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Project Popup – Cleaning Greasy Parts

Hello spring slash summer.  And spring slash summer for many means camping.

And somehow I’ve been camping like three times in the past two months using a TENT.

While project popup remains less comfortable than a tent. And remains in my carport.

While I camp.

In a tent.

So in between practicing how to sweep out a tent seventeen times per day, I managed to squeeze in a few Saturdays working on our little popup camper.

And like my kids at the Fort Wilderness pool, I’m all over the place on this one.

[insert Wayne’s World time machine sound here]

I started the roof rebuild, and built and installed some countertops. But you wouldn’t know, as I haven’t posted some of those updates yet.

Anyway, I was led astray by a shiny new object.

Hence this post.

A post that magically takes greasy wheel bearings and makes them all shiny clean to inspect.

Then realize you have to order all new wheel bearings for your popup camper.

Okay. It’s not the post, but the BenchTop Pro—an environmentally-friendly parts washer that, well…can sit on the top of your bench.

The BenchTop Pro Remediating Parts Washer

BechTop Pro parts washer to clean greasy automotive parts

The BenchTop Pro. A grease-eating powerhouse in a convenient roto molded package.

Something like this can be your best friend if you too have greasy wheel bearings, or a greasy old ’56 Ford steering box, or even just greasy hands.

Back to the wheel bearings and trailer brakes.

Being that the camper is now 13 years old, and I have no idea of when (or if) maintenance was performed, so a thorough inspection of the electric brakes and wheel bearings was necessary.

Popup camper wheel brakes are checked and wheel bearings are inspected

I chocked both wheels of the trailer, jacked up one side and placed a jack stand under the frame so I could remove the wheel.

Popup camper wheel bearings grease

I removed the grease cap to get at the castle nut that holds on the hub.

camper brakes maintenance remove the castle nut to grease wheel bearings

Here’s a close up of the castle nut. I was looking for a cotter pin, but the washer had two little tabs that push over into the castle nut to keep it from moving.

Trailer electric brakes are inspected and serviced

With the nut and washer removed, I was able to get a good look at the electric drum brakes. I wonder if it’s been sitting for a while? I think I’d trust the strength of those cobwebs before I’d trust the rusty springs and brake pads. I instantly knew I’d probably just order all new parts—I had already priced complete assemblies, and at under $60 to do both sides it was worth my time to just bolt on new stuff.

Bioremediation parts washer uses microbes to clean grease

I pulled the bearings out of the hub and went back to the BenchTop Pro parts washer. You can see the lid opens to give you a surface for washed parts to drain and dry off.

BenchTop Pro parts washer is a green alternative to cleaning greasy parts without solvent

I was impressed with the quality of the brush fixture and couldn’t wait to get this thing fired up to see how it worked.

Safe solvent-free parts washer from BenchTop Pro

The power supply packs into a little compartment above the pump assembly. It has a simple lamp-style switch to turn the unit on.

green alternative to solvent parts washer

What sets the BenchTop Pro apart from the rest is the degreasing concentrate and the microbial treatment packs. The treatment packs contain microbes that literally eat the grease. This means you don’t need heat or a bunch of toxic chemical solvents to degrease parts. It’s the world’s first bioremediating parts washer that works at room temperature.

Add the grease eating degreaser concentrate with water

I added the gallon of degreasing concentrate with water in a 1:2 ratio (one part concentrate to 2 parts water). The solution is non-hazardous, non-flammable, non-caustic, non-irritating and pH neutral. All of those “nons” made me a little worried that it would be non-degreasing too…

grease eating microbes are green and safe alternative to chemical and solvent degrease cleaners

Then the package of microbes was added and I was ready to go. I noticed the solution was pleasant-smelling. Kinda lemon-y. Also note the stainless steel strainer basket so little parts don’t accidentally wash into the cleaning solution tank.

Cleaining greasy bearings and brake parts with a parts washer

I started with a few of the parts, saving the greasy bearings for last. I didn’t bother to wipe off the excess grease first to put the BenchTop Pro to the test.

degreasing parts washer

Next, I tried the greasy bearing. I have gloves on since I didn’t want to get all greasy, but I asked the folks who made the BenchTop Pro if I could go with out gloves, even using the washer to clean greasy hands—they assured me the solution was safe and mild enough to clean the greasiest of hands.

BenchTop Pro parts washer review

Here’s the brush in action. There was pretty good flow through the brush, and with the machined thumb valve to control the flow, you don’t have to turn the unit on and off constantly while cleaning parts.

clean greasy engine parts with bioremediation cleaning solution

Clean parts! The BenchTop Pro was far better than my old metal stationary shop parts washer. And there was no harsh chemicals.

So my now-clean bearings showed some signs of wear, and for about $10 per side, it made sense just to order a bearing kit to ensure smooth towing once project popup gets on the road. I’ll create another post showing the install of the new bearings, and brakes as soon as they arrive via my amazon order.

And for the parts washer, I really liked the portability of the unit. I can take it from home to my shop, and even store it on end with the solution inside—fitting neatly under my workbench—when it’s not on top of it!

And my concern over all of the “nons” was a non-issue. The parts were cleaned with very little effort and left me only with the desire for some lemonade.

I think the BenchTop Pro is a good buy for the avid DIYer and even a small repair shop. It’s gotta be used monthly at a minimum so the microbes have something to eat, or else you have to add another package of the microbes to boost the cleaning power. Don’t worry, the unit comes with 4 packages and you can easily order supplies from the BenchTop Pro website. The retail price of $299 means its affordable enough if you do regular maintenance or have a restoration project. And if you are a professional, I’m sure it will pay for itself in lieu of those chemical disposal fees you incur from that rusty ol’ solvent parts washer taking up space in the corner of the shop.

Learn more at and tell ‘em dadand sent you. And stay tuned for more on project popup.

Disclosure: Dadand received a review unit to test and put through the paces of real-world-DIY-wanna-be-professional-but-mostly-amateur use. Receipt of said apparatus does not guarantee a post or review, but we honestly liked it. We figured posts like this may help some guy create a list of stuff he wants for the holidays or birthday or whatever. Oh, and we don’t get paid for this. But we might get more cool stuff which means we have a really hard time creating a list of stuff we want for the holidays or birthdays or whatever. Our wives hate that. And that we clutter the garage.

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