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Author Topic: Cleaning reel bearings?  (Read 23689 times)

Coonhound

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Cleaning reel bearings?
« on: April 22, 2009, 07:32:48 PM »

How do you guys clean your reel bearings?

I use a parts washer at work (mechanic shop) to clean vehicle wheel bearings. I think the solvent in it is basically mineral spirits. Would something like this work on reel bearings, provided they were dry before re-lubing?

Also, how do you determine that a reel bearing is just totally worn out?
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Joshawa

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Re: Cleaning reel bearings?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2009, 10:28:53 PM »

I just got done cleaning the bearing on one of my reels tonight. I was told (On good authority  ;D)to use Ronsonol lighter fluid, and it worked great. Make sure you let them completely dry then re oil.
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Mike Cork

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Re: Cleaning reel bearings?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2009, 12:32:03 PM »

Ronsonol lighter fluid, is what I use. Just put some in a medicine bottle then swish the bearing around in it. Let is sit 10 minutes and do it again. Then let it dry real good and place a drop of oil on it.

Then put the bearing on the top of a sharp pencil and spin it listening for grinding or a rough feeling
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Coonhound

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Re: Cleaning reel bearings?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2009, 07:49:58 PM »

Sweet. Good intel. Thanks guys!
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Re: Cleaning reel bearings?
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2009, 01:35:21 PM »

Lighter fluid seems to be the standard for several reel cleaning folks. I use Acetone. If you check the Boca Bearing site, they recomend Acetone or other paint thinners. It's stronger than lighter fluid. Make sure that your bearings are all stainless steel. Some spining reels use a plastic shield on one side. Degreaser is the only thing I know of that is safe to use on those. If you have an ultrasonic cleaner, you can put the bearings in a glass jar filled with acetone and put the sealed jar in the cleaner. That will really get them clean. You can do close to the same thing by setting the jar in a small container of water and hold a sonic toothbrush in the water for a few minutes. You might need to change the solvent in the jar a few times. It will turn black the first time in just a few minutes.
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Re: Cleaning reel bearings?
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2009, 01:47:04 PM »

2nd part of question. Place the clean and dry bearing on a tapered shaft such as a water color paint brush or a wood dowel carved to a point. The bearing should spin freely. If it is stiff, clean it and dry it again. If you have it totaly clean and it feels rough when you spin it, then get new bearings.
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Coonhound

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Re: Cleaning reel bearings?
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2009, 09:46:59 PM »

The ultrasonic cleaner is a great idea. I bought the wifeness one for her birthday last year.

Now...how to tell her i'm going to use it for cleaning reel bearings... lo
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Re: Cleaning reel bearings?
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2009, 07:29:46 AM »

Put the bearings in a small jar of acetone or ligter fluid. Make sure it will seal tight or is taller than the fluid level in the cleaner. The soundwaves go through the glass and you can see the fluid buzz. I did some last night. They didn't look to bad , but had one had a slight rust stain. They sat in the acetone for a minute , while i was getting the cleaner ready. The acetone was still clear, within seconds of turning it on the acetone turned dark red. I had to change the acetone 3 times before it stayed clear. # of the bearings were in good shape and spun freely. One still had a rough spot and felt like it was grinding. I tried the last resort, a tip I learned from an old pro, I put an 1/8 dowel in my dremmel. I carved a tapered point on the end and slid the bearing on tight. I poured a few inchs of acetone in a coffee cup and held the bearing in the acetone. I spun the bearing at 30,000 rpm for a few minutes while it was in the acetone. When I dried it, it now spins free and smooth. This doesn't allways work, but I have rehabed several bearings this way. When this doesn't work, the bearing is truly shot.
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Mike Cork

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Re: Cleaning reel bearings?
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2009, 07:44:55 AM »

Ultrasonic cleaners are very good at getting it done! If you have access they are the best way to go.

ksbasser, is the bearing still tight after that? I'd be concerned about how much way it recieved? However if it was grinding I guess it wasn't usable anyway so you better off after the high speed work out
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Re: Cleaning reel bearings?
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2009, 07:56:18 AM »

Yes the bearing is still tight. It must be done while submersed in the cleaning fluid. This keeps it from overheating. abec 5 bearings are higher quality than the bearings used in RC cars. They spin at high rpm with no damage. Many times, what makes a bearing rough is deposits that can't disolve even in ultrasonic. When you spin it at high rpm in a solvent, those deposites will desolve and come out. The old timer that taught me this technique has been doing it to the bearings in the reels he services for quite some time. He claims that it is part of his super tuning and makes the bearing spin better than any other method.
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