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Author Topic: Convert oil filled hubs to grease  (Read 1811 times)
Scott Bennett
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« on: June 29, 2014, 06:10:11 AM »

I've read about converting my MCI 9 oil filled hubs over to greased bearings, but I'm not 100% sure what's involved. Can I drain them, and splooge a ton of grease in them and slap the hub covers back on? Or does it require a bearing removal and repack? If so, I'm assuming that's drama?


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Scott & Heather
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2014, 06:59:08 AM »

None of the trucks we sell have grease bearings anymore. Why would you want to switch? Oiled bearings are by far better then greased. Replace the hub seals, tighten the bearings properly, put new oil in and you're done!
I changed my greased bearings to oil in 1993 and they haven't leaked yet. Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2014, 07:03:54 AM »

I would stick with the oil the rear axle needs a special seal to separate the oil from the grease buy some new Stemco covers and be done they last for years without problems yours are probably original 
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« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2014, 07:05:06 AM »

You're going to have to pull the hub off, pull off the seal, wash the inner bearing and pack it with grease, re-install a new grease type seal (might be the same as the oil type seal, but you need to check), then wash and pack the outer bearing with grease, reinstall the hub, set up the bearings with the correct clearance, then install a hub cap.  I'm not sure if you can use the original oil type Stemco, or if you need to get a solid cap.  When the hub is off you need to inspect the spacer at the base of the stub axle carefully to make sure it is still smooth enough to let the seal ride on it.  Mine were very corroded so I spent a lot of time and effort polishing them smooth enough to let me install a speedy sleeve repair sleeve over the seal area.  Is it a drama?  I changed the seals on my hubs last year, it qualified as drama to me because it didn't go very smoothly.  All of the drum fixing screws were rusted in place, I drilled them out and re-tapped the holes in the hubs.  As mentioned the spacers were corroded and I had to put speedy sleeve repair kits on, which was a total and complete PITA (not enough room to use their install tool and the flange you have to peel off wouldn't peel off, so it was invent and bodge time at the Evans Bus Garage...  The drums and hubs are heavy enough that you need to be very careful with them, and maybe even create a lift table to remove and install them.  All in all it took me about three full days to do.  It's not hard as in you need tremendous skill and experience to do the job, it's hard as in it's physically hard work.  Mind you the work needed to change the seals and keep the oil filled hub system is about identical to the work required to change to grease.

I would personally keep the oil filled hubs.  Oil is a better lubricant than grease, and if you have decent seals and hub caps and use Lucas hub oil you shouldn't have any leaks, just check them once in a while. It took some doing but I found new Stemco windows and sealing plugs for my hub caps so now I can even see the oil level from outside...

Brian

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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2014, 08:46:22 AM »

Learn something new everyday. I replaced my hub covers, so they don't leak a drop anymore. The front hub oil looks great, but I have change out the rear tag oil and it's already milky. I'll change it again and see what happens. Not sure why it's getting milky so fast. One last question, (and Brian, that is definitely drama in my opinion haha) how are the drive axles lubed? Oil also? Do I remove the little square plug to fill?


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Scott & Heather
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2014, 08:51:44 AM »

I'm not 100% on this, but I think the drive hubs are lubed by the rear end fluid, so they are basically oiled.  I'd have to look in the book to be sure.

Brian
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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2014, 09:49:25 AM »

Most times, what people assume is a leaking hub cap is a hub overfull condition which pushes it out the tiny vent hole in the rubber plug.  There is a correct oil fill line on the hub cap but a lot of people fill them right up to the plug; guaranteed to leak then.  You will have less maintenance with oil hubs, as long as the seal is installed correctly. On the GM's the maintenance manual says repack the bearings every 20,000 miles.  That would get old.  Slap a new Stemco hub cap on and add oil.  I prefer Powerpunch.  When folks paint over the clear plastic hub cap like on yours it kinda defeats the purpose of a quick glance to check hub oil level.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2014, 09:51:23 AM by Boomer » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2014, 09:57:02 AM »

Scott, yes the drive hubs recieve oil from the differential.  The plug is to fill the hubs when they are installed dry after a bearing change, etc.  They will automatically fill to the correct oil level as long as the diff has the correct oil level, which is fill right to the fill plug on the diff housing.
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« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2014, 09:59:47 AM »

I believe you have it covered, And that particular style rear housing is using in the same oil supply I agree.
That drain and fill plug on the axle picture can be very handy in draining before removal "less mess" its a pain cleaning wheels. Using them to fill would be a study out of my league,  my experience says that plug option was on the luxury list so having it in correct position to fill is probably in a book, and after this I will try and look a bit.
I am more interested in helping find the color or problem with gear oil, what may be air bubbles from expansion or exactly im curious to help fix that. The tubes or axle vents are high and a buss in water that hi I want to see pics. Sorry! Im around rivers and some unfortunate times floods, and with an Army past with river operations as a mos  lots of vehicles unloading in water was the task just here to help.
Have a Good Day
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« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2014, 10:23:43 AM »

Interesting. As for the overfill, mine bled out some fluid when I first drained and refilled after replacing the covers. Eventually they level out and it doesn't leak a drop. Again, I just need to repeat the drain and fill procedure in the tags cause the oil isn't staying clear.
It's getting milky almost as if a small amount of water is getting in there. Might be time for some new plugs. I agree on the paint over the caps. I have to pull the plug to see the level. Annoying. Thank you so much. You guys are forever helpful.


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Scott & Heather
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« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2014, 10:52:56 AM »

Some part numbers for you...

http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=25700.0

Brian
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« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2014, 11:15:06 AM »

When I purchased my MC7, it had the grease type bearings, front and drive had the seals and tag was also grease type.  That ended as soon as it was discovered, cleaned up, installed seal wear rings, seals correct bearing preload adjustment and used the hub oil on steering & tag,  never any issues nor leaks.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2014, 11:18:27 AM by wg4t50 » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2014, 12:17:21 PM »



Thanks Brian. One question, this applies to my 9 too? Some confusion on the part number as a few were being tossed around on that thread. Is this a NAPA part?


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Scott & Heather
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« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2014, 02:21:42 PM »

Those part numbers are Stemco part numbers, they make the hub cap, the transparent plastic window and the rubber plug.  The hub cap is an MCI specific part, not an industry standard part common to trucks but the window is one of their standard windows at 2.75" diameter and the rubber plug is just their normal rubber plug.  I will take a picture of my hub caps so you can see what they look like, they look different to yours but yours are all painted over so it's hard to tell.  I am pretty sure your 9 would have been the same as my 5C when it came from the factory, the other part numbers were for later model MCI's and Prevosts.

Brian
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« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2014, 07:57:12 PM »

Ok got
It. Much thanks. I would like to see a pic


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Scott & Heather
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« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2014, 04:14:20 AM »

here are pics.  Having a 5C this is a front wheel.

Brian
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« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2014, 06:32:50 AM »

I have a video and photos of the hub removal process.  It's on a GM bus, but I suspect it's the same type of heavy duty truck/bus hub.   It will show you what to expect at least.   I'm not sure if I have a video or the reassembly or not but just follow the book for bearing tightness and torque settings and it's pretty easy.    20-30 min job.  It's a maybe 2-3 on the 10 scale of difficulty.  Hardest part is lifting the heavy hub.  No specialty tools required. 


http://busgreasemonkey.com/index.php?p=/discussion/comment/3902#Comment_3902
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« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2014, 05:23:02 PM »

   What happens when a front or rear hub oil seal leaks?................ One hell of a mess and poor braking on that wheel. You can have them for our use. Not enough fuel savings for the trouble. 2EHO
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« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2014, 05:46:38 AM »

Thanks Brian and Scott. Brian, I didn't see the pics???

Scott, I am going to keep my oiled hubs. Didn't really know they were superior in some ways/less maintenance. Although when they leak, it is a nasty mess. BTW, I haven't forgotten about your great help and advice on my low power issue. I have turned my attention to my blow radiator at the moment. I took the bus for it's first test drive of the year a week ago to see if any fiddling I did fixed the issue. It didn't so I'm back to the table. Anyway, I'll be in touch Smiley
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Scott & Heather
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« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2014, 06:56:43 AM »

As you pointed out, milky oil is usually caused by water being "mixed" with the oil.  How did you drain the hub?  By removing the hub cap?  As you know, water is heavier that oil and settles in the bottom of the hub.  Removing the cap may leave some liquid in the hub which means that some water will remain.  You have to get all of the liquid out of the hub which may require removing the hub from the spindle.  Repeated oil changes may do the trick also.
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« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2014, 05:32:41 AM »

Interesting. Ok...so
In theory, immediately
After driving a length of time, I could remove the covers and drain the oil while it's still mixed with the water...


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Scott & Heather
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« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2014, 07:53:34 AM »

Interesting. Ok...so
In theory, immediately
After driving a length of time, I could remove the covers and drain the oil while it's still mixed with the water...
This should help.  It may still take a couple of tries.
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« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2014, 10:49:06 AM »

There should be 1 bolt hole that will drain the hub finding it is another story
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« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2014, 08:51:31 PM »

Oil vs grease, hmmm, age old question. Some major semi trailer manufacturers are switching back to grease packed hubs FYI.

The moisture (milky oil) can come from several things. Driving at highways speeds heats up the hub through regular friction and through use of your brakes. As the hub cools it draws in cooler MOIST air thru the vent hole in the rubber fill plug in can accumulate moisture in the hub. In extreme conditions, moisture can even get sucked in through the wheel seal by driving into a deep puddle with hot wheel hubs.

Personally if you vehicle sits for extended periods or is used very limited my vote is to use a properly grease packed lubrication format. With an oil bath wheel end lube format the oil level naturally settles to the bottom of the hub leaving 80% of the seal to dry out.

BTW, if you wheel bearing oil has moisture in it, pulling the hub is the ONLY way to remove the contaminated oil from the small reservoir cavity in the hub between the inner and outer bearing sets. Also if there is moisture present, you definitely want to wash and inspect the bearings for pitting or corrosion/rust.

If using an oil bath format, pre fill the gallery in the hub between the bearings before you install the hub onto the spindle. not mandatory but it makes filling the hub to the correct level after installing the hub go a little quicker.

Another tip when you do the bearings on a driving axle is to jack up one side wait for 5 minutes then jack the opposite side, to allow the oil from the differential to fill the oil galleries in the hubs. once you do that let the unit sit level for awhile and re-check the differential oil level. Always remove and clean (or install a new) the diff vent if you have a seal failure.

Stemco vs CR ScotsealPlus?  CR ScotsealPlus hands down! Two CR seal failures in almost 20 years of servicing trucks and trailers. Prior to that, I would sometimes have two seal failures a year with Stemco. Again, my vote.
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« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2014, 06:18:15 AM »

Second that.  CR at the top.  National seals at the bottom.
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« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2014, 06:57:39 PM »

I use seals made by Meto in Vancouver Wa best seal on the market cost a little more but worth it to me
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« Reply #26 on: July 07, 2014, 07:24:41 PM »

Is the issue of the top part of the bearings in oiled hubs rusting during long periods of sitting just an old wives tale?  My hubs were greased when I got them and I plan to leave them that way.
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« Reply #27 on: July 07, 2014, 07:36:34 PM »

Maybe after a "golden" anniversary or two!
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« Reply #28 on: July 07, 2014, 07:37:43 PM »

Yes it is a old wife's tale if rust was a problem same would happen with the rear axle bearing,if the oil does it's job the oil film protects the bearing same as grease  IMO
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« Reply #29 on: July 07, 2014, 09:06:50 PM »

The only seal leaks we have ever had on the bus were Stemco seals.  I've been told that if they are put in correctly they work well but you couldn't prove it by me.
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