So today I drilled the hole in the pilot tool/bar (love them cobalt drill bits!) and bolted the pusher ring in place.
Got my new bearings out and had a look. No instructions with me and no internet service so I had to use my brain: Which side goes in, which goes out? One side of the bearing is all uniform, the other side has 2 notches, about 3/4" long, across from each other on the inside of the outer race. Brain said to put the notched side in first, so most of the excess grease would go behind the bearing thru those notches. (so did my eyes, my old stbd bearing had a ton of grease on the back side
Next up, locate the gap in the bearing's outer ring, and the grease hole in the housing, as they need to line up. What I accidentally found out and didn't know, was that the outer ring can be easily removed--and just because I could, I did- and found out the ring was covering a 1/4" grease-hole on top of the bearing! Both bearing's holes were covered. So I aligned the gaps to the holes, happy that my Curious George thing paid off. I could see the grease holes down the pipe, they're about "3:18" o'clock. But once you start sticking a rod and bearing tool in there, visual sucks. So I grabbed the grease gun and pushed a little grease out of each hole. Worked like a charm, and now I know grease WILL move thru like it should. I smeared some grease around the bearing, made sure the grease hole wasn't covered, and found I had to put some grease between the bearing and pusher so the bearing wouldn't roll out of position. And finally a dot of grease on the pusher where the grease hole is. Now, staring down the pipe I could easily line up the dot and the grease squirt. The pilot tool goes quite a ways into the coupler before the bearing hits the edge, so you know it's going in straight. I borrowed a hand-sledge hammer, 5 or 6 pounds, and a piece of 2x4, and started pounding. It's a little disconcerting doing this, but necessary I guess! I didn't like the feel of the wood, or lack of feel, so I just hit the bar proper. No less disconcerting but it felt better. Started with the starboard and after about 8 whacks I stopped, and it looked pretty close. So I did the port bearing, and at around the 8th or 9th whack was obvious I'd hit bottom as the hammer rebounded hard, and the 'bang' was louder. I rotated the tool, turned freely full rotation. Had a look, yup, the port bearing was about 1/4" deeper in than the stbd... About the third good whack and the stbd bearing hit home. Pilot tool spun freely. Both bearings took about 5 pumps of grease which visibly oozed out slightly, and now THAT job is done!
--and it took me twice as long to type this post as it did to install both bearings!
(About 15-20 minutes tops)
This bearing tool works fantastic, probably saved me at least $250, money well spent!
I'm also getting closer to finishing the bottom. I've been worried about how well coal tar epoxy is going to stick to the bottom, but today I closely examined the coal tar I put on the west-facing side 3 years ago. It's applied to wire-brushed and sand blasted rusted spots and holes, and also on top of lightly sanded bottom paint. It's been facing west unobstructed and has gone thru 3 complete summer heat/winter cold cycles, and none of it has failed. I can't get it to flake or chisel off anywhere I tried. Pretty happy about that. FWIW the east-side is the same