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Sonny's-Carwash College™ Tip of the Month

Greasing the Bearings on a Top Motor Side Washer

CarWash College™ Preventive Maintenance Tip of the Month

November 19, 2007
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At CarWash College™ we teach preventive maintenance. This month we are going to talk about a piece of equipment that often goes unchecked — the top motor side washer. This piece of equipment is responsible for ensuring that the rocker panels on a car are clean. In this article we will talk specifically about greasing the bearings and how this could save you both time and money.

Let's start off with what needs to be done on a weekly basis to keep the unit operating at peak performance. The most important weekly action is to grease the rotational bearings. The rotational bearings are located on the brush side of the top motor side washer housing. They are easily identified because the brush shaft runs through them. There will be one on the top of the housing and one on the bottom.

After locating the bearings find the zerk fittings. In most cases they are located on the front side of the bearing. Take a rag and clean the zerk fittings before greasing the bearings. This is a crucial step because it is important not to push any dirt or other contaminates into the bearings. Attach the grease gun to the zerk fitting and add two to three pumps of grease. While greasing the bearings, only water should come out of the seal. If you see the seal start to rise or grease start to come out of the seal stop pumping, as the bearing is fully greased. Remove the grease gun from the zerk fitting and, using a rag, wipe the zerk fitting free of any grease. Residual grease would attract dirt and/or fall on the brush cloth.

On a monthly basis, the pivot bearings need to be greased in the same manner as the rotational bearings. These can be found on the opposite side of the top motor side washer arm.

Over-greasing of the bearings can cause significant problems. The bearings can fail prematurely due to breaking the seal, which would allow contaminates to enter the bearing and wear it from the inside out. Over-greasing can also allow grease to get onto the customer's car and ruin the cloth on the top motor side washer.

Replacing a bearing costs around $33.00 for the part, and takes about 1 to 2 hrs. to install. Replacing the cloth would cost about $575.00 and would take 1½ to 2½ hours to install. So, follow these steps and you can be on your way to less problems.

Robert Andre is the Manager of On-campus Training for CarWash College™. Robert can be reached at For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visit or call the registrar's office at 1-866-492-7422.