This is a guide for replacing the rear suspension pivot bearings on a 2001 Specialized Enduro. From around 1999/2000 the FSR design utilised sealed cartridge bearings rather than the nylon bushes used since the design was introduced. Not having been fortunate enough to dismantle any more recent models than my own, it has to be an assumption that any FSR beyond 2002 has more or less the same pivot assemblies.
Edit. For Horst link bearing assemblies, the method below is only applicable for pre-02 Enduros and pre-04 Stumpjumpers. Check out waynosdias's '04 SJ Bearings' thread for information on some later versions. I have an 07 Big Hit on the way so I'll update this guide once I've pulled the bearings on that!!
I’m new to bike maintenance myself, having only got into it in the last year or so, so please excuse me if the balance of information (too much/too little) wobbles at times.
To the best of my knowledge, if anyone other than a ‘qualified’ mechanic replaces the bearings on your bike then your warranty will become worthless. Whether this applies only to the rear end which, at least in the UK, has only a three year warranty, I do not know. My second-hand frame was five this year and it’s already been powder-coated so I think I’m safe to assume I didn’t even have a warranty to worry about.
Remember that it is your choice to do this job; I’m just showing you how I did mine. If you break something or void your warranty in the process it is your fault and I accept absolutely zero responsibility for the mistakes of heavy-handed amateur wrenches and professionals alike. Pulling bearings is not a particularly fine art; pushing them is only slightly more complex. I used presses constructed from long bolts, wrench sockets and a variety of washers and spacers. Using a hand or bench vice would make some parts of this job this job much easier.
If you're feeling play in the rear of your FSR, the first thing to check is the shock-eye bushes, as these will wear out long before any other suspension components. Disconnect the shock one end at a time and check for play.
‘2RS’ indicates that a bearing has two rubber seals. ZZ indicates metal shields. I used 2RS’s for the two 6000 bearings and ZZ’s for the six 688’s. I run inner tube all around the rearmost pivots as an effective seal, so was happy using the metal sealed bearings. Although I manufactured a ‘fender’ to deflect most of the debris/water that the rear tyre throws up, I prefer the flexibility of the rubber seals for the front (BB) bearings.
In total, the stay pivots on a 2001 FSR should use; (chainstay) 2 x 6000 2RS bearings and (seatstay) 6 x 688 2RS/ZZ bearings, plus 2 x 688 2RS/ZZ in the suspension link.
The 6000 bearings have the dimensions; 26mm (OD) x 10mm (ID) x 8mm (W)
The 688 bearings have the dimensions; 16mm (OD) x 8mm (ID) x 5mm (W)
I used a rubber mallet (a hammer is overkill for bike bearings) to remove the first bearing/spacer from the top of the seatstay. We’re dealing with bike bearings here and the effort required should be minimal. Using a press is much more gentle and progressive and so is far less likely to cause any damage to the frame. Getting them out is one thing but I strongly advise against using anything other than the press method for replacing any pivot bearings. Using a press allows you to visually check that the bearing is going in straight, and does it slowly enough for you to make necessary adjustments along the way.
The only real problem that I can foresee in this job is that one of the bearings may separate from itself, leaving the outer race lodged in the frame. If, upon inspection of all the pivots, it looks like there may be corrosion between the steel races and the aluminium of the frame, spray some WD40, or similar, onto the bearings and give it time to soak in. Make sure the horrible stuff is entirely removed before fitting your new bearings. New bearings should get a thin coat of thick grease around the edge before refitting. It'll aid their insertion and also help prevent any premature corrosion.
Just take it nice and slow when you press bearings back in. Misaligned bearings could easily damage the stay apertures.
Ed. The problem of bearings seperating in the stays seems to be overcome with a miniature headset cup remover (a small pipe with a split cut at one end). Replies #10-16.
If a specific size socket is needed for a particular press I’ll mention it. For building up spacers and the rest of the presses I used, amongst other things, a load of old rear shock bushes which I’ve collected over time. It’ll become clear as you get into it what size/shape pieces you need for your presses. I'd advise against using current shock bushes as they can be damaged by the pressing process.
Lower Seatstay Pivots
Note the four top-hat style washers which are pressed into the chainstay apertures (2). These can be left in place during this procedure. Check, while you’re here, that all four washers are set firmly in the stay and have no play.
Picture (5) shows the pivot at the bottom of the seatstay with a press in place. The pivot assembly can be seen in pictures (1) to (4). On the right of the press assembly is a 16mm socket. The lip of the socket sits against the stay whilst the hole is large enough to accept the bearing without impeding its progress. On the left side of the press assembly is a tube which has an external diameter of 8mm (actually the centre tube from the old style nylon bushes, but you should be able to get something similar from a good hardware store). You may get lucky with a 3/16” socket if you're using a vice rather than a bolted press. A bolt runs through the tube and the socket and has a nut on the end. When the nut is tightened the assembly is compressed and the tube pushes against the spacer (ii) which is squeezed out into the body of the 16mm socket, taking with it the right hand bearing.
The left hand bearing can be removed by switching the press (7) so the socket is on the left side and the pressure is applied to the inner race of the bearing from inside the stay. I used the top-hat type washers from the upper seatstay assembly (11), inverted, to seat against the bearing race. Picture (8) shows the full press assembly for this part of the job.
My bearings came out without issue and had not suffered any serious corrosion to the races, spacer or frame. Use a fine (1000) sandpaper or wire wool to clean the spacer if it shows any signs of corrosion. Make sure all swarf is removed before refitting. Thoroughly clean and dry the frame aperture.
The press in picture (9) uses two large washers to press the first bearing back into the stay. The washers should be larger than the stay aperture. The bearing is being pressed into the right side and you’ll notice in the picture that it’s slightly out of alignment. I found that a small amount of shift tends to get pressed out as the bearing goes in. Keep a close eye on it though, and be prepared to switch the press assembly to remove the bearing and start again.
Once the first bearing is installed the spacer can be greased (I use Pedro’s Syn Grease) and dropped into place (10). The second bearing can then be pressed in.
For both bearings the outer race should be perfectly flush with the stay.
The second pivot is identical to the first.
Upper Seatstay Pivots
Picture (11) shows the bearing assembly at the top of the seatstay. Basically the same as the lower assembly just with a longer spacer. Note the top-hat style washers inserted into the bearings on each side.
I used a 3/16" socket to tap out the spacer and one of the bearings (12/13) although the 8mm tube used for the lower bearings could be used in a press.
A 16mm socket was used to press out the remaining bearing (14/15)
Picture (16) shows the press assembly for inserting the first bearing. Remember that the washer that faces up to the bearing must contact the outer race fully so you're not pressing on the bearing seals (17).
The spacer should have a thin coat of grease and be dropped into the stay, making sure it is correctly seated in the bearing. The advantage of using a press here is that the bolt running through it will assist in keeping the spacer central to the bearings.
Press the second bearing in very slowly, checking regularly that the spacer is settling in between the inner races. It obviously helps to keep the whole assembly vertical for this part.
Picture (18) shows everything in place, bar the top-hat style washers which drop into the bearings before refitting the seatstay to the suspension link.
I use BETD’s suspension linkage which is fitted with needle bearings. The original Specialized link has two 688 2RS bearings which come out in the same way to those in the upper seatstay. Pictures 19-22 show the pivot and press assemblies.
Flip Flop Bearings
Because I had already replaced the two main bearings next to the bottom bracket, the only picture I currently have is of an old chainstay (23). I'll update this shortly as I'll be overhauling a 2003 BigHit in the next couple of weeks.. These two bearings, 6000 2RS, are very easy to remove/replace using a ghetto press similar to those seen here, using a 1” socket. They can only be pressed from the inside-out.
Wipe any excess grease from all the new bearings as it will only attract dust/grit.
With both stays bolted back in to place and the rear shock detached, move the rear triangle through its range of motion. It should be pretty much effortless and silent, too. Remember that the bolts on the lower pivots use nylock nuts and shouldn't be overtightened; they only need enough torque to pull the bearing assembly together.
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Thread: FSR Pivot Bearing Overhaul