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Old 05-05-2005, 02:56 PM   #15
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Cleaning w/mineral spirits or gas

I am not a mechanic but am starting to dabble to save $$. I had my A/S 4 wheels done the first time 2 yrs ago and plan to do it myself next. I have done bearings on my smaller leaf and boat trailers.

To clean, I usually soak & agitate the old grease out with a solvent. From the description from DBM04 and others about 'purge' old grease out, it sounds like some are skipping the solvent step. I personally feel the solvent gets all the dirt out.

Of course I let it dry completely before repacking (evaporates fairly quickly).

For doing several at a time, the Lisle packer is something I should invest in.

Thanks for all who are sharing.

Again - Great Forum!!

Steve
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Old 05-05-2005, 03:00 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Sav'h Steve
To clean, I usually soak & agitate the old grease out with a solvent. From the description from DBM04 and others about 'purge' old grease out, it sounds like some are skipping the solvent step. I personally feel the solvent gets all the dirt out.

Steve
On top of that, how do you inspect the bearings for galling if you don't clean them?
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Old 05-05-2005, 04:47 PM   #17
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For General maintenance: If the seal and dust cap are still in place and in good shape without any sign of dust and dirt getting past either, I will initially wipe the inner race, bearing surfaces and cage and inspect for any trace of overheating or chattering. If this looks good, they get repacked and installed without any residual cleaner to break down the new grease along with new seals. If the seal or dust cap has been bypassed by dust or dirt or the seal lip has been torn then I will automatically replace the bearings without question as the intrusion of dirt has damaged the bearing whether I can visually see it or not even if the bearing has been cleaned. The cost of replacing a questionable set of bearings and seal that has heat cycled numerous times and has traveled loaded at highway speeds across potholes, expansion cracks, etc. is negligable compared to what can happen with a failure on the road. This was the way I was taught to do it and how to look at it.

At work we analyze bearings to the nth degree. If we stretch the life a bit too far the machine will break down and we will repair it. If the bearings fail while I am on the road because I have tried to overextend there life then I will have a lot more damage to deal with ... which would hopefully be mechanical instead of someones injury due to a failed bearing.

But that said, this post is interesting in the fact that I am interested in what is the most reliable and safest way to inspect, repack, and torgue these bearings. I have stated basically the way I was taught and have been doing it. But, that doesn't mean that there is not a newer, better way to inspect, repack, and torgue the bearings that I can learn from someone today. "The old way may not always be the best way"
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Old 05-05-2005, 06:47 PM   #18
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...When in doubt, take your CLEAN bearings to an auto parts store and ask their opinion. Unless you get Oscar the Grouch, anyone in an auto parts store would be happy to look at the bearings for you.
Do not attempt this unless you are going to an established, local parts house & not a chain store. Somber looking individuals sitting on stools smoking cigarettes watching you come in are a good indicator that you are in the right place. These folks want a given machine to operate the right way.

My experience has been that the folks manning the counter at chain stores depend on whatever the computer tells them. The computer can not look at your bearings.

If the chain store parts person is smart, he/she will tell you to replace the bearings regardless of how they look (liability issue). If you decide to take their advice, make sure you buy Timken brand bearings - I have yet to have a problem with that brand.

FWIW,
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Old 05-05-2005, 07:03 PM   #19
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Updated Info

I updated some on the info on the web to include seating the bearings and also Leo's info on packing the bearings by hand. Thanks Leo for letting me use that.

The seating information is not definitive to say the least but should be close enough for getting the job done. I found info ON THE WEB that stated you have to torque to xyz specs then back off to some other setting and blah, blah, blah. What I added is less specific but illustrates the point of seating the bearings in a way that does not seem unsafe to me.
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Old 05-05-2005, 07:05 PM   #20
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The picture of your brake pad looks like it is wearing at an angle, top looks thicker than the bottom? If so they should be replaced, the caliper is binding when the brakes are applied. You should clean the pins and grease them, also the holes they mount thru in the caliper.
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Old 05-05-2005, 08:38 PM   #21
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By the way Don -- that was the best wheel bearing packing site I had seen. I didn't even get close to one like that in my search and I must have spent 20+ minutes on it!

Leo
HaHa, I have a top secret search engine. I found it on the "airstreamforums.com" website. Used the 'search' feature.

Thanks, and a shout out to Bryan (Leipper)!

Here's the source thread, it's post #4.

http://www.airforums.com/forum...ead.php?t=9927
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Old 05-05-2005, 09:55 PM   #22
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Yes the pads are worn unevenly and the calipers were stiff. They need a lot of work. Part of the reasons that we elected to tow her home without brakes. I will need to turn the rotors.
Surprisingly, the tech manual says that a tapered wear pattern is actually normal. But a taper of the lining greater than 1/8th of an inch (certainly my case) should be replaced.
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Old 05-05-2005, 10:26 PM   #23
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buttercup

good site!

as for cleaning your bearings i use a small 3 gallon parts cleaner tank filled with plain kerosene that is used for cleaning just wheel bearings. harley airstream or chevy the only parts that get cleaned in it are wheel bearings.

your use of aerosol cleaner is the best way to go short of replacing everything.

napa sells a nice cone shaped wheel bearing greasing fixture with a zerk on the top, again, i have a grease gun that gets loaded with only wheel bearing grease. sometimes i load it by hand or just use cartriges of wheel bearing grease. depending on what i can find when i am ready to do a lube job.

the cone greaser is amazing because of the amount of crud that can be forced out of a set of "clean" bearings.

john
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Old 05-05-2005, 10:43 PM   #24
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Ok, then I have to ask...first, are you saying HD that one shoud not use an aresol brake cleaner on the bearings? It's what every grease monkey uses.

Second, you say wheel bearing grease only. I'm curious, is there a difference between say a Mobil 1 syn grease compared to a tub called wheel bearing grease? I've been repacking the wheel bearings on my boat trailer for over 10 years using normal grease the first 5 years and Mobli 1 grease the last 5 years. Now I'll admit the boat weighs about 3000lbs...maybe, while our Safari weighs upwards of 6300lbs.

So is it wrong to think I can use any other grease besides something that says wheel bearing grease specifically on the tube or tub?

BTW, nice process Buttercup...I noticed your coach has disc brakes...what's the year and model of your Airstream that has discs on it?
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Old 05-05-2005, 10:51 PM   #25
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John,

Thanks for the compliment on our site. I used brake cleaner because it was small and portable. Nice for a long distance repack job and the pressure of the can helped blast most of the crud out (I hope). But I would kill for a nice parts washer in my garage! The fun I could have.
I am going to redo the bearings and use a packer of some type to document the results on the web.
I can see that my garage will have to be cleaned out a little to hold all of the tools that I will be getting to take care of our TT! I'll work on the parts bin but I wondered how an ultrasonic cleaner with a good quality solvent would work on something like this....
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Old 05-05-2005, 11:28 PM   #26
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I've been repacking the wheel bearings on my boat trailer for over 10 years using normal grease the first 5 years and Mobli 1 grease the last 5 years. Now I'll admit the boat weighs about 3000lbs...maybe, while our Safari weighs upwards of 6300lbs.
I've always used boat grease (the blue stuff) for my boat trailer. I have separate grease guns for boat grease and airstream grease. The boat grease doesn't have the same soap base as regular grease, it doesn't wash out and it keeps water out better. (I admit I use bearing buddies too)
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Old 05-06-2005, 07:53 AM   #27
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the tech manual says that a tapered wear pattern is actually normal. But a taper of the lining greater than 1/8th of an inch (certainly my case) should be replaced.
That makes me pretty nervous. 1/8" seems like a lot of tolerance on such a short piece. I like things that fit nice and tight, they move more smoothly and consistently. When the tolerance gets that large it seems the calipers are moving around too much and would start hanging. I would keep a close eye on them.
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Old 05-06-2005, 08:12 AM   #28
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That makes me pretty nervous. 1/8" seems like a lot of tolerance on such a short piece. I like things that fit nice and tight, they move more smoothly and consistently. When the tolerance gets that large it seems the calipers are moving around too much and would start hanging. I would keep a close eye on them.
The calipers were quite free floating - more so than on any other vehicle that I have ever worked on. But nothing seems to be missing looking at the tech manual. I expect that it will be better once I go over the brakes completely - but that is another thread and web page as I will document what I have done for that as well...
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