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Replacing bearing grease on drill press

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Forum topic by FCon posted 07-06-2015 01:55 PM 1019 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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FCon

14 posts in 580 days


07-06-2015 01:55 PM

Hi All,

As some of you might know from an old thread I posted, I was having some trouble taking apart an old drill press to restore. Well, I finally have it painted and put back together, the hardest part was taking out the lock-ring to get the bearings out. I wanted to put some new grease on the spindle/quill, since I had to put some liquid wrench on the lock ring and I’m sure it washed out a little of the grease in there. It was a viscous brown grease in there originally, but nowadays all I see on Amazon are bearing grease mostly for wheel bearings, one being a tub of Timken red bearing grease, assuming more of a vaseline type consistency, and one being a stick of Royal Purple synthetic bearing grease.

Those are just two options I have, but I figured I’d ask, is there anything anyone prefers using? The bearings are shielded, but I don’t think they need to be packed with grease, since they still run fine, just mostly grease was on top of the shield and in the threads of the quill. Worst case I’d end up getting either the red or purple greases, but wanted to bring the thought up to the forum first and see what other people have used. Thanks.

Frank


11 replies so far

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bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1182 days


#1 posted 07-08-2015 12:46 PM

If I’m going to replace the grease in a bearing where I don’t know exactly what was previously in there, I make sure all of the old stuff is thoroughly washed out to remove all contaminants. Another reason to do so is the potential for incompatibility with some older grease and newer synthetic grease. I made a bearing flusher from a double cone bearing packer to be used with my parts washer. I also use a similar packer to repack bearings. This allows shielded bearings to be cleaned and repacked without removing the shields, sealed bearings will still need the seals removed. When repacking, it is important to not over pack the bearing as this could cause grease churning which leads to excessive heat, inefficiency, and premature bearing failure. Not to mention making a big mess as the excess grease is flung from the bearing. This is especially important when dealing with high speed bearings as over packing symptoms can be realized very quickly.

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FCon

14 posts in 580 days


#2 posted 07-08-2015 12:54 PM

Thanks bigblockyeti,

I’m not sure if the bearings actually were packed back then. I took them out easily once I got that lockring off, and they spin just fine on their own, but they have that kind of hollow sound, so they don’t sound like they’re packed with grease, just seemed more like the grease was for the threads between the quill and pinion. Still, I may just replace the bearings at some point so I know they’re clean, since I don’t have a huge shop and thus nothing to wash the bearings out.

Is there any easy solution that I can make and submerge the bearings to clean them out that way? If so, what is normally used to wash these out in the event that I want to just clean them and not buy new ones?

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bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1182 days


#3 posted 07-08-2015 01:07 PM

A tooth brush and mineral spirits can eradicate the vast majority of whatever was in there out. A blast of compressed air cycled in the brushing cycle can help dislodge stubborn or hard to get to grease. When your confident it’s clean, it’s best to do a final wash with brake parts cleaner so as to remove all residue that might be left by the mineral spirits. If your not planning on immediately repacking the bearing, it’s a good idea to hit it with a little WD-40 or the light oil of your choice to prevent rust. It’s also not a bad idea to again spray that off when you are ready to repack so you have no chance of lubrication incompatibility.

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FCon

14 posts in 580 days


#4 posted 07-08-2015 01:11 PM

Sounds good, I have to look around for some mineral spirits, but I’m still curious what type of bearing grease to use that’s readily available, or if the two options I found on Amazon would suffice.

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bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1182 days


#5 posted 07-08-2015 01:34 PM

Given the application, a good wheel bearing grease should serve you well.

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johnstoneb

2143 posts in 1635 days


#6 posted 07-08-2015 01:50 PM

You can’t repack sealed bearings. They are not designed to repack you destroy the seals and the seal cannot be replaced. It sounds like you want to apply grease to the quill and other moving parts any good all-purpose grease will work. If you have wheel bearing grease it will work well. If the bearings turn smoothly just put them back in and grease the quill parts. Bearings in a drill press should last forever they turn at relatively slow speed with very little load.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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FCon

14 posts in 580 days


#7 posted 07-08-2015 01:53 PM

Thanks John, my bearings are shielded anyway, so sealed bearings are irrelevant. I hear they increase friction, so they can only operate at lower RPM’s compared to shielded anyway, so I wouldn’t look to replace shielded ones with sealed.

So far, I’m not sure if the age of the grease is making it more waxy or if it’s just the consistency of the original grease, but it does kind of just stay put, so maybe more of a stick of grease rather than a vaseline consistency would be the way to go, if I’m trying to replace the grease as accurate as possible. I’ll check the other reviews on amazon to see what else people have used them for as well.

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MrUnix

4216 posts in 1661 days


#8 posted 07-08-2015 04:26 PM

Not having the ‘right’ stuff, as I don’t do it all that often, I just throw the bearings in a mason jar full of gasoline or mineral spirits overnight (seals removed if necessary [1]), agitating them (read: shaking the jar!) every now and then. I’ll also take them out a few times and give them a good spin and maybe a blast of compressed air to help break up the remaining wax/grease/dirt/gunk. Once I’m fairly certain they are good and clean, spin freely and without any weird noises or grinding (or noticeable damage to the balls or races), they get rinsed in a jar of clean alcohol for a bit, blown out with compressed air and then set out to dry completely before re-packing.

Of course, if I can get new replacement bearings and they aren’t super expensive, I’ll just replace them instead of re-packing, and the old bearings go into my ‘old bearing’ box if not too bad off. They work great for various shop made jigs and other non-critical applications.

To re-pack, I just use some regular wheel bearing grease that I have out in the garage. If they were high speed bearings (like on a shaper), I’d probably get some mfg. specific stuff. In most cases though, these machine are no where near their max speed rating, and the wheel bearing grease has worked just fine for me. And as mentioned, don’t overfill them… about 30% full is all you need. Sealed bearings do have a slower max speed rating than shielded, but for slower speed applications, it’s still way more than what the bearing will ever see, so I try to replace with sealed whenever possible. An 11K max vs 7K max rpm doesn’t matter much on a machine that will never see more than 3-5K rpm, and the seals do a much better job at keeping contaminants out.

As always, YMMV :)

Cheers,
Brad

[1] – You can re-pack sealed bearings. If you are careful, the seals can be removed without damage, and they snap back in pretty easily.

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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FCon

14 posts in 580 days


#9 posted 07-08-2015 04:57 PM

I’ve been doing a little searching today, and most people say shielded bearings should not be opened, and that grease should not get inside (much like dirt and debris shouldnt either). So, I’m wondering if this is a moot point and if the grease that’s in there is not for the bearings at all, and whatever grease is near the bearings, was there from the quill and pinion lubrication.

So, as far as shielded bearings go, should these even require grease?

For clarity, I believe my bearings are NSK 6002Z bearings, much like these:
http://www.monsterscooterparts.com/6002zz-6002z-bearings.html

They look exactly the same. May be a different Mfr, but I know mine are NSK, made in Japan.

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MrUnix

4216 posts in 1661 days


#10 posted 07-08-2015 05:30 PM

I’ve never been able to successfully remove the shields on shielded bearings without tearing them up. But you can still re-pack them with the shields in place, either by forcing the grease in by hand or other means such as using a vacuum method. You can remove the seals on a sealed bearing pretty easily, which makes them much easer to clean/inspect/re-pack.

However, if your bearings are standard 6002’s, I’d just replace them with some new ones rather than trying to re-pack the old ones… About the only ones I re-pack are those that are uncommon and can’t easily be sourced. You are only looking at a couple bucks a piece for new ones.

Cheers,
Brad

PS: Shielded or sealed, they all have grease and that grease will break-down and turn to wax over time.

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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FCon

14 posts in 580 days


#11 posted 07-08-2015 05:42 PM

Good point Brad, but these things still spin good as new surprisingly. They don’t make things the way they used to, I’ll say that, plus if I want to get NSK replacements they’re about 8-10 bucks per bearing. Not terrible, but I figured I’ll let these things go as long as possible first, since I didn’t wreck them taking them out, and they still spin good as new, no noise or anything.

If I am going to replace them though, no way am I getting some China knockoffs, I’d replace them with same-make bearings. Besides, I only spent $25 for the drill press, I may as well invest a little more into the moving parts.

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