Mojo SL-R Bearing replacement - loctite? grease?
So - My bearings are shot in my SL-R. I got the bike in July and took it all the way apart for the first time over the weekend to chase down some disconcerting noises. Turns out I have created some lovely flat spots in the dw link bearings (upper and lower, fore and aft). I'm chalking it up to being a big boy...and riding a fair amount.
In any case, I may end up just replacing the links but first I am going to do the $50 experiment and replace the bearings. I've read the forum tips (and have press fit more than one bearing in my time). I've been through a pretty decent search on bearing replacement in the forums and have found some decent tid-bits as in:
The bearings on the upper link have loctite to hold them in place. Good tip that as I have a heat gun and will put some heat on the upper link to break up the loctite prior to tapping them out.
This is where I get a little sideways...My experience really wants me to grease the outer race on the bearing before replacement - primarily as a sealant because the outer race should remain fixed relative to the frame in this application. But if they come with loctite from the factory there is a good chance I'm wrong.
Can anyone who has done this on any of the mojos (or some higher authority) chime in and let me know if loctite is truly the way to go and why? Should I use it on the upper and lower links?
I've replaced the bearings a few times in the links on my SL. It won't hurt to use a little bit of Loctite for ALL of the bearings. My understanding is it is there to keep them from migrating, which was more of a problem in the upper link before they updated to the Lopes link. The standard bearings do not have a long life. Phil Wood replacements not much longer. Two years ago I replaced all with the Enduro ABEC-3 MAX(no retainer so larger bearings) and have not needed to touch anything since. BTW, it looks like those are the same model of bearing being used on the new Ripley.
I use Green Loctite 290 for it's wicking properties, better in greasy environment I think too, but it likely doesn't matter.
Todd from Ibis here.
We like to use green locktite 603 bearing retaining compound here at the shop.
I hope this helps.
tis' the season!
6months on enduro's in my lower link.
(bearing literally fell out after this)
I just grease and use blue loctite on the bolts. Remember to pop the bearing cover and add some extra grease on those lower link bearings, they get the most wear.
@burkut - thanks. I'm using the enduro max bearings for my replacements too. Would be stoked to get a year on them. Good tip on the green loctite - I would have been using blue.
@Todd - from the horse's mouth. 603 it shall be. Replies like this are why we love Ibis.
@redmr2_man - wow! Mine don't look anywhere near that bad but they are flat just the same. Good tip on forcing in a little extra grease. Will do.
Ok. So the bearings on the lower link came out without too much effort. When they were in they felt "notchy" and 3 different mechanical engineers said they felt like there were flat spots in the balls. Now that they are out they feel fine. They roll smoothly and on inspection look to be in good shape. Sure they could stand a bit more grease but they are in good nick.
I thought what the hell. They are out, I'll replace them...so, I get the first new bearing in and test it. Now it feels notchy. So I pop it back out and check it. Feels fine.
What gives? Could I have ovalized the link side? Would that match the symptoms I'm having? I am at a bit of a loss...
Sounds like your link is distorting the bearing a bit and causing this. My HD feels a little notchy too when I remove the rear shock and move the swingarm up and down by hand. This is never felt when riding so I don't worry about it.
I would just replace the bearings and ride it....You can always buy another set of links from their website.
Just to close the loop on this.
A bunch of engineers sat around a table and decided that the thickness of the anodized coating is super hard to control (hard vs soft ano is really a difference in the thickness of the coating and we have had some trouble controlling this variable in the past - at least when sourced from china). An overly tight bearing sleeve would cause the symptoms that we felt in the bearings. Ipso-facto it must be the sleeve diameter. So, I did a bit of work with a Brillo pad and low and behold the larger bearings went into the lower link with a little elbow grease. And they are smooth like butter.
I would not suggest hitting the sleeve with low grit sandpaper, but something super fine and regular used judiciously seems to work fairly well. I'm not removing color, just the microscopic bumps.
I have several more bearings to do (super busy and it's hard to find a consolidated hour to work on this). When I finish I will post some pics of my process. Maybe it will help someone.
Thanks for everyone's input.
The first time I changed the link bearings in my SL-R was a nightmare especially with the lower link. I also experienced the same 'notchy when installed' problem but chalked it up to poor installation technique.
It's nearing time to change bearings again so last night I decided to replace the bearings in a spare set of links that I have. Same problems.
Sidebar: the bearing recesses in the upper links were machined after anodizing but the bearing recesses in the lower links were not.
I decided to (before I read this thread) relieve some of the material using 320-grit sandpaper. I began with the upper link and removed enough aluminum to allow me to press the bearings in by hand (very slight interference fit). To keep the bearings in place I used Permatex High Temperature Sleeve Retainer which is basically the same as the Loctite 603 retaining compound that Todd mentioned. I have used these in the past with great success holding bearings in CNC'd aluminum parts. The installed bearings are buttery smooth.
The lower links are going to require a bit more material to be removed so I'm going to use 600-grit flap sanding wheels on a Dremel rotary tool.
When I'm done I should be able to install the bearings without using any tools...only the sleeve retainer compound to lock them in place. Removing the bearings will only require a heat gun and just a few light taps on the bearings until they fall out. SO MUCH easier than using a bench vice or arbor press to install only to find the bearings are notchy after installation because the outer race has been distorted due to a bearing recess that is too small.
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