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Old 05-22-2019, 07:24 AM   #1
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Cleaning Bearings

What do folks use to clean the old grease out of bearings before repacking?

On a side note... Going through my brothers Jayco which has E-Z lubes, what a mess cleaning out all the grease folks pump into these things.
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:14 AM   #2
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What do folks use to clean the old grease out of bearings before repacking?

On a side note... Going through my brothers Jayco which has E-Z lubes, what a mess cleaning out all the grease folks pump into these things.
Gas or kerosene, outside of course. Get rid of it by adding to drain oil (still change my own oil) a bit at a time. Dry with compressed air, DO NOT SPIN THE BEARING.
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:18 AM   #3
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Brake cleaner works well also.
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:24 AM   #4
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Brake cleaner works well also.
Absolutely, but Iím cheap, I mean frugal 😎
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:46 AM   #5
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On the E-Z lubes, I thought you just keep pumping in new grease at the zerk fitting until the new grease displaces the old. Keep going until you see fresh coming out of the bearings.

How come you want to clean the bearings? Do you have a different method of re-packing?

Thanks
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Old 05-22-2019, 09:10 AM   #6
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Even with the E-Z lubes Dexter says you should inspect the bearings yearly or every 12k, which ever comes first. Talked to the RV repair shop about it yesterday, along with checking the bearings he tells me the seals need periodic replacing anyway, which folks don't do if they only use the Zerk fitting. Add old seals with the pressure of the Zerk fitting and you have blown seals.


FWIW, I do mine every 2 years. I've not cleaned out all the grease in the bearings in the past, just get them as clean as I can, check and repack. Doing my brothers, he has them full of grey grease, if that's what you call the color. All I have is red so I;ve got to clean out the old.
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:02 PM   #7
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On the E-Z lubes, I thought you just keep pumping in new grease at the zerk fitting until the new grease displaces the old. Keep going until you see fresh coming out of the bearings.
That's what you do every time you back your travel trailer down the boat launch ramp and immerse the bearings, to flush out the water-contaminated grease. You do realize that's the purpose of E-Z Lube, right.

The grease-flushing does nothing for inspecting the bearings.

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How come you want to clean the bearings?
To inspect them properly. I don't see any need to do this as frequently as annually, but a couple of times a decade is probably good.

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Do you have a different method of re-packing?
There is only one proper method of repacking (as opposed to grease-flushing).
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:05 PM   #8
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I've not cleaned out all the grease in the bearings in the past, just get them as clean as I can, check and repack. Doing my brothers, he has them full of grey grease, if that's what you call the color. All I have is red so I;ve got to clean out the old.
That makes sense to me. I agree that there is no need to completely de-grease them, as long as the condition can be clearly seen and there is no dirt left, except in this case of changing grease type. Even then, as long as it is compatible (which you may be unsure of in this case) just wipe, inspect, and re-pack is appropriate.

Since I've never changed grease type, I've never done this full de-greasing, so sorry... no useful suggestions.
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Old 05-22-2019, 09:02 PM   #9
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It's done. Used gas, which works but kind of slowly. Would be okay if I let them soak overnight, which I didn't. They sat in the gas for maybe 30 minutes then blasted with brake cleaner. Thanks for the help.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:39 PM   #10
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For years I have used a soup can from like Progresso soup. Put about an inch of gasoline in the can and drop the bearing in. Use a pencil or a stick to put in the middle of the bearing and swirl it around the edge of the can. The old grease will flush out pretty quickly. Then inspect and dry off with a shop towel or a rag or whatever. Set in the sun for a few minutes to let the last of the gas evaporate. Do not use an air compressor to spin the bearing. Once clean check for play, pitting, deep scratches. If the bearing is discolored ( Blue ish) it’s been hot. If any of these conditions are present, buy a new bearing. That’s what I have done for 50 years and never had a bearing failure so I’m not changing now.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:55 PM   #11
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That works for me. Only time I did my bearings myself, I filled a gallon bucket with gas, that I had to dispose of after the job.
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Old 05-22-2019, 11:35 PM   #12
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Timely post, that's my agenda for tomorrow before I head off on a trip.

What's with a number of you using gas to clean bearings, , are you too cheap to buy some good old solvent?

I've used solvent since I was a teenager and never had a problem getting the old grease out. But I have to confess, I was told as a teenager not to spin the bearing with compressed air. And every time I've cleaned bearings since.......... it's kind of like an addiction, love that revving up sound.

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Old 05-23-2019, 01:54 AM   #13
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Timely post, that's my agenda for tomorrow before I head off on a trip.

What's with a number of you using gas to clean bearings, , are you too cheap to buy some good old solvent?

I've used solvent since I was a teenager and never had a problem getting the old grease out. But I have to confess, I was told as a teenager not to spin the bearing with compressed air. And every time I've cleaned bearings since.......... it's kind of like an addiction, love that revving up sound.

Ron
I also do my bearings and seals . I use solvent or brake clean . Gas is pricey here . Pat
PS Ron I don't spin the bearings
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:40 AM   #14
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I agree Ron nothing better than hearing the bearring motor rev up several times
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:35 AM   #15
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I agree Ron nothing better than hearing the bearring motor rev up several times
☹️ Right, several times faster than it was ever designed to go 💣
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Old 05-24-2019, 08:12 AM   #16
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Had 2 blown rear seals out of 4 which may or may not have been the result of my brother using the E-Z Lube feature.

This is the worse of the 2.
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File Type: jpg Bearing.jpg (199.7 KB, 48 views)
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Old 05-24-2019, 09:50 AM   #17
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I never use gasoline for bearings or CV joints, just a good solvent (like Varsol or even K1) in a plastic coffee can. I also only use a synthetic grease anymore, my normal is Valvoline or Castrol. Never an issue.
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Old 05-24-2019, 01:11 PM   #18
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Wondering why the E-Z lube feature would cause a bearing seal failure?
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Old 05-24-2019, 02:02 PM   #19
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Too much grease, pushes the seal out. Grease leaks out and dirt comes in. Bearings get hot, dirt acts as grinding media. failure results.
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Old 05-24-2019, 02:15 PM   #20
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Too much grease, pushes the seal out. Grease leaks out and dirt comes in. Bearings get hot, dirt acts as grinding media. failure results.
Iowa Dave
During our orientation last month they showed me where to add grease to the hubs and said it would take perhaps three pumps, be careful not to overdo it. At least on the current hubs there's a little washer-like plate and they said you can see that start to move outward when you add grease, as soon as it starts to move, stop. I'm sure it's easy to overdo - you definitely don't want to keep squirting until you see grease gushing out.
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