Wheel bearing grease

Ken Chambers

Platinum Subscriber
I've been trying different wheel bearing grease over the years in an attempt to make my front wheel bearings last longer due to rusting. Seems a year or two is all I get out of the bearings before they get noisy from pitting of the rollers and races. I replace the inner grease seal and have the rubber cap over the stub axle but water invariably gets inside. After the boating season I pull the wheels and hubs to allow any water to evaporate but that would certainly be a pain to do throughout the year.

The standard Molybdenum disulfide grease doesn't do the trick. I think the Moly is there for lubricity purposes and has nothing to do with anti-rusting.

I've tried boat trailer grease with near disastrous results. I found that it dried out and nearly burned up a bearing.

I've recently tried an LPS product called Aqua Bearing grease, touted for all its good grease characteristics plus excellent corrosion resistance and good adhesion properties.

Still have noisy bearings after a year.

Has anybody found a grease that is truly effective in preventing rusting of the wheel bearings?
 

dutchamphi

Proud Sponsor of the Amphicar Digest
I've been trying different wheel bearing grease over the years in an attempt to make my front wheel bearings last longer due to rusting. Seems a year or two is all I get out of the bearings before they get noisy from pitting of the rollers and races. I replace the inner grease seal and have the rubber cap over the stub axle but water invariably gets inside. After the boating season I pull the wheels and hubs to allow any water to evaporate but that would certainly be a pain to do throughout the year.

The standard Molybdenum disulfide grease doesn't do the trick. I think the Moly is there for lubricity purposes and has nothing to do with anti-rusting.

I've tried boat trailer grease with near disastrous results. I found that it dried out and nearly burned up a bearing.

I've recently tried an LPS product called Aqua Bearing grease, touted for all its good grease characteristics plus excellent corrosion resistance and good adhesion properties.

Still have noisy bearings after a year.

Has anybody found a grease that is truly effective in preventing rusting of the wheel bearings?
 

dutchamphi

Proud Sponsor of the Amphicar Digest
I am using Amsoil grease and my frontbearings did last for more than 4 years, combined with bearing buddies.
 
We had this problem with Amphicar in the 80s and 90s but Dad and some friends in Germany and the US worked out what happening and the bearings seem to last forever now. There are 5 steps:
1. Amsoil HD grease is all you need, pack as much in as you can, don't half fill as is traditional.
2. Buy high quality European made bearings from a trusted local supplier. These are standard sizes stocked everywhere. FAG or SKF are normally OK but ask for the premium expensive versions, they are still only a few $ each. Many 30204 and 30206 out there are poor quality made in China or India.
3. Use a good quality seal with the lip facing towards the car, that is backwards to how it would be fitted in a normal car. It's not clear in the manual and many people get it wrong, you want to stop water coming in, not grease coming out.
4. Check the oil seal bearing surface very carefully, if it is pitted then either skim or sleeve it. If it is very minor and not wide you might be OK with a 12 or 8 rather than standard 10mm seal.
5. Use the rubber caps. These are critical to balancing the pressure and not causing "suck" as the temp drops when you enter water (the main problem). Ideally press the caps with your thumb so they have a little dent which helps them expand and contract easier. The original rubber caps Amphicar used reacted to the Moly grease and fell apart, on later cars Amphicar used metal caps but that wasn't an improvement, we think it was a "this'll do" solution when the company had bigger problems and were past caring !

(We did try Bearing buddies for a short time many many years ago but found too many problems, they are designed for trailers and work by pressuring the grease in the hub. To work on Amphicar you need to fit that oil seal in the conventional way to try and keep the pressure in, find a method to ensure the buddies stay tight on the hub and check them regularly to ensure pressure doesn't drop, then find a way to fit the hub cap back on, appreciate they might work for some people but not for us.).
 
Last edited:

Ken Chambers

Platinum Subscriber
Regarding the front wheel bearings, in April 2013 I changed them, so two boating seasons. On the left side Koyo Japan (30206 inner) and NSK Japan (30204 outer) and on the right side both URG Romania. Used LPS Aqua Bearing grease. The left wheel freely rotates smooth and quiet while the right side is rough and noisy. I haven't pulled them apart just yet and other variables may be contributing factors but this lends credence to Cameron's recommendation to use high quality bearings.
 

jfriese

Active Member
I use Gord's shortened bearing buddies ( so that the hub caps will fit on), regular Amsoil grease filled to capacity but not pushing out the bearing buddy much, if at all. I also used GI's double lip outer seal with the spring side facing in. But found that either way you install it the inner lip goes too far into the housing to work so I put a loop of wire behind the seal to space it out about 3/32". This not only makes the inner seal work but also moves the rubbing area of the seal to a different area of the hub, which might be handy if your hub is worn at the original seal line. I have GI bearings installed and the bearings have stayed quiet for about 4 years so far. I'll try that special Amsoil grease next time I need to buy grease.

Gord said he might not be making those shortened bearing buddies anymore though. I don't know anyone else doing it so let's talk Gord into going back into production of them.

Those nitrile rubber covers were made by Louisiana Ken but he only made one batch. I think Capone has the mold but I don't think he has made anymore of them. They were round on the end but I would have liked to see a flatted end so that expansion and contraction would happen easier. I like the bearing buddy solution but I have at least 2 sets of Ken's nitrile caps that I've never used since I was happy with the buddies. For "original" purist though the caps are certainly more like the original Amphicar parts, only better since they won't rot.

John Friese
67 White
67 Red
 
Last edited:

dougklink

Member
I'd love to make up some bearing buddies on my lathe. Anyone know what number gord was using if he doesn't want to do it anymore?
 

SNOWBIRD

Amphicar Expert
iT'S NOT THAT I DON'T MAKE THEM ANYMORE ITS JUST THAT THE TIME IS SO LONG TO TURN SS BEARING BUDDIES THAT THE COST WAS MORE THAN I COULD SELL THEM FOR. Opps didn't see caps were on.
I custom fit each one to press fit tolerance on a new hub.
 

LSolheim

Member
I got a pair of ss bearing buddies and I'll give it a try on the lathe.
Although I went back to the rubber caps for the front bearings, the BBs I have are plastic, turned to fit inside the front hub flange. The benefit of plastic is the thicker side wall providing material to turn to size, but leaving enough for the press-in installation. I actually have them for the rear also (although they don't really serve any purpose). Same plastic, but this time they have a stainless strap, almost like a CV-joint boot clamp, that presses over the rear hub flange.
.
Would you like some pictures? --Larry
 

dougklink

Member
That would be great. Either post here if possible or email to dougklink at gmail.com. (Just put the @ in, writing it out avoids web crawlers.) Thanks!
 

LSolheim

Member
That would be great. Either post here if possible or email to dougklink at gmail.com. (Just put the @ in, writing it out avoids web crawlers.) Thanks!
Too many old parts, poorly organized. Attached is a picture of the rear BB, still on the car. When I switched the fronts back to the rubber caps I probably put those BB "somewhere special, so I'll know where to find them"! (NOT).

Rear-BB.jpg
 
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