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Old 12-28-2008, 07:14 AM   #52
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Aug 2003
Oddometer: 457
Originally Posted by bmwktmbill
This whole grease and bearing thing, Hmmmmmmmmmmm.
Has anyone seen evidence of liquified grease pushed out of seals on a wheel bearing cause I haven't and I have been riding since 1963. I guess I raced for 20 years, enduros, motoX, trail riding and RTW traveling.
Maybe in other types of machinery but not in mc wheels in my experience.

I have seen plenty of dirt and water in dirt bike wheel bearings, some failed bearings and rusted bearings.

As for steering head bearings, after you run them for a while without regreasing them they will start to feel notchy!!

Don't panic if they are quality bearings, jack up the front wheel, disassemble just enough to wipe the old grease out of the bottom bearing with toilet paper, remove the top bearing and wipe it out, regrease everything and reassemble.
No need for a complete teardown, do not use solvents to clean out the old grease. Wipe out the old.

I bet you $100 the notchy feeling is gone.
My old BMW R80ST has 150k on the steering head bearings and the same or more on the wheel bearings(front only on the Beemer cause it has shaft drive).

I grease to about 90% capacity.

Your newly lubed steering head bearing is floating on a film of grease, but the notchy-ness you felt before lube is damage to the race. Some will be happy (like me) with thoroughly greased but damaged steering head bearings. Some will not. Put another way: Some will call it fixed when the bearings are lubed and smooth, some will call it fixed when the damaged bearing is replaced.

I re-grease my bearings too. I agree with the sentiment in this thread that contamination likely kills most bearings. If you can get the contamination out and new lube in before failure you can extend the life of the bearing. Of course this can only happen as preventative maintenance on high speed full rotation bearings since the ways to detect a problem also indicate failure.
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