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  1. #1
    Junior Member Jbass's Avatar
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    Removing Drieded up grease

    I have an old 1972 Schwinn Varsity and am having trouble cleaning dried up grease from caged bearing. Any way to get the grease off?
    Thanks for your time!!
    Lee Bruton
    Jbass987@rap.midco.net

  2. #2
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    Mineral spirits or kerosene. They won't harm the paint.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    You'd be better off replacing it with loose balls.

  4. #4
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    stay with caged balls the difference is nominal and isn't worth the hassle. use wd-40 to clean it out wd-40 breaks down the grease when you repack the bb make sure to use a waterproof grease like philwood

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    Why is it more hassle to pick up some loose balls at your LBS, rather than trying to clean old grease out of a cage? Plus you get new bearings.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jp_rcr
    stay with caged balls the difference is nominal and isn't worth the hassle. use wd-40 to clean it out wd-40 breaks down the grease when you repack the bb make sure to use a waterproof grease like philwood
    The carrier/solvent in WD-40 is kerosene so the advice to use kerosene to dissolve the old grease is basically the same recommendation but at lower cost.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bikedued's Avatar
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    What if it's the crank bearings? Installing loose ball bearings on a one piece crank is a hassle I'd NEVER want to attempt. Go buy some Berrymans B-12 chemtool, and soak the cage bearing in a small container. That stuff will melt ANYTHING, and fast. Schwinns don't have loose balls, why add the hassle? I have pulled out 50 year old Schwinn bearings that still work like new.,,,,BD

    Well, their road bikes had them on the wheels with French alluminum hubs.
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  8. #8
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Buy new caged balls, if you can find the right size. You'll still have to get the old grease off the bearing surfaces.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bikedued's Avatar
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    New caged balls are pretty much junk right? I know I've not seen any as nice as the old school stuff. Rusty cages of very thin material, etc.,,,,BD
    "Whale. Oil. Beef. Hooked!" The Rumjacks

  10. #10
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    The only advantage of retainers is ease of assembly. Loose balls give better performance, longer service life and are cheaper.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Bikedued's Avatar
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    50 years + isn't long enough? On a 45 pound 72 Schwinn it would really not be noticable. I ought to know, I have a few of them. 95% still have the bearings they came with?,,,,BD
    "Whale. Oil. Beef. Hooked!" The Rumjacks

  12. #12
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikedued
    50 years + isn't long enough? On a 45 pound 72 Schwinn it would really not be noticable. I ought to know, I have a few of them. 95% still have the bearings they came with?,,,,BD
    Does that prove they're superior to loose balls?

    Installing loose balls in a bottom bracket is not difficult. The grease holds the balls very securely in the cups while you install them, especially in the winter. You can do it if you can count to eleven.

    Bearing balls are so cheap that it makes no sense at all to ever reuse them.

  13. #13
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    Pop the bearings out, clean the empty cage with solvent and your wife's toothbrush, pop them back in. Easy.

  14. #14
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    as I said earlier the difference between losse and caged bearings is nominal and in the bb of a 72 schwinn the ease of adjustment and repacking makes caged the better choice. use wd-40 to clean the bb and when you clean the caged bearing if they are pitted replace them with new caged bearings. Also if you use loose ball bearings you must remove a cup or bring the bike to the lbs so you can find out what size bearing to use. the ease is what is important. It doesn't sound like this guy is doing anything otherr than tuning up his bike for a casual ride. i tell my mechanics if it is a timex treat it like a timex if it is a rolex treat it like a rolex

  15. #15
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jp_rcr
    as I said earlier the difference between loose and caged bearings is nominal
    Only if the the balls are of the same grade. The commonly available loose balls tend to be of a higher grade. And if you use heavy grease, it's not difficult to set them.

    Otoh, if you replace the balls, you might as well replace the races too.

    I use gasoline in a closed container to clean out caged bearings. Berryman's B-12 is even better. Re-rinse with clean fluid. Then feel each part for grit. If you find any, re-rinse. Learn to pack bearings. (Axle grease is good for the skin.)
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

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    DMF it's a 72 varsity that is having the bb repacked probably for the first time why spend more money than you have to or go through more trouble than it is worth. Are wee in agreement that he can save time and money by using caged bearings? or has this turned into a debate over loose ball and caged bearings?

  17. #17
    JRA...
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMF
    Only if the the balls are of the same grade. The commonly available loose balls tend to be of a higher grade. And if you use heavy grease, it's not difficult to set them.

    Otoh, if you replace the balls, you might as well replace the races too.

    I use gasoline in a closed container to clean out caged bearings. Berryman's B-12 is even better. Re-rinse with clean fluid. Then feel each part for grit. If you find any, re-rinse. Learn to pack bearings. (Axle grease is good for the skin.)
    One-piece BBs use 5/16" bearings, so either A) you're buying caged ones and popping the bearings out or B) you might be buying ones that are overbuilt for the purpose. the original schwinn BB, at least the cup and cones and possible the balls, are far better in quality than anything you can get today, unless you want to swap the crank out.

    it's a BB you overhaul with a BFW and a screwdriver, too much thinking going on in this thread...

  18. #18
    Junior Member Jbass's Avatar
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    Must thanks to all for the adivice, I got this bike off Ebay for $50.00 and like it alot, brimgs back old memorys of my childhood days. Had a 66 back in the day. As far as I'm concerned, Schwinn made the best bikes going, I'm quite the old school type, no plastic for this guy. I don't care if it weights 40+ lbs, I don't care if it's made of steel, (easy to fix when they break) I had a ball fixing it up and now have a nice bike to ride to work. (I do 25 mile one way) and I'm 56 yrs old.

  19. #19
    so much for physics humble_biker's Avatar
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    read the number on the cage and go buy new balls.

  20. #20
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jbass
    I have an old 1972 Schwinn Varsity and am having trouble cleaning dried up grease from caged bearing. Any way to get the grease off?
    Thanks for your time!!
    Lee Bruton
    Jbass987@rap.midco.net
    boiling water! get an old tin can, add some water and the bearings and boil them for a few minutes. Works a charm.
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  21. #21
    Junior Member Jbass's Avatar
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    Thanks jsharr, that's the best idea i've heard so far.
    Humble_biker, I also see no reason to go any further.
    Thanks to all!!!!

  22. #22
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop
    The only advantage of retainers is ease of assembly. Loose balls give better performance, longer service life and are cheaper.
    +1

    The improvement from loose balls is often noticeable, especially in a headset. I've seen several old headsets that couldn't be made smooth with retainers, but turned out pretty darn good with loose balls.

    I doubt it will make much difference in a bottom bracket, but then again it is much easier to pack a bottom bracket with loose balls than a headset!
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  23. #23
    so much for physics humble_biker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jbass
    Thanks jsharr, that's the best idea i've heard so far.
    Humble_biker, I also see no reason to go any further.
    Thanks to all!!!!
    yup that's good solid advice. It's also customary to replace all bearings when over hauling. can you boil water? I have a recipe if you can't.

  24. #24
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    A few ounces diesel fuel in a glass jar, add bearings, let soak over night. Shake, the grease will be gone. Same for chains. Wipe clean / let dry (or accelerate dry with hair dryer), add grease.

  25. #25
    Unique Vintage Steel cuda2k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jp_rcr
    stay with caged balls the difference is nominal and isn't worth the hassle. use wd-40 to clean it out wd-40 breaks down the grease when you repack the bb make sure to use a waterproof grease like philwood
    philwood grease on an old schwinn seems like overkill. Go to your local Walmart or simular and get a tube of Marine Grease. Less than a buck for all the grease you'll never need for any older bike.

    Boiling water is a good idea btw. I've seen jsharr's results.
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