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Old 05-23-2006, 11:10 AM   #1
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What would be a good way to clean bearings?

Should I soak them in gasoline then repack them or use gumout should i clean out all the grease in the hub with cleaner to?
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Old 05-23-2006, 11:17 AM   #2
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Hi, I use brake cleaner in spray can. Two cans should be enough, I also clean out the hub just in case there is some dirt in there. Marvin
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Old 05-23-2006, 07:18 PM   #3
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i have a cheap parts washer from harbor freight that is used for nothing but wheel bearings.

filled it with kerosene.

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Old 05-23-2006, 07:32 PM   #4
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I too have a parts washer. If I didn't, I'd use kerosene and a cheap plastic oil drain pan. Please don't use gasoline. Too dangerous. Clean out the hub and do not fill it with grease. There's a great thread here someplace that you will find extremely helpful.

Now, I think I'll just push these gasoline soaked rags to one side and have a cigarette.
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Old 05-23-2006, 07:43 PM   #5
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First I Clean the bearings in gasoline(no parts washer Yet) till there is not even a hint of grease left. I wash out the hub and clean off the spindle including where the grease seal runs.

Then inspect each roller then cup for any signs of rusting or galling.

Then repack each bearing with a bearing packer, I have a lisle plastic one that works just fine.

Then lightly rub a light film of grease on the entire spindle including the part where the grease seal runs and the entire inside of the hub. This prevents rust from occuring inside the hub or on the spindle where the bearings arn't(between the bearings).

Then install the inner bearing along with a finger or two of extra grease and install the seal. I grease the inside lip area of the seal to prevent damage.

Install a finger or two of grease inboard of the outer bearing also then install on spindle, install the bearing, washer and nut.

Tighten the nut with a wrench to seat the bearings then back off the nut and retighten with your fingers and install the cotter key.

Done it that way for 30 or more years and hav'ent had one go bad yet.

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Old 05-23-2006, 08:20 PM   #6
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If you have access to compressed air, blow out the bearings after you wash them in a solvent. Allow the bearings to dry before repacking.
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Old 05-23-2006, 08:26 PM   #7
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The more grease the better is what I hear!!

the more grease the better is what did on my 7800 pound utility trailer and it is great..
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Old 05-23-2006, 11:04 PM   #8
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Say No to Gasoline! Too dangerous.
Kerosene is better, naptha is best. if you blow the bearing do not allow them to rotate. They will be damaged without lubrication! It is fun and sounds cool but you are shortening the life of them and asking for a bearing grease fire.
Brake cleaner works as well but is toxic and very flamable.
too much grease will push the seals out of place and let in foreign objects(water, dirt, etc). Grease expands with heat and contracts with cold.
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Old 05-24-2006, 05:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the ponz
If you have access to compressed air, blow out the bearings after you wash them in a solvent. Allow the bearings to dry before repacking.
I know this sounds harmless enough, but....
I have heard of people who have had bearing parts surgically removed from
their body (head & shoulder) after the bearing broke from over stress. You can not imagine how fast a bearing will spin, out of control.
These types of bearings were not ment to spin at the rates that compressed air will cause. DO NOT ALLOW the bearing to spin!
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Old 05-24-2006, 09:23 PM   #10
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Do not spin the roller/roller cage with high pressure air. The rollers and chunks of the roller cage make good schrapnel.
Never use gasoline indoors. The fumes are far too flamable. Stuff happens.
Never smoke when using gas or be any where near open flame. Ive seen the aftermath of a fume trail that ignited.
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Old 05-25-2006, 09:14 AM   #11
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Use brake cleaner fluid or mineral spirits - but definitely not gasoline! The brake cleaner fluid also serves to clean any foreign grease from the brake drums. As for getting the bearings "pristine" clean, the simple act of hand-packing them (---after a good preliminary cleaning) will force most of the remaining old grease out - which you can wipe away as you continue packing. With respect to "over-packing," you can't "over-pack" the bearing itself - but several prior threads have discussed the problems that come with packing grease in the hub! The other well-known "no-no" is attempting to use the old seals, and, last but not least, starting the job without at least one set of inner and outer bearings on hand, and a spare set of seals. You never know when you'll find a burned bearing, or kink a seal, while doing the weekend mechanic thing, with every parts store within 50 miles closed! I also like to use new cotter pins, and, in spite of the job being somewhat messy, cleanliness is all important. Watch where you set the bearings down, after repacking them, to insure that they don't pick up dirt. Wax paper or foil wrap works great.

My training came from working in a Gulf Service Station, way back in the '50's, with an Owner that was a "stickler" for doing things right. Back then we did repair and maintenance work in the service station that was on par with anything that the big three did in their garages. Oh - we also use to spin the bearings with the air nozzle (---the proverbial "no-no"!) when we thought that we could get away with it - but a spinning bearing makes a well-known sound and we faced the wrath of god if the Owner heard us from his office! Wonderful memories!
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Old 05-28-2006, 10:41 PM   #12
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Gasoline will cut the grease. It will also leave a film or deposits. Not a good solvent to use for cleaning bearings, (and especially poor with cast iron) because of this. Use a brake clean spray or use the gasoline if you will and follow with brake cleaner to remove the gasoline deposits. Same goes for a parts washer that doesn't have clean solution. Follow with brake clean.

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Old 05-29-2006, 07:53 AM   #13
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What would be a good way to clean bearings?

That sounds reasonable to me. Never thought of the residue because I was reapplying a petroleum product to the bearings.
When I clean break drums/rotors I use acetone to remove this film, alcohol when nothing else is avaliable.
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Old 05-29-2006, 12:47 PM   #14
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Here is what I heard. You soak them in gasonline(100ll aircraft fuel). Then light them on fire and hold the inner race while you take a 140psi air compressor and blow them causing them to spin as FAST as possible. Ok, got it out of my system.

The guy across the way from me at work rebuilds helicopter transmissions. In the process he must clean, inspect and re-pack bearings ranging from $200 to $3000 wholesale. (yes, they are overpriced just becasue they are aircraft)
His process is as follows:
1. Clean in a general degreaser tank.
2. Zip tie inner and outer race ( to assure they accidently don't spin while using compressed air)
3. Use compressed air to blow out.
4. Re degrease.
5. Blow out again.
6. Inspection (obviously a little more critical on an aircraft than an Airstream)
7. 2 dips and 2 air blows in MEK (Methyl Ethyl Keytone)
8. Remove zip tie.
9. Regrease IMMEDIATELY with appropriate grease or synthetic.
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