Do GIW Bearing Assemblies Need Oil Breathers?

GIW Labyrinth SealIf you own or have ever seen an older pump bearing assembly, you’re probably familiar with oil breathers. If this is the case, you may be surprised or confused when you see a new GIW Industries Inc. pump without one.

However, GIW bearing assemblies do not need oil breathers. They were replaced decades ago in favor of cleaner, more efficient technology — and you should avoid them, too.

Oil breathers can harm new pumps

Before the 1980s, oil breathers were an important piece of GIW pump bearing assemblies featuring old lip seals and Taconite seal designs. Now, those sealing technologies are obsolete, and most have been (or should be) replaced.

Although GIW’s original pumps featured oil breathers, the new ones don’t need them. In fact, not only do new pumps not need them, but also they can actually harm the pump.

“Oil breathers provide a way to get contamination into a pump,” Reab Berry, GIW’s resident slurry pump expert, says. “Most GIW pumps are in harsh environments and they’re constantly being washed down. If someone sprays a hose on the air breather, unless it’s a special one built to exclude water, it just forces water into the housing, causing contamination. And it can also draw dirty particles into the housing as it expands and contracts.”

We have newer, better technology

In place of oil breathers and vents, GIW’s standard is now a Labyrinth bearing seal.

“It handles excessive oil splash from the inside and excludes material from the outside,” Berry explains, “and it breathes and allows air to flow in and out — so you don’t need a breather.”

Because GIW has eliminated the use of vents for the majority of its pump bearing assemblies, any damage or failure to the bearing assemblies due to the aftermarket addition of an oil breather could become the customer’s responsibility.

“If you add a breather, it’s just a way to let in debris,” Berry says. “It’s just asking for trouble and contamination!”

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