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MochetVelo

Lubricating Vintage Ball Bearings

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The rear drive sprockets in my 1913 Metz have original Fafnir ball-bearings. They seem free and undamaged, but I see no grease fittings or lube points for them. They have steel side covers, but they don't look removable. Should I dribble oil on them and try to work it in?

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Phil

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Benefits of AACA Membership.

Re: Ball Bearings~~~

Phil: There are basically three style of bearings~~~

Open exposed

Shielded~~~ with two steel shields on them.

Sealed~~~ Having rubber seals on both sides.

Yours are shielded~~~ not sealed.

I have no idea if there is any lube oil in the area on your Metz car where these bearings are located.

Is this area of the sprocket drive filled with oil in the mounting housing cavity ?

If the only lube in this area of the car is inside the actual shielded bearings themselves I would soak them in solvent to remove all the old dried-up bearing grease ore oil and then try to force new light bearing grease in past the steel shields.

Dripping-in oil will just not work for very long !

Is there any sort of lube located anywhere near where these bearings were located ?

This would help us answer your question better !

Most modern ball bearings are in fact sealed, not shielded & lubed internally within the bearing itself for the life of the bearing whey you buy them !

This WAS NOT the case in the time period typical of your Metz~~~

Let us know more about the bearing housing mounting and we can better answer your question.

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)

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I see no grease fitting or lube holes for these bearings. I'm surprised they are as smooth as they are considering they probably got very little grease since 1913.

Phil

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In your second photo, there is what appears to be a slot across the face of the bright ring, just left of the word "Fafnir".

Is this a spanner-slot, with another one on the far side, or is this perhaps a spring retainer that could be pried-out and the blued shielding lifted to gain access to the bearing balls ?

If it were on my vehicle, I would want to get some lubricant in there, soaking in a bath of hot oil, if nothing else... Steam cylinder oil would probably be a good thick lube, if you can find a way to get it in there....

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Yes, there is a separation in the side cover. A friend commented that the side cover may me removable like a spring clip, so I might give that a try. The photo below shows what I thought was a similar type, but the snap ring actually mounts in a slot on the outer ring of the bearing to mount it.

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Edited by MochetVelo (see edit history)

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When I was young and had no money (still don't), I would grease throwout bearings and other shielded nongreasable bearings in the following manner. Melt a can of grease on a heater or camp stove being careful not to burn it up. Drop the bearing into the liquid and let it simmer for awhile so the grease runs in. Let the grease harden till next day and fish the bearing out. Clean up and install. Works good and I never had a problem.

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This sounds like a brilliant idea to me !

First let it soak in solvent to clean-out old dried-up grease~~~

Dry~~~

Then use his melted grease plan !

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Now I have been around a while, but the bearing in the liquid grease is a great idea. Never heard of that before.

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In a conversation I had with a NSK tech rep he described how certain bearings were packed with a very specific amount of grease and how over packing could lessen the life of the bearing.

If you Google various bearing companies, Phil, and speak by phone to thier tech reps there is a world of knowledge.

I needed to replace an old NRC bearing in the fan belt idler for my 56 Chrysler. No bearing distributer was able to help. A factory rep was able to cross check the old archives and find an exact replacement number for me. It took a full morning of phone calls but I got my unobtainum bearing.........Bob

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