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Old 10-20-2010, 06:55 AM   #1
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Default Cleaning and Reusing Bearings

Before you jump on me, I've always been a fan of avid bearings and for only $1 I've consumed a ton of them over the years.

I now have a huge pile of slightly "gritty" bearings with decent seals that are in overall good condition, they just don't roll perfectly smooth. The ones that are completely toast I've tosses out.

I recently saw a bearing cleaning tool/hand pump thingee made by RPM and I'm wondering if that thing works? And if so, what cleaning agent to use? And after the grit is flushed out, what lubricant should be used? Or is there a better method entirely for flushing out grit from used bearings and making them almost new again?

I'll still buy new bearings by the fist full but if kills me to see all those half used ones filling up the coffee can.
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:12 AM   #2
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Ultrasonic cleaner. Add dish soap, hot water and run it for 30-45 min.
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:19 AM   #3
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Ultrasonic cleaner. Add dish soap, hot water and run it for 30-45 min.
+1 only we use Kerosene (And no it won't catch fire unless you are careless)
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:24 AM   #4
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The best bearing cleaner was back when motor spray contained methylene chloride. Penny's were tight and we would even capture the solvent that came out in a container, strain thru paper towels and reuse it by shaking the bearing and a small amount of solvent in a small plastic bottle. Take the bearings out and spin on the end of a pencil, repeat as needed. Had to. The cheapest bearings we could find were $4 to $8 each.

The more modern enviro friendly motor sprays still do a good job but unless I am out of a specific bearing I seldom clean them anymore.

Ultrasonic cleaners work good. I like to do a quick soak in alcohol after rinsing to make sure all the water is out.

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Old 10-20-2010, 07:48 AM   #5
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+1 only we use Kerosene (And no it won't catch fire unless you are careless)
I'd suggest not using Kero if your ultrasonic is heated. Mine will get water to 165*, which is above the vapor point of Kero.
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:49 AM   #6
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any links or specific brand names of ultrasonic cleaners you guys are using? It might be worthwhile to invest in one as a group at my local track....everybody pitches in X amount, bring your used/gritty bearings trackside and clean them in batches while racing...
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:53 AM   #7
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LOL. I'm an old dog and had to just retrain myself to throw them out after years of cleaning bearings because they were expensive. Add up the cost of a machine to clean them with, solvents, bearing oil, and the opportunity cost from the time you spend cleaning and you'll see it's better to throw them away! I keep a couple sets of emergency bearings around that have been used but are in good shape. I just clean them with electric motor spray and re-oil with bearing oil. They'll get me through a tight spot if I ever need them.
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Old 10-20-2010, 10:03 AM   #8
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Sonic Turbo Wash Bearing Cleaner
$13.00

Made specifically for bearings. I have been using the same for RC cars and Hockey skates for 2 years, yes its dirty but still cleans well.
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Old 10-20-2010, 12:01 PM   #9
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Can someone explain how this works? And do you have to remove the shields?

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Old 10-20-2010, 12:14 PM   #10
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Can someone explain how this works? And do you have to remove the shields?

There should be a chemical in there, take the seal off the bearing and toss them in there. place the plastic sleeve into the container and shake or twist. All of the dirt goes to the bottom. I let sit for a min. Take the bearings out, blow them off and regrease/oil
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