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Shelf life of sealed bearings #5263917 11/11/19 07:48 AM
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ledslinger Offline OP
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I just bought 2 Mopar hub/wheel bearing assemblies made in 2001. Then I remembered the shelf life of grease is recommended by some manufacturers as 5 years. Should I be worried that 18 year old bearings grease has deteriorated and may not protect? Also seals could also have deteriorated in that time.

SKF recommends a shelf life for sealed bearings at 3 years. I already bought them and am going to run them, but wonder if I should think more about sealed bearing manufacture date when making future purchases.

Like Steve Martin's character in "The Jerk" who got the latest vintage wine because after hitting the big time he could afford the "fresh stuff" should manufacture date of sealed bearings be considered?

Re: Shelf life of sealed bearings [Re: ledslinger] #5263930 11/11/19 08:07 AM
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I guess all the older cars on the road didn’t get the memo.

While I can grease my front bearings on my Mercedes cars, the rears are all sealed and are far more than 3-5 years old.

The question is did they somehow cheapen the assembles in a way that makes the 2001 units more desirable, old grease and all?

Any signs of grease separation? Oil leaks? How do they roll?

Re: Shelf life of sealed bearings [Re: ledslinger] #5263933 11/11/19 08:13 AM
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I'm sure they would be absolutely fine. Although, I'm sure I rear a thread on here not long ago where people were popping out the seals and packing sealed bearings out with fresh grease.


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Re: Shelf life of sealed bearings [Re: ledslinger] #5263934 11/11/19 08:13 AM
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ledslinger Offline OP
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I haven't gotten them yet. They are OEM assemblies made in USA. I suspect they will be tight and leak free.

Re: Shelf life of sealed bearings [Re: ledslinger] #5264090 11/11/19 10:47 AM
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Does it matter if they are put in use? My 02 Wrangler is still running the OE hubs it had when I bought it. 178000 miles ago!


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Re: Shelf life of sealed bearings [Re: ledslinger] #5264186 11/11/19 12:51 PM
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Typical degradation of grease not stored in a hostile environment is oxidation or separation. The seal makes a big difference, either they are leaking or they aren't. If they aren't, put into use they will mix the separated oil and solids back together. However after this long a period they should be examined closely because they could have leaked many years ago and now only have a hard residue left behind as evidence, OR the hard residue could be an oil coating put on at the factory to retard rust (would be more uniform over the entire piece, not just on the bottom from a gravity leak), which is another reason some parts have a recommended shelf life - they don't want their product looking rusty even if functionally it wouldn't matter.

Last edited by Dave9; 11/11/19 12:53 PM.
Re: Shelf life of sealed bearings [Re: Dave9] #5264420 11/11/19 05:41 PM
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Good point. Never thought about it like that.


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Re: Shelf life of sealed bearings [Re: ledslinger] #5266808 11/14/19 08:56 AM
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ledslinger Offline OP
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They arrived with no sign of grease separation and leakage. I paid a premium for OEM and wish I would have considered shelf life and bought cheaper and newer parts instead of these. I doubt I'll have any problems, but still have some regrets.

Re: Shelf life of sealed bearings [Re: ledslinger] #5281403 11/30/19 06:52 PM
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ledslinger Offline OP
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I changed the one that I suspected was noisy, but I wasn't sure. Before I removed the suspected one, I ran the car with the wheel removed and the hub spinning while on a jack stand. The noise was pretty loud from the drivers seat, when the tire was on the ground, at about 35 MPH. Spinning in the air, the noise was minimal, even putting a socket extension on the housing and up to my ear.

I'm amazed that a bearing that transfers so much noise when loaded, barely makes a whirring while spinning in the air. I wish had some kind of roller fixture to set the tire on to load the bearing while the wheel is driven.

Happy I replaced the correct one.

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