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Repacking Bearings (front of engine)


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#1 subeman90

subeman90

    Soobologist

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 12:07 PM

Written by grossgary: If you have any questions please direct them to him.



The bearings for most of the pulleys on older engines become void of grease, noisey and free wheeling over time. A new or freshly packed bearing will feel "tight" and not spin freely at all. Very few pulleys that I enounter on older subaru's are worthy of reinstallation. It is a good idea to look at a new pulley at the parts store next time you're there if you're not sure what a brand new bearing feels like. It's easy to assume free wheelin bearings are the norm on are older cars if you've never felt a new one before.

It is possible to source new bearings and have a shop install them. It will require a machine shop press to install them unless you are patient and have the tools to do it yourself. I destroyed one pulley in an attempt to do that and don't plan on trying that again. When I sourced new bearings about 5 years ago, the cost of the parts and having a machine shop install them was not good enough for me to jump on board the idea. In some areas maybe this is a better alternative. Now I live in a rural area, don't feel like sourcing the parts and machine shop time is expensive. And of course I'd rather do it myself, it's always more fun that way.

Tools Needed:

Finish nail or other thin/adequate device.

Grease gun

Needle Attachment for grease gun.

While this is a really simple job, I would recommend having an extra set of pulley bearings already packed and ready to install to make your timing belt job quick and painless. You'll never know if you have any bad pulleys until you have it apart. And while it's not likely one is bad you also don't want to be in a rush while packing the pulleys as doing it incorrectly or in haste will destroy your new timing belt in short order. Overall this is a simple job, I've done it to a number of XT6's and extra pulleys. It only takes a couple minutes and some patience.

I highly suggest trying this on a spare or junk pulley, not one you need. The job isn't difficult, but better to practice than rely on getting it right the first time you do it for the car you need.

The bearings have a thin metal cover over them to retain the grease and protect them from water and dirt. The idea is to pry back this cover as little as possible in order to insert a grease gun needle into the bearings. As in the first picture, gently wedge a nail (or equivalent) into the inside of the bearing cover. Use as little force as possible to gently lift up the cover. It is better to keep missing it because you're not deep enough or pushing hard enough until you get it just right than to overshoot your mark and damage the cover. The needle is very small and wedged shape itself, so you won't need much room to work with to get it in there. Do not pry up excessively, the bearing cover can and will come up with excessive force (more on this later).

Have your grease gun packed with high quality grease for this application and a grease gun needle as pictured in the second picture. Insert the tip of the gun under the cover at an angle as shown. You won't go deep as the bearings are in the way, but you can go under the cover further. AFter inserting the needle, keep it flat against the pulley and use your finger to press tightly against the needle entry area to prevent grease from coming back out as you pump the grease gun. I think *roughly* 2 good pumps in with my grease gun set up works well. Pump the gun once, then take the needle out and rotate the bearing around. Attach it to a drill or just spin it by hand is fine as well to spread the grease around the bearings. Then insert the needle and repeat the procedure again. I would use as little grease as possible to tighten up the pulleys and make them feel smooth, one pump will probably do, though i've used more in mine. Again, keep adding little bits at a time until it feels good and smooth.

This is important - Don't pump too much grease in. As mentioned before the cover can come off and continued over pumping of the gun can and will push the cover off the bearing as well. Also if you put excessive grease in, it will start to come out of the pulley after the car is in use for awhile, the high RPM's and forces will heat the grease and push it out. That's not necessarily bad except that the grease could get on the timing belt and it just gets messy and looks funny. You will hear "popping" noises as the air bubbles are pushed out and moved around, that is normal. You may also see nasty brown grease come out around the edges or backside of the cover, this is the old grease/water/dirt coming out. Usually not much comes out, but I have had a couple do that and that's good to get that out but they are all that bad.

After installing the pulleys you could check them after a couple drives or a week and see if there is any grease that needs to be wiped off from being pushed out after the engine is ran and heated up to operating temperatures a few times. Some will creep out the edges (like where you inserted the needle, if you packed alot in there). This shouldn't be an issue if you pack lightly, I overpacked the first time I did it since I was experimenting. If you'd like, leave the left and right covers off since they are very easy to see how they look. Unfortunately those two covers don't really give you good access to all the pulleys.
Attached Thumbnailshttp://www.ultimates...2&stc=1&thumb=1 http://www.ultimates...3&stc=1&thumb=1

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