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All Balls bearings and seals etc ...

Discussion in 'XJ Technical Chat' started by Holeshot, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. Holeshot

    Holeshot Member

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    Yuma, Arizona.
    All Balls ... Moose Racing ... whatever ... same same. Comes down to being distributors for KML Bearings out of China.

    Ok ... sour-assed political gripes and nationalization idioms out of the way here ... I seem to be able to find either very happy folks, or very disatisfied folks.

    I figure some of the disgruntled are just trying to "fit in with the kewl kids" and slam the bearings because they think it sounds neat to be so decisive. I figure there is yet another group that uses big hammers and lots of beer to install bearings and seals which explains those failures. Yet even still it seems to be about a 50/50 split on love 'em/hate 'em.

    Seems like they have some QC issues then? About half of their stuff is crap, about half of their stuff is great.

    I've been a metal worker most of my adult life. I used to chuckle at the old timers that would bitch about imported steels, saying they weren't as good. Until I got better at metalworking. Then I started noticing very definite differences in US or German steel vs other imported steels. The good stuff just cuts better, welds better, shapes and behaves better. It's just .. better.

    Having said that I can easily imagine what type of crappy metalurgy that could end up in the balls themselves. All of the greatest greases and finest triple-lip seals on the planet aren't worth two nickles if the metalurgy in the bearings themselves isn't up to it.

    Recently I had a long talk with my local bearing supplier at Kaman Bearing here in Yuma. Jill is very knowlegable, and we've been buying bearings from her for nearly 17 years now. We used to own and operate an industrial power equipment repair center. We were the warranty and factory authorized repair center for about fourty different power tool and power equipment manufactureres from 1994 to 2009. I bet we installed over two thousand bearings in that time. In any case we were talking to Jill and she was telling us that most of the imported cheepo bearings have been lasting the industrial users about 30% of the time that better bearings last.

    That "1/3rd" figure seem to be consistant with most of the disatisfied folks you find on the mighty mighty internet as well. Seems those folks say that on their bikes the imports last only about 30% as long as the better ones.

    Anyhow ... I did the search gig here, and didn't find much. Is the same 50/50 split here as well? Are the unhappy ones seeing about a 30% lifetime of better bearings with imported/All Balls type stuff?

    I had a friend lose her life on an LA freeway in 1992. The paramedics said she probably died after the fourth car hit her. Thinking of Linda, I can only imagine what a locked front wheel bearing on a busy freeway must be like. The horror of it all must be overwhelming. Hopefully it doesn't last too long.

    So anyway .. any thoughts on the Chinese bearings or the fork seals? I've heard great and terrible about both of them. Ugh! It's just too ambiguous for me. I think I'll chicken out and go ahead and pay the extra $30 for NTN or FAG or SKF or something. And in the forks, OEM fork seals seem to be better than anything aftermarket anyhow.

    Like Kenny Roberts used to say in the Bell Helmet ads of the 1970s ... "Got a $10 head? Wear a $10 helmet!".

  2. grunt007

    grunt007 Member

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    I'm personally a firm believer in quality steel which as you say there isn't much of it around today. In drill bits if you do much drilling of steel you learn quick that the foreign stuff isn't worth much but then the new American drill bits are mostly junk also. You can tell as soon as you touch them to a grinder and see the sparks that fly! Personally I like Timken bearings when I can get them. Last year I bought a 5 ft. 3-point hitch finish mower for my tractor. It was called a Dark Horse from TSC. The fourth time I mowed the yard with it I noticed when I parked it that all the gear case oil was leaking right out the front seal. I can see now that I could probably make it an acceptable mower if I take the gear case off of it and put new (good bearings and seals) in it but as they say Crap is Crap! I bought it from TSC and they bought it straight from China. No more of their junk for me, the cost saving is not worth the waste of time repairing it. In my XJ750 there isn't going to be anymore foreign junk going into it since my body has to rely on it. 81'XJ750 SecaR, grunt007, Mi.
  3. MiCarl

    MiCarl Active Member

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    Livonia, MI (Metro Detroit)
    When it was made your XJ750 was probably considered foreign junk by many. :lol:

    I've not been impressed by All Balls fork seals. They are very difficult to drive home. I rebuilt a set of GSX-R600 forks where the customer provided an All Balls seal kit. I needed to use a press to get the dust wipers home and they'd climb back out in about an hour. We ended up replacing the All Balls kit with Suzuki parts that went together without a hitch.

    That same motorcycle also got a set of All Balls steering bearings. I didn't have any particular difficulty installing them, but it has been back twice in few miles for adjustment because they were loose. Not sure if it's the bearings or another issue. If they loosen up again I'll have to disassemble to see whats going on.
  4. bigfitz52

    bigfitz52 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Rural SE Michigan 60 miles N of Motown
    slightly OT, but---

    Try to FIND an American made:

    Floor Jack

    Bicycle for less than $500


    The list goes on. What's truly amazing is that we used to consider Japanese stuff "foreign junk" but now Jap stuff is viewed as top quality (and it is) and it's China we need to worry about. I've been down this path with Chinese/Taiwanese (automotive) brake rotors vs. ones made in North America; same PN from the same distributor; you need to watch the labels on the boxes the parts come in. The Chinese/Taiwanese parts were so poorly cast as to warp the first time the brakes got hot. No problems with the Mexican/Canadian ones.
  5. inet101

    inet101 Member

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    I know what ya mean Holeshot....

    My background is Tool & Die and Mil Spec Aerospace . Nothing from the chinaman used in ALCMs......Re cut LOTS of molds from "over there" cuz they could not be repaired when in the die shop. Have to make a new one from scratch. Customer would always end up ordering new molds from china cuz they were 1/3 of what our price was. Did not matter that they were time release junk.....I could go on....but

    I'm a absolute nazi on quality bearings, seals and materials.....One reason I do not work on others projects and my own take a while to get finished.

    Hardware & fasteners are a nuther place of concern. Quality items are still available but they are not cheap and ya have to look around a bit to find them.

    Observation based on experience......

    Bottom line is most folks either do not know the difference between Quality components and sub standard or could care less.......They just want cheap & fast

    Sad but true for the most part me thinks............
    Kickaha likes this.
  6. Dave in Ireland

    Dave in Ireland Active Member

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    Necro-thread alert!
    Anyway, it's worth reading the opinions on here, because they directly express what I've been saying for years.
    I don't trust All-Balls bearings, nor any of them from un-named sources. If a bearing doesn't have a proper manufacturer's name on it, it's likely re-boxed imported junk.
    I've only ever fitted Koyo to my bikes, because that's what the factory bearings were, and in the case of wheel bearings they commonly last more than 50,o00 miles - some of them are far more than that.
    The odd thing is, that if you source them right you can get genuine Koyo from a local bearing supplier or online for not much more than you'd pay for the other cheapy ones anyway.
    When it gets down to it, I'd rather pay a couple (literally) of extra quid for a decent bearing than try to cheap out on something that will likely fail a lot sooner.
    Same goes for brake parts.
    Kickaha likes this.

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