Just how bad are Chinese wheel bearings?

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21,105
Location
Apple Valley, California
Thread starter
My new to me truck needed front brakes. Once I got into it I found out that somebody had packed the bearings with White Lithium grease. That grease is fine for a door hinge but not for a disc brake wheel bearing that gets driven @ 65+ mph eek So the high quality Made in USA Timkin bearings were pitted and full of metal chips. I was stuck w/o a car, no cash on me and the only place that I have a charge account with is Napa. So I had them bring out some bearings. 2 of them were SKF brand and made in China. The other 2 were plain white box Made in China. All 4 looked to be the same manufacturrer just a different box. I packed them with Valvoline Moly wheel bearing grease. I wanted the synthetic grease but Napa and A-Zone didn't have that. (I had enough cash on me to pay for grease if A-Zone had it)Anyway it's back together, seems fine but now I have Cheap Chinese bearings in the back of my mind.
 
Messages
321
Location
patterson, CA
Same here when replacing my belts. The new pulley are half the weight of the factory Toyota's! Had "china" on them. Hopefully if you regrease them often they'll last.
 
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6,404
Location
In the Garage...
I have Chinese bearings in my trailer, Knock on wood, they have been pretty good. They have been in there about 10,000 miles and this springs greasing shows no abnormal wear.
 
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Messages
17,302
Location
OH
Chinese parts are as good or as bad as their buyers were willing to pay for. NAPA generally doesn't sell junk and SKF is a reputable brand, even if the parts were made in China. Rest easy and see how they do in service.
 
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5,091
Location
USA
For loose tapered roller bearings,I wouldnt hesitate to use Mexico,China sourced bearings.Heck,your new trailers are all equipped with Chinese beaings OEM! As for hub assemblies,avoid at all cost.You just cant replace the poor grease,the lousy metal quality or the imprecise tolerances that the Chinese products possess.
 
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35,780
Location
ME
I have a chinese bearing in my wife's saturn. And I redneck installed it with a freezer, barbecue, and hammer instead of the proper press. A year later, no issues. And I bought it on price alone, from Advance. Forget the brand but it could be SKF.
 
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23,782
Location
MA, Mittelfranken.de
I bought a Gates pulley made in Canada this past week and right on the bearing it has Made in China on it, i guess the plastic and the box were Made in Canada. It seems you cant get away from this stuff.
 

skk

Messages
28
Location
OH
My Dexter trailer axle did have China bearings, well one bearing out of 8 was Romanian. When it was time to repack I did replace them with made in USA Timken, not because the Chinese bearings showed horrible signs of wear or problems, but just because I wanted to. You were in a pinch, sometimes you just have to use what is available. I'd just check for any increase in end play or anything else as they wear. FYI, I have bought USA Timken bearings at Autozone.
 
Messages
5,628
Location
London, ON, Canada
I put some cheap white box wheel bearings on a 2001 Sunfire (owner's choice) and they were done in 6 months. She had a better quality set installed the next time around and theyve been problem free since. I always buy National (when I bought for my Saturns) and I never had one go bad twice after replaced.
 
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1,443
Location
USA
So when getting Timken bearings, do you have to pull them out and make sure they are stamped USA? It seems timken stuff is from all sorts of manufacturers and thrown in a Timken box. I got three Timken hub seals and all three were different looking and had different Chinese or Taiwan markings. Can you still get Japanese SKF bearings?
 
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1,645
Location
SF Bay Area
according the timken rep.. "when a timken part is made overseas, it is made with machinery supplied by timken, materials supplied by timken AND a timken engineering team onsite at all times, so rest assured, it's a high quality Timken part."
 
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1,420
Location
Balto.
The problem with parts from China is that you never really know. They can be OK or total [censored]. Personally, I avoid auto parts from China.
 
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Messages
8,598
Location
Florida
Originally Posted By: EricF
according the timken rep.. "when a timken part is made overseas, it is made with machinery supplied by timken, materials supplied by timken AND a timken engineering team onsite at all times, so rest assured, it's a high quality Timken part."
That is very important. I have heard that when some companies build things overseas and aren't watching, the overseas subcontractor sneaks in cheaper material and charges the same price, leading to a cheap product that makes a corrupt subcontractor rich.
 
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43,638
Location
'Stralia
Something with roller bearings and early failure, is that they are subject to a high infant mortality (compared to overall failure rate), a long period of random failure, then end of life issues when they re all fatigued out. You are more likely to hear a "50 mile" story than "so long I forgot that they were there", as that's a focal point. That being said, I've considered buying $Ms of stuff made in China, but only if the company provides a Q.A. man and a Lloyds/Moodies bloke at the factory.
 
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