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grease fitting for front wheel bearings? opinions please


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38 replies to this topic

#26 baccaruda

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 12:17 PM

your 2nd pic is pretty much right on, including the angle at which the arrow is pointed. You'd want do drill a small pilot hole all the way through and then enlarge and tap just enough meat for the zerk. The grease would squirt down the pilot hole... Now that I have Legacy knuckles on my wagon I'm probably not going to need to worry about this :P

#27 Milemaker13

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 12:36 PM

This thread is over three years old....:eek:

GD


Sorry if bringing up past items bothers anybody- I read thru alot of the threads and if I see one that pertains to me a little or whatever I try to ask some questions about it. I am still pretty new here (to internet posting in general) so if I'm steppin outta line- just smack me upside the head real quick- I'll take a hint. My car for now is just used as the snow car and work on saturdays car (we ride together during the week). I also tow my rowboat around with it. I want to keep it going for a while, it's the best car I've ever had! Maybe someday I can make it out west a little to have a little fun. I lived in Colorado Spgs & Manitou for a while a few years back. That was the best time I swear.

#28 bgd73

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 01:17 PM

your 2nd pic is pretty much right on, including the angle at which the arrow is pointed. You'd want do drill a small pilot hole all the way through and then enlarge and tap just enough meat for the zerk. The grease would squirt down the pilot hole... Now that I have Legacy knuckles on my wagon I'm probably not going to need to worry about this :P


I will try it out, the parts in photo are my spares (both sides from 2wd). I have drill press access, etc. Will take apart first and verify exact width of race and where it stops, to be sure I am getting it in there... I am really intrigued as the synthetic grease change for the better took two rather full attempts before it went miraculous- grease fitting would have been perfect (even after long term grease)
Anyone educated think this will not work? I would hate to ruin the newest spindles subaru ever made .The car with the parts photo'd was sold new (close to 0 miles) at end of DEC 1993 ...

#29 Frank B

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 02:05 PM

I had this thought the last time I replaced front wheel bearings. What made me think of it was remembering when I replaced the axle bearings in a Yamaha Banshee. They are known for burning up bearings like crazy, and I do mean burn up! I had to replace the axle, carrier, brake hub, as well as the bearings and seals. ANyway, the trick with Banshee bearings is as simple as drilling two holes, one with a zerk fitting. One is in the carrier for the zerk, the other is through the spacer so grease can get on the axle so it's easier to pull it out next time. I used a knock in fitting, no threads to cut and it's solid. I think both holes were 3/16" . What's interesting about this, is that the banshee bearings are close to the same size as the Subaru front wheel bearings and it's basically the same set up. Seal-bearing-spacer-bearing-seal. The guy went through bearings every couple of months in the dirt, and after a dozen runs when he started drag racing it. It's been two years after I did the job, and he hasn't heard a peep out of the bearings. He said he just gives it a few pumps every couple of runs. The only part that wasn't stock was the axle, only because he wanted a wider one. Valvoline durablend high temp grease.

It may be bettter to use a small length of pipe and a 90 degree fitting to bring the grease fitting out to where it can be accessed. Which would be 1/8" pipe which may be too big of a hole in the spindle??? I have seen some fitting on equipment that were designed for remote access. They used the small plastic line like you see on oil pressure gauges. maybe something like that would work??

Even if it was bad to load it up and push it past the seals, it would make it easy to grease the bearings upon installation for sure. Install bearings and spacer, pump it up untill all the aire is out, then install the seals and axle.

Whenever I grease up something. It seems like the old grease is thinner and pushes out easier than when the new grease starts out. So I can't see how it would hurt the seals unless you go crazy with an air gun.

#30 DaveT

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 10:59 PM

A few notes / thoughts:

I used a zerk on my utility trailer to fill the space the bearings run in. The expansion of the grease pushed the seals out. You need the air in there to act as a cushion.

I use synthetic in everything now.

Drilling the spindles - if you mean the CVJ shaft - will take special equipment. They are hardened steel, like bearing races, at least on the outer "layer" (case hardened).

#31 Frank B

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 11:28 PM

Good point on the expansion.

Another thought,
Even though too many of us are typical Subaru owners, by that I refer to the commom trait to re-engineer our vehicles, I think all this work can be avoided by just using sealed bearings and synthetic grease. Some members have posted about using bearings with one seal on them to act as a second barrier to keep the dirt and water out. That's probably the best idea.
Also, I think that the reason the front bearings wear out more than the rear is simply because of the heat generated by the brakes, and the load of the front wheels being the driven wheels under "normal" driving.

#32 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 03:26 AM

The bearings last so long, and are so cheap, that this is really acedemic. If they are properly installed, any problems are going to come from the SEALS, not the grease. pumping more grease in isn't going to help when your contamination comes largely from poor seals. Since the axle must be removed to install the inner seal, you may as well replace the seals, and pump grease in with a needle. And if you're not a complete cheap-skate, you should spend the $22 and replace the bearings too. It's not difficult - especially if you prep the bearings in the freezer the night before.

If you pump grease into the chamber with a zerk, it's not going to have any expansion room, and will push out of the seals when heated (remember how close we are to the brake rotors). The grease will pickup contaminates, and then as it cools will be sucked back into the bearings. Not to mention you could easily find yourself with greasy brake pads.

But more than anything, the effort isn't worth the return. It *sounds* like a good idea till you realize how easy it is to change the bearings, and how cheap they are.

GD

#33 bgd73

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 11:51 AM

I did have great results with synthetic, could take a repack once a year without engineering a fitting. Expansions are dramatic here, I should leave all the oem casting alone. Can risk it, most likely will work, but will not be. As I had posted about cracking a ujoint with grease on my dads rig... it went from cold maine to its warmer destinations,dramatic expansions and contractions (steel density- AGAIN) were no doubt at the root of it, as heavy weights weren't even hauled. my soob will have the same stress. It is a great idea though!:)

#34 NoahDL88

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 12:03 PM

i've been running sealed front wheel bearings for about a year now, on the front, and there great. i'd reccomend sealed bearings to anyone. 207S i believe is the part number

#35 jacobs

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 09:07 PM

Good point on the expansion.

Also, I think that the reason the front bearings wear out more than the rear is simply because of the heat generated by the brakes, and the load of the front wheels being the driven wheels under "normal" driving.


The rear has tapered roller bearings but the front has ball bearings. Due to the increased bearing surface area, tapered roller bearings will handle much greater loading and last much longer than ball bearings. If you want long lasting front wheel bearings, redesign the hubs for tapered roller bearings.

#36 Davalos

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 10:29 PM

It's not difficult - especially if you prep the bearings in the freezer the night before.


Is this an expansion/contraction thing? ...

#37 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 11:00 PM

Is this an expansion/contraction thing? ...


Yeah - freezing the bearings will cause them to contract ever so slightly. Helps getting them installed. Pack them first, then freeze them in a zip-lock. You can also heat up the hub with a propane torch (mapp gas works well), for further ease of install. This is common practice in the bearing industry with the assembly of new electric motors, ect. Just DO NOT dowse the thing in water to cool it. Allow it to air-cool.

GD

#38 Ross

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 04:08 PM

The bearings last so long, and are so cheap, that this is really acedemic. If they are properly installed, any problems are going to come from the SEALS, not the grease. pumping more grease in isn't going to help when your contamination comes largely from poor seals.

GD


Exactly, and i guarantee that if you fill up the whole housing with grease, your bearings will be very short lived indeed. 1/3 - 1/2 full is plenty, any more just heats the housing up. Do you fill your gearbox to the top with oil? Ah, no.

#39 pyromanic

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 05:04 PM

My dad used to do a lot of saltwater fishing with a 17ft boat. He was worried about salwater contamination of the trailer wheel bearing and came up with this:

(kind of like a "Bearing Buddy" tm) He would drill a hole in the the hub cap, you know, the little cuppy thingy, and install a zirk, then he install the rear seal backwards. after every fishing trip, he would pump grease into the hub untill all the old grease was squoze out through the reversed rear seal.

Later, after got old enough to wonder about things mechanical, I wondered what kept the grease from heating up, luquifying, and running out through through the "reversed" rear seal. Maybe that his boat trailer had no brakes the hubs never got hot enough for that to be a problem, don't know.

Guess it's not an option for us. Just thought I mention it though.

Pyro




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