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Sealed vs open bearings. What's better? #5265467 11/12/19 07:51 PM
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motor_oil_madman Offline OP
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I found out today that even though I thought I made it clear that I wanted to buy the bearings for the driveshaft on my boat, the shop went ahead and used sealed bearings vs the open bearings it was supposed to have. Too late now I guess..... There was a zerk fitting on the bell housing, why would they do this? Am I making too big a deal out of this?


2007.5 dodge cummins 6.7 liter. Chevron Delo400 15w40. 7000 mile or 250-300hr intervals.

Re: Sealed vs open bearings. What's better? [Re: motor_oil_madman] #5265514 11/12/19 08:45 PM
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Depends on the application, not a simple answer.

Re: Sealed vs open bearings. What's better? [Re: motor_oil_madman] #5265531 11/12/19 08:56 PM
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Kestas Online Content
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I'm not familiar with the application. I'm assuming the bearing is mounted in a cavity the already excludes the environment.

Every once in a while we see a sealed bearing specified in a closed cavity environment. This is to keep the break-in particles out of the bearing. The down side is that more heat is generated during operation.

Re: Sealed vs open bearings. What's better? [Re: motor_oil_madman] #5265595 11/12/19 10:05 PM
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You can probably pop the seal off the bearing


1978 Chevrolet k20
Engine: Delo 10w30xle
Transmission: Castrol transmax dex/merc

1984 Mercedes-Benz 300 turbo diesel
Engine: Delo 400 15w40le
Re: Sealed vs open bearings. What's better? [Re: motor_oil_madman] #5265623 11/12/19 10:53 PM
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motor_oil_madman Offline OP
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So is it too much to ask to get them to do the job again the right way? They pretty much have to remove the engine, remove the outdrive, and remove the bell housing which in cases the two bearings. Why do I have to pay for work done incorrectly? How come I always get the shaft whenever i pay people to do things?

Last edited by motor_oil_madman; 11/12/19 10:58 PM.

2007.5 dodge cummins 6.7 liter. Chevron Delo400 15w40. 7000 mile or 250-300hr intervals.

Re: Sealed vs open bearings. What's better? [Re: motor_oil_madman] #5265635 11/12/19 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by motor_oil_madman
So is it too much to ask to get them to do the job again the right way? They pretty much have to remove the engine, remove the outdrive, and remove the bell housing which in cases the two bearings. Why do I have to pay for work done incorrectly? How come I always get the shaft whenever i pay people to do things?


What bearings are you talking about ? Initially I thought you meant the gimbal bearing that is in the gimbal housing. But there is only one bearing there- the old style was open and able to be greased, while the new style is sealed. Is this a Merc Alpha One or Bravo drive ? Having torn apart numerous Merc stern drives I might be able to give you a non-biased answer.

Re: Sealed vs open bearings. What's better? [Re: motor_oil_madman] #5265636 11/12/19 11:22 PM
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I’d ask for a warranty on it since they did the exact opposite of what you asked, or make it right and do what you had asked for in the first place.


2016 Chrysler 300S v6
2018 Dodge Grand Caravan GT

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Re: Sealed vs open bearings. What's better? [Re: rubberchicken] #5265637 11/12/19 11:33 PM
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motor_oil_madman Offline OP
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Originally Posted by rubberchicken
Originally Posted by motor_oil_madman
So is it too much to ask to get them to do the job again the right way? They pretty much have to remove the engine, remove the outdrive, and remove the bell housing which in cases the two bearings. Why do I have to pay for work done incorrectly? How come I always get the shaft whenever i pay people to do things?


What bearings are you talking about ? Initially I thought you meant the gimbal bearing that is in the gimbal housing. But there is only one bearing there- the old style was open and able to be greased, while the new style is sealed. Is this a Merc Alpha One or Bravo drive ? Having torn apart numerous Merc stern drives I might be able to give you a non-biased answer.


Mine is an older Volvo penta drive and has two open bearings called primary driveshaft bearings inside the flywheel housing. So instead of global bearing they're called pds bearings.

Last edited by motor_oil_madman; 11/13/19 12:03 AM.

2007.5 dodge cummins 6.7 liter. Chevron Delo400 15w40. 7000 mile or 250-300hr intervals.

Re: Sealed vs open bearings. What's better? [Re: motor_oil_madman] #5265638 11/12/19 11:34 PM
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motor_oil_madman Offline OP
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The engine has to be removed to acces the forward bearing.


2007.5 dodge cummins 6.7 liter. Chevron Delo400 15w40. 7000 mile or 250-300hr intervals.

Re: Sealed vs open bearings. What's better? [Re: Kestas] #5265654 11/13/19 12:24 AM
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motor_oil_madman Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Kestas
I'm not familiar with the application. I'm assuming the bearing is mounted in a cavity the already excludes the environment.

Every once in a while we see a sealed bearing specified in a closed cavity environment. This is to keep the break-in particles out of the bearing. The down side is that more heat is generated during operation.



Yes it's supposed to be in a grease cavity. Although now since they put sealed bearings in, maybe that cavity no longer needs to be filled with grease.


2007.5 dodge cummins 6.7 liter. Chevron Delo400 15w40. 7000 mile or 250-300hr intervals.

Re: Sealed vs open bearings. What's better? [Re: motor_oil_madman] #5265705 11/13/19 06:15 AM
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I’d talk to the shop, maybe they had a good reason to install sealed bearings based on their experience. One of the issues with bearings greased through Zerk fittings is dirt contamination, incompatible grease and over greasing. Sealed bearings will probably run a long long time.

I would be more concerned that they used quality bearings from SKF, NTN, etc.

Re: Sealed vs open bearings. What's better? [Re: motor_oil_madman] #5265719 11/13/19 06:37 AM
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I service medium to large Air Handler Units. College campus units. 40 or more. Ive been to the bearing classes. Ive been to the ultrasound testing classes. Improper grease, contaminants introduced while greasing and over greasing are the main causes of bearing failure. Since I took over the greasing route the AHU bearings are running cooler and quieter. Main reason is I don't give the bearings a shot or 6 of grease every month. Some of the ones that ran hot are room temp now because I have not given them ANY grease for 2 months. Trust me they likely did you a favor with sealed bearings. That way the mechanic that thinks you need to pump in grease until it comes out the side cannot screw up your bearings.

Re: Sealed vs open bearings. What's better? [Re: motor_oil_madman] #5265758 11/13/19 07:55 AM
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I also have an older volvo/penta combo with the SX outdrive. My gimbal bearing is sort of a hybrid. It looks like it is sealed but with a metal seal instead of rubber but it has a hole in to seating surface which lines up with a hole in the housing which leads to a zerk fitting on the outside of the gimbal housing. Some grease will come out of the bearing around a very small gap in the seal...so I guess maybe you could call it a shrouded bearing.

Re: Sealed vs open bearings. What's better? [Re: motor_oil_madman] #5266038 11/13/19 12:24 PM
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Just an FYI every class I have taken with the "experts" have always claimed that if you see grease coming out the side of the bearing you have over greased it. Listening with the ultrasound unit as you greasing actually confirms over greasing. The smooth bearing sound becomes noisy just before the grease comes out the side and the bearing temp goes up.

Last edited by jacobsond; 11/13/19 12:25 PM.
Re: Sealed vs open bearings. What's better? [Re: motor_oil_madman] #5266069 11/13/19 01:08 PM
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Apparantly the open bearings weren't in stock. That's the reason why he installed the sealed bearings...….


2007.5 dodge cummins 6.7 liter. Chevron Delo400 15w40. 7000 mile or 250-300hr intervals.

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