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Saladmander

Soaking bearings to clean them

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Was wondering, what do you guys do to clean your bearings?  I mean, what have you been doing that works well for you.  I'd like to hear about the different solutions/agents that you use and how long or how may times you soak the bearings.  I've tried a few things when it comes to cleaning bearings and have heard a handful of different things I haven't tried.  I'd like to try something different because I'm not sure that I've been getting the bearings as clean as they should be before replacing them.  Thanks.

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I've tired Naphtha, paint thinner, Acetone,Brake parts cleaner and Ronsonol lighter fluid.

All of them will work but I've had the best results soaking the bearings over night in lighter fluid then changing out the lighter fluid in the morning and soaking them again  for another couple of hours.

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Lighter fluid is Naphtha.  Most often, nothing needs to be done with the bearings except adding a drop of oil.  If they need to be cleaned, I soak them in Naphtha.  nasty stuff though, use in well ventilated area, e.g. outside.  I have a can of Birchwood Casey® Reel Scrubber™ that I picked up on the recommendation of Reel mech, but have yet to try it out.

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Ok, the stupid question for anyone: Simple green is a degreaser, so is Engine Brite. Why would one be better than another? Effect on the bearings? The job one individual product does versus another? Fill me in here. :-/

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I don't generally use Simple Green on bearings, but as far as a general cleaner goes, it gets most jobs done, and can be poured down the drain - I'm guessing Engine Brite can too.  Never tried Engine Brite, but I can tell you I really dislike the scent of citrus cleaners.

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The lighter fluid does contain Naphtha but the fumes are not as strong as the regular Naphtha which makes the lighter fluid a little bit easier to use.

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The good thing about acetone is that it evaporates almost instantly.  Makes it easier to dry the bearings before re-oiling.

I tried using 91% isopropyl alcohol, but found it didn't do a very good job.

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The lighter fluid does contain Naphtha but the fumes are not as strong as the regular Naphtha which makes the lighter fluid a little bit easier to use.

Ahh, ok - gotcha.  Maybe that's why I'm so goofy: I've been filling my Zippo with Naphtha for years, LOL.  :D

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Hoppe's #9. Bearing soak while I clean the rest of the reel.

Once clean and back in the reel a drop of Rem oil on the bearing.

Keep the lube off the Roller bearing and drag.  They don't like it.

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J Francho, thanks for pointing that out. You really are the true expert.
I hope you mean the expert on Goofy :D

Actually, I do recall a preference of Ronsonol over Zippo fluid in my lighter.  Anything to that?

__________________

Burley, I'll have to take another look at using Acetone.

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J Francho, thanks for pointing that out. You really are the true expert.
I hope you mean the expert on Goofy :D

Actually, I do recall a preference of Ronsonol over Zippo fluid in my lighter. Anything to that?

__________________

Burley, I'll have to take another look at using Acetone.

Lighter fluid and all those other solvents you all are using do a great job with only one exception, they leave behind paraffin wax residue on your bearings after drying. Try the industrial strength acetone, you will not be disappointed. No paraffin residue, fast drying time. It can be found at any Lowe's or Home Depot.

I use a heated ultrasonic cleaner which really cuts down the cleaning time on bearings. I put them in for a one hour bath, change the acetone in the glass jars, one more hour bath with clean acetone.

Result, perfectly clean bearings.

BTW, your wife's or girlfriend's nail polish remover is not industrial strength acetone, it will foul your bearings, don't use it. Also use care with the acetone, proper ventilation is a must as you will soon see. Strong stuff!!!

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For more years than I care to remember, I've used kerosene to clean bearings. Then compressed air to blow off residue. Then a quality oil soak overnight. I've never had a problem.

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I've found acetone to do the best job..

 Me too.

I put them on a cleaning ultrasound at 50 F, most are done in 15 min......some have taken me up to 4 cycles.

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No fancy stuff here. I use about 1/2-inch of lighter fluid in the bottom of a Dixie cup. Drop the bearings in on their side. Swirl good for a minute or two. Flip bearings over and repeat. Spin dry, oil and replace. I always do this in the garage where I have better ventilation with the garage door open.

Not sure how thorough of a technique, but I've got a whole bunch of 10-15 year old Daiwa baitcasters I put through a pretty heavy tourney regimen each year and the bearings have never failed after doing this every winter. Still running original stock in all reels.

-T9

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Thanks for everyone's responses.  I was speaking with a guy at a local baitshop, and he had mentioned that after the bearings were cleaned correctly, you put the bearing on the end of a pencil and spin it.  He stated that it should spin like "it's not gonna stop 'till tomorrow."  I don't think that I've ever gotten a bearing to spin like that after I've cleaned them.  I don't know how much truth there is to that, but it got me thinkin' that maybe I'm not cleaning them well enough.

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No fancy stuff here. I use about 1/2-inch of lighter fluid in the bottom of a Dixie cup. Drop the bearings in on their side. Swirl good for a minute or two. Flip bearings over and repeat. Spin dry, oil and replace. I always do this in the garage where I have better ventilation with the garage door open.

Not sure how thorough of a technique, but I've got a whole bunch of 10-15 year old Daiwa baitcasters I put through a pretty heavy tourney regimen each year and the bearings have never failed after doing this every winter. Still running original stock in all reels.

-T9

That's how I've actually been doing it.

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I've found acetone to do the best job. I'll replace it 3-4x over the course of 10 hours.

I tried using acetone some time ago, but I was worried that I never really got all of it out of the shielded bearings before applying the oil.  How long should I let the bearing dry before I oil them?

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I let them air dry on a Kimwipe for an hour or so, then blow dry with canned air.  I've got a set of laboratory forceps that hold the bearing by it's hub.

Acetone evaporates very quickly.  If I had to guess, I would say most bearings are dry in 15-20 minutes.

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I guess I'm running to Home Depot tomorrow for some Acetone.  Thanks guys :D

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I guess I'm running to Home Depot tomorrow for some Acetone. Thanks guys :D

Blue and yellow can, it will be with the paint thinners and mineral spirits.  Costs about $7.00 for the smaller can which should last you for one season.  I done 24 reels last year and still have about half a can left.

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How do you clean the bearing that's on the spool shaft? I've never tried to get the pin off the spool shaft to remove the bearing for fear of bending/breaking the pin.

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Definitely, thanks guys, guess I'm picking a can of acetone as well. Two quick questions: Do you clean the bearings even if they don't look dirty? And Burley, what is a kimwipe?

:D

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