing (SKF) 7207 which needs a good solid rigid setup to work properly, you can hear very quiet, and in the far distance, Buck Owens with "Hello Trouble".
The inner ring of a modern bearing (SKF) 7207 drops out of the outer ring, with the Fafnir 207 as used by Indian this is not the case when new.
This is why you have so many gears very badly worn in the Indian gearboxes, the main shaft has completely lost proper end play and the bearing is not holding the clutch sprocket in place, but the engine is pulling and pulling on the clutch gear and mainshaft! Indian changed the clutch contact bearing into a heavy duty ball bearing (207 automotive bearing). This bearing holds the clutch sprocket in place, and can take up 80% of the thrust loading that the original thrust bearing did. bennie bakker 11.28.99 New!

 
 

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Clutch release bearing.
For anyone interested, My local bearing supplier has located a small number of INA 2041 thrust bearings by phoning INA (Andrews Bearing). There is supposed to be 1 in Philidelphia and 12 somewhere in CA. These bearings are identical to the original Indian part and require no modifications to use. I will forego relating any price, just passing on that a few are in the system.  John  11.7.99
 

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