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Old 10-26-06, 12:46 PM   #1
jsharr
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White Lithium Grease for BB

Hey Guys,

Picked up a Falcon of England Europa over the weekend at a garage sale. Tore down the wheels last night and repacked the bearings using white lithium. Also took apart the BB and got it cleaned up, need to repack and reassemble tonight. Is white lithium okay for BB and headset as well. Just started doing my own maintenance, so learning as I go. Thanks for any input, constructive or otherwise.
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Old 10-26-06, 12:50 PM   #2
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it will be fine. I actually prefer it to regulat wheel bearing grease. Bicycle components are not exposed to the extreme heat and pressures that Auto parts are, hell, In a pinch Ive even packed my BB with vasoline. I rode it that way for a few hundred miles with no ill effect.
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Old 10-26-06, 11:13 PM   #3
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White lithium grease is pretty old school. I am not a lubricant scientist, but I heard that white lithium grease is a wax based grease as opposed to a petrolium gel based grease.

In my opinion, white lithium grease does not hold up as well in wet conditions nor does it last as long as the standard petrolium gel based greases.
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Old 10-26-06, 11:40 PM   #4
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White lithium grease is just a very thin grease. As such, it is low-viscosity (and thus lower friction just from the grease being sticky) but also less durable. Pro mechanics used to pack the bearings in racer's bikes with lithium grease for this reason, and because they could re-pack the bearings on a fairly regular basis.

However, for most riders Lithium grease is not ideal, because it doesn't last as long. I'd recommend getting some specific bearing grease, which can still be had for quite cheap (esp. at an auto parts store). I realize you don't need the same requirements as the heat/friction of a motor, but marine bearing grease works well and is durable, and cheap like lithium grease. Or just use Phil Wood waterproof bearing grease.
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Old 10-27-06, 07:49 AM   #5
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I use synthetic aircraft grease in everything. It's impervious to water and never dries up. Boat trailer grease is also very good and can be found in the automotive or marine supply area of any big-mart retailer. Whatever you do, completely clean out any old grease as the soap used in one type grease will not mix with any other type so you would develop problems with the two differing types of grease not mixing and leaving areas without proper lubrication.
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Old 10-27-06, 01:16 PM   #6
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Where do you obtain synthetic airplane grease? Brand?
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Old 10-27-06, 04:19 PM   #7
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My preference is using an aluminum-complex grease (Schaeffer 238 #0 or #2) or a synthetic grease (Mobil Infinitec 152, Schaeffer 274 #1 or 2 or 197 #1 or 2). That being said, Mystik JT6 and Delo #2 EP Lithium-Complex are excellent greases. Mobil 1 synthetic grease is a bit too runny because of the carrier, but once the carrier dries/evaporates, it leaves a nice waxy like coating that lasts. If (NLGI grade) #2, the most commonly available grease grade, is too thick for you, then go with a #0 or #1 grease, which is what the majority of bicycle greases are NLGI rated at.

Here's a good but simple test for your grease:

"Take your favorite grease and put a dab of it in the palm of your hand. Now mix in some water with your index finger and continue mixing it vigorously for a short while to see what happens. Does the grease stay put or does it come apart, thinning out & losing its tack, etc? Does the grease still cling to your hand or does it start to float away? Does it start milking up or is the water still clear?

If the grease starts milking up, then it's probably absorbing water and emulsifying, which is not a good for your bearings. Oil in the grease is washing out and your bearings will be left with tact and other additives instead of the proper amount of oil. If the grease thins our and doesn't cling well to your hand, then look for a different grease that clings better to your hand and doesn't milk up or seperate or thin out, etc. This is a very simple test any person can do and it doesn't cost a lot of money."

Last edited by Sci-Fi; 10-30-06 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 10-27-06, 05:22 PM   #8
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Good timing on this post I just tore down my Sturmey Archer GH6 Dynohub. I usually use Phil Wood waterproof grease. Unfortunately I left my tube in my motel room. Luckily I remembered I have an ancient tube of Schwinn approved bicycle grease...it is white lithium, so the hub is back togther and working. I will repack it with the Phil Wood grease before I put too many miles on the bike. I don't think white lithium is the best choice for a BB but will work for a while.

Aaron
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Old 10-27-06, 06:27 PM   #9
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Got to cloud this up a bit, white lithium is used a LOT in marine applications because it is very water resistant, extremely slick, and doesn't run badly when warmed up. Use it on motorcycle chains, winches and windlass mechanisms, very good stuff.

once grabbed a handfull of it thinking it was Goop hand cleaner, didn't take long to figure out something was wrong, soap and water didn't make a dent in it at all, it laughs at soap and water.

ken
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Old 11-28-06, 06:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kendall
Got to cloud this up a bit, white lithium is used a LOT in marine applications because it is very water resistant, extremely slick, and doesn't run badly when warmed up. Use it on motorcycle chains, winches and windlass mechanisms, very good stuff.

ken
I once wanted to melt a bit of lithium grease to pour into a pair of pedals. No matter how much I heated it with the hot-ari gun, it was still pasteous and not at all showing signs of liquefaction.
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Old 11-28-06, 07:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wroomwroomoops
I once wanted to melt a bit of lithium grease to pour into a pair of pedals. No matter how much I heated it with the hot-ari gun, it was still pasteous and not at all showing signs of liquefaction.
Yes, it has a high drop point, but it is prone to oxidation, which is why it's not a good choice for long-term applications. Over time, it turns into brown tar.

Jeff, congrats on your garage-sale find!
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Old 11-28-06, 07:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wahoonc
Good timing on this post I just tore down my Sturmey Archer GH6 Dynohub. I usually use Phil Wood waterproof grease. Unfortunately I left my tube in my motel room. Luckily I remembered I have an ancient tube of Schwinn approved bicycle grease...it is white lithium, so the hub is back togther and working. I will repack it with the Phil Wood grease before I put too many miles on the bike. I don't think white lithium is the best choice for a BB but will work for a while.

Aaron
Aaron, I don't think you are supposed to use grease inside an SA hub. You might be able to use a thin coat on the bearings, but not on the works inside the hub. My understanding is that those parts are oil lubricated.

If you have trouble with the hub, give it a good solvent rinse and use oil lubricant rather than grease.
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Old 11-28-06, 08:17 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike
I don't think you are supposed to use grease inside an SA hub. You might be able to use a thin coat on the bearings, but not on the works inside the hub. My understanding is that those parts are oil lubricated.
+1. Here's what an expert has to say about it.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/sturmey-...ml#lubrication
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Old 11-28-06, 10:10 AM   #14
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I like to use the blue waterproof boat-trailer bearing grease on the BBs. It has high tackiness and sticks to the surfaces better than white lithium.

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 11-28-06 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 11-28-06, 11:12 AM   #15
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Yeah, me too. Bel-Ray Waterproof Bearing Grease is *really* tacky, it's an aluminum-complex grease, and very nice. Lubrimatic is good too, it's a calcium-sulfonate grease that works great.
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Old 12-02-06, 05:37 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lawkd
Yes, it has a high drop point, but it is prone to oxidation, which is why it's not a good choice for long-term applications. Over time, it turns into brown tar.

If that's so, why would anyone use it for ANYTHING?

I'm in slight panic now, thinking of all the bikeparts that I might have put in harm's way by now..
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Old 12-02-06, 07:51 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wroomwroomoops
If that's so, why would anyone use it for ANYTHING?

I'm in slight panic now, thinking of all the bikeparts that I might have put in harm's way by now..
Well, don't worry too much, unless you let all those parts go for years between overhauls. That's when the problems arise, when the grease isn't changed out for long periods of time--like years, not months. If you do regular overhauls, then just change out the grease when you do that. Clean it out completely each time, especially if you're going to change to a different type of grease, since many types are not compatible with each other.

I think that very often when people look for the "perfect grease", what they really want is something that will eliminate the need for frequent overhauls. And truthfully, nothing will do that. Any grease is only good if it's not contaminated by dirt or moisture. And that's only the case with bikes that are wall ornaments, not bikes that get ridden. So yes, it's good to choose the best grease you can, but most importantly, be sure to do regular overhauls. You'll be fine, even with white lithium, if you keep it clean and freshly changed.
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Old 12-02-06, 10:53 PM   #18
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Anything that says "grease" will be ok.

A guy on Ebay is selling 14 ounce jars Schwinn synthetic bike grease for about $11(delivered). Works just fine. I usually use whatever grease I have at hand-car wheel bearing grease frequently. Heck, we are talking about bikes, how much of a beating does it take relative to most other applications?
Luck,
Charlie
PS I just got some soy based all purpose liquid lube-Ebay. I didn't get it because I think it is better than petro based products-I doubt it is as good. I got it because it doesn't have the funky petroleum odor.I hate WD 40 gasoline/diesel type odors in the house, and my bikes live in the house(so does a mountain of motorcycle and bike parts that I occasionally spray with this vegetable oil).It was $19-delivered-for a gallon.
I keep my bike chains completely dry-no lube-because I hate the crummy black grunge that chains always have on them if they are lubed.It stains everything it touches. I might give this soy stuff a try on the chains, it doesn't seem to hold grit so maybe it won't grunge up(I doubt it, but worth a try).
Yes,I know an unlubed chain probably won't last as long.Chains are cheap.
Luck,
Charlie
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Old 12-03-06, 11:01 PM   #19
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I use Wilderness Trail Goose Grease, I ride in wet conditions very often... and this does hold up well to water.

http://www.bikepro.com/products/lubricants/wtb.html
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Old 12-04-06, 10:44 AM   #20
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Don't sweat it. Lithium grease is ok, but, as others have pointed out, it tends to get crusty after several years. If you maintain regularly or just keep an eye on things you will be fine. Back in the day the Campy grease that we all used to swear by appeared to be some form of white lithium grease. Don't bother spending a lot on 'aircraft' or 'synthetic' grease.....Phil Wood, Shimano or some of the marine greases will do the job for less.
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Old 12-04-06, 04:12 PM   #21
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Forgot to mention this on my other post...Schaeffer's #299 White Plate Grease is an excellent grease and has both moly and teflon in it. Very slick grease. Here's a link if you want more info on it:
http://www.schaefferoil.com/299_teflon_grease.html

Out west, we have to do a group buy because the only way to get that grease is to buy a case of 30 tubes. So getting enough people to buy a few tubes is necessary if one doesn't want to get stuck with more grease than they can use in a lifetime...lol.
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