Re: 8.8 bearing kit installation question
I've always used a press...
However, I've also had to work a few trail repairs where a BFH came in handy.
Using a bearing splitter, I usually gank-up the pinion shim, but that shouldn't be a big worry since you'll be replacing the shim as you reset the pinion depth for your new pinion gear... (I use a slip-bearing - a new timken with the ID of the bearing opened up to a near slip-fit - that usually gets me pretty close, so I'm not tearing-up shims and bearings trying to set the pinion depth)
If you can find a suitable pipe -- pinion shaft fits inside the pipe and the cut-end of the pipe rests squarely on the inside race of the new bearing - you should be able to drop your shim on, then use the pipe and a suitable BFH to whomp the bearing onto the pinion.
For the sake of "being sure" on the pinion, you can also crank-the-crap outta the pinion nut after your Whomping session to seat the large bearing (Leave the pinion pre-load crush sleeve out, then over-tighten the pinion using the small bearing and the old pinion nut -- I had both old small bearing and race in there, and replaced em after - large bearing and race kinda had to be there, since they're part of the pinion depth value) ...
If you've got a floor jack - you can try to lift the beam of your house or heavy truck (instead of whomping) -- kinda a red-neck 3-ton press :P Also, if you freeze the bearing and pinion (chill for like 30+ minutes next to the ice-packs that wait for body damage ...) they'll contract some and so require less pressure to seat.
All that said, typically, one or more local auto shops or machine shops will press bearings on for free or $5 or something like that... so $15 and you know they're on... just be sure you've got the right shim in there, or you'll be back again!
'01 XLT Ext Cab 4-dr / 4.0 / 5R55e / 265-75x16 / K&N FPIK / & many unknowns