Originally Posted by Scott_in_Tulsa
My question is has anyone looked into repacking or replacing the bearings and races on the rear wheels of a front wheel drive vehicle (like my 2000 Honda Civic Coupe)?
Yes. Supposedly my (1991 CRX) bearings are sealed, but...
A year or two ago, after talking the matter over with my mechanic, we looked into the situation and discovered that the rear wheels could be drilled directly in the center (the area the small OEM hubcap covers), and this would allow the grease past the dust covers of the bearings (but without effecting the wheel structure, or hitting any critical structures of the wheels). Once this was done, we were able to tap that small hole (in the wheel), and screw in a grease fitting. Of course, once the grease fitting was in place, we used a grease gun to squirt in some high-tech synthetic grease (into that area that now had the exposed bearings), and spun the wheels with our hands (thereby starting the process of working that grease into the bearings themselves).
Yes, this means that we weren't able to clean out the old grease (as if there was much of it left, after 15 years on OEM sealed bearings), so we were just limited to putting new (much better than OEM) grease into the wheels. But even that (alone) made a very noticeable difference!
And while we didn't do any tests that quantified the difference, the effect was very noticeable (to both me and the mechanic doing the work). The first thing that we noticed was that the wheel just spun MUCH freer (the mechanic commented that it has been around 20 years since he saw wheels spin that freely, and the last time was on an almost new car), when up on the jack (and hand spinning the wheel). i.e. the wheel went from quickly slowing down (before this process), to spinning and spinning and spinning (almost as if we had lowered a huge amount of friction). And the effect translated very noticeably into longer/faster coasting when I got on the road. And as good as that was, the effect even got a little better over time (as the grease we injected into the wheels, worked its way around the bearings, to give them better lubrication). So yes, I think it was a "win".
If anyone is interested, the grease we ended up going with is the Amsoil "Series 2000 Racing Grease" ( https://www.amsoil.com/storefront/grg.aspx
). I picked that grease (even before I was registered as an Amsoil dealer), because it seemed like about as good of a grease as I could easily find on the market. It's not a waterproof grease (but also doesn't fall apart at the first sign of water), but that's not a concern for sealed areas like wheel bearings. And that grease otherwise seems to hold up very well, as well as being fairly slick (both properties you want in this application).
BTW: In the off chance that someone wants to check with me about Amsoil products, let me know. As an Amsoil dealer (at least on paper, I can often go months without having a client), I should be able to offer at least some discounts (off Amsoil retail) for gassavers members.