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  1. #1
    Senior Member Coyote2's Avatar
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    Sealed bearings require much maintenance?

    Hi all...Am wondering whether sealed bearings in wheel hubs and pedals should be regularly maintained or just serviced when problems arise? I ask because, for example, my wheels come with the recommendation to repack or replace the sealed bearing units every 3k miles, but a mechanic acted as if he'd never heard of anyone doing such a thing. Similarly, a repair book recommends servicing pedal bearings, but I have never heard of anyone doing anything to pedals (other than replace them). What say ya'll?

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    Senior Member juicemouse's Avatar
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    If your mechanic has never heard of repacking bearings...you need to replace the mechanic, not the components.
    It is my belief that every person in this world has something to teach, and everything to learn.

    In memory of Jim Price (aka. sydney) ...

  3. #3
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    I suspect the mechanic balked at repacking sealed bearings, not at repacking bearings. I've never actually heard of repacking sealed bearings, either. There may well be some types of sealed-bearing units that can be repacked (e.g., you can force new grease into the bearing cartridges in Shimano headsets, though those aren't totally sealed) but I've not seen any of the standard-type of sealed bearing units that can be repacked. Usually you just replace them.

    But, don't replace sealed bearings unless they grind when they turn. You can feel it, it's not like you need to use a rule of thumb, as you might with changing oil in a car. Basically, you can ride sealed-bearing units (in hubs, bottom bracket, etc) into the ground, without harming anything else on the bike. So, I wouldn't replace them unless they give resistance that actually hinders the bike from moving forward.

  4. #4
    Ferrous wheel
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    You can (and should) most definitely repack sealed bearings that are not cartridge bearings.
    One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach -- all the damn vampires.

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    Senior Member juicemouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spider-man
    You can (and should) most definitely repack sealed bearings that are not cartridge bearings.
    I agree, and object to using "sealed" and "cartridge" as synonyms when talking about bearings. My Shimano hubs, for example, have double sealed cup and cone bearings.
    It is my belief that every person in this world has something to teach, and everything to learn.

    In memory of Jim Price (aka. sydney) ...

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    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    Okay, good point. All modern cup-and-cone bearings in hubs etc. have seals now. I meant sealed cartridge units.

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    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    So, the question for coyote2 is; Are your bearings cartridge type or cup and cone? If they are cup and cone, service them (at least) every 3k miles (more often in tough conditions). If they are cartridge, ride 'em 'till you detect problems. As to pedals; Some are cup and cone, too, and probably should be serviced in a similar manner. It will depend upon the pedal. Sometimes it may be as prudent to just replace the pedal. Like the man says, "it depends." OHB

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    Senior Member Coyote2's Avatar
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    Sorry, my bad: I am talking about cartridge bearings. So the consensus is to just ride such units until they are crunchy, then replace the cartridges? Are these cartridges (in my Neuvation wheels, for example) proprietary or universal (in other words, can I buy 'em at any decent shop or only from the mfr)?

    Thanks all for your answers.

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    If it's a mass-produced wheel, it will most likely use standard size cartridge bearings.

  10. #10
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coyote2
    Similarly, a repair book recommends servicing pedal bearings, but I have never heard of anyone doing anything to pedals (other than replace them). What say ya'll?
    I've used loose ball pedals for years, re-packed my first pedal when I was 12.
    Last non-cartridge, I got 3 ball re-packs before the races eroded. Roughly 2 yrs.

    I switched to cartridge. I was having to re-grease every month or so on my mtb -too much work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by juicemouse
    I agree, and object to using "sealed" and "cartridge" as synonyms when talking about bearings. My Shimano hubs, for example, have double sealed cup and cone bearings.
    I know I'm hitting this one a bit late but THANK YOU. That one drives me nuts. It's like when people talk about suspension and say "My fork needs more dampening'. It's damping, not dampening. Sorry for the rant.

    By the way, I service sealed cartridge bearings as routine maintenace. I know that they can run alot longer than non-cartridge systems but it only helps increase the life of the sealed cartridge bearing if you flush and repack it. My reasoning for this is that customers usually aren't happy about spending $10.00 or more per cartridge bearing when their are usually four in the rear hub and two in the front. That's over $60 before labor.
    Last edited by Pete Hamer; 01-17-06 at 07:06 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Hamer
    I know I'm hitting this one a bit late but THANK YOU. That one drives me nuts. It's like when people talk about suspension and say "My fork needs more dampening'. It's damping, not dampening. Sorry for the rant.
    I agree. Another peeve is break/brake and road/rode. English is a difficult language but it's not THAT hard.

    By the way, I service sealed cartridge bearings as routine maintenace. I know that they can run alot longer than non-cartridge systems but it only helps increase the life of the sealed cartridge bearing if you flush and repack it. My reasoning for this is that customers usually aren't happy about spending $10.00 or more per cartridge bearing when their are usually four in the rear hub and two in the front. That's over $60 before labor.
    I've seen two types of "sealed" cartridge bearings. Some have soft plastic or rubber seals on one or both sides. These can be pried out or pushed aside, the bearings flushed and regreased and the seals replaced. Other have metal seals that are, for all practical purposes, non-servicable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    I agree. Another peeve is break/brake and road/rode. English is a difficult language but

    Other have metal seals that are, for all practical purposes, non-servicable.
    I'm probably the most guilty person when it comes to taking the English language litely, or is it lightly?

    Good call on the medal seels. I sea those so infrequently that I forgot to mention them.

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    "alot"?

    Pete,

    It's really two words:-)

    a lot

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    pmt
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    You can get all sorts of standard size cartridge bearings at mcmaster.com. I just got some for my Neuvation wheels.

  16. #16
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff williams View Post
    I've used loose ball pedals for years, re-packed my first pedal when I was 12.
    Last non-cartridge, I got 3 ball re-packs before the races eroded. Roughly 2 yrs.
    Bummer. My 30 year old loose-ball Zeus pedals just died this spring. The cones and races are still fine; I wore out the pedal cage and it cracked:


  17. #17
    Senior Member chas0039's Avatar
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    Is there any way to tell without dis-assembly whether you have sealed or cartridge bearings? The catalog of spare parts for my Fulcrum 7 wheels calls them "sealed" but the cost per bearing is $20.

    Does anyone know about the Fulcrums?

    Thanks

  18. #18
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckhov View Post
    Pete,

    It's really two words:-)

    a lot
    This was a 3-years-sleeping thread.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    You can pry open the seals on cartridge bearings. Usually bearings on bikes are rubber shielded so an exacto knife will pry open the seal. Metal shielded bears usually have a retaining clip.

  20. #20
    Senior Member chas0039's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
    This was a 3-years-sleeping thread.
    Sorry, my bad.

  21. #21
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas0039 View Post
    Sorry, my bad.
    Still worth talking about, though.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  22. #22
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Old thread but this topic comes up all the time. Contrary to what many people think, "cartridge bearings" CAN be serviced by prying off the seals with a suitable tool and then flushing them out. Most people don't bother though and just wait for them to fail.
    Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(

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  23. #23
    Senior Member chas0039's Avatar
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    Thanks. The cost to replace the bearings on my Fulcrum wheels exceeds the cost to replace the whole wheel so service is worth the effort.

    Now to figure out how to get the front hub apart when I need to....

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas0039 View Post
    Thanks. The cost to replace the bearings on my Fulcrum wheels exceeds the cost to replace the whole wheel so service is worth the effort.

    Now to figure out how to get the front hub apart when I need to....
    I just pulled apart a Fulcrum 5 Evolution rear hub using only a pair of 17mm wrenches, so the front hub should require a pair of 15mm. This is not a big deal. Just keep track of the parts as you dissemble everything, or rather, disassemble everything . Since the Fulcrum 7 has not been out too long, I doubt that your cartridges are bad; you probably just have some contaminants in the hub. Try cleaning and re-greasing the area around the bearings and axle, then reinstalling without overtightening the nuts and quick release. This worked for me.

    Bob

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