Hi Kent, unfortunately, I have quite a bit of very recent experience with them. I used to “rent” them from the local auto shops (you pay a full price deposit, use the tool and then return it for a full refund so the rental is gratis). I’ve used them to pull wheel bearings, CV Joints and wheelhubs out from the very solidly rusted vehicles up here in the Canadian winters (they use a fair bit of salt which makes it somewhat challenging). Last week, I tried to rent one to pull the gimbal bearing off my Mercruiser Alpha One inboard/outboard sterndrive on our motorboat that my daughter accidentally sunk last summer while Jen and I were away in Europe. (Don’t forget to put the plug in the boat BEFORE you run it down the railway!) Anyway, due to the Covid stuff, they’ve all stopped renting tools so I ended up buying one at the local Princess Auto (our version of Harbour Frieght). I’ve seen that their version, is the same as what I got. It's on sale this week for the equivalent of about $60 USD.
I whaled away at that damn gimbal bearing (it’s about a 4” by 1” bearing inside a long tunnel of a race and was VERY severely corroded in there without much luck. The one I have has a 5 lb slide (the more the merrier) and I let it soak in PB Blaster for about a week and even fashioned using a 4 ton hydraulic jack to try to lever the thing out using the attachments of the slide hammer and a cross bar I built using metal and a 4x4 post…. All I ended up doing was snapping four 3/8” u-bolts like they were made of butter. I finally gave up and called in the pro.. who showed up with the exact same slide hammer as I had, he put it on and gave it two huge whacks and it came right out! To be fair to me, I didn’t try it for the 3-4 days before he showed up and it was sitting in PB blaster but he did whale away at it harder than I could (he used very thick gloves which helps cushion the blow). He said that he’s never had a gimbal bearing stick that he hasn’t been able to get out with that tool. Here’s the link to what I got. https://www.princessauto.com/en/detail/10-way-slide-hammer-puller-kit/A-p8309262e
but I am very sure I saw the same thing on the Harbour Freight website too (PA and HF seem to use the same companies even though they aren’t related). Normally, I find their cheap Chinese tools don’t stand up well but I was very impressed with how strong this was - especially considering I had a 4 ton jack pulling on those little arms and it didn’t even leave a scratch on them. My pro has been using the same set for 5 years and says he’s never had an issue with it either.
There aren’t any instruction manuals with it but those three arms go on that black three armed attachment that gets threaded on (after the round disk) to the end of the slide hammer rod. The round disk, winds down, levering the arms apart so that it can grab the inside race of the bearing… when you have got ALL of the play out of it, you just whale away at it as hard as you possibly can and the shock breaks the bond and out she comes…. DO wear very thick gloves as that thing makes your bones ring!
The good thing is that after a set of plugs, a new distributor cap and the new gimbal bearing, the boat is working perfectly now… love to get you and Iris out for that Canal trip to see our fascinating locks if the damn border ever opens up again! Enjoy Maine! I’ve flown over that whole area up there and it’s on my bucket list.