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This is why not to use white lithium grease

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This is why not to use white lithium grease

Old 12-14-10, 10:37 PM
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vladvm
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This is why not to use white lithium grease

Background

I repacked my headset with white lithium grease (spray on) two weeks ago. It says on the label waterproof. It says good for vehicles, home and bicycle use. I bought it from Canadian tire. Put it back together and the steering was perfect.

Then I head out for Sunday ride, little dusting of snow on the ground, it was -4C but no big deal. Went for a 50km ride.

The bike got a little dirty so I took a watering can and filled it with water and used it to rinse the crap off the bike and components. No pressure, just good old gravity, and water out the spout. Wiped the bike dry and hung it in the garage.

A week later, I decided to go out again on a Sunday ride, re-lubed the chain and components and I was good to go, went for a shorter ride since it was snowing a little, and bit windy, about 35km ride. I felt that the steering was a little off.

Got home and rinsed the bike again. Hung to dry.

So tonight I decided to bring in the bike and put on the trainer in basement. As I was carrying it down the steps, I noticed the fork remained pointed straight. The steering was tight!

Took the headset apart to see what was going on and his is what I saw.

See link https://m.flickr.com/#/photos/5250162...83267/sizes/m/
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Old 12-14-10, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by vladvm View Post
Background

I repacked my headset with white lithium grease (spray on) two weeks ago. It says on the label waterproof. It says good for vehicles, home and bicycle use. I bought it from Canadian tire. Put it back together and the steering was perfect.

Then I head out for Sunday ride, little dusting of snow on the ground, it was -4C but no big deal. Went for a 50km ride.

The bike got a little dirty so I took a watering can and filled it with water and used it to rinse the crap off the bike and components. No pressure, just good old gravity, and water out the spout. Wiped the bike dry and hung it in the garage.

A week later, I decided to go out again on a Sunday ride, re-lubed the chain and components and I was good to go, went for a shorter ride since it was snowing a little, and bit windy, about 35km ride. I felt that the steering was a little off.

Got home and rinsed the bike again. Hung to dry.

So tonight I decided to bring in the bike and put on the trainer in basement. As I was carrying it down the steps, I noticed the fork remained pointed straight. The steering was tight!

Took the headset apart to see what was going on and his is what I saw.

See link https://m.flickr.com/#/photos/5250162...83267/sizes/m/
Nah.. That's why you don't use spray on grease. The stuff evaporates to nothing! Regular grease (including white lithium) from out of a tub or tube doesn't have that problem.
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Old 12-15-10, 12:05 AM
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After thorough cleaning, you'll want to really pack that bearing good with grease. A little grease should squish out when you put your fork back in the frame.

Make sure any seals are properly oriented also.

Say nay to spray.

Here's a video.

Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 12-15-10 at 12:24 AM.
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Old 12-15-10, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Sirrus Rider View Post
Nah.. That's why you don't use spray on grease. The stuff evaporates to nothing! Regular grease (including white lithium) from out of a tub or tube doesn't have that problem.
You are probably right. The spray-on ones start bubbling and gets thick, but I guess there is not enough grease... it's just full of aerosol.

I did repack with proper bike bearing grease. All is good now.
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Old 12-15-10, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
After thorough cleaning, you'll want to really pack that bearing good with grease. A little grease should squish out when you put your fork back in the frame.

Make sure any seals are properly oriented also.

Say nay to spray.

Here's a video.
Yeah, I used proper bike bearing grease this time to repack the headset. I made sure it was oozing, and I just wiped the excess off.
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Old 12-15-10, 12:11 PM
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I've been using standard automotive (white lithium) grease for years. I rebuild and re-sell 10-12 bikes a year, and use it for all bearing applications. Never a problem.

Best grease I ever had they don't make any more; some sort of super-synthetic stuff I got at the Schwinn dealer. Only bad thing was it smelled awful! Looked like red toothpaste....
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Old 12-15-10, 12:45 PM
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I didn't even know they made 'spray on grease'. Perhaps I need to get out more.

Anyhow, I've used white lithium grease for years with no problems. These days however, my grease of choice is automotive wheel bearing grease from my local hardware.
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Old 12-15-10, 01:43 PM
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And so now you know, that all greases are not chemically or "weather" resistant.

What I usually use for grease if there's no instructions for anything specific is silicone grease, since it doesn't cause problems with swelling rubber or plastic, and won't harm paint or other decorative coatings.

Grease is a liquid lubricant base with a solid (powder) thickener added. With cheaper greases the liquid will run off over time, leaving only the chunky solid stuff that doesn't lubricate. Super-Lube is one brand of silicone grease that is particularly resistant to separating. https://www.super-lube.com/

Super-Lube already contains some Teflon powder--the lowest-friction material there is--but if you want you can buy your own Teflon powder and add as much as you want.
For that matter,,, Teflon powder can be added into just about any other lubricant you want, since it is essentially chemically inert and there's no danger of it reacting with other lubricants. ***
Spurlock tools (online) sells it. https://www.spurlocktools.com/id39.htm
~

***(two things you should NOT add teflon powder to is the crankcase oil of piston engines, or any machinery that incorporates a lubricant filter)
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Old 12-15-10, 02:19 PM
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I've seen white grease get gummy with age. Some Shimano shifters came lubed with the stuff from the factory. When they stop working, time to take them apart & clean all traces out. Using moly-d grease for everything now. Too bad, the convenience of spray grease is nice.
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Old 12-15-10, 03:01 PM
  #10  
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I work on trucks and there is a different grease for each different use on a truck. Currently we have 8 different types in the stores.

30 years ago we had 2 types- Grease and Moli grease. Didn't matter which you used but the Moli grease was supposedly higher temp for wheel bearings.

I have only one grease in the bike shed though---and it does everything. That is called "Black Gold"---But it is green.
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Old 12-15-10, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
I've been using standard automotive (white lithium) grease for years. I rebuild and re-sell 10-12 bikes a year, and use it for all bearing applications. Never a problem.

Best grease I ever had they don't make any more; some sort of super-synthetic stuff I got at the Schwinn dealer. Only bad thing was it smelled awful! Looked like red toothpaste....
Sounds like red flourocarbon (?flourosilicon maybe?), great stuff. It will not wash out of any clothing that touches it though. Years ago I was noticing a rumble in my stereo system and I tracked it down to the platter spindle on my Thorens turntable. I put a dab of that on there and 25 years later it is still rumble free.
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Old 12-15-10, 11:21 PM
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Always say no to spray on grease.
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Old 12-16-10, 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
I've been using standard automotive (white lithium) grease for years. I rebuild and re-sell 10-12 bikes a year, and use it for all bearing applications. Never a problem.

Best grease I ever had they don't make any more; some sort of super-synthetic stuff I got at the Schwinn dealer. Only bad thing was it smelled awful! Looked like red toothpaste....
Bullshot maybe? I used to have some of that, but I don't think it's available any more.
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Old 12-16-10, 09:06 AM
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Friends don't let friends use spray on grease.
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Old 12-26-10, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
I've been using standard automotive (white lithium) grease for years. I rebuild and re-sell 10-12 bikes a year, and use it for all bearing applications. Never a problem.

Best grease I ever had they don't make any more; some sort of super-synthetic stuff I got at the Schwinn dealer. Only bad thing was it smelled awful! Looked like red toothpaste....
Mystik (sp?) makes a red grease, supposed to be for "high pressure" applications, I used to use it on trucks/cars, don't remember a particularly bad smell though so probably not the same stuff. I think the stuff I use for bikes is called marine trailer wheel bearing grease or something similar, it's green in color and supposed to resist washing out of bearings which is the reason I use it. Really I think any decent grease would be ok if serviced regularly.
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Old 12-26-10, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug5150 View Post
And so now you know, that all greases are not chemically or "weather" resistant.

What I usually use for grease if there's no instructions for anything specific is silicone grease, since it doesn't cause problems with swelling rubber or plastic, and won't harm paint or other decorative coatings.

Grease is a liquid lubricant base with a solid (powder) thickener added. With cheaper greases the liquid will run off over time, leaving only the chunky solid stuff that doesn't lubricate. Super-Lube is one brand of silicone grease that is particularly resistant to separating. https://www.super-lube.com/

Super-Lube already contains some Teflon powder--the lowest-friction material there is--but if you want you can buy your own Teflon powder and add as much as you want.
For that matter,,, Teflon powder can be added into just about any other lubricant you want, since it is essentially chemically inert and there's no danger of it reacting with other lubricants. ***
Spurlock tools (online) sells it. https://www.spurlocktools.com/id39.htm
~

***(two things you should NOT add teflon powder to is the crankcase oil of piston engines, or any machinery that incorporates a lubricant filter)
Teflon is a biologically hazardous material and needs to be used with care... it does not react well with organic life forms and does not bio-degrade.
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Old 12-26-10, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
Teflon is a biologically hazardous material and needs to be used with care... it does not react well with organic life forms and does not bio-degrade.
Unfortunately the medical industry differs in opinion and makes a wide variety of implantable devices from it, as it is assumed to be essentially inert unless your body temperature exceeds 464Fº.
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Old 12-27-10, 09:11 PM
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Phil Woods Waterproof grease has been my grease of choice for a couple decades now.
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Old 12-27-10, 09:53 PM
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How do you pack something with grease that sprays?
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Old 12-27-10, 10:10 PM
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Boat Trailer Wheel Bearing Grease in a tub has been the stuff for decades for me.
Though Phil grease in Tubes are tidy.
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Old 12-28-10, 07:37 AM
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First time I re-greased my hubs I used white lithium grease. Few weeks later I noticed my wheels turning slower when spun freely. At first I thought I tightened the cones too much, but messing around with it showed me that it wasn't the case. I opened the hubs and it turned out that the grease almost turned into a glue-like, kind of sludgy sugar-like substance.

WLG is definitely not made for bearings of any kind that require much action. Maybe it's good for door hinges.
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Old 12-28-10, 10:53 AM
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I have seen that if too much teflon powder is added to the Superlube grease, the grease "dries up" and becomes a pale-white doughy substance.... so now I am wondering about just getting some silicone oil and thickening it some with pure Teflon powder..... ?:|
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Old 12-28-10, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Louis View Post
I didn't even know they made 'spray on grease'. Perhaps I need to get out more.
Yeah, it's mostly for hinges where it can soak in and hard to reach areas
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Old 12-28-10, 03:11 PM
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The spray on stuff is good for a garage door. Spray the tracks and rollers. Doesn't seem to attract dirt. Occasional use. Once a year.
I would never use it on anything that gets a lot of use for long periods of time, ( bearings-machinery etc )or is exposed to the weather.
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Old 12-30-10, 06:55 AM
  #25  
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I use lithium grease as an anti-seize when assembling various fasteners on my bike: water bottle cage bolts, rear derailleur hanger bolt, etc. Been doing this for 5 or 6 years. So far, so good...
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