A Permanent Fix for YYF Spacers

Leading up to the release of the CLYW Yeti, I read a lot of complaints and information related to the YYF spacers being used. After receiving my Yeti along with a YYF Protostar, I had agree with what I had read, the only way to release the bearing would be to resort to extreme measures. I like my bearing to run quiet, so a yoyo with a bearing that could not be removed, cleaned and oiled, was not an option for me. After reading everything I could find on the forums I came up with this set of instructions for permanently “Fixing” YYF spacers.

Tools Required

  • very small flat head screw driver
  • 1/4 drill bit
  • cordless drill
  • sanding block with 220 grit sandpaper
  • sanding block with 400 grit sandpaper (Optional)
  • 2 scotch bright pads - grey and white (Optional)

The first step is to separate one spacer from the bearing. When the yoyo is unscrewed, the bearing along with both spacer will remain in one side or the other. If it happens to stay in the same side as the axle (50/50 chance), it will need to be removed. I found the axle on both my Yeti and my Protostar very easy to unscrew from the half it remained in.

At this point take a screwdriver and slide it in the gap between the spacer on top and the bearing. The screwdriver needs to be small enough to fit in the gap without any force. I used a screwdriver designed for computer repair. Many forum posts recommend a push pin. I found a pin too hard to control. Once you have the screw driver inserted into the gap, lever the screw driver up and down gently. You just want the space to open slightly, then move a quarter turn and do the same thing. Keep going around in circles until the spacer pops free. I’ve found using this technique results in no damage to the bearing and almost no damage to the spacer. The head of the screwdriver will create a few small scratches, but nothing that will impact the function of the spacer.

Now that the spacer is free, we need to make the bearing seat smaller. Chuck the spacer in a cordless drill by setting the non bearing seat side in the chuck and slowly tightening. Do this carefully, the drill chuck will destroy the spacer if you tighten too much. You only have to tighten enough that the spacer stays in place against gentle pressure. Take the 220 grit sanding block and hold it flat against the bearing seat trying to make sure that it is touching both the top and the bottom so as to remove equal amounts of material. Slowly pull the trigger on the drill with the sanding held tight to the bearing seat. Gradually increase to a speed you are comfortable with. This part take some trial and error. It takes about 3-5 minutes per spacer. Sand for a few seconds, then test against the bearing. Keep going until the bearing reaches your preferred tightness. 220 grit sand paper is very fine and takes very little material so you don’t have to worry too much about missing the desired fitting.

This next part is optional. 220 grit is fine enough that no further sanding is needed, but I prefer to give it a little more fit and finish. Once I get to my desired fit, I do a few passes with a 400 grit sanding block, then a few passes with the grey then the white scotch brite pads. These give a perfectly smooth shiny final finish.

The last thing I do, also optional, is use the same 400 grit, grey/white scotch brite method on the outer rim of the spacer. This is the surface that was slightly scratched during removal. Make sure not to sand the raised surface the bearing sits on. This final sanding will remove any high spots the screwdriver may have left. It is important to note that any high spots would be so slight that they would in no way affect performance. This step is strictly cosmetic.

The final step is to perform the same operation on the other spacer, the only problem being that it’s stuck between the bearing and half of the yoyo. First, take non drill end of a 1/4 drill bit and stick it in the bearing gentle move it side to side. The bearing/spacer combination should gradually wiggle free of the yoyo half. Next, with the drill bit still in the bearing, use the screwdriver as described above to release the second spacer. It should only take a few seconds. Once the spacer is free perform the steps listed above to reach the desired fit.

Once the spacers have been adjusted, you should be able to press fit them back into their mounts within the yoyo halves. If done correctly, the bearing can now be removed without the spacers being pulled from either half allowing for easy removal and maintenance going forward.

I’m sure the first question you’re going to ask is “will this introduce vibe!”. The answer is maybe… But that’s basically the answer to every operation that involves unscrewing a yoyo. The reality is it probably won’t create any more vibe than putting up with a dirty bearing or struggling to pry the spacers off each and every time you need to clean it. I’ve performed this operation on both my Yeti and my Protostar and they both perform as well they did when I first took them out of the box. One of the biggest upsides to YYF spacers is that if you wreck them, it only costs five dollars to buy a new set.

I hope this helps everyone out there “living” with YYF spacers.


Fantastic information with useful pictures. People love pictures! Thanks so much for taking the time. I was just talking last night with someone and we both agreed that people are too uppity about those YYF spacers… they’re not THAT bad to begin with. With instructions like these, they are going to be better than “not that bad”. :wink:


I never complain about them haha. I have a few spacer YYF’s but the simple screwdriver guide i made is all i need.

But for a yeti i would do this. Its to awesome to have super scratched spacers haha ;).

This begs the question:

Why can’t the YYF spacers already be this way?

When the phrase after “begs the question” is a question, you can be guaranteed the term isn’t being used correctly. :wink: “Begging the question” is a term for a logical fallacy that’s equivalent to “Circular argument”. There’s no circular argument present, just a question. “which begs the question” is NOT equivalent to “which really makes you ask”. And when you hear it in its correct context, it will actually throw most people off: “Listen, Bob. That’s not correct… that just begs the question.” (full stop. There’s no follow-up question; it’s the same as saying “…that’s just a circular argument.”)

Probably the most confusing name for a logical fallacy ever. And you’re not alone in using it. In fact, the incorrect usage has become so predominant that given the elastic nature of language, it will actually become the “correct” usage, much to my chagrin. But I’ll always use it with its original meaning cause I’m a stubborn old coot that way.

Sorry for the logic “lesson”… explaining “begging the question” to a largely captive audience is one of my personal missions in life. :wink:

It DOES really make you wonder why they’re made like that in the first place! It’s well-known that they’re a poor fit with a “death grip”. Not sure why it should have been be so impossible to adjust whatever process they use to make the spacers.


I’d argue this has already happened meaning your rant, while interesting, is no longer valid :stuck_out_tongue:

Back on topic, this guide looks really helpful but I agree with the implied answer to the begged question, that YYF should really making better fitting spacers to begin with. I can only guess that it’s hard to get those really tight tolerances on such a cheaply manufactured part.

Haha! Touche! I had considered that it has already happened, but I don’t think it’s a done deal yet. Despite the proliferation of the word “irregardless”, that word has no actual meaning in English. I would also never use “thru” in place of “through” in formal communication, despite the former’s appearance in many dictionaries.

As long as there are more than 5 of us willing to educate and spread the word, we haven’t lost the war against incorrect use of “which begs the question” just yet. I bet next time you use it (and I doubt people who read this are just going to stop!) you’ll at least remember this stupid rant and perhaps the time after that, you’ll consider using “which really makes me wonder” instead. :wink:

Correction noted. I’m always up for education.

I’ve found the masses don’t seem to want to accept correct to an error, at least not without taking great personal offense first, being argumentative second, and then walking away third after making a few obscene statements.

Back to the topic:

I’m sure YYF is having their spacers made elsewhere. They are most likely buying in bulk. I mean, they use these suckers in a lot of their yoyos so it’s not like they are gonna buy them a few here and there like you or I would. Tolerances have to be tight in the first place.

Now, assuming that they are buying or even if they are machining the spacers themselves, you’d think someone would come along and say “hey, I think we should shave another thousandth of an inch off this one area where the bearing sits over so it’s no so darn tight”. I’ve only been in this yoyo thing about 2.5 years. I’m no expect by any stretch, however I do observe things(but Steve Brown will tell me I’m wrong anyways). I’ve observed since nearly MY “Day 1” of issues with YYF yoyos and spacers and grip of deal concerns.

When I had to clean my kid’s Protostar, it took over a half an hour to get the spacers out. Cleaning didn’t take more than 5 minutes. I got YYF yoyos that use spacers, including 2 Die-Nasty yoyos, Protostar, Northstar and others. I don’t want to have to do bearing maintenance because of this. Considering CLYW is a premium brand finally stepping into the plastics marketplace, you think they’d want to address this and either request an adjustment to the spacers. I’m guessing CLWY didn’t put a whole lot of thought into this. This isn’t an issue of being lazy, just an oversight.

Sanding down thousands of spacers is time consuming. The good thing is that its a simple fix that YYF could put some low ranking(but skilled) minion on to resolve. This will raise costs.

YYF has already adjusted a few bearing seats on yoyos to not be so darn tight. If most other brands don’t have bearing death grip and are smooth as glass, then certainly YYF’s can be as well. As far as the Yeti is concerned, it makes maintenance easier, player satisfaction goes up as a result(for players who like this yoyo) but any plastic vibe will pretty much be unchanged IF the modified spacers are done properly.

If YYF does sell “updated” spacers, I’d buy a bunch to replace them in the ones that already use the current spacers.

just wonduring what brand/kind of sandpaper should you use

I used some 650-grit wet/dry that I found at Princess Auto. You want to take off very very little material. The OP used 220 and 400 sanding blocks it seems. You should be able to get those at Home Despot.

What type of sand paper did you use use such as garnet sand paper

I didn’t look that carefully, but I doubt it’s garnet sand paper. Wet/Dry is usually something else. I think I might have the packaging… hold on… (as if this is a realtime reply…)… it is waterproof silicon carbide.

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I use aluminum oxide paper, but the type is not all that important. Different types will “cut” at different rates so I recommend going slow to get a feel for how fast it’s taking off material. I found 220 to be plenty slow.

You can easily get 220 at any home depot or lowes. Higher grits are usually in the painting section. You can also find them at any woodworking store or auto parts store.