Lubin' Yer Balls (DIY 800GS Wheel Bearing Service)

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by NCD, Aug 30, 2012.

  1. NCD

    NCD Dirty Hairy

    Joined:
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    Chances are, you are riding around with little or no grease in your wheel bearings. Sad but true. Bearing manufacturers ensure robust future sales by skimping on the grease during assembly. (This is not BMW’s fault BTW, before you hate.) But the good news is, those “sealed” bearings that make you feel all warm and fuzzy can be opened up and grease can be added. Its loads of fun. (Not really.) But it is easy, so let’s get started.

    I am assuming that you know how/have the tools to get the wheels off of your bike. If not, then you are in trouble.

    Tools needed for loobin’:


    [​IMG]

    Screwdriver or panel puller to remove the big external seals
    Thin, dull blade to pop bearing seal off
    Snap ring pliers
    Wheel bearing grease (preferably in a pencil-tipped gun)

    Front Wheel:

    Use the big screwdriver or panel puller to pop the big external seal out of the wheel:

    [​IMG]

    Now you can see the actual bearing. Take a DULL, very THIN tool of some type and CAREFULLY slide it between the rubber seal and the metal outer race of the bearing. My tool of choice here is a dull x-acto blade. Use caution not to damage the lips of the rubber seal. A light twist pops it right off.

    [​IMG]

    Don’t be shocked if you see naked balls inside your wheels. Take the grease gun and aim it right between each pair, and shoot grease into the void between them. This puts it in the bearings path. FWIW, what looks like bearings here is actually the carrier, the bearings are actually behind it.)

    [​IMG]


    Leave some empty space in the cavity – maybe aim for filling the bearing like 80%. It’s no biggie if you put too much – it just seems to ooze out the excess when things get really hot.

    By hand, snap the bearing seal back in nice and even, making sure the seal sits into the grooves in the bearing. Put the big outer seal pack in place flush with the outside of the hub. Sometimes these need a very light bump with a rubber mallet to set back home. Spooge a little grease on the lips of the seal where it runs on the axle or spacer.

    OK. Turn the wheel over, and remove the big outer seal. Uh oh, WTF is that stupid ring in the way for? Dammit. Just take the snap ring pliers, engage the holes and squeeze. Lift the snap ring out of the groove and set it aside. (The snap ring blocks you from pulling the bearing seal out.)

    [​IMG]
    >
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Grease up this bearing the same as the other - - just remember to put the snap ring back into place before you button things up with the big outer seal. Installation is the reverse or removal, right? Right.

    Rear Wheel:

    You have 3 bearings to do in the rear. Grab the sprocket carrier and pull it straight out from the wheel. Set it and the 4 cush rubbers aside for now.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    So, you know the drill now. Service that drive side bearing just like the front.

    [​IMG]


    Flip the wheel over, and meet your old friend the snap ring again.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Time to do the bearing in the sprocket carrier. Pull the seal off, just like the others.

    [​IMG]


    There’s another snap ring in the way here, too. No problemo.

    [​IMG]

    It’s good form to put grease on the axles, spacers, and the sealing surfaces of the rubber seals when putting the wheels back on your bike. Just wipe off the external excess once things are all back together to avoid a mountain of dust building up on everything. That way, things come back apart later without drama.

    Now start arguing about what kind of bearing grease is best, and whether it’s OK to use synthetic.
    #1
  2. grndzr0

    grndzr0 its Ground Zero

    Joined:
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    627
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    Awesome!!!

    Thanks a bunch!!!!

    Ryan
    #2
  3. NCD

    NCD Dirty Hairy

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    This is my 2nd time greasing the bearings on this bike. I did it the first time shortly after bringing it home new.

    The 4 wheel bearings only had a spaghetti thin bead of crappy grease on top of the carrier. Bearings were dry.

    The carrier bearing (a different brand for some reason) had plenty of grease.

    10,000 miles later they all still feel new and notchless.
    #3
  4. TheCowboy

    TheCowboy back in the saddle again

    Joined:
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    The frozen tundra - Minny Sota
    Thanks so much for taking the time to post this. I did not know you could service a sealed bearing. I jsst today replaced my rear wheel bearings for the second time in 62,000 miles.

    TheCowboy
    #4
  5. Ronin ADV

    Ronin ADV Gear addict

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    Northern Sierras
    Nice writeup. Maybe Wildman can link this thread to the F800 index / database.
    #5
  6. fiwi

    fiwi Been here awhile

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    Well? anyone?
    #6
  7. NCD

    NCD Dirty Hairy

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    Some more to chew on:

    I popped both seals off of a brand new bearing to showcase the scant use of grease in a new unit. Sad. Unless you own stock in or run a bearing company, then it's good. Sadder still is that this bearing has FAR more grease in it than mine did when new. No wonder people sizzle through these in like 6-8000 miles (bore problems not included.)

    [​IMG]

    I flushed out what grease is there to show the guts clearer. The bearings (mostly hidden), the carrier, and the voids that you want to smoosh grease into (the bearing's path.)

    [​IMG]
    #7
  8. Cambi

    Cambi Adventurer

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  9. Zoef zoef

    Zoef zoef Been here awhile

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    Nice writeup. Only thing I'm worried about is the mount of grease. 80% is according to manufacturers specifications way too much. About 30% filling of the free space is deemed sufficient. Too much grease, results in the bearing running too hot, and he grease will melt. Then the grease can go out if the bearing, which result in too little grease. Therefore the correct amount grease is vital for bearing life, not too little, not too much.
    #9
  10. machinebuilder

    machinebuilder Long timer

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    so much misinformation on the internet
    #10
  11. LukasM

    LukasM Long timer

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    The wheels are not turning anywhere near the maximum RPM that these bearings will be rated for, so you can fill them up with more grease and still not get any heat issues.
    #11
  12. NCD

    NCD Dirty Hairy

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    I used to fill them 100%. When I did that, I would get some grease that would migrate outside of the bearing after a few 1000 miles. But there would still be WAY more left inside than there ever was before the lube job. My 'scientific analysis' suggested that this was about 10-20% of the grease.

    Now I fill them about 80% and it all stays in. Could vary I guess depending on type of grease?

    Who cares. It's all better than the watered down Chinese dog turds I find in there from the factory. :D
    #12
  13. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    Low bidder apparently gets the bearing contract. Different brand name bearing on different bikes. Mine had different color grease in the rear bearings.

    I had a worry about packing them and Woody advised more is better, they don't spin that fast.
    #13
  14. Wildman

    Wildman In my castle

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    Done. Sorry for the delay, fellas!
    #14
  15. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

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    I'm not sure anyone could find fault with the specs. for the Mobilegrease 28 Aviation-rated grease.

    I do wonder about compatibility in a mixed environment.... some greases do not play well with others.
    If trying to top up the grease while on the bike, I'm not sure how we asses compatibility with the unknown factory lube.
    if installing new bearings you have the ability to wash the factory grease out first and then fill with your choice...

    Any comments/thoughts on this?
    #15
  16. runnin4melife

    runnin4melife Been here awhile

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    Great thread and highly recommend it! FYI when removing the bearing seal if you approach it from the inside with a small screwdriver you can get it to pop out a lot easier as that has a small rubber flange that does not seat tightly. I have been stuffing marine grease (everyone has a flavor they like) in the bearings of my bikes for almost 20 years (I am only 30 years old). Some have been talking about too much or too little, I just pop one side and pack that which reduces the amount that bleeds out but sometimes you get too much, regardless it is better than dry bearings. Just like in porno, too much lube is better than none :rofl
    #16
  17. Emmbeedee

    Emmbeedee Procrastinators

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    My bearings were the originals from 2009, and were still in good shape but I replaced them anyway a couple of weeks ago, just in case. And I took the dust seals off the old bearings to find plenty of grease in there, even after 78,000 kms.

    Here's two out of the three rear wheel bearings.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. NCD

    NCD Dirty Hairy

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    NE Ohio
    Nice! That's how my sprocket carrier was - plenty of grease.

    $10 says the dude that filled your bearings got fired for 'wasting' that much grease!
    #18
  19. runnin4melife

    runnin4melife Been here awhile

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    806
    Location:
    "No shit when I was back at Bragg!!!"
    Yeah yours are pretty greasy, I bought mine brand new, came home and put new tires on and checked the bearings (less than 25 miles) and all but one were pretty low in the grease department. This is on a 2011 as well.

    Just last night I pulled them all and cleaned/repacked them and everything looks great. I probably didn't need to but figured it will increase the longevity regardless.
    #19
  20. SQ Beemer

    SQ Beemer Been here awhile

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    Westwood, CA
    Buying new bearings for front/rear here shortly, and will be inspecting them before installation.

    Thanks for the write-up.
    #20