There’s something about being sat in the pocket of a Bowflex catapult which is aimed at a steel post three feet away from your crotch, which sharpens the senses and focuses the mind.
Thus it came to be that I finally stopped ignoring the nasty squeaking sounds that were coming from the rings connecting the main Bowflex pulleys to the cross arm, and checked them out.
On the one hand, logic and years of experience gained from Popular Mechanics told me that there was lots of leeway built in to these machines, and that even if the metal did break, it would probably do so relatively gracefully and with lots of warning. And then again, something about the image of being flung into the post with my legs wide open, should some failure make a leg slip off the bar while doing a leg-press with 410 Bowflex pounds ready to propel my butt, persuaded me to order replacement pulley assemblies.
In case you need the same item, I ordered “ASSY, 87 mm Pulley Slider”, SKU 001-5068. The part for your Bowflex may be different, of course.
The pulley assembly slips off the cross arm after removing one retaining screw on the underside. Don’t quote me, but I think it was a Torx head machine bolt. Putting the new assembly on the arm is just the reverse.
Transferring the cable requires removing the hook assembly at the top end. The only complicated part of this is getting a hold on the bracket that the two bolts are threaded into. Only the one through the cable eye needs to be removed, but as you turn the bolt the bracket wants to rotate on the other bolt and if it turns far enough, I found it got itself caught, which needed some stern talking-to and man-handling to resolve.
To re-install the cable, thread the upper end through the bottom of the pulley in the correct direction, then wrestle with the bolt and hook bracket to re-attach the hook at the top.
That’s it. Back to doing leg presses without any worries. Unless you happen to notice the cable fraying, that is…
There’s a video of this process on my YouTube channel, in case you want to see what I just described with audio featuring every grunt and groan as I bend over while being way too close to the camera microphone. The video also includes some measurements of the actual metal wear (spoiler alert: about half of the diameter of the rings was worn away).