John, I know others will disagree with me on this but that is OK. Every one has a right to their opinion. I have worked in garages and have been cleaning and repacking my own wheel bearings for over forty years. I have tried many solvents, kerosene, diesel fuel and others. What works the best for me that I keep going back to is gasoline. A small amount in a coffee can goes a long way. Clean one set of bearings at a time and do not mix them between wheels. This is important because each bearing is honed in to it's own race. A brush like a stiff bristled paint brush will reach in and dig out crusted grease. Good Idea to soak the bearings for awhile, 10 minutes or so. Spin the bearings in the solvent to flush them clean. You may have to change the gas a couple of times until there is no more discolorization. Once clean, wash the bearings in very warm water and dish detergent. This will remove any traces of the gasoline. Once rinsed, blow them out with an air hose or simply let them dry in the sun. Once dry, force high temperature wheel bearing grease into the bearing with a packer, or as I do it, the palm of my hand. Caution - when you remove the rear bearing, the seal will come out with it. Simply take a clean cloth and wipe the seal clean and re use. DO NOT put the seal in the gas, there is a very good possibility the gas will destroy the seal. Good Luck,, Bob
I agree with Bob on the gas being a great cleaner but, it can be very dangerous because of the flame point. It also should not come in contact with bare skin but you can wear rubber gloves. Hands should also be protected from the greese and like Bob I like the palm of the hand method but through the years I became alergic to of all things GREESE. The Dr said my body had absorbed all it could stand and was reacting to it. Most of the cleaners will do a pretty good job, just takes a little more time cleaning. Bob, guess my money was pretty good, I spent it all :laugh:
John There are a lot of wives tales out there about using various solvents. Standard paint thinner makes an acceptable cleaner and is safer than gas. Just make sure to blow all the solvent out of the bearing before repacking the bearing. As for the wives tales, if you are concerned about the film that solvent can leave behind use a little brake clean as a final rinse.