Cleaning R/C bearings

Jerry-rigged

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Running in water - A lot of RTR's - including the Arrmas - are Water Resistant. Yes, I know Arrma and others say Water Proof, but that is not true. My fishing buddies have a saying - water will destroy anything that is not water, or fish. :) You can't stop water, you can only slow it down. Running an RC in wet conditions is fun, but you have to expect to re-lube the car. Wheel bearings, CV/U joints, ball cups especially.

How to clean RC Bearings



For cleaning bearings, take the side shields off first. for rubber shielded, use the point of an Exacto to carefully pry it out. For a metal shielded bearing, there is a small snap ring around the outer edge. Find the gap in the ring, start there to pop it out, then the metal shield will,fall out. Once the shields are off, I use brake/carb cleaner to blast out all grit and old oils (do this outdoors!!). Dry on a paper towel, then check that they spin free. Re-blast with cleaner if needed. When they are clean and dry - I relube with reel oil, or a bike 'wet' lube. Also a lube like Tri-flow is good. If you can't find a good lube, make your own, mixing 2:1 mineral spirits with auto motor oil. DO NOT USE WD-40!* Put one or two drops only on each bearing. Spin them. Add one more drop, then dab with a paper towel to remove extra. Put the shields back on, add one more drop of oil, spin them, wipe them, and they are ready to install.

While I agree bearings are kind of disposable, a little bit of care will extend their life by 3x-5x. When it comes time to replace them, I've use Fast Eddies, Avid, and the cheap Amain brand bearings. All were good - better that the RTR bearings.

*WD40 is a water displacing lube. It also does a great job of washing out oils. Also, WD40 WILL evaporate, leaving your bearings un-protected. Then, they quickly die. If you use WD40, follow up a day later with a proper non-evaporating oil, or you WILL destroy bearings.

Jerry
 

Dustin Mustangs

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Awesome post. One addition, be very careful with brake/carb cleaner. It will strip the finish or paint off just about anything and can melt some plastics. That stuff is brutal! Throttle body cleaner is slightly less aggresive and most times equally effective. YMMV.

Probably not quite as effective as your method, but I have had great luck cleaning shielded bearings with aerosol silicone spray. No need to pull the shields, just lay the bearing on a paper towel and hose it down at super close range. Move to a clean part of the towel and repeat until no more dirt comes out. Spin the bearing by hand and repeat the above until no more gunk comes out. Try flipping it over and hitting the other side too. No need to relube when done, the silicone works great for cleaning and lubrication.

D45235.jpg
 

WoodiE

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I'll add my two cents as well... I've had great success cleaning, maintaining, and even bringing back to life old bearings using the RPM Bearing Blaster with a good cleaner and lubricant. Currently I'm using Cow RC's cleaner and spray lube.
 

Jerry-rigged

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I've cleaned bearings without removing the shields too. However, if they have a a good amount of grit in them, the shields will hold the grit IN the bearing, while you are trying to get it out. Some metal shielded bearings are a PITA to get the shield out, so those get cleaned with the shield on.
 

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If i may add my two cents... i agreee fully with the cleaning aspect of this post. I have not replaced or cleaned any of the bearings in my kraton YET... i figured as the metal shielded go i will replace with rubber shielded, i do not care for metal shielded bearings, i will buy an avid or fast eddys bearing kit. I pop off rubber sheilds with utility knife blade very carefully if it gets bent in the process then i very gently tap it back flat on my bench.i do both sides then blast as stated before with carb cleaner outside when done I like to use marine grease to repack bearings one side at a time. Pack one side then spin it push grease back in and replace the sheild on that side, repeat on other side. After both sides are replaced then spin it wipe off bearing annd your done. I also use a bit of marine grease on front and rear ring and pinion gears when I rebuild diffs... works great for me made my xmaxx bearings last at least 4 or 5 times as long the inner wheel bearings were horrible on it and i was replacing one every few runs i started cleaning them every 10 or 15 and they lasted much mych much longer.... i run in water sand mud ect... my kraton will not see mud or water neither will my nero... thats what shittmaxx is for now lol. My arrmas i love, they are for jumping and going fast...
 

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If you can find a cheap ultrasonic jewelry cleaner, you can drop your bearings in there with some denatured alcohol and let it run for awhile. Change the alcohol and run it again. Keep going until the alcohol stays clean and then relube the bearings with a quality, low viscosity lubricant of your choice and you're good to go. This works great with metal shielded bearings, they usually don't even need the shields removed. Rubber shields might need to come off first.
 

Jerry-rigged

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I saw this thread float back to the top, so I figured I'd add last week's -
!!!Public Service Announcement regarding WD-40!!!

This post is not directed an any one person. Across the interwebs, I see people misusing WD-40 in a way that pretty much GUARANTEES failure of the bearings / chains / metal parts in question.

short version -
WD40 is NOT a lube. It is for Water Displacement - hence the name WD-40. After you use WD-40 on any metal part, you MUST follow up with a proper lubricating oil.

Longer version -
Here is the problem. WD40 evaporates in a day or three. But first, it does a great job of removing any water, grit, salts, oils, and grease from the part in question. So - if you blast a bearing with WD-40, it will get clean, but soon it will have no lube. Most people, I think, understand that no lube = quick death for bearings.

If you want to clean you RC car with water, and follow up with WD40, that is fine (the WD 40 will get rid of the water that can damage the bearings), but before the next run you MUST re-oil all the bearings what were washed.

this concludes the public service announcement.


Yeah, it was in the OP, but worth repeating...

Jerry
 
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