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Wheel Bearings

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Hi All

I have two sets of wheels for my XR the problem I seem to get is with the pair of wheels that aren't being used, I have tyres on the one set of wheels for the more hard/rocky ground and on the other tyres for soft/boggy moorland ground we ride, in Wales it always seems to be quite wet, so what I keep finding is when the spare wheels are sitting in the shed it seems to bugger up the wheel bearings, you will put the wheels in the bike, no play in the bearings one or two rides and there gone ( not that that's all the day outs the bearings of done, might of used them for a couple of months and then they have sat in the shed for a couple of weeks)

I suppose it's water getting in the bearings and then sitting there that is doing the damage, I have tried using the bearings as they come also putting in extra high temp grease in them, might it be worth putting in waterproof grease, or is this problem just par for the course when you ride in wet conditions, the bike is ridden off road nearly every weekend of the year what ever the weather.

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Thanks for the reply just been talking to someone about the Blue ray grease.

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Bearings, like most everything these days seem to fail A LOT more than they used to.

Used to be you'd find 10 year old bike with original bearings still ok almost all the time. 
Now you're lucky if you get a couple of years (it seems).

Lots of junk these days.

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Carefully pull the plastic side covers off and pack as noted, push covers back on.

Use OEM bearings,pack them with marine (blue bel ray) grease.You also could pump the hub full of grease,so there is no room for water to sit in hub.BTR

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Also bearings from china maybe good for 1 year or less.OEM 5-10 years

 I know what you mean about that put some so called good quality cheepies in gone in under 200 miles, so been buying FAG and SKF ones.

 

Mind in the wet boggy ground of Wales it is a hard environment for any moving part.

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We sink our bikes in mud every weekend, no rust on the wheel bearings.

Do you wash the wheel before removing it from the bike, and do you grease the wheel spacers?

Are the spacers and seals in good condition?

I'm guessing that you are getting water into the bearings.

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We sink our bikes in mud every weekend, no rust on the wheel bearings.

Do you wash the wheel before removing it from the bike, and do you grease the wheel spacers?

Are the spacers and seals in good condition?

I'm guessing that you are getting water into the bearings.

 

 

Hi Thanks for the reply.

 

I have put new seals in, every time the wheels come out copper grease on the spindle and Silkolene red waterproof grease smeared on the bearing, seal cleaned and packed with waterproof grease and the wheel spacer are covered with waterproof grease where they go into the seal.

 

I have taken the rubber seals out and packed the bearing with more grease, haven't tried waterproof grease in the bearing but someone recommended using Bel Ray green waterproof grease.

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Hi Thanks for the reply.

 

I have put new seals in, every time the wheels come out copper grease on the spindle and Silkolene red waterproof grease smeared on the bearing, seal cleaned and packed with waterproof grease and the wheel spacer are covered with waterproof grease where they go into the seal.

 

I have taken the rubber seals out and packed the bearing with more grease, haven't tried waterproof grease in the bearing but someone recommended using Bel Ray green waterproof grease.

Steel + Aluminum + Copper Grease = corrosion

I use wax type chain lube on the spindle to prevent seizing, it works better than grease since it is more sticky and less messy.

Also, you only need a little dab of grease on the seal lips.

Don't repack bearings. This is coming from a family full of SKF engineers. Install them, don't touch them, you are doing more harm than good by repacking them.

Bearings look practically dry from the factory, that is because they come with a light surface coat of grease, if you put more than that they will heat up the grease by sloshing it all around, liquify the grease, and it wont lubricate as well, and might blow the seals out.

When you are installing them, only press them in using the outer race.

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Steel + Aluminum + Copper Grease = corrosion

I use wax type chain lube on the spindle to prevent seizing, it works better than grease since it is more sticky and less messy.

Also, you only need a little dab of grease on the seal lips.

Don't repack bearings. This is coming from a family full of SKF engineers. Install them, don't touch them, you are doing more harm than good by repacking them.

Bearings look practically dry from the factory, that is because they come with a light surface coat of grease, if you put more than that they will heat up the grease by sloshing it all around, liquify the grease, and it wont lubricate as well, and might blow the seals out.

When you are installing them, only press them in using the outer race.

 

Hi Thanks for the reply, never had a problem with copper grease, that's what I use on my swingarm pivot bolt, I know you should never put it in a bearing, the reason I tried putting more grease in the bearings was the bearing prob I mention but more grease didn't help I must admit and yes I have made up some drifts for my bench press to press them in that just st perfect on the outer race of the bearing.

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Steel + Aluminum + Copper Grease = corrosion

 

I think what he is saying here is that the dissimilar metals can cause an electrolytic reaction.  The different metals essentially create voltage the same way a battery does and this leads to corrosion.

 

If you stick a galvanized nail and a thick copper wire into a lemon,  you should be able to measure about a half of a volt. 

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Steel + Aluminum + Copper Grease = corrosion

I use wax type chain lube on the spindle to prevent seizing, it works better than grease since it is more sticky and less messy.

Also, you only need a little dab of grease on the seal lips.

Don't repack bearings. This is coming from a family full of SKF engineers. Install them, don't touch them, you are doing more harm than good by repacking them.

Bearings look practically dry from the factory, that is because they come with a light surface coat of grease, if you put more than that they will heat up the grease by sloshing it all around, liquify the grease, and it wont lubricate as well, and might blow the seals out.

When you are installing them, only press them in using the outer race.

+1

The failure mode for wheel bearing is water and dirt ingestion, not the quality of the bearing.  Possible exception is the rear sprocket side which is heavily loaded via chain tension and often has a shorter life than other wheel bearings.  Not all MCs come from the factory with sealed bearings, some use open bearings and outboard seals so the bearings can be easily cleaned and relubed, a real PITA. The best thing you can do is used sealed bearings for wheels and use the factory seal/spacer to provide additional protection.

 

I buy my bearings from bearing supply stores; 1/4 the price and almost always in stock. 

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I respectfully disagree. Packing the bearings fills the voids which eliminates the space for undesired water or mud. Yes make sure your seals AND spacers are not worn. I've packed bearings in everything from boat trailers (even before bearing buddies) , to aircraft, never seen one heat up and liquefy high quality grease from over packing.

Edited by trooper8

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Do not agree.China made bearings Junk(along with most China made junk) Do not last.As far as dont repack bearings,real world not so.Space in bearing,that does not have grease,some how some way will get water.Real world advice.Having over 20 dirt bikes.Im not a expert,but having to keep all the bikes running is a pain.True pack to much grease,seal could pop out.If I remember right,The honda bearings are only sealed one side,so this would only happen on aftermarket bearings double sealed.BTR

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I respectfully disagree. Packing the bearings fills the voids which eliminates the space for undesired water or mud. Yes make sure your seals AND spacers are not worn. I've packed bearings in everything from boat trailers (even before bearing buddies) , to aircraft, never seen one heat up and liquefy high quality grease from over packing.

 

 

Do not agree.China made bearings Junk(along with most China made junk) Do not last.As far as dont repack bearings,real world not so.Space in bearing,that does not have grease,some how some way will get water.Real world advice.Having over 20 dirt bikes.Im not a expert,but having to keep all the bikes running is a pain.True pack to much grease,seal could pop out.If I remember right,The honda bearings are only sealed one side,so this would only happen on aftermarket bearings double sealed.BTR

 

 

Real world beats theory, particularly in Baja!

 

All are good arguments but consider these issues:

 

1. Wheel bearing selection by the bike manufacture for wheels have a very high margin for speed and load, they are grossly overdesigned so quality of replacement bearings should not be an issue.

 

2. Wheel bearing failure mode is dirt and water not load. So always use double sealed bearings.

 

3. Outboard OEM seals used by many bikes are not as effective in protecting a bearing as the bearing seals, so use double sealed bearings and use the outboard OEM seal as a shield.

 

4. Bearing mfg prefill sealed bearings with several optional lubes, bearing dealer can advise, or as suggested refill with waterproof grease. I don't like this because of the risk of damage to the seal.

 

5. Also overfilling a ball bearing can cause the balls to skid rather than roll which damages the bearing.  Lube viscosity and quantity is a problem for high speed bearings but probably not a big problem at the slow rotation speeds of our wheel bearing. (The rated speed for these small bearings is about 10 times  max wheel speed.)

 

6. Most bearing houses will carry multiple price points and quality for these sizes, they will also provide advice for the appropriate quality for the application. They can also advise the safest way to remove seals and suggested fill quantity.

Edited by chuck4788

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5. Also overfilling a ball bearing can cause the balls to skid rather than roll which damages the bearing.

 

If too much lube causes a ball to skid, wouldn't it be protected by a film of lube?

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When we went to double sealed bearings,We read all the hype on how much they where better.(problem they where from China from all balls)  All went bad in less then a year,also on some seals blown out.(We did not repack,when we put them in)Not  true about MC wheel bearing,overdesigned.Ask any KTM rider.Or tour guy.As little as 500 miles.On a new bike.BTR

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I have never seen a bearing go bad from to much grease . But I have seen them go bad from poor Quality grease .

I take the seal out and repack all new bearing . and I have not replaced one yet (on my own stuff ) after replacing   / repacking it .

 

I work as a mechanic for N.D.O.T and work on a lot on street sweepers witch have a water system to spray water to keep the dust down .We used to have a lot of drive shaft u-joint problems but have changed to a different grease, the failed u-joins have all but gone away.

 

http://www.alcometalube.com/about.htm   

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