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Thread: Cleaning your bearings. A guide.

  1. #1
    Dr. Zaius's Avatar
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    Default Cleaning your bearings. A guide.

    Go buy this solvent called mineral spirits. DO NOT USE RUBBING ALCOHOL OR ACETONE, these will dissolve a small amount of metal in your bearings and will eventually cause them to seize.

    You should first open the bearings. Look around the inside edge for a little ring. It's between the bearing shield and the housing. This is a c-clip. look for where the clip is separated and pluck it out with a safety pin or something with a sharp point. Take off the shields.

    Put your bearing in a sealable container along with enough mineral spirits to cover them all.

    Shake about as hard as you would normally wuck wuck wuck it

    remove bearings, place each one on the tip of a pencil and spin until each bearing is dry.

    Buy a small tube of Super Lube, and place a drop or two in each bearing and spin until the inside is evenly coated

    Replace bearing shields and c-clips

    Skate fast


    Here is a cutaway of a bearing to help you out.





    Already posted a number of times in various places; thought I should make a topic I could link to whenever the subject comes up.
    "You are a menace. A walking pestilence."

  2. #2
    Otacon_EXE's Avatar
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    Here, just for the extra newb-ish.
    I almost took my ball cage out first time cleaning it.



  3. #3

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    I did this:

    1. Open shield
    2. Blast it with water and spin (Not a good idea in hindsight, water could've been bad, but not a single fuck was given)
    3. Dry
    4. Drop a little motor oil in that bitch
    5. Spin, wipe excess
    6. Put shields back on

    That was months ago, my bearings were completely locked, after cleaning they were super smooth and now they're still smooth and fast as shit. Quiet as well.
    soon.

  4. #4

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    i am definitely guilty of cleaning with rubbing alcohol. i didn't even think of the possibility that it was too harsh

    good looking out

  5. #5

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    i use heavy duty engine degreaser, cause it was like 3.99 at the auto parts store. but mineral spirits sounds like the best idea

  6. #6

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    mineral spirits leave a oil like film, hense the seeming lack of binding but it still need lubrication. there is no harm in using alcohol or acetone(unless you want pancreatic cancer) alcohol and acetone does such a good job(due to it strength and evaporation rate) that it removes all oil/grease/lubrication, and it only binds if you don't replenish with fresh lube.
    for full cleaning you can completely disassemble by removing the bearing cage but its a little unnecessary.
    do not expose urethane or rubber to acetone. your wheels will go to shit.

  7. #7

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    1.Keep your bearings dirt-free, moisture free, and lubricated. Water will rust your bearings and dirt will destroy the smoothness of the super finish on your bearing races, increasing friction.

    2.Clean your bearings when they become dirty or noisy with the most environmentally friendly cleaner you can find that is suitable for dissolving oil, grease, and removing dirt from the steel, plastic and rubber surfaces. We have tried many cleaners and solvents and many of them can be used safely. Citrus based cleaners can work, but they tend to leave behind a slight residue. Solvents are dangerous to use, but often provide a superior solution to cleaning very dirty bearings. If you use a water based cleaner like a citrus cleaner or a detergent, be sure to dry your bearings IMMEDIATELY and then re-coat them with lubricant to prevent rust. Some solvents/commercial products that we have used are: pure, or almost pure, isopropyl alcohol (The kind normally found in markets is only 10% pure and does not cut grease well.); Gumout« carburetor cleaner (found in auto parts stores); acetone (found in hardware stores). If you can’t find any of these solvents like acetone or pure alcohol, you can use paint thinner or lacquer thinner, but these cleaners are oil based and may leave an oily residue on the inner surfaces of your bearings.

    3.If you use a solvent cleaner, please wear appropriate rubber gloves and work in a safe well ventilated area. When you are finished, please remember to dispose of your solvent in a safe, ecologically sound manner.

    4.Do not add oil to dirty bearings. It will not clean the bearing, but merely flush the existing dirt further into the bearing. It may seem like they roll faster initially, but in reality you are only spreading the dirt around, and it will still be there to ruin the high precision rolling surfaces of your bearings. Clean your bearings before re-lubricating them.

    Cleaning Instructions

    1.Gently remove the non-contact rubber shield with a push pin or the edge of a small knife by prying the shield upwards from under the shield at the inner race. It should pop up and out quite easily, so handle them gently and don’t bend them or cut the seal. If you have the labyrinth shield bearings, make sure to remove both of them. Be careful not to bend or tear the shield as you remove them. Bent shields don’t fit right and may allow contaminants into the bearing. Don’t use solvents to clean the rubber shields! Doing so may cause the rubber to blister or swell from the solvents. Just wipe the rubber shields down with warm soapy water and a lint free cloth. Make sure the shields are completely clean and dry before re-installing.

    2.Optional Cage Removal: You can clean your bearings more thoroughly by removing the ball retainer or “cage.” We only recommend this if you are using the Bones Bearing Cleaning Unit or are an experienced bearing cleaner. To remove the ball retainer, take a straightened paper clip or similar object and place it in the spaces between the ball seats, then push the ball retainer out. Pushing alternatively in several different spots is often helpful. We recommend ONLY pushing the retainers out. If you pry them out, you will damage the ball cavities, ruining the surface of that cavity. This will, at a minimum, create more vibration and a slower bearing, and at worst, cause the entire bearing to fail. When you remove the cage, the balls can all shift over to one side and in some cases, may fall completely out of the rings. The Bones Bearing Cleaner isolates each bearing with spacers, so there is less of a chance the balls may all come together on one side of the bearing and then fall out of the races. This is, however, somewhat common during bearing cleaning, and doesn’t mean the bearing is broken, merely 100% disassembled! If your balls fall out of the races, you’ll need to reassemble the bearing from scratch. It’s easy, and is how the bearings were assembled in the first place, so don’t panic. You need a soft surface like a folded towel. Take the outer race and the 7 balls and place them on the towel. Make sure all the bearings are on one side like a crescent moon. Press down on the side of the outer race where all the balls are at. Angle in the inner race so the running surface of the inner race aligns with the balls and pull to the center of the outer race. It will take you a few tries more than likely, but you’ll get it.

    3.Clean your bearings and your ball retainers: (if you have chosen to remove them), by soaking them in your cleaning solution in a polyethylene, polypropylene, or metal jar. (We don’t recommend glass, because it is easy to break, but be aware that some plastics may melt in some solvents, so be sure to use one you know is safe.) Wear suitable rubber gloves and eye protection. Gently agitate the jar making the solution flush through the bearing. Keep replacing the dirty solution with clean solution until the solution no longer changes color and you are satisfied with the smoothness of the bearing roll. If you have the Bones Bearing Cleaning Unit, please revert to the instruction methods provided in the bottle.

    4.Dry your bearings: Remove the bearings and the ball retainers from the cleaning solution and dry immediately. We recommend a can of compressed air to make sure all the dirt, grease, solvents, cleaners, etc. have left the inner workings of the bearing and no water is left. Do so carefully, so as to not get the cleaning agents in your eyes or anywhere but onto a cloth on your work area.

    5.Reinstall your cages: If you have removed the ball retainers, use the paper clip to spread the balls out evenly and then insert the ball retainer so that each ball is over a ball seat. Then, gently snap the ball retainers back into place. Once you have all the retainers installed back into your bearings, check each bearing to be sure it spins freely. If not, repeat your cleaning cycle or replace the bearing.

    6.Lubricate your bearings: We recommend 2 drops of Bones Speed Cream per bearing for bearings with steel balls. For Bones Swiss Ceramic Bearings, only one drop per bearing is needed. Do not be tempted to use your bearings without any lubricant because they “spin faster without lubricant.” Although this is partly true in a superficial way, riding your bearings without lubricant will cause them to fail quickly and may cause them to “freeze up,” which is NOT something you want to happen to you when you are skating!

    7.Reinstall your clean rubber shields: Place each one flat on the “open side” of a clean bearing where the balls are visible. Be sure the Bones name on the shield is facing outwards, then press the rubber shields gently into place using your thumb and a rolling action. Inspect the ring around the inner race making sure there are no dimples in the rubber shield. If there are, run your thumb around it to flatten it out. If you have Bones labyrinth shield bearings, the shields are identical so follow this procedure for both sides of the bearing. Spin each bearing for a couple of revolutions in your fingers to distribute the lubrication throughout the inner workings of the bearing. Leave a slight coat from your fingers on the outer sides of the bearing to prevent rusting.

    8.Reinstall your bearings: When installing bearings into your wheels, be careful not to use a tool that will put direct pressure on the shield or the inner race only. Denting the shield will only cause friction and slow your bearing down. A proper bearing press or tool will only press on the outer ring of your bearing during insertion. Use a bearing press or your truck/axle to press the bearings back into your wheels. Be sure to check that your bearings are aligned properly so that your wheels spin freely, quietly, and smoothly. If they don’t, you will have to back track to seat the bearings parallel and fully into the wheel. If they still don’t spin smoothly and quietly, you will have to troubleshoot the cleaning process to find out which bearing component is incorrectly installed or worn out, and then replace that component or bearings as need be, before using the bearing in your wheel.
    Quote Originally Posted by Howboutcha C'mon View Post
    I have a friend that is so stupid that he spends most of his time reminding himself to breathe.

  8. #8

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    So I bought a 16 set of Reds for 40ish this weekend and went out on sess over wet asphalt. As soon as I got home, I dropped all of my bearings in a cup of Ronsonol (lighter fluid) and let them sit in there for a few minutes... took them out later and I just let them dry naturally...

    Yesterday, I picked up the bearings to put them back in my wheels and half of them were completely locked. I look through the plastic shield on the inner side and most of the balls are dark brown rusty . Was it due to the fact I didn't dry them asap after taking them out from the lighter fluid? I assumed that I'd be safe since lighter fluid shouldn't contain any water... Maybe I should've dried the bearings right after the sess before dropping them in the ronsonol?

  9. #9

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    -rep
    Quote Originally Posted by Howboutcha C'mon View Post
    I have a friend that is so stupid that he spends most of his time reminding himself to breathe.

  10. #10
    Dr. Zaius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BentoBox View Post
    sess over wet asphalt
    Quote Originally Posted by BentoBox View Post
    lighter fluid
    you fucked yourself bruv
    "You are a menace. A walking pestilence."

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Zaius View Post
    you fucked yourself bruv
    Bent it backwards, pulled your balls aside and slid it right on in

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Zaius View Post
    you fucked yourself bruv
    I've read in so many places that lighter fluid is good for cleaning bearings though...

    so if there happens to be water in my bearings due to rain/wet asphalt/me showering with my skates on/whatever, what's the best way to clean them up asap?

  13. #13
    Dr. Zaius's Avatar
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    MINERAL SPIRITS

    skating through a little water has actually made my bearings roll faster and spin cleaner

    lighter fluid is too strong so it probably dissolved the outer layer of the bearings
    "You are a menace. A walking pestilence."

  14. #14

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    I have heard so many differing opinions on how to clean bearings. I JUS DONT KNO WAT @ BELEEVE?!!
    Remember: "It is better to keep your [hands still] and appear stupid than to [respond] and remove all doubt."

  15. #15
    Otacon_EXE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BentoBox View Post
    So I bought a 16 set of Reds for 40ish this weekend and went out on sess over wet asphalt. As soon as I got home, I dropped all of my bearings in a cup of Ronsonol (lighter fluid) and let them sit in there for a few minutes... took them out later and I just let them dry naturally...

    Yesterday, I picked up the bearings to put them back in my wheels and half of them were completely locked. I look through the plastic shield on the inner side and most of the balls are dark brown rusty . Was it due to the fact I didn't dry them asap after taking them out from the lighter fluid? I assumed that I'd be safe since lighter fluid shouldn't contain any water... Maybe I should've dried the bearings right after the sess before dropping them in the ronsonol?
    When I buy any bearings other than generic, I make sure I buy the recommended cleaner. It's recommended for a reason, right? I think you'd be better off buying new bearings; locked up ones may not spin correctly after you get them moving again.

  16. #16

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    go to bonesbearings.com or check out their youtube page too.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Coe View Post
    I have heard so many differing opinions on how to clean bearings. I JUS DONT KNO WAT @ BELEEVE?!!
    I just blast with water, dry, then drop some motor oil in and spin!
    Haven't cleaned my bearings in 6 months or so (maybe longer) and they're still rolling smooth and fast, though they are getting a bit of that characteristic Bones Reds roar.
    soon.

  18. #18
    a_pla5tic_bag's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure acetone doesn't dissolve metal. thats what I use to clean them. then put in some bones lube.

  19. #19

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    Acetone is what I have been using for 15 years and find it works the best.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by BentoBox View Post
    So I bought a 16 set of Reds for 40ish this weekend and went out on sess over wet asphalt. As soon as I got home, I dropped all of my bearings in a cup of Ronsonol (lighter fluid) and let them sit in there for a few minutes... took them out later and I just let them dry naturally...

    Yesterday, I picked up the bearings to put them back in my wheels and half of them were completely locked. I look through the plastic shield on the inner side and most of the balls are dark brown rusty . Was it due to the fact I didn't dry them asap after taking them out from the lighter fluid? I assumed that I'd be safe since lighter fluid shouldn't contain any water... Maybe I should've dried the bearings right after the sess before dropping them in the ronsonol?
    You gotta dry em immediately. The lighter fluid just sitting on the bears probably rusted them out; happened to my last set of bearings.

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