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repacking bearings?

Old 05-17-07, 07:22 PM
  #1  
dijos
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repacking bearings?

I'm about to reassemble a bike, including a headset (threaded). the bearings are dirty, not filthy, with brownish grease. I want to regrease them, how, and what kind of grease? I happen to have a huge tube of automotive grease (clearish, light brown). will this work ok? I don't have access to Phil grease, so any sensible substitute would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 05-17-07, 07:29 PM
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the grease you have will work fine
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Old 05-17-07, 07:31 PM
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Automotive grease is good stuff. A bunch of people use marine bearing grease. You can get it at the Home Depot or Lowes. It's made for wet environments and specifically for bearings, so it is good stuff, but I think what you have is as good.
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Old 05-17-07, 07:41 PM
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yep, auto is what I use. Seems to work so far!
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Old 05-18-07, 03:05 PM
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I went through this one time, and decided to go to a large auto supply store and buy a tube of the highest-rated waterproof (marine trailer or other) grease they had. Some met specifications that others did not.

That one tube will last me a lifetime; it didn't cost much, the grease is waterproof, and it's been working great.

***
(It's still a good idea to avoid getting water inside your bearings though.)
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Old 05-18-07, 03:36 PM
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I was told at Performance that automobile grease is designed to handle temperatures that bicycle wheels never achieve, so they recommended I use bicycle specific grease on my hubs. Did they do a sell job on me, or did they have a valid point?
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Old 05-18-07, 03:50 PM
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Well, since there are different kinds of auto grease you can't generalize them. There's wheel bearing & chassis types for example. Do you think a high temp grease fails to lubricate at low temps?
That said, auto grease is excellent for bearings on a bike!
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Old 05-18-07, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by mandrake
I was told at Performance that automobile grease is designed to handle temperatures that bicycle wheels never achieve, so they recommended I use bicycle specific grease on my hubs. Did they do a sell job on me, or did they have a valid point?

Yeah, but most bicycle greases are actually other large manufacturer's greases just rebranded. Just because the sticker says Campy, doesn't mean that Campy has a grease manufacturing facility.
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Old 05-18-07, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by mandrake
I was told at Performance that automobile grease is designed to handle temperatures that bicycle wheels never achieve, so they recommended I use bicycle specific grease on my hubs. Did they do a sell job on me, or did they have a valid point?
It is thicker and will cause more drag, but most mortal humans can't tell the difference. If you are a competitive racer, you would want to use a much lighter grease, or even oil. I use the marine bearing grease mentioned above, because I'm afraid of going too fast.

Let's go to a quote by who else but Sheldon Brown:

You also will need a small amount of grease. The best grease that I know of for this purpose is Phil Wood bicycle grease (available at well-stocked bicycle shops). This is a fairly thick grease, which makes for easier assembly because it holds the bearing balls in place while you are installing the axle and cones. This grease also is very long lasting. Some people prefer a lighter grease, such as Campagnolo or Lubriplate #105. These offer slightly less friction, though they seem to be not as long lasting. Some racers use oil instead of grease, which gives even less friction. If you use oil, you must oil the hubs every week or two, or risk serious damage to them., (The difference between oil and grease is only a difference of degree. Grease is very thick oil; oil is very thin grease.) In a pinch you also can use ordinary household Vaseline.
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/tooltips/hubs.html
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Old 05-18-07, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by JunkYardBike
I use the marine bearing grease mentioned above, because I'm afraid of going too fast.
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Old 05-18-07, 08:31 PM
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How about lithium grease? Personally I have a tub of automotive type grease.
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Old 05-18-07, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by bellweatherman
Automotive grease is good stuff. A bunch of people use marine bearing grease. You can get it at the Home Depot or Lowes. It's made for wet environments and specifically for bearings, so it is good stuff, but I think what you have is as good.
All grease is hydophobic. What makes marine grease any better than regular automotive grease? If you can pedal fast enough to make water and grease into an emulsion, which is about the only way to mix the two, let me know.
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Old 05-18-07, 08:46 PM
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If your automotive grease is too thick or heavy, stir in a little motor oil until you get the consistency you want. At the worst, you might notice more drag in very cold weather with automotive grease.
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Old 05-19-07, 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by bellweatherman
Yeah, but most bicycle greases are actually other large manufacturer's greases just rebranded. Just because the sticker says Campy, doesn't mean that Campy has a grease manufacturing facility.
I once spent 5 on a tube of lithium grease for my bike... it was the red stuff. It worked wonderfully... but when looking closer at the tube it, and at the small print... it was produced for Halfords by Sovereign Lubricants. Now the firm I work for uses Sovereign Lubricants for all their oils and greases... and we did indeed have the very same grease in a 5 gallon tub. I file the invoices from different suppliers (I am employed by my company as a security guard, but I also do some admin work in the night) and looked the Soveriegn invoices up on the Daybook Database... the tubs my company buy cost 20 a time... the tube held 75ml.

Lesson learned... I now just take a tupperware sealable cup to work when I need grease.

I can just picture some spotty nerd at Halfords... taking a huge pot of grease... injecting so much into a tube, or a small tub... and calling it Cycle Specific Grease.... *kerching* 5 please mister!
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Old 05-19-07, 01:39 AM
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Originally Posted by oilman_15106
All grease is hydophobic. What makes marine grease any better than regular automotive grease? If you can pedal fast enough to make water and grease into an emulsion, which is about the only way to mix the two, let me know.

Hydrophobic? What does Rabies have to do with this?
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Old 05-19-07, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by oilman_15106
All grease is hydophobic. What makes marine grease any better than regular automotive grease? If you can pedal fast enough to make water and grease into an emulsion, which is about the only way to mix the two, let me know.
If you get water in a bearing, it can mix into an emulsion. Those little balls rolling through it mix it up quite effectively... Phil grease turns a lovely shade of pastel green when mixed with water, but it does not protect bearing surfaces very well under those conditions...
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Old 05-19-07, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Sluggo
If you get water in a bearing, it can mix into an emulsion. Those little balls rolling through it mix it up quite effectively... Phil grease turns a lovely shade of pastel green when mixed with water, but it does not protect bearing surfaces very well under those conditions...
It WILL mix into an emulsion, and an acidic one at that.

Those steel bearings churning around in there turn your hub into a little (very weak) generator / battery - the water becomes acidic, and a few days later your bearings make a crunchy sound when you roll out the door from the little pits that have started eroding into the cup, cone and bearings. Plus that nice iron oxide brown color in the oil-grease emulsion.

I think shimano mtb hubs are a little screwed up. On the non-drive side you have the decent-sealing, but energy-robbing black rubber seal. On the drive side you've got a steel "dust cap" which stops contaminants larger than ~2mm in diameter - but doesn't stop water at all.

https://bike.shimano.com/media/techdo...9830608936.pdf

I've had a couple XT rear hubs get nearly ruined as the result of long rides in rainstorms - rusted /seized on the drive side, while the non drive side is basically ok.
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Old 05-20-07, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by seeker333
I think shimano mtb hubs are a little screwed up. On the non-drive side you have the decent-sealing, but energy-robbing black rubber seal. On the drive side you've got a steel "dust cap" which stops contaminants larger than ~2mm in diameter - but doesn't stop water at all.

https://bike.shimano.com/media/techdo...9830608936.pdf
Most upper end shimano rear hubs do have a rubber cheveron type seal on the drive side -- it's #8 on the above pdf.
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Old 05-20-07, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by mandrake
I was told at Performance that automobile grease is designed to handle temperatures that bicycle wheels never achieve, so they recommended I use bicycle specific grease on my hubs. Did they do a sell job on me, or did they have a valid point?

did you see any automotive grease on their shelves ?

ed rader
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Old 05-26-07, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by oilman_15106
All grease is hydophobic. What makes marine grease any better than regular automotive grease? If you can pedal fast enough to make water and grease into an emulsion, which is about the only way to mix the two, let me know.
The difference is that the marine bearing grease has much better tackiness than the normal auto greases. To test, put a drop of marine grease on the tip of your forefinger and squeeze it with your thumb. Then separate your fingers and watch what happens. Repeat with normal auto grease.

What happens in the bearings is that the grease is pushed aside by the rolling bearing. When you repack wheel-bearings (bikes & auto), a lot of times you'll find a dry track where the bearings roll and plenty of grease on the sides. The marine bearing grease on the other hand, will stick better to the bearings and get pulled back onto track.
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Old 05-26-07, 11:21 PM
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I use whatever I happen to have on hand. Right now, it's marine trailer bearing grease - the blue stuff. Before that it was some kind of old tar-brown axle grease. It looked like molasses. I've used white lithium grese and it works fine, too. None of it ever allowed any rust at all.
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Old 05-27-07, 05:54 AM
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[QUOTE=Cadfael]

Lesson learned... I now just take a tupperware sealable cup to work when I need grease.
/QUOTE]

If you get caught stealing a cup of grease at work and you lose your job over it, that will be the most expensive grease you ever bought.

I don't know about England, but in the States, the good-old days of being able to just take a bit of what you need from your employer are long gone (sadly) and good folks lose their jobs for mooching just a bit of the silliest things.
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Old 05-27-07, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by mike
but in the States, the good-old days of being able to just take a bit of what you need from your employer are long gone (sadly) and good folks lose their jobs for mooching just a bit of the silliest things.
Wow! I better return the 2 5 gal. buckets of acetone i found in the shop.
I stills thinking we was still in the good-old days.

Last edited by _beaver_; 05-27-07 at 07:39 AM.
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Old 05-28-07, 06:29 PM
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I use Bel-Ray waterproof grease on my bikes. It's designed for dirt bikes but worked great on my mountain bike so I use it on all my bikes now.
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Old 09-05-12, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun
Hydrophobic? What does Rabies have to do with this?
Fear of water. (Among other symptons, unquenchable thirst but might also have, ironically, a fear of liquids)
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