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Bearing Packer

Raise your hand if you actually re-pack your trailer’s wheel bearings once a year as recommended. Yeah, repacking bearings by hand can be a greasy mess — who really wants to put globs of grease in their hands, except my three-year-old?  Do yourself a favor and pick up a bearing packer like this one from Lisle for $8. A bearing packer evenly injects new grease into the bearing, which forces out the old grease and flushes out any other contaminants.

The cones of this bearing packer only measure 4-1/2″ in diameter, so it won’t handle bearings with an inner diameter that’s any larger — but face it, you’re not doing trailer wheel bearings at that point.

To repack a bearing, place it between the plastic cones, tighten the top cone so the cones capture the bearing snugly, and start pumping grease through the fitting on the top. Stop when only new grease comes out of the bearing.Who are we kidding?  Even with this tool, you know you’re going to be covered in grease anyway — but at least it’ll make the job easier.

Bearing Packer [Lisle]
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10 Responses to Pack Your Bearings Before You Pack Your Bags

  1. PutnamEco says:

    Hey, if you ever have to clean small bearings.
    Bearing Blaster.

    http://www.rpmrcproducts.com/products/tools/fixtools.htm

  2. Old Donn says:

    I’ve got one of these and it works as advertised, but I still clean the bearings with solvent and a brush before repacking.

  3. ToolFreak says:

    Since I wanted to use high-temp wheel bearing grease that doesn’t come in tubes or work with a grease gun, I opted for the fully contained hand-press grease packer, which is also from Lisle, but costs more, about $20. It works great, and is perfect for on-the-spot use, without the bulk or mess of a grease gun and open packer.

  4. l_bilyk says:

    I don’t like these because they’re a PITA to clean up afterwards

  5. Toolaremia says:

    I race an old RX-7 with integrated front hubs and brake rotors. The rotors crack after a couple of weekends and have to be replaced. So I am constantly cleaning and repacking bearing sets. I probably do 16-20 bearings a year.

    I have one of these and tried it a few times. It packs the bearings quicker than I can, but the setup and clean up is far, far more work than simply packing them by hand.

  6. Toolaremia says:

    I race an old RX-7 with integrated front hubs and brake rotors. The rotors crack after a couple of weekends and then the whole hub/rotor has to be replaced. I also have a big car trailer and a small track-day trailerette. So I am constantly cleaning and repacking bearing sets. I probably do 16-20 bearings a year.

    I have one of these and tried it a few times. It packs the bearings quicker than I can, but the setup and clean up is far, far more work than simply packing them by hand.

  7. Back when I had a summer job on a farm, it was my job one year to service all the hay wagon’s wheel bearings. I think I would have killed for a tool like this back then. I did become quite proficient at hand packing though.

    I’ve been doing a little more reading and have found two opposing schools of thought on cleaning bearings. One say that you spin them dry with an air compressor, and another that says that if you spin the bearings without lubricant you’ll damage them. So I’m not sure if this translates into it’s better just to replace the grease and not clean the bearing?

    Yet another discussion was that by not cleaning the bearing first you could have problems with grease incompatibilities. I’m not sure I buy this one because just about everyone’s front end would be screwed up by having it lubricated at two different garages

  8. DocN says:

    These packers almost never work properly, at least without cleaning the bearing first. And, as noted, cleaning the packer itself is it’s own issue.

    Easiest method? Grab a box of disposable surgical gloves. Slap on a pair, dig right in to that tub o’ bearing goo, squish and knead it where it oughta go, and when you’re done, just pull off the gloves and toss.

    Doc.

  9. PutnamEco says:

    Re:
    Easiest method?
    ==================================
    Put some grease in a baggie, put your bearings in baggie, work grease into bearings.

    ————————————————————————————-

    Usually by the time I get the bearing out and clean, I’m covered in enough grease that I don’t mind just diving in bare handed.

  10. melvin says:

    “Yet another discussion was that by not cleaning the bearing first you could have problems with grease incompatibilities.”

    This is something to be concerned with, mix the wrong kinds of grease bases and you get soap.

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