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  1. #1
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    Re-grease Bearings

    I have a Blur LT, no problems, but since we pass a very wet winter, what do you; experts think, re-grease the bearings or wait to the end of them.
    And is it difficult to re-grease bearings and how?
    Thanks

  2. #2
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    To re-grease the bearings means basically pulling them all out, cleaning, greasing and then reinstalling. In my experience the stock bearing Santa Cruz uses are not that great. I'd wait until they need replacing and then order new ones from a bearing supply house or get them from...
    http://www.enduroforkseals.com/id57.html
    Here's the Santa Cruz link for servicing...
    http://www.santacruzmtb.com/tech/blurlt_tech.pdf
    Have fun!!
    Quote Originally Posted by Surfas
    I have a Blur LT, no problems, but since we pass a very wet winter, what do you; experts think, re-grease the bearings or wait to the end of them.
    And is it difficult to re-grease bearings and how?
    Thanks

  3. #3
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    Regreasing

    Quote Originally Posted by Surfas
    I have a Blur LT, no problems, but since we pass a very wet winter, what do you; experts think, re-grease the bearings or wait to the end of them.
    And is it difficult to re-grease bearings and how?
    Thanks
    ... sealed bearings is a bit of a chore, but can be done. The easiest is to remove them from the frame, but they can be done whilst still installed if you have the patience. BTW, please do not try to "pound out" the bearings f/ the frame; buy the SC tool or make your own with proper size bolts, washers and hardware. PM if you need specifics.
    Obviously, you need to expose one side of the bearing, then VERY carefully remove the round seal. I use a sailmaker's needle, but I've seen dental picks used with sucess; bottom line is you'll need something small and with a sharp point.
    Once the seal is removed (carefull, the bearings SC use have a soft metal backing; don't deform) put it somewhere it won't get lost. Then use a spray lube or cleaner to remove all the old grease and grit. I like WD40, the kerosene base cleans well and gets rid of water too. Once the bearing feels clean, allow it to dry or use compressed or "canned" air to dry it out. Then you'll need a needle typ grease gun/injector to fill the bearing with fresh grease. I use a marine grade bearing grease but any high quality waterproof grease will work.
    Then you will carefully replace the sealing ring. I use a wooden popsicle stick to gently pop them back into place. Download the bearing service instructions from the SC site and follow the torque specs
    Also, you will want to clean off all the external crud before starting, and may I suggest a warm, well lit work area accompanied by a good beverage, say a Stone Ruination IPA or a Cask Strength MacAllan with a wee bit of spring water.
    Last edited by BobL; 03-06-2006 at 07:59 PM. Reason: addition

  4. #4
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    Thanks for that Enduro Link, but

    Quote Originally Posted by lebikerboy
    To re-grease the bearings means basically pulling them all out, cleaning, greasing and then reinstalling. In my experience the stock bearing Santa Cruz uses are not that great. I'd wait until they need replacing and then order new ones from a bearing supply house or get them from...
    http://www.enduroforkseals.com/id57.html
    Here's the Santa Cruz link for servicing...
    http://www.santacruzmtb.com/tech/blurlt_tech.pdf
    Have fun!!
    They seem to have the same name as the stock SC's (enduro max) The enduro's installed from the factory have the same full compliment of bearings, but have black seals instead of red.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the term "enduro" referred to that style of using all balls with out a cage.
    I think I'll give them a shot though as they are the same price as the SC AND come with a spiffy removal tool. (even though I made my own tool with for about 3 bucks in nuts, bolts and washers, plus a cut-off section of fork steerer tube)

  5. #5
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    ... and if we just ... I'm no Expert but 2 cents worth and maybe less...

    Quote Originally Posted by Surfas
    I have a Blur LT, no problems, but since we pass a very wet winter, what do you; experts think, re-grease the bearings or wait to the end of them.
    And is it difficult to re-grease bearings and how?
    Thanks
    Here's my pennies worth. I don't know if I would wait till they are cooked. Here's why; if they seize or roll rough enough to work the loctite retaining compound from place, the bearing case wears back and forth on the aluminum and can ovalize the boar/cup (where the bearing case "seats"). Trust me it very well can ! If you go to the trouble of pulling them go ahead and replace.
    I'm learning as I go, here's my experience.
    I got a set of the enduros and then used BobL's method for repacking the old ones to have as backup,(Thanks Bob !) but substituted light beer as the beverage. I wasn't too thrilled with using petro based chemicals to clean the old bearings (I think wd40) because of the plastic around the seals. (But, citrus wasn't working very well and I was in a hurry.) I used a flat head needle with a really sharp point to minimize damage to the side of the seal as I removed. They are backup anyways as the force of removing them from the bore probably damaged them a little.
    I made a removal tool as the enduro removal tool was pretty useless for this application. The tool I made was much less than perfect at pressing the bearings back in so I am waiting for the press tool I ordered from Santa Cruz. (You have to be a pretty good machinist to make a high enough quality removal/install tool. At least not as pathetic one as I !)
    If you replace them, follow instructions from SC well. 2 major things I found 1- duct tape (per instructions) to minimize damage to the soft swingarm alum around the cups. Both for installation AND removal. 2- the heavy loctite 680 is very important you want the frame to pivot on the ball bearings without any movement between the cup and bearing casing as stated above.
    Anyway, I would let the LBS do it but you should know the mechanic well enough. I've seen some kids in shops really screw stuff like this up.
    (That's why I did it, I knew I could screw it up just as well !)

    The other thing I noticed in the pdf from sc; they reference loctite 609 at the top but make no other refrences to it. Maybe it was not holding the bearings in place well enough so they switched to 680. I don't know I'm just guessing.
    To MTBR forum manager, we need a beer glass icon along with the happy faces!

  6. #6
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    Ghetto tool

    I have no doubt the SC tool works very well, but here's what I used (excuse minor omissions, you should be able to figure it out):
    Lower pivots:1/2" x 4" bolt and 2 nuts, 2 thick SAE washers, 4 or 5 metric (12mm?) washers (fit inside bore for removal and install) Use threaded portion of bolt f/ removal/install while having shoulder/head in opposite side for alignment.
    Upper pivots and frame wings: 3/8 x 4" bolt, 3/8 x 1" bolt, nuts,SAE, fender and metric washers (to fit 3/8 bolt), small section (1/2 to 3/4")of steerer tube (you didn't throw that away did you?) that's been sanded smooth and square on the ends; this is used to remove the bearings.
    Obviously, you'll use the old "inclined plane" to remove and re-install; mo betta than pounding with hammers and punches (like a few LBS's suggested ;( )
    I'm a lousy typist, so to save time I will say that if one cannot figure this out, one should a) buy the tool or, b) use a qualified bike shop to do the job(maybe buy the tool and use a your LBS)
    Good luck, have fun and go ride!
    Last edited by BobL; 03-07-2006 at 08:53 AM. Reason: addition

  7. #7
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    Vpp Ghetto Tool

    Okay, that's it. First SC had the tools in stock when I placed my order but they sent all of them to Speed Goat. Who I originally place my order with but canceled cause they were out of stock. So I just got my money back and am going to make the Vpp Ghetto Tool.

  8. #8
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    Learned something

    Quote Originally Posted by gehulme
    Okay, that's it. First SC had the tools in stock when I placed my order but they sent all of them to Speed Goat. Who I originally place my order with but canceled cause they were out of stock. So I just got my money back and am going to make the Vpp Ghetto Tool.
    Was having trouble using the ghetto tool so decided to spring for the SC official secret decoder unit, but (gasp) still out of stock! The tech @ SC hinted I had the right idea, but I was using the wrong loctite.
    Apparently, red is too thick and sets up too fast, making it very difficult to re-install the bearings and causing them to sieze and go "crooked". So out they come, and an evening with an Alaskan Smoked Porter and some some emery cloth is planned (WTH, it's raining) then re-installing with GREEN loctite (SC factory recomend).
    Just an FYI, I had originally installed new bearings with a light coating of teflon lube (and they went in smooth as butter) 'cause i did't have any loctite at the time, but removed them to add the loctite after finding a bottle of red. Now after finding green at a local car parts shop, I get to do it all over again! Yippee! I'm gonna be an ex-purt!

    Sidenote regarding use of citrus cleaners: I found them more damaging to rubber and plastic parts than than petro products. And the seals on bearings are designed to retain a petro based grease.

    Now, who's going to post pics of their ghetto tool?

  9. #9
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    Can I ask why the press that comes with the enduro seals kit doesn't work? I was planning on going that way, but I'd like to have a real tool versus coming up with my own ghetto version. I'm kind of a tool whore that way.

    Oh, I've got a VP-Free, so maybe the tool works better on here than on a blur? There might be more room to work on the burlier frame - just a WAG.
    Issaquah & Seattle real estate agent. Buy or sell a home with me and I donate $500 to Evergreen MTB Alliance
    jvpRE.com

  10. #10
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    Hope I'm no Expert but 2 cents worth and maybe less... #3

    Well, I went to SpeedGoat.com and ordered the tool and (as they now have them in stock they said.)
    I'm going to wait to learn the rest of this till then and just ride my race bike for now. (Btw, Bushings ! I have a new fondness for, Turner, Trek.)
    Bob, I'm fairly sure that you don't want to install them permanently with grease anyway. Because I think they need to be installed with semi perment retaining compound. (green) The red thread locker won't hold good enough. I wound up going to auto parts and finding a green loctite clone, Permatex. Ace and H Depot had nothing. I'm hoping that works okay it was strongest strength they made.
    Well, like I said I'm learning as I go. I spent quite awhile at Ace and Home depot finding all the parts to make a perfect tool so I would not have to cut steerer tube. I found a lock collar that would sub. After assembly, the tool looked great. But, I think because my bores are worn slightly out of round via the bearing collars not staying bonded properly (As per Santa Cruz's original installation); pressing the bearings back in the lower bores would not go in staight. So, even pressing in a little crooked when it looks straight will score the boars.(Don't force it even a little, like you can with press fits of races in head tubes) The aluminum of the boars is very soft. So as not to damage the swingarm, I'm going to wait on the official secret handshake tool. Then, I will probably install with grease (Only to get the bores threading and make sure I have a feel for it), then; remove, clean the grease out really well, use the green compound and hopefully finish the process. Also, I'm hoping the green will not penetrate the seals on the bearings (To say the least, that would be counter productive to my hair brained effort.) But, I'm determined to use sufficient compound so the bearings stay fit. (So as not to add to the damage SC's Oem install may have done, or maybe they just worked loose, who knows!)
    - Thanks on the seals I did not know they could retain petro based grease.
    On the tool that comes from Enduro, I think it is not a press but just a puller. I would be very impressed if someone was able to use it for install, removal of Blur bearings. (take a look at it verses the one in the pdf from SC) I can only speak of use on Blur.
    I have learned allot during this process and what other riders have dealt with on the Blur bearings; the most important being never water the lower bearings and cover them with a little neoprene bearing bra and they should not have to be changed very often. (You can jury-rig the bra out of a couple of lizard skin fork boots.)

  11. #11
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    Funny, I called SC today and still no tool. But Speedgoat has em? Cute... I'm right down the cost f/ SC but I gotta get the tool f/ the other side of the country

    "Bob, I'm fairly sure that you don't want to install them permanently with grease anyway. Because I think they need to be installed with semi perment retaining compound. (green) The red thread locker won't hold good enough. I wound up going to auto parts and finding a green loctite clone, Permatex. Ace and H Depot had nothing."

    I got the Permatex clone and it's nothing like the Loctite 680, which I finally found at w.w. grainger. The 680 is specifically a retaining compound, much thicker than the Permatex (which is designed for wicking into existing threaded assemblies). It is not as permanent as the Loctite red AND does not "go off" as fast. The red would hold allright... but the second it "feels the pressure" it begins to grab, hence making it very difficult to seat the bearings.
    Check out the Loctite website for the specifics on 680, then check your local B to B yellow pages for a Grainger outlet (you'll need an acct.) or just a good industrial hardware store. You should be able to find it. Keep the green Permatex for locking down stuff like caliper shims, etc.
    And I liked/used your idea of seating the bearings with grease first. It actually helped clean up the bores. If the bearing cocked slightly, I just inserted a longer 1/2" bolt and tapped it gently to straighten it out. I then removed the bearings, cleaned out all the grease, polished up the bores with some steel wool, and re-installed with 680 using the ghetto tool. Went together smooth as butter! Used a 4" x 1/2'' bolt to align the 2 bearings together, then installed the axle with link. Works mo betta than the original install, partly due to bores being slightly larger and not squeezing the bearings to the point of "indexing" (part of the original problem, tech at SC hinted the bores were probably too tight). Assembly is staying inside tonight to allow Loctite to set up, then it's back on the frame tomorrow and go for a ride... yeehaw! (seeing as I broke my Superlite last week ).
    Hey, post a pic of your neoprene bearing bra! And be carefull of that citrus cleaner, it ate all the rubber parts in my chain cleaner!

  12. #12
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    Whoa, Glad I didn't Use The Other Permatex

    I will use the 680.

  13. #13
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    I Should Have Tool Wed and Be Able To Finish

    Yep, my secret squirrel official tool shipped yesterday.
    Thanks, Loctite 680. Ordered online from Industrial Supplies Inc (Holding Company for Hard To Find Parts), If that doesn't get here quick enough there's a Grainger in Norcross. I sure as hell won't use the other stuff now.
    (If I ever get the bike back together it will be a beautiful thing.)
    What happened to the Superlite ? Will it warranty ? Recent thread below.
    Blur XC frame Durability?
    I'm getting really irritated about some of the things I've read about all the manufactures going to 2 year warranties. (Such as Ellsworth now also has switched to 2 from lifetime. I wonder if Trek is going to go that way.
    I've had wonderful service from Trek to the point of getting several new frames no questions or b.s. over last 17 years or so. Just replaced my misaligned 5900 with Madone 5.9 SL) I've heard good things about SC service too. That's one reason I went with the Blur.
    I will post pic of the bra. Basically, all the crud that gets on the lower bearings it reduces by about 80%. (Doesn't keep it all out.) But that is significant since they get so much crap thrown down there. Tis another work in progress. I took 2 fork boots put together, cut and shaped and added extension velcro straps to loop around bottom bracket. I'm about to do a new version as they do wear out after a year or so because of the location and pivoting. You could come up with a mo better version. Thanks on citrus. Go ride.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by gehulme; 03-14-2006 at 05:33 AM.

  14. #14
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    Permatex vs Loctite

    Quote Originally Posted by glovemtb
    I will use the 680.
    Yep, the Loctite 680 product is waayy diferent from the Permatex Green.
    Also, I have been using the Permatex Blue Threadlocker and found it to be inferior to the Loctite 242 (blue, med strength)
    The Permatex products are very "runny", but the price looks good. Loctite tends to be pretty expensive, but dam, it works!

  15. #15
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    Hope Finally Got It Done

    Finally got it done. The loctite 680 makes huge difference. Like BobL mentioned I think, doesn't start seizing stays slick long enough to get the bearings in. I really coated the bores well this time but cleaned excess off also. The bearing tool from SC worked great, but still can press sideways if not careful. When this happen I carefully mitered scoring off bore caused by sideways press before trying again. Not going to put any grease outside the bearings as I believe it will break down the seal the retaining compound makes. Here lies a problem when I get creaks. Then what ? Before I would turn on side and use a dry lube on the creaky pivot and all was well after that. But, it was always related to water on the bike so......
    Also, considering the time and misc dollars spent building my own bearing tool, I guess it was about a wash purchasing official tool. Mainly cause I wasn't sure I knew what I was doing till I got the job done. Went ahead and rebuilt my Reba at the same time. Everything is smooth now.
    BobL, did you get your busted Superlight taken care of ?

  16. #16
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    Cool-blue Rhythm Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by gehulme
    Finally got it done. The loctite 680 makes huge difference. Like BobL mentioned I think, doesn't start seizing stays slick long enough to get the bearings in. I really coated the bores well this time but cleaned excess off also. The bearing tool from SC worked great, but still can press sideways if not careful. When this happen I carefully mitered scoring off bore caused by sideways press before trying again. Not going to put any grease outside the bearings as I believe it will break down the seal the retaining compound makes. Here lies a problem when I get creaks. Then what ? Before I would turn on side and use a dry lube on the creaky pivot and all was well after that. But, it was always related to water on the bike so......
    Also, considering the time and misc dollars spent building my own bearing tool, I guess it was about a wash purchasing official tool. Mainly cause I wasn't sure I knew what I was doing till I got the job done. Went ahead and rebuilt my Reba at the same time. Everything is smooth now.
    BobL, did you get your busted Superlight taken care of ?
    Glad you got everything up and running. Looks like you were very careful in your process, something I hope other owners (AND BIKE SHOPS) take the time to do.Hope it all holds up.
    Which brings me to another thought: It seems strange that more careful engineering wasn't done in the design of the bearing bores in light of the fact that it looks like it will be a oft re-curring service sitch. (I've heard about one guy replacing the bearings every 6 months... yikes). Also, I find it a little un-nerving that SC does not keep the tool in stock, but one can order it f/ an on-line dealer Not what I would call great customer service, but then, my experience with that dept at SC has been hit and miss. I would think it would be something they wouldn't want to run out of, and possibly make available to to all their dealers (the 2 local SC dealers did not have one in their service dept).
    The creak issue could be coming from many things: bearings moving in bores, axle interface to links and or bearings, bolts, etc. Seems like dry lube could be a good idea, but it still boils down to the way it all is engineered. I noticed a fair amount of flex in the lower VPP link when I hold the rear brake and push down on the pedal... hmmm. I also tried this trick on a Nomad (very slight if any) and a 6.6 (none).
    Too bad about these issues, the bike handles great and I really dig the feel of the suspension. Had an absofreekinlootly awesome ride on Sunday: 4.5 hours of singletrack ups, downs, swoops and chutes. The bike railed, but when it was all done, I kept having this thought: when will it need to be serviced again? (also got a chance to check out a 5.5 29'er... interesting). For right now, everything is holding up, but if it comes down to service headaches, the bike, and brand, is out my door.
    AS far as my SL is concerned, a friend gave me a VERY RARE 10x1 threaded insert, which I placed in a super secret spot for safe keeping. If and when I find it (it's hell getting old), I'll install it in the rear drop out (tore the threads out). There's a local frame builder who claims he can machine the drop out to accept a replaceable hanger. He's an old bud so the work would be done for some select micro-brew; much cheaper than the 350 for a new rear swingarm. But right now the BLT is working good so cross my fingers. I do have to say, 4 years on the SL and never a creak, never replaced a bearing.
    BTW, check out the Loctite site and I'd bet that the extra grease you want to use for the caps won't even affect the cured 680 ( I know this for a fact but you may want to read it from their site) Cured Loctite has to be removed mechanically.
    So get out there and ride!

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