How to clean Mountainboard Bearings

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DirtBlogger
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How to clean Mountainboard Bearings

Post by DirtBlogger » Sat Oct 24, 2009 12:05 pm

It's a fact of life that clean bearings roll smoother, are faster and will last longer than dirty bearings, dirt and grit can cause small pits in the balls and make for an un-even and generally poopy ride. Use the following steps to keep your bearings rust-free and your wheels spinning freely.

Things you will need:


Your Dirty Bearings
A small pin
Acetone or other solvent
A bowl or cup

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and once again your mits

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Step 1 Popping the Seals

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Once you have removed all eight dirty bearings from your mountainboard you can use a small pin to remove the seals. Stick your pin between the ball cage and the outside bearing race and gently pry the seal out.

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Step 2 The Soak

Fill up your bowl with 1/2" of acetone and put the bearings in the solution and let them sit for a few minutes. Once you have done that you can tap them on the bottom of the bowl and spin the bearings in your hand until they feel grit-free. Once you get a bearing cleaned, spin it dry and set it to drain on a clean paper towel with the balls facing down .Repeat this step with the remaining bearings.

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Step 3 Grease and re-seal

Apply grease or oil in-between the balls. If you are using grease you don't want them packed, but make sure all the balls are lubricated. If you use oil, 2 or 3 drops should do the trick. Spread the grease around with your finger and roll the bearing back and forth until you can see all the balls adequately covered. Gently place the seal back on. It should "snap" into place without much force. One the seal is replaced you should can moisten the outside of the rubber seal using your greasy finger. Applying some extra grease or oil to the metal surfaces will help keep the rust away so feel free to spread some around.

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Step 4 Putting your bearings back in

Now that your bearings are all lubed up and ready to rock you can begin the re-assembly process. Place all bearings back in their respective hubs and slide the wheels back onto the axels. Use a wrench to tighten down the bolt till it is nice and snug then turn it back a ¼ of a turn to insure that the wheel spins freely.


Step 5 Celebrate!

Good work, you have just cleaned and re-greased your mountainboard bearings and can now expect better performance out of your board. If you ride everyday(especially under bad weather conditions) you may consider doing this once a week, or once every two weeks to control rust and keep your wheels spinning freely. Keep in mind that these steps can also be applied to the bearings found in the top hangers of your Matrix trucks if you are riding an MBS set up. Now what are you waiting for, get out there and try out your new smoother riding board.

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Jhammo52
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Post by Jhammo52 » Sun Oct 25, 2009 9:57 am

how essential would you say this is? I've cleaned my bearings once or twice and it does make a noticble difrence, though if you never clean them, other parts of your board will become an issue way before your bearings do.

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McCarver
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Post by McCarver » Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:32 pm

I have yet to do this, I generally just clean off the gunk on the outside and replace them when they quit spinning fast but I could see how this would be a good idea especially if you are on a budget. If I was into the racing/boardercross scene and couldnt afford to buy new bearings all the time I would definately do this before every event, could potentially knock some seconds off your finishing time.
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leapb4ulook
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Post by leapb4ulook » Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:59 am

I seen a rider knock over second off their time after just a quick squirt of silicon spray on each bearing, so cleaning your bearings is definitely a must in racing, but Jhammo is also right and I know riders who have ridden on the same bearings for years without so much as knocking the mud off.

I think cleaning your bearings is important, not just because of the advantages it gives, but because board maintenence in general often seems lacking amongst mountainboarders and I think it's part of knowing your equipment, caring about it, and ultimately having greater confidence in it. It's also good for your head on a rainy day to completely strip your board, clean every single component, and put it all back together.
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BryceAZ
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Post by BryceAZ » Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:49 pm

Resurrecting this thread because I just had a great night last night taking apart my hubs and cleaning the crap out of them!

I took my Terraintulas off, cleaned months of dirt and grime out of them, removed my bearings, cleaned them off, removed all the grass and dirt from between my hubs and my tires and put everything back on.

The whole time I was sitting in front of the TV watching episode after episode of Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory on MTV. (By the way that receptionist is hot.) :D

Image

I don't know about you but maintaining my gear can be almost (almost) as fun as riding every once in a while. I love getting my hands dirty and working on my gear.

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CowboyDan
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Post by CowboyDan » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:45 am

You can make a bearing cleaner REALLY easily and it'll get every last bit out

Bits required:

1x Gatorade or similar bottle with a wide mouth
1x 8 or 10 or 12mm bolt (whatever size your axle is) about an inch or two shorter than the bottle with 2 nuts to suit
2x rubber washer to fit the bolt (optional)
2x metal washer to fit the bolt (optional)

* Drill a hole in the lid of the bottle 1 or 2mm smaller than the bolt
* Place a metal washer then a rubber washer over the bolt, then push the bolt through the lid so the head is on top, threads inside the bottle
* Place a rubber washer, metal washer then nut over the bolt, tighten the nut nicely (you can do without the washers, but it'll leak a bit)
* Remove bearing shields and slide the bearings onto the bolt with a spacer in between each one so there's a gap between them (you can use SMALL washers or speed rings if you dont have spacers, but try for a gap of about 10mm and don't cover the balls)
* About 1/4 fill the bottle with metho, acetone or your solvent of choice.
* Place lid on bottle and SHAKE THE SH!T OUT OF IT

Voila! Super clean bearings. When they're dry lube them up with whatever bearing oil you prefer and enjoy the smooth ride. I've been doing my skate bearings like this for years - if they're REALLY dirty I'll do them a second time in fresh solvent. It's amazing how much crap comes out ;)

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* pic stolen from silverfish as I've lost my camera :P

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Jasper
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Post by Jasper » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:24 pm

i like the idea of shaking the shit out of them. Might combine the ideas, allow them to soak then shake them for optimum cleaning, il try this on my skate bearings when im bored
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belac
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Post by belac » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:37 pm

i just cover them in jam and let the dog at them, 10 minutes later clean bearings.

i like your receptionist bryce, i might have to get one.

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CowboyDan
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Post by CowboyDan » Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:38 am

Jasper wrote:i like the idea of shaking the shit out of them. Might combine the ideas, allow them to soak then shake them for optimum cleaning, il try this on my skate bearings when im bored


I dunno if soaking them would help, but it sure as shit won't hurt. Might break up some of the crap in there.

I've been doing skate bearings this way for years but the shit that would get into a mountainboard bearing from being ridden in dirt/sand/grass/water would be massive, so every little bit would help

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ade_mcc
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Post by ade_mcc » Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:45 am

Remove shields and place everything in empty jam jar and fill with sufficient white spirit. Shake occasionally. Wash under tap and spin until running smoothly. Place in oven >200 deg C for 15 minutes to remove all moisture and prevent rusting. Cover, not pack bearings with grease and reassemble. Plenty of grease on the outside never hurts. Relax.

It's a nice way to spend an evening, until the wife wants to know why her kitchen smells of white spirit and everything is covered in grease.

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CowboyDan
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Post by CowboyDan » Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:22 am

Is putting bearings coated in highly flammable alcohol into the oven the best of ideas?

lol I don't mind waiting 15-20 minutes for them to air dry :)

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CowboyDan
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Post by CowboyDan » Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:01 am

Here's my start-to-finish bearing cleaning procedure for my race luge and deck

* clean bearings in bottle as above in batches (i.e. 2 batches of 4 bearings at a time, I have floating trucks and 3 axels so I have like 6 batches lol)
* while I'm cleaning the second batch I spin the first batch up to dislodge the extra bits of shit
* first batch goes back in the cleaner with fresh solvent (I prefer acetone, but metho/rubbing alcohol will do just fine, damn I once did my luge bearings with soapy water and finished 2nd the next day), spin 2nd batch, 2nd batch back in the cleaner
* shake off excess solvent, blow through bearing, spin, blow again, then allow to dry in the sun for about half an hour
* 3 drops of Tri-Flow bearing lube, replace seals, spin bearings, wipe excess lube from shield, job done

After each run for the first 3-4 runs I wipe the excess lube from the outside of the shield (it'll spit a bit) as this attracts grime and stuff.

Lube is not as big a deal as it's made out to be.... if I'm RACING then I have my Tri-Flow with me, however it's super-thin so I need to clean and re-lube after 2 or 3 runs or they get sandy (if I'm at a BIG event I will clean/lube my bearings every run). Sewing machine oil is about the same consistency (and yes, it is very good bearing lube), so same deal. Grease is great, but it creates a LOT of friction when starting off, it doesn't get fast until it gets hot so for racing it's not really good, but it will go for a lot longer before you need to clean and re-lube. Motor oil is the same, thick when cold but GREAT when hot... actually I did a street board's bearings with motor oil the other day and once I'd been riding for a couple of k's it was super smooth. Lithium grease and graphite powders also work however you've got to clean them out regularly, they don't tolerate dirt.

For mountainboard applications where you're getting TONNES of dirt and shit in your bearings, and you're generally not racing, then nice thick oils or greases are probably the go... If you're racing then thinner lubes DO make you faster but they don't last as long..

And for anyone thinking about spending money on ceramic bearings or the like.......... they are not worth it. I have several sets of ceramics for the luge and they are no faster than regular Bones Reds, it's just that they don't need to be cleaned quite as often.

peace

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Jasper
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Post by Jasper » Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:11 am

love my bones reds, especially as i get them on my mates shop discount :)
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CowboyDan
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Post by CowboyDan » Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:32 am

Yeah man bones reds are the shit. $10 a set and they are as fast as the high end $20 PER bearing ceramics

On a luge/skate/mountainboard application we are not pushing bearings anywhere near their limit... ABEC means nothing to us. People spend retarded amounts of money on ABEC7+ bearings without realising that at 100kph the bearing is doing about 6,000rpm.... an ABEC1 bearing is rated at 25,000rpm and an ABEC7 is rated for 43,000rpm

Not to mention that ABEC is NOT a rating of speed, it is a rating of tolerance... it means nothing to us skaters. If you've got a drill working at 30,000rpm then yeah it means something, but at the speeds we do it means jack.

For the price of commercially available ceramic skate bearings you can buy 5 sets of good ABEC1 or ABEC3 bearings from a wholesaler (or a few sets of good ol' bones reds), keep the bastards clean and they'll look after you. I've raced luge against guys who've spent $200 on bearings and guess what.... beat em all ;)

Bearings do not make you go fast! :)

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eddie4x
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Post by eddie4x » Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:18 am

well if you understood bearings a lil better then maby you would see why people buy the higher reted ones
1st of all lets say ceramic bearings have no abec rating why because the bearings dont expand when they get hot (slowing you down) thats why ceramic brakes are used on sprts cars
wer as abec 1 bearings expand at a much lower temp then abec 3
it dont matter if ur not doing 25000 rpm on them they will heat up and start slowing you down after they are well used (worn) they will be come quicker due to them being smaller (but) they will become very loose and obv when ther tht worn break so yes abec does mean speed well less of a force slowing you down so there you go why dont you buy a set of decent rated ones and try for urselfs???
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The 6th degree
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Post by The 6th degree » Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:00 am

Interesting article on bearings that Ade linked to on his blog:

http://www.lushlongboards.com/workshop/abec-ratings-explained-c-199_200.html

Paragraph 13 is especially thought provoking....

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CowboyDan
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Post by CowboyDan » Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:08 am

I've run my luge on cheap bearings like bones reds, mid range ceramic balled and high end full ceramics. I've been radar'd at 127km/h (on a set of generic abec 3's) I've run time trial events and head to head races, and in both I've seen no discernible difference between $10 worth of bearings and $200 worth of bearings.

There's so many variables in other areas.. wheels, aero, simple riding style.. where you can gain HUGE amounts of time. For me, bearings are the LAST thing to change for a speed increase and if I was on the level with the absolute top echelon then maybe I'd think about it, but for bombing and national level racing it's a pointless expense.

Unfortunately I didn't do my thesis on ball bearing theory and it's application in skating so I apologise if I don't understand bearings the way you do, but about 10 years ago I started doing over 100kph on a bigass 5 foot aluminium skateboard and I reckon maybe, just maybe, I've learnt a couple of things in that time.

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CowboyDan
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Post by CowboyDan » Fri Feb 25, 2011 8:34 am

I spent today cleaning up the comp16pro I bought the other day.. I took a few pics while i was doing the bearings... they're here

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Post by Ian@KentATB » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:36 pm

ade_mcc wrote:It's a nice way to spend an evening, until the wife wants to know why her kitchen smells of white spirit and everything is covered in grease.


So true really made me laugh:)
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Demonseed
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Post by Demonseed » Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:30 am

Thanks for the walk through, great pieces of advice.
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