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7.21.1 - Wheel Bearing Packing ( Al Diamant,  December 15, 2001 )

Both front and rear bearings should be cleaned and regreased at 100,000 miles at least, however itís worth doing more often.

A dangerous practice is to clean the old bearings in gasoline. It does work well, but I have seen too many accidental explosions. The bearing should have two baths. AVOID THE TENDANCY TO MAKE THE BEARING SOUND LIKE A SIREN BY SPINNING IT WITH HIGH PRESSURE AIR. The bearing is dry and will score the surfaced if spun rapidly without lube. Just blow it dry without theatrics.

Clean the hub, getting rid of all excess grease. Make sure the races are clean and not scored. Use high quality grease designed for wheel bearings. It almost appears to be fibrous. Put a heavy coating of grease only on the races. DO NOT PACK THE HUB WITH GREASE. This excess grease cannot get to the bearings and only serves to ooze out of the seal. Always replace the seals with new ones.

One of the best bearing packer is a heavy duty hypodermic needle connected to a hand grease gun. There are commercial needles sold that do the job.

Insert the needle from the side of the roller, in between two rollers, filling the void with grease. Do this for every set of rollers. Keep track of where you started by inserting a toothpick between rollers at the starting point. With your hands, coat the surfaces of the bearings with a healthy amount of grease. Insert in the races, insert new seal. Its a thankless job, but someone has to do it. Do it yourself as most garages use a one shot pneumatic packer, and don't even clean the old bearing beyond wiping the surface.


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