View Full Version : so, whats the skinny on sealed bearings?

02-02-2006, 11:58 PM
i have noticed manafactures are leaning heavily towards sealed deck bearings. So i wonder how are they lasting out in the real world? The warranty seems to be two years on most, do they go way beyond or fail just out of warranty? I havent seen a post on this yet but i coulda missed it.. So whats your expierences? Also noticed on like my new gravely belt drive walk behind the rear wheel bearings are sealed along with no grease zerk on the front castor tubes. Any expierences on how these bearings and plastic bushings will hold up? If they hold up good i dont mind not having to grease spindles and make a mess, but sumthin tells me they wont last as long. So whats the real world skinny on sealed bearings? Do they last as long? Do as good of a job? I am guessing for the types that never grease they will last longer, but what about those that grease regulary?? i am hopin the last pretty good, cause i now own sealed deck bearings, and dont even want to think about changing them for many years! So thought??

later chris

02-03-2006, 12:17 AM
Fixed decks have sported sealed bearings for many years.
They're great in that you never have to grease them and they achieve far higher rpm's than their greasable counterparts.
The drawback is you have to replace them every couple of years, the cost is 50 dollars per set and it's a fun job to boot.

02-03-2006, 02:02 AM
My lazer is exactly 2 years old and has about 1400 hours on it. It has sealed bearings in the deck spindles, the front forks, and front wheels. I have not had any problems with them so far. I love them, no maintenance. I would rather have nothing to do for a few years and have to replace them once in a great while.

02-03-2006, 02:09 AM
i hate sealed bearings pesonally, id rather be able to grease them. but not a lot i can do about it

02-03-2006, 02:09 AM
My Toro has sealed bearings on the deck. It's six years old and has well over 2,400 hrs. I haven't had any problems yet but I have to assume that they won't go forever.

Richard Martin
02-03-2006, 04:18 AM
My experience with Exmark's sealed bearings hasn't been good. The Metro I got rid of seemed to eat them for lunch. My buddy has 2 Lazer Zs and he has had to replace all of the sealed bearings in his before 1200 hours.

02-03-2006, 07:41 AM
My experience is an echo of Richard. My ExmarkViking came with greasable bearings nine years ago. They lasted for about four seasons. When replacements were given to me, they were sealed. The sealed ones last one season or less (my season is 800-900 service hours).

When the current set expires, I intend to pull out the inside seals on each bearing and grease periodically with a good grade of bearing grease.

02-03-2006, 07:58 AM
Fixed decks have sported sealed bearings for many years.
They're great in that you never have to grease them and they achieve far higher rpm's than their greasable counterparts.

topsites--can you explain why you say the two statements I have bolded?

GEO :confused:

02-03-2006, 08:28 AM
topsites--can you explain why you say the two statements I have bolded?

GEO :confused:

was also wondering about the second one... higher rpm????

i smell bs.....

02-03-2006, 08:37 AM
i smell bs.....

no, I believe you smell TS.........

GEO :waving:

Richard Martin
02-03-2006, 09:16 AM
was also wondering about the second one... higher rpm????

Yeah, it seems that nobody told Dixie Chopper about that.

6'7 330
02-03-2006, 09:25 AM
We, put long hard hours during the course of the season on our Lazer Z's. No problems with sealed bearing's, three less grease points.

Our dealer dropped Exmark, so we bought two Toro z-turns, the spindles are heavy duty but require a boat load of grease.

02-03-2006, 11:29 AM
Love the sealed bearings on my eXmarks. They will last a good number of hours if you take care of them. Don't spray pressurized water anywhere near them. I personally balance every blade on my Magna balancer. I have a Metro about to start its 7th season with the original sealed bearings in it.

Envy Lawn Service
02-03-2006, 07:50 PM
Well here is what I feel the 'skinny' on the issue is....

Personally, when they are brand new and under warranty... I like sealed.
Then when they fail under warranty there are almost not excuses.
They can't say you didn't grease them properly.
They can't say you didn't grease them with the right type of grease.
They can't say you contaminated them while greasing.

But when the warranty is gone, I want grease fittings.... and on that note, some sealed housings DO have a spot for them to be tapped for a grease fitting. Have it done the first time they fail out of warranty or any time they fail close to when the warranty expires.

As far as lasting in the real world... well it depends on a lot. It depends on the conditions you mow in and how well made your particular spindles are, reguardless of brand. But a guy who knows every aspect of how to grease a spindle properly will get more life out of an otherwise equal spindle if it has a grease fitting.

Personally I have no issues whatsoever with the sealed bearings on the eXmark. No maintenance and they are as smooth as any on the market. On the other hand, the Lesco has a top greasable spindle with Timken tapered roller bearings.

No way will the eXmark spindles outlast them and that's just a fact.
In addition, no way will they stay as tight, quiet and free spinning.
Whoever said otherwise is full of it.

Overall though, I wouldn't let spindle types influence my buying decisions that much. If the spindles are no good or no good for your conditions, you'll get atleast one or two new sets for free during the warranty.

Tim Wright
02-03-2006, 08:24 PM
The Ferris has greasable, pressure releasing bearings. I think I will stick with greasing as long as I can.


02-03-2006, 10:46 PM
I like sealed bearings and I just change them every winter.

02-05-2006, 12:10 PM
man these threads get burried fast... anybody else??

later chris

02-05-2006, 01:04 PM
man these threads get burried fast... anybody else??

I prefer greasable bearings like on my LESCO 48 WB. this is an older machine that just keeps on ticking.

I grease my machine(s) about every day I use it.

I am still waiting for TOPSITES to respond to the question I asked of him in post #8 above.

GEO :)

02-05-2006, 01:58 PM
I have sealed bearings on my 44z. Within the first 40 hours of operation, a LOUD whining sound became easily noticed. Took to dealer, who I think is terrific, calls me back the next day. Apparently the right side spindle bearings were TOAST. So, about 4 days later I get my mower back. Basically it was a manufacturing defect as a notchy feeling was easily depicted with the bearing in your hand while you rotated it. Aside from that, I now have 200 hours on the maching and no problems since then.

I agree with envy in that the dealer cannot say you were negligent in greasing them. However, I think that sealed bearings will last just as long as greasables and you will not have to worry about that aspect of maintenance.

As for the urethane bushings, just be sure to spray some silicone on them every now and then and they will perform well.

02-06-2006, 09:49 AM
...I think that sealed bearings will last just as long as greasables....

I don't see a basis for this statement. but then it is an opinion...correct?

here is a funny one......a while back a kid I know in the biz that bought himself a new ENCORE 48. we talked about the spindle bearings and he said his was better than mine because his were permanently greased.

about a month later I saw him running his old mower so I stopped and heckled him over "...where was that new ENCORE"?

he came clean with me and said it was in the shop getting the spindle bearings replaced......AND GUESS WHAT?

the grease zerks for his spindles were UNDER the deck and he never even knew they were there.....

the moral of the story is non-greasable bearings definitely outlast greasable if you never grease them......

GEO :waving: