Subsequent to the repair of my Neptune, I inspected and analyzed the old, failed bearings I removed from the machine. I was careful to apply force only to the outer race so as not to impart further indentation marks and damage to the failed bearings.
Inspection of the bearings showed the front, larger bearing was the more severely damaged. Also, it was noteworthy that the front bearing was sealed while the rear bearing was shielded, two very different bearing constructions which provide different protection levels. A previous repair had been made whereby the incorrect shielded bearing had been installed in the rear position. Inspection showed both bearings suffered from water entering the bearing load surfaces, washing away of factory lubrication and eventual corrosion, brinelling and compromise of the load surfaces.
This application requires the use of double sealed bearings.
My Neptune is fitted with the old style seal. This shaft seal is designed to prevent wash water leaking from the tub and entering the bearing area. The seal had failed severely. There was little elastomer remaining on either of the steel seal pieces and the plastic spacer had been installed incorrectly. While there was some corrosion and wash water deposits on the spinner shaft owever the shaft cleaned up well with a small wire brush on a hand held electric drill.
Installation of the bearings went as follows;
1- Thorough cleaning of the bearing hub with the drill wire brush to remove corrosion and deposits.
2- Light application of grease to hub surfaces.
3- Heating of the metal hub area with a heat lamp.
4- Chilling of the bearings in the freezer.
Insure that the bearings are fully seated during installation and that the bearing spacer tube is centered. If the bearings are not fully seated, the seal may not operate correctly to protect the bearings from future water incursion. Properly installed bearings with a correctly installed seal should last many years.
A note about bearings; there have been comments about bearing quality from Asian sources. The bearing in our washers are not heavily loaded nor do they operate at high RPM. Chinese bearings properly installed and protected with a new properly installed seal will provide similar service life to NSK, FAG or other name brand bearings. Use HE detergents and load the washer properly. I expect my old Neptune will last at least 5 more years.
My Neptune is relegated to a position in my garage along with cars, lawnmowers, diesel tractor and a 40 foot motorhome. I can no longer hear the machine when it in the extract cycle. It is quieter than the top loader Frigidaire in the house.
Unfortunately, a rusted bottom pan will likely spell the end of life for this machine.
I'll let you all know when that happens and I'll report on the bearings and seal at that time.