Are your TiLite wheelchair stem bolts corroded onto the bearings? Don't worry; we've got you covered with step-by-step instructions on how to tackle this common issue.
Before you begin: This how-to guide only applies to Tilite Aero Series wheelchairs where the corroded stem bolt can be dropped out (removed) from the frame. This would also apply to any wheelchair with a removable stem bolt.
Picture of TiLite Aero series fork stem removed from a wheelchair with a corroded fork, top view.
Picture of TiLite Aero series fork stem removed from a wheelchair with a corroded fork, underside view.
Tools and Supplies You'll Need:
- Penetrating oil (e.g., 3-IN-ONE Fast-Acting Penetrant)
- Pin punch
- Grease (lithium or clear)
- Bearing Removal Stand/Vise/Two Blocks of wood.
These instructions assume you have already removed the fork and fork stem from the wheelchair.
1. Select the Right Penetrating Oil:
- Do not use WD-40, as it is water-based and can exacerbate the rust problem.
2. Apply Penetrating Oil:
- Liberally apply the penetrating oil to both sides of the stem bolt.
- Allow it to soak overnight for optimal results. This gives the oil time to break up the corrosion between the old fork bearings and the stem bolt.
3. Prepare for Extraction:
- Once the oil has had time to work its magic, you're ready to remove the corroded stem bolt.
- Position the wheelchair fork so that you can access the underside of the fork.
Picture of Bearing Removal Stand
4. Use a Pin Punch and Hammer:
- Flip the fork upside down, exposing the stem bolt.
- Make sure to support the fork and have enough room for the stem bolt to drop out off the fork. If you do not have one of our portable wheelchair bearing removal stand you can use two blocks of wood or an open vise. (Link to Stand: https://wheelchairbearings.com/collections/professional-wheelchair-bearings-tools/products/wheelchair-bearing-removal-stand)
- Take a pin punch and a hammer.
- Carefully and gently tap the stem bolt from the bottom side of the fork. The goal here is to coax it out without causing further damage.
5. Clean with Penetrating Oil:
- After successfully removing the corroded stem bolt, clean it thoroughly using more penetrating oil.
- This step helps remove any remaining rust and debris.
6. Apply Grease for Protection:
- Before installing new forks, apply a generous amount of grease to the stem bolt.
- Recommended greases are lithium (white) or clear. This creates a barrier between the stem bolt and the bearing, preventing future corrosion.
By following these step-by-step instructions and using the right tools and supplies, you can effectively remove a corroded TiLite Aero wheelchair stem bolt or other stem bolt that can be removed form the wheelchair. Remember, patience is key, especially when dealing with rusted components. Taking your time and using the correct penetrating oil and grease will ensure a smoother process and prolong the life of your wheelchair.