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Old 12-10-08, 06:56 PM   #1
EasternJane
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Will Lithium Grease work for Bearings?

My bearings need to be repacked in my hubs and i dont know what grease to use. I have white lithium grease in a tub, will that work?

If not, how can i tell what size bearings to get for my hub?
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Old 12-10-08, 07:04 PM   #2
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This comes up every now and then, I think there are lots of threads on bearing grease if you search. It looks like you might be searching now.

Short answer is yes it will work, but lithium grease is thin and soft and doesn't last as long as other greases. Would recommend some sort of bearing grease. You can get marine grease in a big cylinder (cheap and works fine) or get grease from a bike maker (Phil Wood, Park Tool, etc.) in a smaller tube.

I don't know your bearing size. Tell me about your hub if you want to know. Many people replace the bearings each time they repack the hub with new grease, but I only replace if the bearings looks scarred or pitted.

Edit: this is a good thread on the subject:
choice of bearing grease?

Last edited by TallRider; 12-10-08 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 12-10-08, 07:09 PM   #3
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I wouldn't use lithium for the reasons stated above. Go to your local auto parts and get a small tub of general purpose grease. Heck, if it works in automotive wheel bearings it's sure good enough for a bicycle.
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Old 12-10-08, 09:03 PM   #4
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moly grease (wheel bearing).. get it at the auto parts store.. extreme pressure and high temp..

though the lithium grease would be fine.. it would probably get hard/spread/cake over time.

dont use "general purpose" grease. no moly, not an EP grease
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Old 12-10-08, 09:18 PM   #5
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I prefer Teflon-fortified synthetic stuff (eg. Finish Line Premium) but lithium grease works fine. It breaks down quicker though.
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Old 12-10-08, 11:18 PM   #6
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Just about any grease will work. I hear tell pro's use oil, for that slight decrease in resistance. I've used crisco once, but just so I can say i packed a bottom bracket with crisco. It actually worked pretty well. I'd draw the line at extra virgin olive oil though, that's just a waste.
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Old 12-10-08, 11:25 PM   #7
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An excellent grease for bearings, widely available at Home Depot and other stores for around $4/tub, is Lubritech's "Marine Corrosion Control and Trailer Wheel Bearing Grease"; for a dollar or two extra, you can also pick up some "flux brushes" to apply the grease.

PS - Here's a not so cheap link that includes a photo of the tub: http://www.etrailer.com/p-l11404.htm
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Old 12-11-08, 12:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EasternJane View Post
My bearings need to be repacked in my hubs and i dont know what grease to use. I have white lithium grease in a tub, will that work?

If not, how can i tell what size bearings to get for my hub?
Bearing size doesn't have anything to do with what type of grease you use????
New bearings still need to be greased!

Typical bearing quantityy & sizes
Front hubs- 20 3/16" BB's
Rear hubs 18 1/4" BB's
Bottom bracket 22 1/4" BB's
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Old 12-11-08, 09:23 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by fuzz2050 View Post
I've used crisco once, but just so I can say i packed a bottom bracket with crisco. It actually worked pretty well.
Awesome. I have friends who might do this to be able to say that they did. Interesting to know that it worked. Did you leave it for awhile? If so, how did it hold up?
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Old 12-11-08, 09:57 AM   #10
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The easiest way to be sure you have the correct size bearing is to take the old ones with you to LBS where they can measure them for you. If you don't have an LBS and will be ordering on line, I would take them to a decent auto mechanic that does wheel work, they can probably measure them for you.
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Old 12-11-08, 09:57 AM   #11
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+1 Usually 1/4 inch, 11 ball bearings per side. You can buy them in bulk from Niagara for about $2 for 100 bearings. I add a bag to every order I place with Niagara.

+1 Bearing size has nothing to do with the type of grease.

+1 I use the automotive grease, buy it in a tub for about $2 from Walmart.
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Old 12-11-08, 11:06 AM   #12
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Ill go pick up some bearing grease later today, but for now the Lithium seems to be working. Ill clean it all up on Sunday and repack everything. Thanks guys.
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Old 12-11-08, 11:21 AM   #13
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I used to buy the white Shimano grease. That stuff is ridiculously expensive: € 7.50 (for 60 ml); about $ 10.

This week I bought a one kilo tub (about 2.2 pounds) of automotive grease in a car shop. It was € 13 ($ 18)
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Old 12-11-08, 11:38 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by timcupery View Post
Awesome. I have friends who might do this to be able to say that they did. Interesting to know that it worked. Did you leave it for awhile? If so, how did it hold up?
It wasn't so smooth, and after a while it started to smell funny. I replaced it after a couple of weeks. Took a lot of cleaning to get it to the point where I could stand to be in the same room as it. I would not recommend crisco for your bearings, a small layer is fine for bolts though.
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Old 12-11-08, 12:22 PM   #15
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No to 'white lithium grease'. Go to Wal*Mart off the 198 and pickup a tube of Mystik JT6 Grease, the green label, not the red label high temp.
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Old 12-12-08, 10:53 AM   #16
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Off the 198... You live in the same town as me Sci fi? Where you live?

And the grease will have to wait till next friday since i popped my tube yesterday.
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Old 12-12-08, 11:15 AM   #17
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Measuring bearings yourself is another great reason to treat yourself to a good vernier caliper.
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Old 12-12-08, 12:09 PM   #18
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Vernier?

You can buy a dial or digital caliper for the same $. Do you still use a slide rule, too?
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Old 12-12-08, 07:44 PM   #19
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Off the 198... You live in the same town as me Sci fi? Where you live?

And the grease will have to wait till next friday since i popped my tube yesterday.
lol..actually in W.L.A. Still have family living in Farmersville.

Mystik JT6 (green tube) is widely used as an all-purpose grease and easily available. Only $2.50 a tube. It's calcium based and will last a long time, won't dry or run out, and won't wash out even if you ride through water high enough that put your hubs underwater. It's the choice for many boat trailer bearings that regularly see that type of abuse.

Or stop by one of the farm equipment supply stores and pickup a tube or tub of Mobil Polyrex EM, Chevron SRI-2 , John Deere Multi-Purpose SD Polyurea Grease, or Castrol Pyroplex Blue 2. The 1st 3 are poly urea based (basically the same grease Park's repackages and sells at an inflated price) and the Castrol is the JT6 equivalent.
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Old 12-21-08, 08:22 AM   #20
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Hi,
Found this thread trying to answer the same question, thanks for the advice.
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Old 12-21-08, 09:23 AM   #21
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In general, bicycle bearings have a very easy life. They run at very low rpm, temperature and load compared to most industrial and automotive bearings. So the choice of grease is pretty undemanding and almost anything will do adequately.

Super high-performance greases are a waste of money and the very fibrous automotive wheel bearing greases are certainly functional but unnecessarily heavy bodied. Regular white lithium grease will work fine if you do any kind of routine maintenance, like an annual overhaul.

The "bicycle specific" greases are just repackaged industrial products but do work well. I buy Phil Grease in either a 14-oz cylinder or a 22-oz tub which is much more cost effective than the 3-oz squeeze tubes.

I also bought a Duelco refillable grease gun (http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...item_id=DU-LG1 ) and fill it with the Phil Grease. It meters the grease accurately, reduces waste and keeps the grease in the bulk container clean.
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Old 12-21-08, 10:31 AM   #22
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No to 'white lithium grease'. Go to Wal*Mart off the 198 and pickup a tube of Mystik JT6 Grease, the green label, not the red label high temp.
+1 on this - no to white lithium. I've tried all sorts of greases over the years - red grease, white lithium, black moly, long fiber greases, marine grease. I've never been happy with them.
My choice: an aluminum complex disc brake wheel bearing grease. Sta-Lub and Lubrimatic both have it. Completely waterproof, won't wash out, extreme pressure and temperature rating, relatively inexpensive ($5 for a 14 oz tub), long lasting amd won't harden or cake-up. One grease for all bike bearings (not 3 speed hubs, though). Just my humble opinion.
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Old 12-21-08, 11:20 AM   #23
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+1 on this - no to white lithium. I've tried all sorts of greases over the years - red grease, white lithium, black moly, long fiber greases, marine grease. I've never been happy with them.
My choice: an aluminum complex disc brake wheel bearing grease. Sta-Lub and Lubrimatic both have it. Completely waterproof, won't wash out, extreme pressure and temperature rating, relatively inexpensive ($5 for a 14 oz tub), long lasting amd won't harden or cake-up. One grease for all bike bearings (not 3 speed hubs, though). Just my humble opinion.
How have you "never been happy" with all of those greases you tried? Did the bearings fail, get scored, overheat? The extreme pressure and temperature ratings for the grease you do recommend are completely unnecessary for any bicycle bearing which sees neither. Even plain white lithium grease won't cake up or harden unless you neglect the bearings for decades.

Phil Grease is just a private-labeled commercial grease and there is nothing magical about it but it works very well. I have a pair of Dura Ace hubs with over 45,000 miles on the original cones and races and they are still in like-new condition despite being used in all kinds of weather including a lot of rain and even snow. They are overhauled about once a year (~6000 miles) with Phil.
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Old 12-21-08, 11:31 AM   #24
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I use the Mystick also as well as the Marine Bearing from WalMart. I did notice that both packages say they are compatable with other greases. I mixed them for my son's bike. I am currious as how it is going to do. It turned out feeling alot like Phil Wood, but time will tell on how it does.
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Old 12-21-08, 12:52 PM   #25
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Reference to lithium is refering only to the thickener and is only part of the reason to choose or not choose a grease for a given application.

Grease is composed of oil (synthetic or mineral), thickener, and additives. For bike wheel bearings a I think a moderate viscosity oil (around ISO 100) with a calcium sulfonate thickener (for rust prevention in the wet) would be a good choice.

I think some better boat trailer wheel greases may fit this or you could just buy something that says it's for bike wheel bearings, like Phil Woods.
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