Cleaning and re-greasing shielded bearings (no disassembly)

My neighbour Reg has this ShopSmith accessory bandsaw.

But the lower blade guide thrust bearing squeal quite a lot.

If the blade is forced forward with piece of metal against the back of the blade the squeal from this bearing goes away. So we were sure it's this bearing.

He was planning on buying a new bearing, but I said "I'm sure that bearing is still good with a bit of grease in it".

So I took it out and rinsed it in some paint thinner. That got quite a bit of dirt off of it, but how to wash the dirt from the inside?

So I made this jig with a 22 mm hole for the bearing, and a smaller hole for the blow gun from my air compressor. Then a small plug for the middle of the bearing, and I was able to blow air through it.

This made a nice spray of paint thinner coming out of the bearing from the air going through it.

I re rinsed, spun it, and blew it out a few times to try to get the internal dirt out as best I could.

I built this vacuum cleaner jig to get grease into the bearing.

It's block of wood attached to the end of the vacuum cleaner hose has a 22 mm hole that the bearing just fits into at the top.

Then spreading grease around the top if it while sucking air through it, it was easy to get the grease to go into the bearing, with some of it coming out the other side.

I spun the bearing while I was doing this to make sure the grease got spread around.

I put the thrust bearing back under the table and tried it out. No more noise from that bearing.

But then I could hear another set of bearings squeal.

The ShopSmith bandsaw has another "thrust bearing" just left of the top wheel, and that was making noise. When the blade was forced forward, it also stopped making contact with that bearing.

ShopSmith bandsaws are kind of a strange design. The wheels are completely flat (no crowned wheels) and no tracking adjustment. The bandsaw is designed to track the blade hard against the thrust bearings all the time. The bearing left of the top wheel is to ensure that the blade doesn't run off the back of that wheel.

Also, blade tension is adjusted using the screw left of my finger. This screw is turned with an allen key from the left, and it moves the red part of the lever to the right, which in turn pivots the thing that holds the top wheel upwards.

I also took out the upper blade guide thrust bearing. With three more bearings to re-grease now, I made another jig, this one to go on the end of my grease gun, and fitting one of the ball bearings, to pump grease through the bearings. This was much faster than the vacuum cleaner method, but messier, with a lot of grease left in the jig afterwards.

With all the thrust bearings re-greased, the bandsaw now ran without squealing.

But the ShopSmith bandsaw reminded me of this Craftsman bandsaw, though without the broken tilting mechanism and messed up drive belt pulley. So not a lost cause like the craftsman bandsaw was.