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Warco WM14 spindle bearings

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Mike Hurley26/01/2022 10:44:49
305 forum posts
87 photos

My WM14 has developed excessive sideways movement in the spindle. I can only assume its a bearing issue of some kind but I am really struggling to get it apart to examine things. I have searched for definitive answers on this forum and the wider internet. There are postings regarding it's bigger brothers i.e the WM16 and WM18, plus numerous references and pointers to youtube videos primarily regarding the similar American 'Grizzly' versions.

The problem is that none of these appear to be the same as mine! They all show much the same process - you go into the top of the spindle firmly press down the spring loaded section and slip out the retaining clip sideways - simple. Then proceed to remove the spindle.

To try & be brief, I have tried my utmost to do this, The retaining clip is quite clear and would move if I could move the housing it sits in out of the way but it will simply not budge (as it does appear to in all the videos)! There even seems to be a slot in the housing (see photo #2) which would tend to make you think the retaining clip could exit through.

There's also what appears to be a collar with a couple of holes (for a pin spanner I assume) at the other end, which doesn't get mentioned anywhere - don't know if relevant.

So has anyone actually done this before and can point me in the right direction please!

Top retaining clip (like a 'C' clip) in (recessed) situ


Side view of top - showing cutout




I'm totally confused with this, expecially as the arrangement does not seem to closely match the parts diagram in the Warco manual (not a great surprise there anyway) . It was a new machine from them back around 2011 / 2012 so hasn't been modified.

Any guidance much appreciated! Mike

Journeyman26/01/2022 11:43:33
1147 forum posts
230 photos

Appears to be different to my, probably older, WM14 but I think you may have to take off the top casting which supports the motor and has a hole through it for the spindle. My bearings were definitely below this plate. If you look down the top side of your 1st photo , by the choc block, you can see the bearing below the plate. The bits in the top you are looking at are I think part of the quill set up.

Have a look here for a few photos which may help a bit *** WM14 Mill ***


Edit: Typo

Edited By Journeyman on 26/01/2022 11:53:04

Mike Hurley27/01/2022 10:58:57
305 forum posts
87 photos

Thanks for that John. There does appear to be a difference in the layout between your version and mine.

However - after much dedicated head scratching and varying methods of attack I have managed to get the spindle out! As is often the case - it's quite simple really. Once I did get the spindle out, I could better feel the degree of its movement in the quill housing, which was excessive. On further inspection I noticed that the pre-load locknut for the bearings was loose - not helpful (see 3rd pic - its the item with 2 cap head screws showing) To re-tighten this will require a special pin-spanner which is what I shall be making next, hoping this is all that needs to be done and the bearings are OK?

Purely for the benefit of any poor soul in the future searching for the answer - here's a brief summary of how it's done

Obtain an odd piece of metal that is a snug fit in the slot. Make sure the feed lever is engaged, quill NOT locked.

Feed down a short way until the sleeve just goes below the bottom of the slot. Insert the odd bit of steel just enough to stop the sleeve from springing back. Firmly move the feed lever UP against spring tension. Will only move the inner spindle 3 or 4 mm - but that is just enough clearance to begin to slide the clip out! DO NOT completely remove it at this point (see second pic)!



Get a small bundle of cloth or HD workman gloves and COVER the top of the shaft - because when you remove the odd bit of metal and the clip the internal strong spring and sleeve will depart at a great rate of knots and will result in eye injury or simply departing to one of the famous dark corners of the workshop never to be seen again. You have beem warned!

Once that done you will be able to manually slip the spindle out for further work as required.


From this point on there are numerous videos etc on the internet explaining next steps, and are pretty common to all the models as far as I can see.

Hope that's of assistance to someone. regards. Mike

Mike Hurley16/02/2022 18:34:35
305 forum posts
87 photos

Just an update: After removing the spindle, examination showed a good 1mm up/down and .5mm side to side movement! Was a bit daunted, but suddenly noticed that the pre-load nut at the top was loose - quickly screwing it back into place with fingers seemed to make the movement less, so hoped this was all required.

Made up a custom pin-spanner (see photo) and was able to re-tighten things quite accurately. Free play removed yet still running nice and free with no feel of grunge in the bearings. The pre-load nut is an oddity, it's split part way through and locks by 2 screws distorting the upper section.

pre_load nut.jpg

Tightening these down with sufficient clockwise force to be effective is difficult without also tending to rotate & tighten the nut - upsetting your original positioning.
I found a handy pair of cranked nose pliers (see photo) that just fitted into the 2 holes used for the pin spanner which allowed me to hold the nut in position when tightening the screws.
End result after re-assembling - very happy. It's like a new machine, and in fact I think better than it ever was!

I know a chap did a youtube on a re-designed nut which seemed quite well thought out (a two part assembly), but I wasn't sure how it was meant to be accurately tightened, so haven't considered it further at this time. May re-visit it if I find the problem returning later.
So if your WM mill seemes a bit 'off', don't necessarily despair - may be just a straightforward adjustment rather than bearing changes! Just hope my experiences may be useful to others in the future.
regards Mike

mgnbuk16/02/2022 20:45:27
1179 forum posts
71 photos

The pre-load nut is an oddity,

Not really an oddity - it is a clampable nut in a situation that requires one & whole lot better and easier to clamp up without problems than a split nut with a clamp screw often seen in such situations.

My prefered option is SKF's KMT and KMTA precision locknuts if your spindle thread is one of the options that SKF offer in their range. They are not cheap in the larger sizes, but not eye-watering in "our" range & they are a doddle to set up and lock without modifying your carefully set preload. And they release cleanly too when the need arises to remove them. I once spent ages with a fitter trying to get the rebuilt spindle of a Boko borer to run true that had a split locknut - it didn't matter how careful we were or how many approaches we took to setting the bearing preload, final tightening the clamp screw on the split locknut always introduced a spindle runout error. Fortunately the locknut thread was in the SKF range, so a KMT locknut was bought & fitted - first attempt with that nut had the spindle nicely preloaded with no runout when the clamp screws were tightened.

Yours looks like a "less expensive to make " version of a Spieth locknut , that work by distorting part of the thread of a one piece machined part to lock the nut. I have had to use these where the design of the machine didn't allow sufficient access to get to the clamping screws on an SKF nut, but found them to be something of a "use once" part. They would clamp up fine from new but, if subsequently removed, didn't lock securely again if reused.

Nigel B.

Mike Hurley17/02/2022 09:49:43
305 forum posts
87 photos

Thanks for the feedback Nigel, a most interesting read. This was just an 'oddity' to me as something I'd never come across before - having not attempted similar jobs previously. I agree this item does look like a cheap-and-cheerful version of the Speith locknut you mentioned, same principle but the Speith being a more elegant and finely engineered part.

It never ceases to amaze me that there is 'nothing new under the sun' as the saying goes, that with every problem somebody has always already figured out a solution somewhere / sometime!

All the best, Mike

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