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Double Runner East Bearing Replacement

Saturday, February 13, 2016

As we've written about previously, all of the lifts at Sugarloaf undergo daily, weekly, monthly and yearly inspections. Earlier this week, during one such routine inspection, our lift mechanics detected an out-of-the-ordinary sound coming from the electrical motor in the Double Runner East lift. Upon further investigation of the sound, they determined the cause was the signs of excessive wear to the drive shaft bearings.

A bearing is a relatively small component found in most machines, from inline roller-skates to wind turbines. A bearing's primary function is to alleviate friction between rotating parts, allowing them to spin smoothly and quietly.

The ball bearings on the electrical motor in the Double Runner Lift are found at either end of the drive shaft. Without the bearings, the friction between the drive shaft and the pulley (which turns the lift) would cause rapid and excessive wear and tear, resulting in the much more frequent need for replacements.

After detecting the noise, our lift mechanics contacted AC Electric, a third party company who was able to respond the next day, verify the prognosis, and preform the bearing replacement.

If you were here on Wednesday morning you may have noticed that Double Runner West was running instead of Double Runner East. This was because a team of Lift Mechanics and a crew from AC Electric was occupying the engine room to replace the troublesome bearing. They began the replacement job at 9am, and completed the project approximately one hour later.

The replacement went smoothly, and our Lift Mechanics have not detected any unusual sounds since.

Following the replacement, a vibration test was performed to establish a new baseline reading that our lift mechanics will be able use to compare future readings that are taken bi-weekly throughout the season. The vibration baseline test, much like a concussion baseline, will provide another means for our lift department to detect any possible irregularities.

All bearings wear out eventually, and replacements are common in lifts of all shapes and sizes. But if worn bearing go undetected for extended periods of time they can snowball into significantly greater problems. Our team works hard to perform careful and thorough checks of every lift, every day, in order to detect and address small issues before they turn into larger ones.

Below are a series of photos from the replacement. 

The above photos show the front bearng being replaced. 

The new front bearing. 

The two photos above show the old rear bearing being removed. 

The old rear bearing. 

Grease being applied to the new rear bearing. 

The new rear bearing, in place on the drive shaft.