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Old 07-14-2003, 02:12 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
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Why can't I remove the outer wheel bearing and reinstall it without repacking it? How have I breached the grease doing that with clean fingers? If I set the bearing down, I set it on a clean sheet of wax paper.

Brian Toscano
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Old 07-14-2003, 02:55 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Motor City, MI
Posts: 2,804
The grease should be nothing less than perfect. It is difficult to open the greased area without having debris fall onto it. If you can guarantee that no debris would rain on the grease then no repacking is necessary. But no mechanic would advise that. Considering all the road grime and brake dust on the outer surfaces and crevices, repacking a bearing is the recommended practice after opening a bearing.
95 E320 Cabriolet, 140K
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Old 07-14-2003, 02:58 PM
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Thanks for the clarification.
Brian Toscano
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Old 07-14-2003, 07:03 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Northern Calif. (Fairfield Area)
Posts: 2,225

Professionally I don't have a problem pulling a bearing to perform some other service and throwing it back in as long as I was careful with the environment as you say with the wax paper. I pull the outer bearings to change rotors and ball joints. I lay the parts aside in a clean rag and throw them back in to finish the job. Back to your original question. If there are no grooves or spall marks on the old bearing and they weren't growling, by all means clean and repack them. Slight discoloration on the bearings is normal. I just wipe most of the old grease off with clean rags and repack with my hands. the new grease forces the old grease out. Considering how many bearings I've packed, it adds up to several million miles and I haven't had a problem using this method. As someone else pointed out, bearing pre load is what is critical. Be sure to get that right.

Good luck,
Auto Zentral Ltd.
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