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angel71rs 07-17-2006 03:17 PM

Wanna maybe save $80? LS1 idler pulleys.
I've worked with bearings a lot as a tech in industry, and have pulled a few middle of the night repairs on equipment with squealing bearings by popping seals off, stuffing them with grease, reinstalling them till a replacement could be found, just to get a machine back in production.

The bearings on LS1 idler pulleys have a rep for going bad. So while I changed the oil today, I thought I'd pop one off and see if it had removable seals. Sure did. With ~ 21k miles on my Z, I expected the grease inside to still be in decent shape.

WRONG! The bearing was completely dry, the (no doubt) cheap grease the maker of the bearing used had completely cooked off, was just a dark powder here and there in the bearing. A few spots on the seal still had bits of some uncooked light yellow grease:

The balls and races themselves were still in good shape, no damage yet. So I decided to stuff them with a quality high pressure wheel bearing grease. On one side, the bearing cage is closed, if the 1st seal I removed was this side, I would just pop off the opposite side to get to the cage side with openings that could be packed with grease:

I used a fine tip flat blade screwdriver to carefully remove the seals, dig out as much as I could of the cooked grease and to pack the fresh grease into the bearings. After packing, I reinstalled the seals, making sure the inside and outside diameters fully seated in their grooves. Good to go, and only added about an hour to the oil change.

If your bearings aren't screaming yet, might be something to consider doing.

Of course you could just buy the 4 pulleys if/when they go bad, but that costs money... and can you be assured the replacement manufacturer used a top quality grease, or the cheapest stuff they could get by with? Like the company that supplied GM with the original bearings?

:::edited to add pics and update:::

Just did it on my 3rd LS1. Changed liftoff method. Now I hook it near inner part of the seal. Seal has a metal insert, grab it by there. Lift carefully, pops right up. You can't see metal ring when seal is still on, but you can feel it with screwdriver. Just make sure screwdriver isn't sharp so you don't damage seal. Mine was nice and dull from many years of use. Pic of liftoff:

To reinstall, I apply pressure with my thumbs on opposite sides of the seal, press down, and it pops right in. Make sure metal ring of seal is towards bearings. Pic of grooves where seal pops into:

If a spot on seal doesn't slip in, use screwdriver to press it into groove. Pic:

This is what it looks like when you take off bottom 3 pulleys. 2 had backing slingers, just left them in place so they wouldn't grow legs and wander away:

Sparkz28ss 07-17-2006 04:01 PM

Re: Wanna maybe save $80? LS1 idler pulleys.
good stuff

mmmchickenboy 07-18-2006 11:32 AM

Re: Wanna maybe save $80? LS1 idler pulleys.
This is a good thread. I wish I knew about this sooner.

Thanks for the information!

Bert02SS 07-18-2006 04:38 PM

Re: Wanna maybe save $80? LS1 idler pulleys.

Originally Posted by mmmchickenboy
This is a good thread. I wish I knew about this sooner.

Thanks for the information!


danziger 07-18-2006 04:40 PM

Re: Wanna maybe save $80? LS1 idler pulleys.
Nice! Good info!

blacknight 07-22-2006 04:51 PM

Re: Wanna maybe save $80? LS1 idler pulleys.
I did this with my ac pulleys. Silent now.

gillbot 07-22-2006 07:52 PM

Re: Wanna maybe save $80? LS1 idler pulleys.
No visible damage doesn't mean it is not damaged.

bmotwani 07-23-2006 04:50 AM

Re: Wanna maybe save $80? LS1 idler pulleys.
Very resourceful. Thanks for it.

hurraquio 07-30-2007 07:03 PM

how did you popped them off?

Kraest 07-30-2007 07:38 PM

Gonna stick this for a bit. Good info.

angel71rs 08-02-2007 10:39 AM

Originally Posted by hurraquio (Post 4771522)
how did you popped them off?

The seals? Used a small screwdriver, the type that clip on your pocket. The smaller the better. Just slide it in carefully at the outer diameter of the seal and pop it right up.

hurraquio 08-02-2007 05:10 PM

ok so how do you remove the pulleys? do you have to take the belt off?

angel71rs 08-05-2007 01:39 AM

You remove 2 belts, 2 idlers per belt. One of the bolts is a torx, don't remember the size bit to use. Just make sure the torx recess is clean so the bit doesn't round out.

wrd1972 08-15-2007 08:39 PM

I know I am on the wrong side of the tracks here but this works well on opti-spark bearings too.

LETHALxLS1 08-19-2007 01:42 PM

Awsome idea. Some of the best ideas are the simplest!

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