Small Engine Troubleshooting Problems? Ask a Mechanic Now.
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Yes, if the bearing has much wear in it the impeller could come in contact with the housing or some of the bolts in the housing which would explain the noise and sparks. When you apply a load on the impeller to spin it with worn bearings it will pull the shaft sideways which in turn will cock the impeller sideways which would make it hit or rub.
If you want to have the parts in hand prior to taking it apart then I would recommend your nearest local Hustler dealer. However if that isn't an issue for you, then I would take it apart and get the old bearing out then you can go to a bearing store or automotive store and they should be able to match it up for you. The bearings normally will have a number stamped on them that can be used for reference or they can measure the bearing itself.