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Old 04-06-2010, 10:39 AM   #29
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Sometimes in small towns I have found a shop that charged next to nothing for very good work. That doesn't mean that shop in Mo. is good or bad, but the price doesn't always tell the entire story. I have also experienced shops that charged market or above that did crap work.

Agree that a solvent is part of the solution to cleaning. Blow dry from the side of the rollers and they won't spin much, though I agree with Wayne&Sam it is fun to watch them spin. Even with a solvent, a little bit of grease remains and does lube the rollers slightly if they spin. Gasoline is dangerous, but I continue to use it in my truck and have transported it across country many times. There are plenty of effective solvents available that are much safer. I have blown out grease before wiping it off and that gets rid of a lot of it right away. Any doubts about bearings or races means they should be replaced—they are cheap.

I've had a bearing fail on the road and it's no fun. We were 1/2 mile from our destination and the CG didn't complain about fixing the problem there. Many CG's have rules about fixing anything. Since we have 2 axles, we could limp into the CG. Finding the right numbers for bearings, etc., was a chore and I spent well over an hour on that, taking things apart and cleaning up the scene of the crime, going 45 miles each way to town for parts, then putting it all back together, wasted about a day. Later we found the hub had been damaged (although the brakes worked and the wheel did fine for thousands of miles after I fixed it), and that cost a lot more. A race that I had a shop press in after the bearing failed was spinning in the hub—another "pro" job. It all started after I repacked the bearings and a "pro" at a garage told me the castellated nut was too loose and he tightened it, apparently much too much. It took 3,000 miles for it to fail and I found out just before the wheel would have started rolling down the road on its own. I'd rather not repack my own bearings, but considering that a lot of shops do a bad job—and there are plenty of threads about bad wheel bearing and other work—and the cost of having it done, I'd rather do it myself.


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Old 04-06-2010, 10:42 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by kmpro View Post
After reading all this thread Let me share from 35 years experience with wheel bearings,
3. Wash bearings and races with Hot soapy water and rinse in hot water.
4. Blow bearings and races dry with compressed air Danger: Do not spin bearings with compressed air as they can sieze and explode.
Thanks for your detailed post.

I assume the reason for washing with hot soapy water then rinsing and drying is to remove trace residues of solvent.

Do you have any experience with skipping this step?

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Old 04-06-2010, 10:46 AM   #31
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Thumbs up How to remove old wheel bearing grease

Yes, if you wash with water and blow dry, this allows the grease to adhere to the bearings since they have no residue of oil left on them.
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Old 04-07-2010, 06:28 PM   #32
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I have cleaned bearings with out the soap and water cleaning step. However soap and water is a great insurance step to making sure all of the old grease is gone. Just make sure you get the water out swiftly so the metal does not rust. This is where using compressed air sprayed at the side of the bearing can remove the water swiftly.

Other issues -
In addition to the safety thing, gasoline will leave a residue when it has dried.
Wheel bearings were not made to spin at the speeds compressed air can move a bearing. In addition, spinning bearing in that manner means the bearing almost zero lube spinning at speeds it was not designed for. True the load is low.

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Old 04-07-2010, 07:15 PM   #33
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NO - Don't use solvent!

You asked for it - so here is a method where you don't use solvent of any kind. Get yourself a wheel bearing packer and some basic black moly grease. You expel the old grease and at the same time you are forcing in the new. This is much much simpler than the older methods and you don't have the problem of waste disposal.

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Old 04-07-2010, 08:04 PM   #34
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If you do a final rinse with alcohol you will remove any residue of old grease, kerosene, mineral spirits, or soap and water.

And you can let the bearings air dry without using compressed air.
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:48 PM   #35
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Brush with kerosene and use low pressure air to blow it out

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Old 04-08-2010, 10:39 PM   #36
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Thumbs up How to remove old wheel bearing grease

Let me stress this again. Approved safety solvent to wash out old grease, followed by wash in hot soapy water to remove oily residue, rinsed in hot water, and bearing blown dry with compressed air. DO NOT SPIN BEARING WITH COMPRESSED AIR!!! Then wipe with a lint-free shop towel and inspect bearing races and rollers for damage or pitting. Keep bearings matched with races. This is an ASE approved method of cleaning bearings. Alcohol, laquer thinner, mineral spirits, and other distillates are either too dangerous, or can cause other problems to occur. Safety solvent is not cheap, but blowing up your house or garage or burning it down is not recommended either. In serving as a consultant to the automotive industry since 1968, I have heard many horror stories of fires and explosions caused by using Gasoline, Kerosene, Alcohol, Paint Thinner, and Laquer thinner to clean wheel bearings. To avoid great danger, use the proper safety solvent for washing bearings and parts when you are the DIY tech, practice safety.
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Old 08-04-2010, 01:26 AM   #37
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KMPRO you said it right, this is 'the' way people.......

I also don't hear anybody saying to look for discolored bearings or races, the color change usually means overheating, even if they look good, if they lose their temper due to overheating, they will disintegrate.

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