Q: When shopping online for bearings, how do you choose which to buy?
I've never purchased bearings before and I now need about 10 of a
specific size (17x40x12mm, 6203-2RS, double sealed, not shielded).
Googling for bearing quality standards, I find ABEC 3 & ISO P6 standards
are common for bearing *tolerances* for pool pump motors.
But the ABEC/ISO ratings don't appear to cover materials selection,
ball retainer type, grade of ball, the clearance between the balls
and the races, and other manufacturer quality standards.
Worse yet, the ABEC-3/ISO-P6 rating isn't generally listed in most
online ads for bearings when searching by trade size.
Given the same 6203-2RS bearing sells online for anywhere between
$1.21 to $18.99 per bearing, I ask those who have actually bought
motor bearings before ...
QUESTION: How do *you* choose your replacement bearings online?
I base on what the application is and what was the original.
Higher loadings and/or higher risk/cost of failure equates to using a
known vendor (SKF or like, say and the associated cost). For
inexpensive stuff or low loadings I've found the VXB stuff to be
adequate and good value.
Regarding the load, I'm not sure if the "load" for a pool pump motor
is high or low. What do you think? They spin at about 4K RPM and they
run for about 8 hours a day outdoors.
Is that a high load or a low load?
Standard electric motor rpm's are 1725 and 3450 for 60 Hz...yeah, that's
about 4k, but might as well get it right... :)
I'm assuming this is a pretty low volume pump (as compared to irrigation
or power plant applications, say); I've never had a pool so don't know
just what they are.
You're good at not providing much in the way of parameters... :)
Mostly the difference between the low-priced spread and the higher is
the static and dynamic load they're designed for--and that's the weight
applied and how much they've got to resist on shaft movement from
Another key factor, is, of course, materials like SS and seals.
There certainly is some factor of which distributor you choose--most
retail places are much higher than jobbing houses but it isn't all just
gouging--it costs to keep inventory and brick and mortar and there is
something for the service of being around the corner. But, yes, there
is some but to say "never" is stretching it a lot was the point of even
responding to that point at all.
I'm curious as to how-come there are so many of these???
Are all out at one time? For that usage I'd probably give the VXB a
shot for a few and see how they hold up.
The 1.65HP motor consumes 8.0A at 208-230VAC at 60Hz at 3450 RPM.
Of my six ~2HP motors, I'm rebuilding these two first:
AO Smith QC1102 1.65HP motor 6203 double sealed NSK 6203WC3E CLKEEMSM
AO Smith SQ1152 2.20HP motor 6203 double sealed NSK 62032RSGC3ETDEEMS9
The spec sheet is here:
The Sta-Rite System 3 Model S8M150 filter is max rated at
125 GPM (473 l/min.) at max 50 PSI (345 kPa).
Is 125 gallons per minute through 2" PVC pipe low or high volume?
On Fri, 07 Jun 2013 19:57:23 +0000, Danny D wrote:
The Sta-Rite Max-e-glas II Pool Pump says the maximum water velocity
through the main drain must be <= 6 feet per second.
Is 6 fps a low or fast velocity?
Pretty weak as far as "real" heavy...
If they were mine, I'd likely just go to the local distributor and buy
replacement for them from their inhouse stock and not worry much whether
were NSK or SFK or whatever. If were really interested in cheapest
possible route, then again, I'd probably take a chance't on the VXBs.
Thanks. That's the kind of pragmatic advice I need.
Sometimes it matters to go name brand; sometimes it doesn't.
Only the experienced will know.
For example, I learned that the Craftsman chain saw (actually
Poulan) sucked; it died at just over a year. So, in that case,
I learned the hard way to go name brand (Stihl or Husky).
Yet, going name brand on pump seals (as I showed earlier) gets
me a $75 pump seal (which, for four pumps, is $300). Going
trade size US Seal (which is the same seal!), is $10 a seal,
for a savings equal to the price of an entire new pump! :)
So, the experienced person (which I am now on pump seals)
would never go to a pool store (or Sears) for a name brand
pump seal by pool equipment part number.
It may be either way with bearings:
a. Name brand rules?
b. Trade size rules?
I'm just not an experienced person on bearings yet; so,
I don't know which sourcing algorithm is the one you guys
Note: It may be helpful to note that I've had my pumps
rebuilt before; and, for $150, they put in the *wrong*
bearings! (they put in the 6203D bearings!) That might
indicate that it doesn't matter all that much. :)
Experience, mostly, combined w/ purpose.
If it's a piece that isn't of any particular importance as far as either
safety or income I'll take a "whatever" choice that meets minimum
requirements of function. Like a pool pump--what's the worst if it
doesn't last--a little time w/o it and replacing it again? I'll take
the chance occasionally if it is a large price differential.
OTOH, on the air seeder there are about 120 of a given style but I buy
the JD-green replacement w/o even thinking about it because when I need
to be planting I can't afford downtime.
If your application were a critical component such as, perhaps, a sump
pump that is necessary for routine rainwater in a sump I'd not have
suggested the VXB as I really don't know much about 'em other than I've
used a few as replacement pilot bearings on a couple laminate trimmer
router bits. But, that was a deal where could buy 10 of theirs at not
much more than half-again over the NSK (and the local distributor didn't
have it in stock, anyway) so rather than pay $8-10 shipping for a single
$5 item I spent a couple more $$ and got the 10 on a flyer. If it craps
after 30 minutes, well I can go through 9 more before I'm down and since
that's never anything that is going to be a critical operation any more,
it's a chance I'll take.
Those are the general ideas behind how I pick/choose.
BTW, in my earlier response that I don't care about NSK, SFK, ..., etc.,
I meant I don't care amongst the well-known names. I'd not put VXB on
that list nor some of the others I've never heard of.
Who knows, some of those others may actually be manufacturing for the
big boys, but ya' just don't know if they are or not or even if they are
that these aren't seconds or somesuch at the bargain rates. Or, they
may just be fly-by-night knockoffs...no way to really tell that I know of.
Here's some sage advice (I'm not the author, merely the messenger)
Use this to help make better decisions...
"Cost of quality vs cost of non-conformance."
Some potentially extreme & trivial but telling examples.....sourcing
seat belt replacement
kitchen trash bags
infantry combat rifle
pool motor bearings
btw dpb's advice is worth more than you can probably know
Sorry for not updating the team on the unrelated pump leak; that's
a separate issue which has nothing directly to do with the motors.
That old pump leak was fixed with a US Seals seal, just as you had
correctly surmised. Guess which seal I bought?
Note: This is a classic "you don't get what you pay for" example:
Source by Pentair Part Number = $75 (x four pumps = $300)
Source by US Seals Part Number = $10 (x four pumps = $40)
That old leak isn't the problem here.
The new issue is that I am rebuilding the four old pumps that I
have lying around (& thinking about rebuilding the two well pumps
plus the one pressure pump in the pump house); so I have seven
~2 HP motors running most of the time (not counting the generator).
For rebuilding the seven motors, the key thing is to source the
right bearings. Size isn't enough. Quality also matters.
Hence this quest for figuring out how to source quality bearings
on the net for the pool and fountain pumps that I already took
Sourcing bearings is something only someone who has done it will
know as there are assumptions you're forced to makethat have nothing
to do with the actual trade number of 6203-2RS (such as quality).
That's exactly why I'm asking the question.
That pool pump motor bearing *size* is priced anywhere from $20 at pool
stores, down to $2 on Ebay, and every price in between.
So the question is how to best choose amongst the choices?
That may be the simplest way to narrow the choices down.
By brand, and then by price.
Note: I called AO Smith (now Century Motors) and they said the original
bearings were NSK 6203 double sealed; so NSK may be the way to go.
I don't (yet) know how to choose bearings, but, having taken quite
a few economics & marketing classes, I find it hard to believe that
the pool store $18 bearing is really the best bearing.
To give an example of something that I do know - at Sears, for $75,
I can buy a US Seal PS-3868 pump seal, which I can just as well get
for $10 at a whole bunch of places online.
I find it hard to believe that Sears' pump seal is any better (or
even any different) than the same seal bought for $10. Point here
is that, price is absolutely no indication of quality. Never was.
Never will be.
(Note: Price, from Microeconomics 101, has much more to do with
Marketing, Demand, and Competition (although Chinese goods also
have a bit of Macroeconomic policy affecting prices).
Ooops. My mistake. Pool pump motors. 230v. I think they're about
4,000 rpm. Outdoor use. They run dry (if the pump seals are good).
They run for about 8 hours a day. 3/4" shaft. Original bearings
are NSK 6203 double-sealed, non shielded. Replacement bearings
currently were 6203D which is a substandard bearing, IMHO.
It's probably the highest price the market will 'bear.' (Sorry, too hard to
As you have indicated, you find all the information you can about what you
need, search and then evaluate the options.
Ebay's cheap but there's a lot of junk being sold on Ebay that's mislabeled,
misrepresented or worse. Some 2500mAH AA NiMHs I bought from Ebay measured
out to be 500mAH batteries. A Formula One bracelet charm I got for my wife
had an "authenticity certificate" but it was hilariously fraudulent and the
item was not licensed by F1. CCTV cameras that say "Sony" in the listing
heading actually (if you're lucky) merely contain a Sony DSP chip but are
made by some fly-by-night company.
The problem I would have buying bearings from Ebay is that you really don't
know if they are counterfeit and made from metal that will not stand up to
prolonged use. The AA batteries were a real eye-opener for me. They were
deliberately marked fraudulenty with a clear intent to deceive. But they
were cheap. Too cheap. That should have been the tip-off.
The latest example of Ebay fraud at work was a Kree flashlight they
advertised on their Daily Deals page that wasn't a Kree but a cheap
knock-off that didn't even work. There was no way, without destroying the
unit, to even verify that there was at least a Kree LED in the flashlight.
So in such cases you have to depend on the honor of the seller. That mostly
rules out Ebay. (-:
So I am not surprised that they list your bearing for $2. I would be
surprised if it's any good.
I have to agree with Trader about Amazon. If I get something counterfeit or
misrepresented by the seller, Amazon makes good on it right away and sends a
postage-paid return label. Amazon really laced into the vendor selling 18
gauge speaker wire as 14 gauge and gave me full credit for the item. Their
customer service is astounding, especially compared to Ebay. Prices are
generally higher, as vendors obviously factor in the cost of providing the
level of support Amazon demands, but as they say, you get what you pay for.
For anything serious, I tend to shy away from Ebay.
Recently I needed a locator "beeper" for my keys and my two Roombas that
tend to die under beds and in other hard-to-find places. The major
difference between Amazon and Ebay became clear to me. Amazon lists product
reviews alongside the item. I could quickly tell that the cheap locators
had no range and that buyers were generally unhappy with them so I went for
a more expensive item that had much more positive reviews. Works great!
You can sort of do the same thing combing through Ebay's feedback, but it's
not nearly as simple or useful.
Oh, I forgot the wheelchair lift I bought from Ebay that was infested with
bugs. Apparently it was sitting in someone's damp, moldy garage for years
and remained unopened before being shipped to me. The infestation was SO
bad the item was ruined. And yet Ebay wanted me to pay for return shipping
of a very heavy item.
I countered saying if it was a brick and mortar sale, I would have inspected
the package, found the damage to the box and insisted on opening it before
paying for it. Eventually, they gave me a gift certificate equal to the
return shipping, but not until I wasted a lot of time photographing the
damage, writing up the issue and saying I was going to post it to a consumer
website. The seller *had* to have seen the insect damage to the box and
shipped it anyway. So if it's a bearing whose failure could cause serious
collateral damage, I'd go somewhere other than Ebay and choose a vendor with
a reputation for quality and good customer service.
I'd NEVER buy simple parts like bearings online when there is a choice
of 5 or six bearing supply houses in any decent sized city that can
SHOW you the bearing before you buy it, and tell you exactly what
brand, number, and class of bearing it is. They can even explain the
difference between classes and tell you which bearing is the better
bearing for your use without going overboard. If there is no bearing
or industrial supply conveniently close, call one from reasonably
close and have them drop the bearing in the mail or deliver it on the
next truck they have coming your way - even if it means having them
drop it off at the local farm equipment dealer, machine shop, or
who-ever buys regularly from them. You pay by credit card over the
phone, and pick it up at the drop-off point.
Hmmmmmmmm.... I'll google for "bearing supply house in San Jose Ca".
Surprisingly (for me), there were quite a few!
On Sat, 08 Jun 2013 11:26:39 -0400, Robert Green wrote:
Thanks for those stories of experience. They were helpful, especially
as I have *never* bought from Ebay and have only bought kid's toys and
books from Amazon which were out of stock (and style) so they weren't
in the brick & mortar stores or web sites.
I do believe you *never* get what you pay for and I hate hearing
that statement because it ignores reality. Clearly Sears is selling
that same pump seal (marketed by the Sta-Rite/Pentair part number)
for about $75 when it just as clearly sells for about $10 online
and both are from US Seal, a brand name.
Similarly, you can easily buy a Pentair U9-228A seal plate housing
o-ring at the deeply discounted sales price of $15.85
Or, you can buy that very same o-ring for $1 at the recommended
O-rings USA web site:
Is the $15.85 discounted o-ring (regular price is $24.85) *really*
better simply because you paid so very much more for it?
Likewise, the $19 bearing at the pool supply house, marketing as
being from "AO Smith" (whom, I've called, and they told me they
buy *all* their bearings from NSK), is the same bearing you can
buy easily for half to 1/3 of that anywhere online.
So, you never get what you pay for. You simply get what others
pay for, as you alone cannot influence such pricing decisions.
Yet, as your stories show, the $2 bearings are the ones that, while
intriguing, are almost too cheap to be believed. I don't know how
much it costs to build a bearing, but whatever it is must be close
to that price range, so to get that price without quantity caused
immediate FUD in my mind (hence why I asked here).
As DDBK said, the risk might be too great for critical applications.
I'm going to stick with the NSK bearings (or other reliable brand)
from a reliable supplier, which means I'll be paying about $5 to $10
Perhaps your statement mirrors your reality & experience?
Hmmm... I wonder why I'm not surprised?
A more accurate statement would be ......
"you *nearly always* get what you pay for... if you're knowledgeable &
Perhaps now that you've left the world of professional bean counting
and entered the world of DIY, you might garner enough knowledge & care
that "you get what you pay for" could become closer to being realized
On Sun, 09 Jun 2013 22:09:26 -0700, DD_BobK wrote:
Your wise words ring well and true.
For example, after researching o-rings and seals, I was
able to source every seal and o-ring in each pool pump
for less than $12 per pump (exclusive of tax & shipping).
Better yet, it would only have been about $7 in toto, had I
opted for standard Buna-N seals, instead of the Viton seals.
Sta-Rite Max-e-glas II Pool Pump
1. $9.95 Shaft seal, Viton, PN 37400-0028S, PS3868
2. $0.16 Seal plate housing o-ring, U9-228A; O-240 Buna-N 70 Duro
3. $0.03 Trap cover o-ring, U9-375; O-12 Buna-N 70 Duro
4. $0.08 Drain plug o-ring (x2) U9-359; O-39 Buna-N 70 Duro
5. $1.41 Diffuser o-ring, U9-374; Alladin O-83 Buna-N 70 Duro
Notice that the total cost of all the o-rings was about
$2, sourced by trade size (with most of that cost being
the one o-ring that was a non-standard trade size, as
there is no "Alladin O-83" that I can find in any of the
standard-inch-sized o-ring tables:
Even so, and to the point of *you never get what you pay for*,
(unless you know and think about what you're doing), just one of
those o-rings could easily be sold to an unsuspecting consumer
at a pool store for just about what I paid for the entire set!
The point is that anyone who says "you get what you pay for"
is generally thinking *only* about price; and that is a mistake.
The real trick is in understanding what you're buying, and then
understanding the market that is selling what you're buying.
Thanks to all you guys, I have a much better handle on the o-ring
and pump-seal market than I did just a few days ago!
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