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The Best Wheel Bearing Grease?


Guest bofusmosby

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Guest bofusmosby

I have finally located the front wheel bearings for my 37 Pontiac, and plan on replacing the inners and outers soon. On the grease, I have seen many different types today. Of course, there is the original grease that has always been around, but I have noticed that there is some grease that is green in color, as well as red. What is the best grease for use with the old type of ball-bearings? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different types? When I go to NAPA, what should I be looking for? I've still got a can of the old type of grease that must be about 40 years old, and I'm sure that there must have been improvements made over the years since that old grease was made.

Also, are there any special tools I need for this? I was thinking of the possibility of the races being stuck.

Thanks guys for your opinions!

Edited by bofusmosby (see edit history)
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I was told by an old school mechanic that the fiber type wheel bearing grease was better for ball bearing style wheel bearings for the reason stated by WEB 38. I did notice that the fiber type grease stays in the bearing. It is all that I have used on ball bearings. I have an old container of Ashland grease. The part number is BG-2 #644 I'm saving it for future use. I only have enough left to do one more car. I'm hoping some AACA members can suggest what modern lubricant will work best with ball bearings.

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Another Disscusion, View topic - 1935 Ford Y wheel bearing grease

I have used Lithium based grease myself with good results. Although, I must mention that I converted my 15 Buick front end to tapers roller bearings and modern seals. I do use lithium based greese in farm and construction equipment all the time.

I have always had good luck with Lubriplate Grease. http://www.superkleendirect.com/multi-purposegreases.aspx?gclid=cp3j5jlux7ucfqyg4aodhloaww Looks like # 1552 will work well for what you are doing. We have used # 1444 HD on constuction equipment with excellent results. It sticks so well that it does not wash out of your cloths. Wear an old rag of a shirt, shop coat, or overalls when working with it. Dandy Dave!

Edited by Dandy Dave (see edit history)
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Guest bofusmosby

Hmmm, now I am a bit concerned by what I have read about using the new grease with the original type of felt seals. I have a pair of NOS seals I have obtained a few years ago, and now wondering if these old type of felt seals will keep the new type of grease in place. Since I still have plenty of the old fiberous grease left, and I plan on using the old type of felt seals, I am now thinking that maybe I should use the old grease that was originally used with the felt seals. Opinions?

Also, are there special tools needed for removing the races if they are stuck?

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Don't know if its the best, merely adequate or woefully inadequate, but I've been using short fiber wheel bearing grease on my wheel bearings which is what the original manual calls for. My car uses Timken roller bearings which might make a difference. Looks like the stuff I bought a while back is still available: SL3131 -- Heavy Duty Drum Brake Wheel Bearing Grease, 14 Wt Oz

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Seems like I remember our service station mechanic, back in the 1960s, show me some bearings with "the old grease" in them and how it looked good at first (in the bearings he'd removed) until you discovered there was a "shell" of grease (which was visible), but inside of that shell, there was no lubrication, which led to bearing wear and other issues. That was with the fibre grease. As if centrifugal motion had slung the grease "out" and it never reflowed back into the bearing surfaces. I never did see the "modern" grease do that on any wheel bearings.

In choosing wheel bearing lubes, the later OEM "universal" (same thing you lube the chassis with) was what most everybody used. We never had any unusual wear issues doing things that way. When I started running around with a new bunch of car guys, they got me interested in using Ford-spec disc brake wheel bearing grease . . . which has "moly" in it. As it was for disc brakes (and their higher heat generation possibilities), I saw that as "heavier-duty" than the normal stuff (without "moly") that people normally used. So I started using that for my wheel bearings. Later, I found some Valvoline Synthetic (Ford-spec) grease that I started using.

It always seemed strange (to me) that GM's factory wheel bearing/chassis lube never (seemingly) was upgraded from what it was in the earlier 1970s. AND that some of the lighter (liquid) parts would "come to the surface" during extended storage times.

Regarding the felt seals, I think that if you have the "matched set" of vintage grease and seals, then that should be fine. But for the sake of additional longevity between bearing packs, you might research to see if there might be some modern lip seal that could be used and then upgrade to a more modern wheel bearing lube at that time.

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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Guest bofusmosby

Thank you guys for your insight. Bel;ieve me, I'm taking it all in. After reading the various posts, I guess my biggest concern right now would have to be if the old style felt seals would hold in the newer types of grease. I am under the impression that the newer types of grease should be far better than the old stuff, but with a car like mine, if the grease were to start leaking and cause the brakes to fail, then that would be the worse-case concern I would have. If the car were to have bearing wear in say 10,000 mile, well, that amount might never be reached in my lifetime. I don't drive my daily driver but about 5-6,000 miles a year, and I know that my old Pontiac will be driven considerably less than that.

To touch on my other question, are there any special tools needed for removing the races from the spindle or the wheel assembly? I've done this job before with my daily drivers over the years, but never an old one like this.

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Regarding the comment by NTX5467 about replacing the felt seals with modern lip seals. I have done this on all of my cars and strongly recommend it but don't be put off if you cannot find an exact fit, often you will only be able to find a modern lip seal that matches the inside diameter and the outside diameter will be too small. In this case you simply machine a ring to bring the seal out to the diameter of the housing, Its worth the effort.

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