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Overhauling outboard BB bearings?

Old 08-04-19, 02:19 PM
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Road Fan
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Overhauling outboard BB bearings?

Anybody ever overhauled the ball bearings in ultratorque or similar outboard BBs? replacement is $30 to $45. How is their durability?
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Old 08-04-19, 02:50 PM
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At the low cost of complete replacement and it's "guaranty" of good condition why clean and grease the old bearings?

Having said that Phil has offered a rebuild tool for the Shimano external BB bearings. Andy
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Old 08-04-19, 03:38 PM
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I've done some SRAM GXP ones by prying out the seals, flushing and re-greasing. That was only in an emergency to get me going again until I could purchase a new one. It was never as smooth as new, because its almost impossible to get all of the grit out.
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Old 08-04-19, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by dsaul View Post
I've done some SRAM GXP ones by prying out the seals, flushing and re-greasing. That was only in an emergency to get me going again until I could purchase a new one. It was never as smooth as new, because its almost impossible to get all of the grit out.
I had the same experience.
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Old 08-04-19, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
Anybody ever overhauled the ball bearings in ultratorque or similar outboard BBs? replacement is $30 to $45. How is their durability?
How much do you ride in monsoons, submerging the BB in water...or in torrential downpours (sans fenders) forcing water in? Most people don't, so they'll last years. My UT still has the original bearings without being modified at all--then again that bike doesn't see near the abuse my gravel rig does.
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Old 08-04-19, 06:26 PM
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By the time an external cartridge bearing BB has enough grit in there to need flushed out, the bearings and/or races are generally shot. Cleaning/regreasing will add a little life, but it's gonna need replaced.

That said, I have two BBs with over 15k miles on each. Still nice and smooth.
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Old 08-04-19, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
That said, I have two BBs with over 15k miles on each. Still nice and smooth.
I have two Shimano Ultegra external bearing bottom brackets (BB-6700) with 22,000 and 24,000 miles and both are still in fine condition and working quietly and smoothly. These bikes don't get ridden in the rain intentionally but they have been anyway.
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Old 08-04-19, 07:30 PM
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I don't remember why but I replaced UT bearings once.
I think I changed them because the cranks I got were used.
UT bearings are sealed.
You need a special bearing puller or I suppose you can make one.
I think I used a 1/2"drive deep socket to install.

My other UT cranks probably got 5000+ on them and no issues.

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Old 08-05-19, 08:48 AM
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Ok, I guess the $45 replacement cost for Campy is comparable to when one buys a new UN55 or some such cartridge BB.

I just bought an aluminum Ultra-Torque Centaur CT crankset, and the installed bearings have some little catches when I rotate them. Zinn has a flush/grease process if you only have one side exposed, basically spray it with some WD-40 or something, dry and re-grease. With most used BBs I tend to run them before replacing, so I did the spraying, worked in some new Park grease, and am now ready to install. They feel smoother, so I think I managed to remove some significant crud. But without full disassembly and cleaning, or renewal, it's not going to get any better.

We'll see how it rides. If it is smoothed out like a good modern BB, then life is good and I'll just go on. If it goes bad, then I'll fix it.

Thanks, folks!
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Old 08-06-19, 02:29 PM
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Depends on your performance expectations and how you value your time. Removing bearing shields flushing and regreasing certainly does extend their life, particularly if done when the bearings are only slightly rough and have no play, but in most cases BBs have enough life that I'd personally rather just replace them wholesale in most cases. If paying shop labor rates replacement almost always makes more sense
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Old 08-06-19, 02:45 PM
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With Campagnolo, one just replaces the cartridge bearings, and not the cups.

I think some of their top of the line (Record/Super Record) bearings either lack seals, or have poor seals (race only?) And, should be able to be disassembled and flushed.

I think at least some Wheels Manufacturing bottom brackets can have the cartridge bearings replaced.

That might be a handy option for the press-in types of bearings. Actually, I think their press-in cups may screw together, which is both good and bad. Be careful with galling.
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