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A Tale of Two Greases (or, The Water Solubility Blues)

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  #1  
Old 09-29-2005
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A Tale of Two Greases (or, The Water Solubility Blues)

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.
 

Last edited by n3elz; 09-29-2005 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 09-29-2005
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nice write up!
 
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Old 09-29-2005
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How much is a cartridge of Tom-Pac, and how does it compare to Amsoil in pricing?

Unless you're driving massive amounts of miles, repacking the bearings yearly might be a little excessive. Depends on how much offroading you do, also.

Are you going to ride the Tom-Pac for a month or so, then check your bearings to make sure its performing like it should?


Should this thread be in Drivetrain?
 

Last edited by DownSouthTAS; 09-29-2005 at 10:56 AM.
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Old 09-29-2005
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ALWAYS BUY new wheel seals there cheap as hell and worth there weight in gold
 
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Old 09-29-2005
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Given price and availability, it seems silly to reuse the seals, unless you're working on the bearing in an emergency setting. My local Advance had the inner and outer bearings and the seals in stock.
 
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Old 09-29-2005
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You should try out Mobile 1 grease Jon.. I want to know what you think.. ok you don't have to.. lol..

Good write up! I like you are allways in search of a superior grease. I am curently using Mobile 1 Synthetic grease on my ball joints and other random stuff. I'v even used it to seal bare steel to prevent rust when driving in the ocean, and it worked great, didnt wash off.

So my experiance isn't as good of a test as yours, thought I'd share anyway :grin:
 
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Old 09-29-2005
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The Mobil 1 synthetic is very similar to the Amsoil, with the same disadvatages (soap). It's a PAO based grease with the SAME type ingredients which are necessary to meet the NLGI#2 spec (because it SAYS what has to be in there), rather than blended just for effectiveness and forget about meeting that spec. A spec which also mandates certain ingredients, as well a performance spec, keeps new formulations from being "certified" for certain service.

I am IN NO WAY advocating the reuse of seals -- I was just lazy and didn't get new ones.

Once a year is appropriate considering even NEW seals leak when the wheels are in 3 foot deep water because of the pressure. They were NOT designed for immersion, lol. From that standpoint, 1 year may or may not be too conservative. I go through deep water a LOT, and manage to get stuck in it as well, lol. I'm not talking just about "splashing".

I will probably NOT inspect it in a month. This grease has a fantastic reputation here on much more critical machinery more heavily loaded (and wetter) than my front bearings, lol. I think I'll be okay. But I don't KNOW, so I'm not recommending this grease (yet).

As far as obtaining it -- not sure. I bummed a tube from out maintenance people.
 
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