Cobra Motor Bell/shaft Verticle Movement

by Oscar

Ever since I used Cobra motors on my mini quad, I came across the issue where the motor bell develops vertical movement ( bell is can move up and down). We asked Cobra about it and here is the reply from the CEO himself.

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I receive a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these affiliate links. This helps support the free content for the community on this website. Please read our Affiliate Link Policy for more information.

Further Reading: Motors for Mini Quad Beginner’s Guide

In some cases this movement can cause bad vibrations that makes the quad difficult to tune, and even jello in FPV footage.

We think this should be brought to maker attention, so we asked the very man about that issue and this is his reply. Hope that helps those who have the same issue.

Reasons for Vertical Play in Brushless motors

Typically this is caused by the shaft slowly working out of the bell over time, typically due to weak glue or insufficient tolerances. If it is causing vibrations you can can attempt to solve it.

Fix Motor Vertical Play

If you have some spare copper spacers that is an easy solution, but over time it will likely continue to increase. If you want to attempt to fix the bell, turn the motor over and place it so the shaft goes into a hole in a board that is deep enough so the pressure is on the bell rather than the shaft. Tap VERY gently with a hammer and a punch on the shaft. Check it frequently until the play is gone. If you go too far it is MUCH harder to get it back out, so don’t overshoot.

To press a shaft you can also use a screw-type C-clamp. Basically turn the clamp slowly to press the shaft in to the exact tension required. It will work its way back out overtime. A permanent fix might be to remove the shaft entirely and then use green loc-tite to secure it. But… probably not worth the price of a replacement motor.

Reply from Cobra

It is actually quite normal to have a small amount of up and down play in the motor shaft. Due to variations in the grinding process when the shafts are made, there range of acceptable shaft diameters. The manufacturing spec calls for the shaft to be 3.000mm -.006/-.012. The shaft has to be a tiny bit smaller than the inside diameter of the motor bearings in order to be able to fit properly. All of the shafts do move, because they have to in order for the motor to be assembled.

Some motors that have shafts which are on the larger end of the acceptable range require a bit more force to slide into the bearings, and once these motors are assembled, it looks like the motors have no end play. For motors which have a shaft that is on the smaller end of the acceptable diameter range, they will freely float in the bearings and move up and down rather easily. This is in no way an indication of a problem with the motor.

There does need to be a small amount of end play in the shaft in order to prevent the bearings from getting into a bind when the motor comes up to operating temperature during hard racing use. The amount of this designed in end play is around 0.25 to 0.5mm, depending on part tolerance build-up.

Cobra recently initiated an additional step in the shaft grinding process to ensure that the shaft smoothness allows for a small amount of end play in the motors, which allows the motors to operate smoothly over a wide range of temperature conditions. In the end, you have absolutely nothing to worry about, and the motor will operate perfectly fine.


Lucien Miller
President & CEO
Innov8tive Designs, Inc.

Leave a Comment

By using this form, you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website. Note that all comments are held for moderation before appearing.


EngineerX 13th October 2015 - 11:44 pm

A slight up-down play should be OK for the most part. But anything more than 1mm seems rather sloppy manufacturing tolerances. Other brand motors don’t have this issue. It seems that Cobra has attempted to fix this problem by making their shafts fit tighter into the bearings. It was very difficult to remove the bell-shaft assembly in the CM2204-2300kv motors I got recently. I needed to remove it in order to clean them after crashing in dirt. I had to use a DIY “bell extractor”. Also the bearings are said to be glued now, so they would be very difficult to replace. Too bad, those motors are very good performers but they have become very difficult to maintain/service

Brighton 'till I fly 5th October 2015 - 11:26 pm

Hi Oscar
Ughgh Maths to leave a comment and what if the first thing I want to say is “io Oscar” lol

Umm so what’s the plan loosen the grub screw hit the shaft and lock tight it back up?… You first mate then email Mr Miller when it goes tits.

I need to just mine.

Oscar 6th October 2015 - 5:01 pm

haha… don’t exploit my comment system, just text me :D no there is no fix for it, just get on with it basically, and it shouldn’t be any major problem… but if you have one that cause any bad vibration then you should be able to replace it with your vendor (Artur did it)

Olivier 25th September 2015 - 10:11 am

So whats the conclusion? I have a little play 1-2 mm on one motor. is it time to replace motor?

Adrian Martinez 25th November 2015 - 4:38 pm

Oliver – The grub screws that secure the shafts to the motor bell are not always perfectly thread locked or tight. Sometimes after a crash the bell will slip on the shaft and the end play will loosen up. If you have more than a barely discernible amount of end play I would remove the set screw, place the motor upside down on a hard surface and gently tap on the motor shaft where it exits the back of the motor with a small hammer. Repeat this until your play is reduced. Do this slowly and gently so you don’t go too far and bind the bearings. When you are happy, apply blue thread lock to the set screw and snug it tight. Don’t go nuts…remember the hex is 1.5mm and can round the set screw or snap off.

Hope this helps…