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  1. #1
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    car grease in bicycle?

    Can I use car wheel bearing grease on my bicycle's hub and bottom bracket? Would it be too thick?

  2. #2
    Prince of Centerville
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    I use it in my headset, bb, and hubs. No where that is exposed to the elements. Some people feel that it is too sticky but after a day or two of riding, this goes away. If you don't feel right putting car grease on your bike, I recommend phil wood greae or finish line grease.

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    It was made for bearings after all...

    Most greases are the same. Lithium base, can't go wrong.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ivan_yulaev
    It was made for bearings after all...

    Most greases are the same. Lithium base, can't go wrong.
    Ivan, you are my "old school" friend.

    Lithium used to be very popular in the '70's and 80's for bicycles especially for the guys who loved to work on their bikes. However, Lithium grease is wax based. It doesn't hold up as long as typical petrolium jelly based greases. It also seems to be prone to wash out under wet conditions.

    I used to use lithium grease, but found I was constantly re-greasing on the high load areas like the BB.

    Most of the petrolium based automotive greases work well and has good staying power.
    Mike

  5. #5
    Fred Zen Kabloink's Avatar
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    I use marine grease on the bb, hubs, and headset. I never had any problems with using it. Also, its dirt cheap compared to bike lubes.

  6. #6
    Stv
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    Lithium Grease 101;

    Grease is nothing more than OIL held in suspension by chemical thickeners, technically called SOAPS. Think of grease as a sponge that releases oil as it is required (worked) and draws it back into suspension when it is not required (resting).

    Lithium is one of many types of soap thickeners. There are also many types of Lithiums, listed here in approximate order of performance : Lithium, Lithium 12 hydroxystearate, Lithium Complex, Lithium Polymer, and Lithium Combinations to name a few.

    Automotive Lithium greases are traditionally low cost greases that provide relatively good high and low temp performance, good shear strength and relatively good water resistance, hence their wide use in automotive applications.

    All greases, regardless of their soap base e.g. Barium, Bentone, Sodium, Aluminium Complex, Polyurea and Calcium's increase their performance characteristics primarily by the addition of and amount of additives, plus the type base oil used in the grease formulations.

    Bottom Line;
    NOT all Lithiums are created equal. Why, because of the additives, base oils, viscosity, polymers, EP/AW packages etc.,etc.

    Lithium info you can use on your bike;
    Basically ALL Automotive GP (General Purpose) Lithium greases are acceptable for use in bike lubrication, IMHO.
    However, you should avoid using "performance" type EP (Extreme Pressure) Lithium greases and certainly Industrial grade EP Lithium greases and Lithiums that are extremely tacky. Lithium, NLGI grade No.#2 greases that are smooth, tan or amber in colour and buttery in texture are quite often the best to use in bikes.

    PS,
    Marine grade Lithium greases typically use higher concentrations of tackifiers (sticky stuff or ParaTac) which MAY slow down your free wheeling rolling speed.
    Typically, waxes are not "usually" added to Lithiums. The waxes in grease is often the result of the type of base oil used in making grease, such as Parrafinic (wax) verses Napthenic (non-wax) or de-waxed base oils.
    TODAYS OBJECTIVE: Avoid road splatter; my own, preferably.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stv
    Lithium Grease 101;

    Grease is nothing more than OIL held in suspension by chemical thickeners, technically called SOAPS. Think of grease as a sponge that releases oil as it is required (worked) and draws it back into suspension when it is not required (resting).

    Lithium is one of many types of soap thickeners. There are also many types of Lithiums, listed here in approximate order of performance : Lithium, Lithium 12 hydroxystearate, Lithium Complex, Lithium Polymer, and Lithium Combinations to name a few.

    Automotive Lithium greases are traditionally low cost greases that provide relatively good high and low temp performance, good shear strength and relatively good water resistance, hence their wide use in automotive applications.

    All greases, regardless of their soap base e.g. Barium, Bentone, Sodium, Aluminium Complex, Polyurea and Calcium's increase their performance characteristics primarily by the addition of and amount of additives, plus the type base oil used in the grease formulations.

    Bottom Line;
    NOT all Lithiums are created equal. Why, because of the additives, base oils, viscosity, polymers, EP/AW packages etc.,etc.

    Lithium info you can use on your bike;
    Basically ALL Automotive GP (General Purpose) Lithium greases are acceptable for use in bike lubrication, IMHO.
    However, you should avoid using "performance" type EP (Extreme Pressure) Lithium greases and certainly Industrial grade EP Lithium greases and Lithiums that are extremely tacky. Lithium, NLGI grade No.#2 greases that are smooth, tan or amber in colour and buttery in texture are quite often the best to use in bikes.

    PS,
    Marine grade Lithium greases typically use higher concentrations of tackifiers (sticky stuff or ParaTac) which MAY slow down your free wheeling rolling speed.
    Typically, waxes are not "usually" added to Lithiums. The waxes in grease is often the result of the type of base oil used in making grease, such as Parrafinic (wax) verses Napthenic (non-wax) or de-waxed base oils.

    I nominate Sty as our local grease expert! You da man!

    I receintly tried some marine grease in my hubs and it truely is tacky stuff. After a short while I didn't notice much difference from using thinner greases however. One small word of caution though is that the thick grease caused my freehub pawls to skip a notch or two for the first couple hundered miles. No big worry though overall.

    Ed
    Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(

    Good/Bad Trader Listing

  8. #8
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    One small word of caution though is that the thick grease caused my freehub pawls to skip a notch or two for the first couple hundered miles.

    Now you know why freehub and freewheel manufacturers never recommend grease to lubricate the ratcheting body. Thin grease (Phil's and similar) seems to work ok but thick stuff does what you experienced. You got lucky that it now works but wait until this winter.

  9. #9
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    I use a blend of Phil oil, Pedros grease, and maybe a little triflow for free hubs. usually just phil on the freewheels.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    One small word of caution though is that the thick grease caused my freehub pawls to skip a notch or two for the first couple hundered miles.

    Now you know why freehub and freewheel manufacturers never recommend grease to lubricate the ratcheting body. Thin grease (Phil's and similar) seems to work ok but thick stuff does what you experienced. You got lucky that it now works but wait until this winter.
    Yeah, greasing freewheel/cassette mechanisms with grease isn't a good ideal. I usually just drip heavy-oil like 85-90w tranny oil in to them. Then use the blue boat-trailer bearing-grease on the bearings at the end, put on the cover to seal it all inside and that's it.

    I recall that about 12-years ago, there was a manufacturer of cassettes that used a roller-clutch mechanism rather than pawls. It was super-quiet in operation with no clicks and had zero backlash between freewheeling and drive modes. Anyone familiar with this design?

  11. #11
    Senior Member pakole's Avatar
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    While we are on the subject of car grease on bikes, I wanted to know the validity of a suggestion a friend made today. He says you can just use used motor oil for chain lube. Has anyone done this? How does it perform?
    ---
    Is morality determine by when no human is watching you or when no being is watching you? For if it is the latter, I can not be a moral person for I know God is with me each and every day.

  12. #12
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    ^^^....Read the 3 in 1 oil thread.

  13. #13
    Senior Member robo's Avatar
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    I just got a tube of Shimano 'SpinDoctor' grease from Nashbar for a couple bucks. I'd been using white lithium grease, but i like this stuff better. It's thicker, so it sticks better in the bearing races (i can push the BB's in and they don't fall out), and it's a cool fluorescent green color. Unfortunately, it also stains my fingernails bright yellow!

  14. #14
    Hazardous biker Ricardo's Avatar
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    Yes and no.

    I mean, theoretically you can, but car bearing grease is not formulated for repeling water and moisture away from the bearing. Marine bearing grease will be more suitable for that application since it is formulted to avoid moisture inside the bearing.

    Ricardo

  15. #15
    Senior Member robo's Avatar
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    That reminds me when i was buying some grease for my bike in Strauss auto parts.. I'd heard people recommend marine grease for the bike because of its' waterproofness, so i asked the guy there if that would be better. He looked at me like i was the biggest moron he'd ever seen. 'Dude, ALL grease is waterproof', he said. At the time, i was like 'Duh'.. it did make sense that any thick oily gunk is going to be waterproof, but i guess some are thicker than others, which makes the difference?

  16. #16
    Stv
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    Your parts guy is the Moron !
    But he is only HALF correct. Yes, MOST greases are water "resistant" to some degree. MOST automotive greases are Lithiums. Lithium greases are considered to have "relatively good" water "resistance" and are correctly referred to as having good "water-washout-resistance" qualities, hence its wide use in the automotive industry. However, GP or General Purpose Automotive Lithium greases, unless specifically formulated are NOT considered to be 'waterproof' in the strictest definition.

    The term "waterproof" grease is often used incorrectly. With grease it is called water "resistance" and there are ASTM test methods to determine this.

    There are many different types of lithiums and each one has its own water resistant capabilities, without getting too technical, not to mention that each manufacture has their own formulations, which also affect the water resistance of a grease.

    NOTE : *MOST "quality" auto greases will give suitable water-washout resistance for use as a cycle lube.* The caveat here is that, as in all things, some greases ARE better than others.

    Typically, ""highly-water resistant"" greases are also referred to as Marine greases or waterproof grease and are often just highly formulated Lithiums anyways. Marine greases often use higher base oil viscosity's and polymers and or tackifiers. (I have a synthetic marine grease for my boat trailer that is tacky as bubble gum.) IMHO, these are too thick and gummy for bike bearing use.

    Technically, the best "waterproof" greases are not Lithium, they are Calcium or Aluminium Complex and many others, the absolute best is Barium, but I think it's considered to be toxic now, so I won't recommend that you use it...... ;>)"
    Last edited by Stv; 10-03-05 at 10:04 AM.
    TODAYS OBJECTIVE: Avoid road splatter; my own, preferably.

  17. #17
    Member viter's Avatar
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    I would suggest general purpose automotive grease instead. Wheel bearing grease is very sticky, not because that's good for the bearings, but because it makes assembly easier. When repacking wheel bearings, you use the grease to hold the bearings balls in the races while you assemble the hub. Car bearing balls are large so you need really sticky grease to hold them in. Bike bearing balls stay in ok with regular grease.

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    this is a old thread but i wanted to see what you guys thought about this...
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...%3D1%26ps%3D33

    This Ebay auction claims that this chevron EP grease is better than anything you've ever seen before.. opinions?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by pakole View Post
    ... I wanted to know the validity of a suggestion a friend made today. He says you can just use used motor oil for chain lube.
    Well, it's probably better than nothing, but used motor oil is truly nasty stuff. Over the miles it's picked up plenty of unpleasant combustion residue from the engine. For what it actually costs to keep a bike chain lubed it really doesn't make sense to mess around with that stuff.
    If you're into dual-use of what you've already got, then use new motor instead.
    It's not particularly good for your skin/nails or the environment either, but it's a dream compared to the used oil.

    I'm currently using medical-grade white (paraffin) oil on my chain. It's real easy on the hands, still way cheaper than bike specific lubes and does not appear to have any significant negative impact on chain life during real life riding. Maybe a lab test would prove something else, but I'll stick with until the bottle is empty at least.

  20. #20
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    Used motor-oil also contains ground metal. That would be very unhealthy for a bicycle's sensitive components.
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  21. #21
    Senior Member Joshua A.C. New's Avatar
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    Drop a magnet in the bottom of your used motor oil bottle.
    Joshua A.C. Newman,
    Passionate lover of construction

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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
    I recall that about 12-years ago, there was a manufacturer of cassettes that used a roller-clutch mechanism rather than pawls. It was super-quiet in operation with no clicks and had zero backlash between freewheeling and drive modes. Anyone familiar with this design?
    I would imagine that roller clutches would have a higher probability of malfunctioning especially as they get old. They require a very clean smooth and highly toleranced surface to grip on.

  23. #23
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    i use automotive type grease all the time on my own bikes and it has worked for me just fine for years. but for whenever a lighter grease is called for, mainly some freewheels, use the lighter grease. i love the bike specific grease, but not the bike specific price they charge for it.

    as fo useing used automotive greas for chains, i never would. that stuff is so dirty and broken down from high engine rpms that its basicly putting dirt and sludge on your chain. go with the flo.

  24. #24
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua A.C. New View Post
    Drop a magnet in the bottom of your used motor oil bottle.
    While we're at it - we could just cut the used oil with some sulfuric acid to put any loose metals into solution...
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  25. #25
    WNG
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan The Man View Post
    I would imagine that roller clutches would have a higher probability of malfunctioning especially as they get old. They require a very clean smooth and highly toleranced surface to grip on.
    Funny to see an old thread bumped...
    As for info on this type of freehub, you may be referring to Shimano's Silent Clutch Freehub.
    The Japanese police force requested manufacturers submit proposals for a noise free rear hub design.
    A standard freewheel/freehub was producing too much noise and warned criminals of a bike cop approaching.
    Shimano developed the Silent Clutch mechanism. I picked up one a few months ago, and asked a question here on how to overhaul one. It's much harder to disassemble. Much higher torque.
    Plus, Shimano recommends NOT to disassemble it, as it's lubed for life. The silent clutch mechanism isn't serviceable.
    “You meet the nicest people on two wheels!"
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