A while back (and interestingly enough, the post was recently revived) I posted about repacking my front wheel bearings on my 4x2 Ranger.
In that post I believe I mentioned using Lucas Red 'n Tacky #2 grease because of it's ALLEGED water insolubility.
DO NOT USE LUCAS RED 'N TACKY #2 IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE IN WATER!!!
It's crap. It basically turned into a liquid with the water that got through the seals.
I reused the seals on the front wheels, and that's almost always a bad idea. Well, when I put the spindles on, I found that Lucas grease was basically as thin as oil around the larger inner bearing. It was both dirty and hydrated (the dirt is not the greases fault). Even the outer bearing grease was thinner and not particularly "tacky" at all.
So, when I put the spindles on I reused the seals and bearings AGAIN but this time I used AMSOIL synthetic for the wheel bearing grease (the one certified as NLGI#2 for wheel bearings).
This week I replaced the inner bearings on general principles and of course this time I replaced the seals.
Lots of dirt and water had gotten through the twice-reused, crappy seals AGAIN -- but this time the inside was quite different.
The PAO synthetic Amsoil grease was dirty at the inner wheel bearing, but was STILL EXACTLY THE SAME CONSISTENCY AS WHEN ADDED. There was no sign of hydration of the grease at all, and no breakdown in viscosity.
This grease was not exposed for a long a time, but from what I'm reading, synthetic PAO greases are MUCH less susceptible to mixing with water and breaking down.
Currently, I'm trying an experiment with this grease:
Tom-Pac TP-2557 "Bearing Gel"
This is a relatively "pure" polyalphaolefin base grease and what it lacks in particular is certain additives which require a "soap" to blend them. This soap is just that and it is a big problem with allowing the grease and water to mix. As you know, soaps and detergents are the things that allow oil and water to mix and their presence in a grease to blend the ingredients aggravates the water problem.
Now, it may be that if you were to leave this grease in a wheel bearing application that some of those ingredients are necessary long-term. Well, I'm not going to leave this grease in long term. I'll be pulling everything apart and putting new seals and grease in probably yearly. So this grease is probably going to be a good deal. We'll see.
I can say for sure it works well in industrial uses that are harder than front wheel bearing service. It does inhibit corrosion and has a whopping 700+ degree F melting point! The brakes can get very hot indeed and not kill this grease.
I'll post what I find when I change it again. If it holds up and the bearings look good, it's probably what I'll keep using.
It's odd looking in that it is a clear to translucent pale yellow and looks unlike any other grease I've every seen. It REALLY clings to things also.