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Old Sears (Murray) Bike Leaking Grease From Rear Axle

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Old Sears (Murray) Bike Leaking Grease From Rear Axle

Old 09-18-19, 12:26 AM
  #1  
thriftyswift3
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Old Sears (Murray) Bike Leaking Grease From Rear Axle

I tried to post this question to an existing thread, but could not find an appropriate one.

I have a bike branded Sears probably from the 60s. I have been using it to transport my two children short distances.

Black oil/grease is coming out of the rear axle onto the wheel, etc.

Is this normal for this type of bike?

How do I add more grease?

Thanks.
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Old 09-18-19, 09:08 AM
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It sounds like at some time, someone over-oiled the rear hub that was originally lubricated with grease.

A hub rebuild would seem to be the only cure, short of waiting out the leakage until the mess exhausts itself.

Perhaps in the mean time, an absorbent ring could be fashioned from whatever soft material that you might have at hand.
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Old 09-18-19, 09:15 AM
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You have a 3 speed rear hub? One more post and you can add a picture.
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Old 09-19-19, 12:37 AM
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It's a one-speed.

I am not concerned about the black leakage getting onto things. I'm concerned that I will damage/shorten the life of the thing by letting its lubricant escape.

It's a weird looking setup to me in that it looks like there is a significant gap between surfaces that should be close if not "sealed."

I will take a picture tomorrow hopefully and post it.

Thanks for your replies! This bike was bought at a large flea market event years ago by my wife as a sort of antique, but recently I found that it is quite pleasurable to ride when I am in an ambling state of mind. I fashioned a padded "seat" for my 8 year old daughter on top of the built-in rear cargo platform.
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Old 09-20-19, 12:09 AM
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Ran out of time to snap a pic today. In-laws coming for visit tomorrow, so hopefully time to snap one as I make myself scarce.
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Old 11-20-19, 01:52 AM
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Okay, here you go. I took these pics a few weeks ago, obviously at night to hopefully show the grease/(oil?) leaking. Helpful?
More pressing a matter: The coaster brake is catching. I've stopped carrying my child on this bike because when I brake, it does a cyclical grabbing sort of action that climaxes in a jerk and a snap followed by a releasing of tension that builds quickly to another jerk and audible snap.


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Old 11-20-19, 09:32 AM
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The moment I saw the title, I was thinking "coaster brake". The heat build-up in coaster brakes can cause the grease to separate or liquify. Heavier loads, like two children, don't help. Once this happens, the lack of lubricant leads to all manners of problems , including brake grabbing, excessive wear and parts breakage. It sounds like the hub requires an immediate overhaul. Hopefully, nothing is broken or too worn.
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Old 11-20-19, 09:48 AM
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Reminds me of a video about a ride called Repack. The early mtb folks from WTB named it that because on their old coaster brake bikes the brakes would be so hot at the bottom they required a repack before they could be used again. I watched a video where they rode it on new disc brake bikes and even with them they said it was hard on brakes. There are lots of pictures etc if you Google Repack Mountain Bike Race
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Old 11-20-19, 11:12 AM
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Old 11-22-19, 08:55 PM
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Thanks for the advice, guys. That video was very informative as well. I don't have the tools to work on the hub, so we'll see what becomes of the bike I've come to really enjoy.
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Old 01-08-20, 11:06 PM
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A very significant development yesterday: More on that in just a minute.

I'm sure some will cringe or deride, but I do what works for me and my situation.

A few weeks ago I dripped some Triflow chain lube into the gaps at both sides of the hub. I noticed no difference.

After I would ride down a particular hill that I need to ride down a few days a week, I would smell the heat – a burning smell from the rear hub detectable as I stood beside the bike. The rear hub would be nearly too hot to touch.

Next thought was to try to squirt/smear some bearing grease into there, but I remembered that stuff is not made to handle high heat. It's then that I had the thought to drip in some automotive motor oil. No, it's not grease, but it's made to handle heat. I first thought to use the Mobil 1 full-synthetic 0W-20 we have, but then I thought about the old quart of Castrol GTX 5W-30 I have, which in theory, is a thicker oil. That's what I used.

Pressed for time, I first simply poured it onto the gaps at the sides of the hub – ha! That night, I thought to use a medicine syringe that comes with medication like liquid Amoxycillin. This offered more control. I added more 5W-30 this way.

Taking the bike out for a spin around the neighborhood last night, I didn't have the brakes grab on me – though I didn't brake all that hard. Today, I took the bike on the typical route I do to my work, which includes significant hills. The grabbing is gone!!

After riding the cruiser down that long, rather steep hill referenced above (no grabbing) I did notice a hot smell. I didn't feel the hub, as I didn't want dirty fingers.

But this is a major development for me. I do like that old cruiser.
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Old 01-09-20, 07:49 AM
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Engine oil is too thin... 80wt diff oil would be better.

If you've got a way of injecting oil, you could also try an aerosol of white lithium grease.

Lithium grease in spraycan is great for when I don't have time to repack a wheel bearing. Just loosen a cone to give enough gap to squirt the grease into, not wide enough to let the balls escape. Better than nothing, beats squirting WD40 into a dried wheel axle.
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Old 01-09-20, 11:38 AM
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Thanks. Is 80W diff. oil able to handle the heat of a coaster brake? How about the white lithium grease you suggested. How does it handle the heat? I knew engine oil was probably too thin, but I decided to use it due to its heat-handling capabilities.
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Old 01-09-20, 04:52 PM
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Coaster brakes need lubrication at bearings and the coarse threading to push the brake shoes against the shell, the tapers inside the shoes ( this is Bendix style innards)

adding a low viscosity lubricant will allow uncontrolled lubrication.

if you do not feel up to it, it should be done- by someone familiar with them.
have a bike co-op near?
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Old 01-14-20, 12:07 AM
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Thanks!

I actually do have a membership at the only co-op in the area, and I go there regularly to try to meet my bike maintenance needs and to learn! This co-op, however, has its real drawbacks. I won't get into them specifically, but bringing in a vintage coater brake hub/wheel and trying to get them to help me get through servicing it is beyond what our local co-op is capable of.

Until I think of something better, I will continue to drip 5W 30 into the seems.
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Old 01-14-20, 01:46 AM
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@swiftythrift3

Don't stress about this too much. You have a few options available. You can keep up with your current lubrication. The hub might wear out earlier but you can still buy replacement coaster wheels and they are very affordable. You might even be able to find a used one in good shape at your co-op.

You can also buy some tools and try it yourself at somw point. This has the added benefit of allowing you to continue to rebuild the hub as long as you have the bike.

That stinks that your co-op isn't able to support this bike. Do they have open shop hours where you can use their tools?
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Old 01-14-20, 10:13 AM
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I see that you have a few bikes available to you, however, you are riding this bike to work and with kids, so I think you like it a lot. Cruisers are great in their simplicity. The key thing to keep it going, for now, is to keep some lubrication in the coaster brake hub. If a syringe of engine oil is working for now, keep doing it until you can get it repaired right. You can try a bike shop to overhaul the coaster brake too.

The other thought that I had is that since you are dealing with hills, adding a rim brake on the front, if possible, may help especially since the coaster brake is stressed and working inconsistently. Perhaps your co-op can install a front brake?
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Old 01-14-20, 10:18 AM
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I say take that hub apart as quickly as you can. You might damage it riding it as it is.
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Old 01-14-20, 10:46 PM
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Thanks! Yes, they have open shop hours. That's when I go in.

I don't know how other bike co-ops work, but at this one, there is no option to have anyone do repairs for you. You do all the work yourself (yes, using their tools and workbenches) and you can ask questions.

Therein lies the problem essentially. While I like that this arrangement helps bike owners learn to fix their own bikes (and I very much do want to learn) the guy in charge of the place tends to be quite stingy with help and information. He can be helpful sometimes, but not so much others. I don't know if he is on the spectrum or what (no offense to anyone).

I also know that they are very interested in getting African American people on bikes and giving them help. I have stood there with my bike apart (I always ride there, not drive) and watched them actually doing the work for a black person. So there is a bias going on. When I've got three hours maximum per visit to complete a job, it's a pressure cooker – not doable to try to attack servicing a hub like this.

It's okay. I'm not really stressed about it.
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Old 01-14-20, 10:55 PM
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Yes, thank you. I seem to have been bitten by the cruiser bug last summer when I pulled both antique bikes out of our storage area underneath our back porch to move them. I started riding them around the driveway with my daughter on her bike.

The reason I keep using this one so much is that I have a baby that I need to take with me wherever I go (stay-at-home-Daddy who does some dog-walking). I have her in and Ergo baby carrier on my chest/belly. The cruiser is the only bike that affords me nearly an upright enough riding position so the baby is not leaned way over. Yes, I can put her on my back if I ride other bikes, but for these near-home trips it's just so relaxing on the cruiser.

Great point regarding the addition of a front brake! As I mentioned in another reply, no my co-op will not do any work for anyone. The member does their own work and can ask questions. Thing is with this Sears (Murray) bike is that the rims near the bead are actually at an angle. I don't think they could work with any type of rim brake that I know of. I could snap a pic of the rims if interested.
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Old 01-15-20, 12:07 AM
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Originally Posted by thriftyswift3 View Post
Yes, thank you. I seem to have been bitten by the cruiser bug last summer when I pulled both antique bikes out of our storage area underneath our back porch to move them. I started riding them around the driveway with my daughter on her bike.

The reason I keep using this one so much is that I have a baby that I need to take with me wherever I go (stay-at-home-Daddy who does some dog-walking). I have her in and Ergo baby carrier on my chest/belly. The cruiser is the only bike that affords me nearly an upright enough riding position so the baby is not leaned way over. Yes, I can put her on my back if I ride other bikes, but for these near-home trips it's just so relaxing on the cruiser.

Great point regarding the addition of a front brake! As I mentioned in another reply, no my co-op will not do any work for anyone. The member does their own work and can ask questions. Thing is with this Sears (Murray) bike is that the rims near the bead are actually at an angle. I don't think they could work with any type of rim brake that I know of. I could snap a pic of the rims if interested.
Please put a front brake on there if you have a baby on you! Failure of that coaster brake on a hill or really anywhere would be disastrous.
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Old 01-16-20, 07:52 PM
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You know, I may just (if I can find time) try to tear into the coaster brake hub when the weather turns cold this crazy warm winter. I found a step-by-step article by Park Tool on it (not a video) and I know RJ The Bike Guy has a video.

It's not all that complex, I suppose. My mind was grouping it with an internal-gear hub in terms of complexity.
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Old 01-16-20, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by tricky View Post
Please put a front brake on there if you have a baby on you! Failure of that coaster brake on a hill or really anywhere would be disastrous.
I once had the chain fall off while riding a coaster-braked bike...
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Old 03-10-20, 10:10 PM
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Well look at little ol' me. I "rebuilt" the hub! I put the word in quotes because I didn't fully disassemble it. I took it apart mostly, but left a few parts attached to each other – like on the brake arm side, that it didn't seem important to separate.

I was able to access the three caged bearings and to clean whole the thing out. I simply sprayed WD-40 in there a few times and wiped it out.

I got myself to the auto parts store and picked up some hi-heat bearing grease. I packed the bearings with the stuff, and very generously greased up all the other parts. I probably used more grease than advisable.

Well, no more brake grabbing, and I feel way good about riding on the thing now!

Last edited by thriftyswift3; 03-10-20 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 03-10-20, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by thriftyswift3 View Post
Well look at little ol' me. I "rebuilt" the hub! I put the word in quotes because I didn't fully disassemble it...
Doing things like that only seem hard until you sit down and take the time to do them. I used to watch my father work on all manner of things that I assumed would be impossible for me to do, and nowadays I often find myself impressing him. The only difference for me is that I became willing to give those daunting tasks a try!

Good for you. Enjoy the ride!
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