Problem: We tend to ignore our casters, and then they give us trouble. Should we be lubricating them? Solution: Greasing both the caster swivel and the wheel serves three purposes: it prevents rusting of the balls and raceways, prevents galling and reduces noise.
In situations involving only a few casters, the grease, a No. 2 bearing grease, can be smeared on with a finger with the wheels still in place. Otherwise, the wheels should be removed and the head regreased, either through the grease nipple, if fitted, or by a needletip fitting on a grease gun. Two full squirts are usually adequate.
The axle bushing should be checked for wear and replaced if heavily worn, then smeared with about a teaspoon of grease along the inside of the wheel bearing (the grease should be forced up into the rollers). The axle bushing should then be reinserted carefully into the roller bearing wheel, and the wheel reassembled into the caster.
The swivel assemblies should not require any adjustment throughout their operating life. Any slackness present in wheel bearings can often be improved by replacing the axle bushing, and, if necessary, the bearings can be replaced as well. Often, simply regreasing B-type bearings is enough. Sealed precision Q-type bearings seldom wear sufficiently to need attention.
Polyurethane wheels usually outlast any trolley to which they are fitted. Regarding tube fittings, it is advisable that any tube fitting on expanding stem casters be checked after the first three months, and then annually. Mr. O’s thanks for this tip go to Fallshaw Pty Ltd., Victoria, Australia, whose casters are distributed in North America by Albion Inc., an affiliate of Colson Associates Inc.
Do you have a solution for a maintenance problem? Send it in and if it’s published, we’ll send you a Mr. O Problem Solver T-shirt. Include your address, telephone number, print complete details and, if possible, add a sketch to help explain your tip. Send your tips to Mr. O, Machinery & Equipment MRO, 12 Concorde Place, Suite 800, Toronto, ON M3C 4J2.