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How Long To Soak Bearings?

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How long does one need to soak bearings in Perfect Solution? I flushed all bearings last year, and was wondering how long bearings need to soak? Thanks.

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I don't really soak them but submerge them and swirl them around with a small screwdriver. I think creating movement works the best to flush them. I also use zippo fluid the flush bearings.

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It depends on how gummed up they are. Normally I let them soak in full strength for 5 min or so add hot water and agitate for a couple minutes, rinse with hot water, dip in alcohol and lay out to dry.

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Mike, do you use an ultrasonic cleaner to soak the bearings? or do you just "swirl" them around in a cup?

 

Thanks for the help.

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DVT, I would never put any water on rustable bearings. I don't see the need for using water since it does not wash away grease and oils. I can see where heating a bearing would soften the grease, but water??? This is the first time I have ever heard such a thing and I have been repairing reels for nearly 35 years and have never used water on bearings and I won't either.

 

I agree with hatrix above to soak them in a solvent and swish them around some to dissolve and flush out the grease, and I also use compressed air too and other.

 

Water can cause those bearings to rust in between the time you soak them to the time they dry and I simply will never let that happen. I would not recommend using water on any bearing that is known to rust.

 

And if I were to use alcohol it would be denatured alcohol, not isopropyl which leaves behind a residue after the alcohol evaporates. I use different solvents to break down the grease.

 

This is one time we will have to agree to disagree.

 

And for how long to soak a bearing will be dependent upon the strength of the solvent used and the type of grease and thickness of it. I keep several small glass jars on the work bench at all times with different solvents just for this purpose. Sometimes 5 minutes will work, and sometimes longer. I have left bearings soaking in solvent overnight. Take them out, blow spin them out with compressed air or other from aerosol solvent to really get at the grease inside, and if need be after that back in the solvent for another period of time and repeat the process until the bearing tells me it will spin freely on its own as I expect. And if not, I keep working on it until it does, and if it never comes around it gets replaced.

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DVT, I would never put any water on rustable bearings. I don't see the need for using water since it does not wash away grease and oils. I can see where heating a bearing would soften the grease, but water??? This is the first time I have ever heard such a thing and I have been repairing reels for nearly 35 years and have never used water on bearings and I won't either.

I agree with hatrix above to soak them in a solvent and swish them around some to dissolve and flush out the grease, and I also use compressed air too and other.

Water can cause those bearings to rust in between the time you soak them to the time they dry and I simply will never let that happen. I would not recommend using water on any bearing that is known to rust.

And if I were to use alcohol it would be denatured alcohol, not isopropyl which leaves behind a residue after the alcohol evaporates. I use different solvents to break down the grease.

This is one time we will have to agree to disagree.

And for how long to soak a bearing will be dependent upon the strength of the solvent used and the type of grease and thickness of it. I keep several small glass jars on the work bench at all times with different solvents just for this purpose. Sometimes 5 minutes will work, and sometimes longer. I have left bearings soaking in solvent overnight. Take them out, blow spin them out with compressed air or other from aerosol solvent to really get at the grease inside, and if need be after that back in the solvent for another period of time and repeat the process until the bearing tells me it will spin freely on its own as I expect. And if not, I keep working on it until it does, and if it never comes around it gets replaced.

I agree with this. I use acetone and my air compressor. Soak them and blow them out with air from both sides and keep repeating until nothing is getting blown out. I used to just soak and spin them a few times until I decided to pry a shield off one to see if any grease was left. I couldn't believe how much gunk was still inside the bearing. The compressed air really helps break up the grease in between soakings.

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Be careful using strong solvents like acetone as well. Some bearings have polymer cages, which will melt. I spin mine for about 20 seconds in brake cleaner using my dremel. It removes everything at the high speed and gets it done quickly.

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Be careful using strong solvents like acetone as well. Some bearings have polymer cages, which will melt. I spin mine for about 20 seconds in brake cleaner using my dremel. It removes everything at the high speed and gets it done quickly.

Thanks, that's good to know. Any idea which stock bearings have polymer cages? I haven't had an issue so far using acetone, but now you have me wondering.

Do you use non-chlorinated brake cleaner? Regular brake cleaner is known to destroy polymers also.

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I don't like using acetone either since it can strip off all oils leaving metal unprotected from oxidation. I start with a milder solvent like paint thinner which is just a petroleum solvent and is kind of oily which is not a bad thing for bearings never leaving the metal unprotected with an oily film as it dissolves grease. If I need a stronger solvent I go to bestine.

 

Using compressed air spins bearings out at such a high speed you can hear the bearing whine as it spins out dissolved grease. Any high speed spin out will work such as your dremel tool too- so long as the shields are removed, otherwise centrifugal force will spin gooey grease to the outside of the inside of the bearing and be held in there by the shields. I think compressed air does a better job forcing out grease by forcing air into the inside of the bearing forcing the dissolving grease to come out by the pressure of air going in- if that makes any sense.

 

I have never tried brake cleaner but will look it up to see what it is made of.

 

And if I find that I have any bearings in a reel with a plastic cage inside, I replace it immediately with a bearing that has an all metal cage inside.

 

I just recently bought a used reel off ebay that had a spool spinning problem and I found the spool bearings had plastic cages that had deteriorated and crumbled into pieces inside the bearings and was not visible to the eye because the shields hid the problem. All the cleaning and oils in the world can not help a bearing when the plastic cage is destroyed.

 

So from experience, I just avoid any bearings with plastic cages and replace any and all of them with metal cage bearings and never look back- never have to look back either since those metal cages do not deteriorate or break apart like the plastic cage bearings do.

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Thanks, that's good to know. Any idea which stock bearings have polymer cages? I haven't had an issue so far using acetone, but now you have me wondering.

Do you use non-chlorinated brake cleaner? Regular brake cleaner is known to destroy polymers also.

 

Try using regular old paint thinner. Cheap, oily, and effective and you can let (metal cage) bearings soak forever in that stuff without harm. Since I don't use plastic cage bearings I can not say if paint thinner would cause harm to the plastic cage or not.

 

The only way to tell if your bearings have plastic cages is to remove a shield and look inside.

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This is common practice among reel techs but to each their own. There's more than one way to skin a cat. The degreaser / hot water mixture emulsifies the grease and the denatured alcohol removes any moisture residue. Btw isopropyl will work as well and is sold as Dry Gas. The OP asked specifically about using Perfect Solution as bearing cleaner. Spinning a dry bearing at high speed is debatable as well. I don't see the need in my experience, but again to each his own.

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I also use Hot water after soaking my bearings in Simple Solution. Just before it boils hot water, and swish them around in a Stainless steel tea bag holder. Then blow them out with compressed air, and spin test. If they are sluggish I then use brake cleaner, but don't always need to. Only do it to a bearing with at least one shield off. Haven't had one fail yet, using hot water.

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Be careful using strong solvents like acetone as well. Some bearings have polymer cages, which will melt. I spin mine for about 20 seconds in brake cleaner using my dremel. It removes everything at the high speed and gets it done quickly.

 

I just checked the MSDS on 3 different brake cleaners and they are a chemical cocktail of acetone, toluene, methanol, carbon dioxide, and heptane:

 

Auto Zone brake cleaner:

 

http://econtent.autozone.com:24999/znetcs/msds/en/US/315522

 

Brakleen:

 

http://econtent.autozone.com:24999/znetcs/msds/en/US/348170

 

Brakeen non-chlorinated:

 

http://econtent.autozone.com:24999/znetcs/msds/en/US/219615

 

I just checked on paint thinner and they are not all the same. Some have chemical combinations not much different than brake cleaner:

 

GC paint thinner contains 40-50% toluene and Naptha:

 

http://www.gcelectronics.com/order/msds/226.pdf

 

Barr brand Paint thinner I use is all petroleum based with mineral spirits:

 

http://www.wsc.edu/facility_services/msds/paint_thinner.pdf

 

 
"mineral spirits is a volatile, colorless liquid distilled from petroleum, used as a paint thinner and solvent."
 
 
So my preference of solvents is really mineral spirits sold as paint thinner, but I can see now from the MSDS info I gotta be careful to make sure what I am getting is really mineral spirits based and not all those other solvents.
 

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I use aerosol starting fluid - aka ether - to soak clean bearings.  Very fast.

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How do you guys remove pressed in shields without damaging the bearing? I always hear people talk about removing shields on sealed bearings but I've never figured out how to get a pressed in shield off without ruining the cage.

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You don't. If there is a C clip the shied is remove able but they can be a pain. Bearings are perfectly servicable with shields in place.

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Be careful using strong solvents like acetone as well. Some bearings have polymer cages, which will melt. I spin mine for about 20 seconds in brake cleaner using my dremel. It removes everything at the high speed and gets it done quickly.

 What kind of mandrel do you use?  I haven't been able to find any that fit different bearings.

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You can use rubber tubing and shape it with a knife to size.

 

I have also used drill bits with electrical tape to fill the gap.

Thanks, great idea about using tape on a drill bit!

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If you use this method, a 3mm nylon bolt & nut are what I'd use. There are safety concerns as well. The chance of solvent being splattered into eyes and mist being inhaled discourages me from this practice. It's just not necessary or worth the hoops to jump through imo. Just be safe what ever route you take.

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You don't. If there is a C clip the shied is remove able but they can be a pain. Bearings are perfectly servicable with shields in place.

That was my conclusion a long time ago, but I still hear people talk about removing shields but never how they removed them. The retaining clip shields and the orange seals I can understand, but the pressed in one's like shimanos I don't see how you can get them off without ruining the bearing.

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What kind of mandrel do you use? I haven't been able to find any that fit different bearings.

I got a set of cutting wheels from lowes. I unscrew the sanding disks and screw the bearing on the mandrel. For bearings with a larger I.D, I put a washer on either side to clamp it together.

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I use brake cleaner since I always have multiple cans in the garage. A few seconds and it'll remove any oil or grease. I do a quick spin on the end of a pencil and then a few minutes later add my 1 small drop of oil.

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Just so you know bearing fit perfectly balanced on the reel pieces it is meant for. It's amazing how amazing a spool bearing fits on a spool shaft so you can spin it out. Same goes for the shaft bearing ect. The perfect tool is so obvious that's it is overlooked.

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Just so you know bearing fit perfectly balanced on the reel pieces it is meant for. It's amazing how amazing a spool bearing fits on a spool shaft so you can spin it out. Same goes for the shaft bearing ect. The perfect tool is so obvious that's it is overlooked.

 

To me the spool is not the perfect tool to spin unwanted dissolved grease out of a bearing. The last place I would want any of that grease is on the spool, but that is just my opinion as anyone can use any method they choose to get the job done, but for me I put the spool at the back of the workbench and it is one of the last pieces I work on before finishing a reel overhaul.

 

Since I use compressed air to carefully blow out grease and let the air spin the bearing at high speed, the air is forced in one side of the bearing and exits out the other side taking with it the unwanted grease. Now if I had that same bearing on a spool, I would be blowing the unwanted grease directly onto and into the spool where I don't want it.

 

I won't spin any bearings anywhere near the workbench. I usually walk outside and do it out there where the spun out grease will cause no harm to what I am working on inside.

 

I often use a variety of tools to spin bearings on from dental picks, to screwdrivers, to needle nose pliers which can fit a wide variety of bearing sizes, especially crank shaft bearings which are often 8mm and 9mm internal diameter.

 

Some of my small jeweler type of screwdrivers actually use the same basic sizes in diameter as many reel bearings, especially the 3mm and 5mm internal diameter sizes perfectly fit on some of those screwdrivers.

 

And like DVT says, be careful when doing this so as to not get any in your eyes. Wear safety glasses.

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I hope you're not suggesting spinning the spool with a Dremmel tool. You may get away with it a few times but eventually you will bend a shaft and/or ding the spool. Just take my word for it. ;)

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