Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Re-greasing sealed bottom bracket bearings?

Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Re-greasing sealed bottom bracket bearings?

Old 05-31-19, 06:36 PM
  #1  
Occam's Rotor
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 7,248
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 2,331 Times in 1,164 Posts
Re-greasing sealed bottom bracket bearings?

I've got a White Industries sealed square taper bb, and was getting some noise, so I have pulled it apart and cleaned it.

Is it normal to pick open the seal and re-grease it, or should I just leave it alone? The bearings feel perfectly smooth, fwiw.

How do I know when they are spent?
Cyclist0108 is offline  
Old 05-31-19, 07:06 PM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
u235's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,185
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 437 Post(s)
Liked 133 Times in 86 Posts
Just as much info out there says that if a shielded or sealed bearing is suspect or needs grease you can and others say no way. I've cleaned and regreased shielded bearings. I've deduced that it comes down to the application and the industry it is used and that makes total sense. Is a bottom bracket or bike front wheel bearing the same criticality as one in a motor turning 3600 rpm 24x7 in a chemical plant or in the transmission in your car? People with cup and cone clean and regrease all the time for years. In principal, not much different here. It is the application!!!!

If me.. if the act of tearing down and putting back together the BB and cleaning and greasing any threads and all tightened back up doesn't resolve the creak or squeek, then consider the bearing regrease or replace. 6903-2rs are like $10-20 for a pair. I just looked up that BB, MSRP $130-180? Looks like a top notch BB.

Last edited by u235; 05-31-19 at 07:32 PM.
u235 is offline  
Likes For u235:
Old 05-31-19, 08:38 PM
  #3  
Occam's Rotor
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 7,248
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 2,331 Times in 1,164 Posts
I picked off the seals and flushed the old grease out and put some new Phil Wood grease in there. It is slightly more gritty now. (I suspect it will be fine once the new grease spreads around.)

It is funny that Chris King has extensive instructions on re-greasing sealed bearings, and it isn't even mentioned on the White Industries website.

This BB was $127. (The Titanium version is more.) The comparable Shimano lists for $25, and can be found for less than $20. I'll bet it is just as good, functionally speaking. The WI one is a very nicely crafted piece.
Cyclist0108 is offline  
Old 05-31-19, 08:42 PM
  #4  
Occam's Rotor
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 7,248
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 2,331 Times in 1,164 Posts
I just noticed on the website that, as you pointed out, it says "Bearings: 6903" which looks to be a standard one available for $10. I think I will order some, just to be on the safe side.

Last edited by Cyclist0108; 05-31-19 at 08:52 PM.
Cyclist0108 is offline  
Likes For Cyclist0108:
Old 05-31-19, 10:05 PM
  #5  
Non omnino gravis
 
DrIsotope's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: SoCal, USA!
Posts: 8,553

Bikes: Nekobasu, Pandicorn, Lakitu

Mentioned: 119 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4905 Post(s)
Liked 1,731 Times in 958 Posts
Why not go all in? Acer Racing Ceramic 6903 bearings, $10.99 each, ships from SoCal
__________________
DrIsotope is offline  
Likes For DrIsotope:
Old 05-31-19, 10:11 PM
  #6  
Senior Member
 
Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 18,136

Bikes: Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Mongoose Tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder, Stewart 650B ATB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4230 Post(s)
Liked 3,937 Times in 2,346 Posts
Originally Posted by DrIsotope

Because as you likely know ceramic bearings are of extremely small efficiency benefit in a bike application, yet at a significant cost increase. Andy
__________________
AndrewRStewart
Andrew R Stewart is offline  
Old 05-31-19, 10:14 PM
  #7  
Occam's Rotor
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 7,248
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 2,331 Times in 1,164 Posts
That website is remarkably creepy.

Last edited by Cyclist0108; 09-18-19 at 10:22 PM. Reason: example
Cyclist0108 is offline  
Old 05-31-19, 10:15 PM
  #8  
Non omnino gravis
 
DrIsotope's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: SoCal, USA!
Posts: 8,553

Bikes: Nekobasu, Pandicorn, Lakitu

Mentioned: 119 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4905 Post(s)
Liked 1,731 Times in 958 Posts
Umm, the steel ones are $8-10 each unless you're buying them in bulk, and the ones from Acer are $11-- and they throw a 10% off coupon out to first-time buyers. So while I'm not a ceramic bearing guy, for the same price, why not?
__________________
DrIsotope is offline  
Old 05-31-19, 10:15 PM
  #9  
Occam's Rotor
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 7,248
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 2,331 Times in 1,164 Posts
Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart
Because as you likely know ceramic bearings are of extremely small efficiency benefit in a bike application, yet at a significant cost increase. Andy
Well, $10 is $5 below Phil Wood steel bearings. They aren't full ceramic, just the balls, not the races.

Besides, I generate an incredible amount of heat with my 30 RPM cadence.
Cyclist0108 is offline  
Likes For Cyclist0108:
Old 06-01-19, 02:17 AM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 4,764
Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1975 Post(s)
Liked 232 Times in 173 Posts
Originally Posted by DrIsotope
Umm, the steel ones are $8-10 each unless you're buying them in bulk, and the ones from Acer are $11-- and they throw a 10% off coupon out to first-time buyers. So while I'm not a ceramic bearing guy, for the same price, why not?
Not all ceramic bearings are created the same. I'll take a good quality steel cartridge over an unknown ceramic any day
redlude97 is offline  
Likes For redlude97:
Old 06-01-19, 06:12 AM
  #11  
Non omnino gravis
 
DrIsotope's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: SoCal, USA!
Posts: 8,553

Bikes: Nekobasu, Pandicorn, Lakitu

Mentioned: 119 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4905 Post(s)
Liked 1,731 Times in 958 Posts
<snort> Okay, sure. Are we back to pretending that bicycles are F1 cars? ACER is where I used to buy the ceramic bearings for applications that actually required ceramic bearings-- electric motors that spin to +100,000rpm.

You could put literally any 6903 in a bottom bracket and run it for thousands, if not tens of thousands of miles. It's in an application that might see 120rpm. The only real advantage any BB bearing might have over another would be resistance to environmental factors.

The OP is getting noise out of a rather expensive BB after an unspecified number of miles. I have a Shimano Hollowtech II BB that was $22 and has around 18,000 miles on it, as quiet and smooth as the day it went in. This likely has nothing to do with the quality of bearings at all. OP maybe rides in more rain or dirt than I do.
__________________
DrIsotope is offline  
Likes For DrIsotope:
Old 06-01-19, 07:15 AM
  #12  
Occam's Rotor
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 7,248
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 2,331 Times in 1,164 Posts
There is a non-zero possibility that my "clunk" is not the bottom-bracket. It seems to go away when I stand up. The current bearings are fine. (In fact, they were smoother before I re-greased them, so I am worried I have done more harm than good. I haven't had a chance to re-test yet.) From what I can see, there was a lot of dirt, but it never got in as far as the bearings. It seems to spin more freely now, however. (I think it might have tightened itself up too much; at one point the lock-ring was a bit loose. Now I have erred on the side of a tiny bit of lateral play, which I may regret. Things I hate about square taper.)

Moving from Hollowtech II to square taper wasn't something I would recommend. I got it because WI 30mm spindle won't fit in my BB shell because a couple of Di2 wires loop through there. I'm seriously considering going back to Hollowtech II with the introduction of GRX (and 24mm spindles).

Last edited by Cyclist0108; 06-01-19 at 07:27 AM. Reason: clarification of ranting.
Cyclist0108 is offline  
Old 06-01-19, 08:05 AM
  #13  
I'm the anecdote.
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: S.E. Texas
Posts: 1,821

Bikes: '12 Schwinn, '13 Norco

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1110 Post(s)
Liked 1,176 Times in 795 Posts
I've definitely popped the shields off of bearings to grease them. Sometimes bearings get made with no grease in them at all.

However, since popping a shield usually makes the shield not reusable I only do that for a short term fix.

Although, some short term fixes seem to last years.
FiftySix is offline  
Old 06-01-19, 08:07 AM
  #14  
I'm the anecdote.
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: S.E. Texas
Posts: 1,821

Bikes: '12 Schwinn, '13 Norco

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1110 Post(s)
Liked 1,176 Times in 795 Posts
Originally Posted by wgscott
That website is remarkably creepy.


I can see where some of their parts markup goes to.
FiftySix is offline  
Old 06-01-19, 08:11 AM
  #15  
Newbie
 
Milo111's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: UK
Posts: 1

Bikes: Speedfight100

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Yeah it's daylight robbery lmao
Milo111 is offline  
Old 06-01-19, 08:40 AM
  #16  
SE Wis
 
dedhed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 10,535

Bikes: '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400, 2013 Novara Randonee, 1990 Trek 970

Mentioned: 40 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2752 Post(s)
Liked 3,412 Times in 2,065 Posts
If I was going in so far as to peel seals and regrease I'd just be replacing.
dedhed is offline  
Old 06-01-19, 08:42 AM
  #17  
Occam's Rotor
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 7,248
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 2,331 Times in 1,164 Posts
Originally Posted by dedhed
If I was going in so far as to peel seals and regrease I'd just be replacing.
I think I will. But I already put it back together, so it will have to wait until I go through the painful deliberation process to decide which porn-star to ... I mean which ... I can't remember what we were talking about now.
Cyclist0108 is offline  
Likes For Cyclist0108:
Old 06-01-19, 09:30 AM
  #18  
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,357 Times in 863 Posts
maybe you can zerk it so as to fill the cartridge barrel with grease and push the old out past the seals..
fietsbob is offline  
Old 06-01-19, 10:44 AM
  #19  
Occam's Rotor
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 7,248
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 2,331 Times in 1,164 Posts
Originally Posted by fietsbob
maybe you can zerk it so as to fill the cartridge barrel with grease and push the old out past the seals..
I flushed the old grease with WD-40. Then I flushed the WD-40 with tri-flo. Then I let that dry and jammed in Phil Wood grease.

Took it for a shakedown ride. Original problem solved and it works great. I probably won't bother doing anything unless it acts up again.
Cyclist0108 is offline  
Old 06-01-19, 12:15 PM
  #20  
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,357 Times in 863 Posts
I have a Touring bike frame built with BB shell* sealed, frame Tubes TIG welded to the outside

It has a whole lot of grease in between the bearings , only an outside seal on the oversize bearings ..

* was from the 90's era rear of a Burly Tandem frame components . Zerk in BB shell .. greased once 22 years ago..
fietsbob is offline  
Old 06-01-19, 03:48 PM
  #21  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 6,660
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 582 Post(s)
Liked 171 Times in 138 Posts
Originally Posted by DrIsotope
They don't wear well in my experience.
davidad is offline  
Old 06-01-19, 03:50 PM
  #22  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 6,660
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 582 Post(s)
Liked 171 Times in 138 Posts
Originally Posted by wgscott
I flushed the old grease with WD-40. Then I flushed the WD-40 with tri-flo. Then I let that dry and jammed in Phil Wood grease.

Took it for a shakedown ride. Original problem solved and it works great. I probably won't bother doing anything unless it acts up again.
Either set a maintenance interval or replace when worn.
davidad is offline  
Old 06-01-19, 04:03 PM
  #23  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 6,660
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 582 Post(s)
Liked 171 Times in 138 Posts
Originally Posted by wgscott
I picked off the seals and flushed the old grease out and put some new Phil Wood grease in there. It is slightly more gritty now. (I suspect it will be fine once the new grease spreads around.)

It is funny that Chris King has extensive instructions on re-greasing sealed bearings, and it isn't even mentioned on the White Industries website.

This BB was $127. (The Titanium version is more.) The comparable Shimano lists for $25, and can be found for less than $20. I'll bet it is just as good, functionally speaking. The WI one is a very nicely crafted piece.
Chris King has "an integrated grease injection system". For square taper BB's I find it hard to beat shimano.
I rode Phi Wood for years, but had to replace the bearings often. I made my own crude press to remove and replace them. The two shimanos' have over 25000 miles on them and still going strong.
davidad is offline  
Old 06-01-19, 11:48 PM
  #24  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 4,764
Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1975 Post(s)
Liked 232 Times in 173 Posts
Originally Posted by DrIsotope
<snort> Okay, sure. Are we back to pretending that bicycles are F1 cars? ACER is where I used to buy the ceramic bearings for applications that actually required ceramic bearings-- electric motors that spin to +100,000rpm.

You could put literally any 6903 in a bottom bracket and run it for thousands, if not tens of thousands of miles. It's in an application that might see 120rpm. The only real advantage any BB bearing might have over another would be resistance to environmental factors.

The OP is getting noise out of a rather expensive BB after an unspecified number of miles. I have a Shimano Hollowtech II BB that was $22 and has around 18,000 miles on it, as quiet and smooth as the day it went in. This likely has nothing to do with the quality of bearings at all. OP maybe rides in more rain or dirt than I do.
so....why does he need ceramic bearings again? You can buy steel 6903 for like $2. I buy them by the dozens for cyclocross season
redlude97 is offline  
Old 06-02-19, 10:23 AM
  #25  
Occam's Rotor
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 7,248
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 2,331 Times in 1,164 Posts
Originally Posted by davidad
Either set a maintenance interval or replace when worn.
My previous experience with square taper is 37 years of malignant neglect. When I took it apart, it was still fine. Admittedly that was cup and cone, not tiny sealed bearings. (Crampy.)

I have no idea how long these are "supposed" to last. The BB tightening up a little I think was the source of my problem. If there was any damage as a consequence, I couldn't detect it.
Cyclist0108 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.