Wheel Bearings and Hot Water Heater - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-08-2008, 11:33 PM   #1
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Seems like I've heard wheel bearings should be repacked every other year. Wouldn't it really depend on how many miles you tow your trailer as to whether it needs to be done every year or two or three?

Secondly, I've never drained the hot water heater in my 98 Casita SDX since buying it last year. How often should this be done? I haven't looked at it to figure out how either. Any tips?
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Old 03-09-2008, 09:51 AM   #2
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Hi Lisa,

You should drain the WH during cold weather because it might freeze and damage the tank. I would drain it at the end of each camping trip, but you don't have to. You need a 1-1/16" socket wrench to get the plug/anode out. A more user friendly set-up would be a universal anode/petcock combination, which you can get at an RV parts store. You might want to have it installed if you decide to go that route.

I wouldn't do the wheel bearings for another year. I had them serviced twice and they looked great each time. The brakes were adjusted just before you bought it. They should be good for another year as long as they seem to be working OK.
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Old 03-09-2008, 10:11 AM   #3
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The problem our trailers face are two fold.

First, they tend to suffer from lack of use. They sit outside, and temperatures change. This sometimes results in moisture condensing on the camper. If the bearings are not perfectly sealed, there could be moisture condensing in the wheel bearings also. The easist way to deal with this is to repack the wheel bearings and replace the seals every year or two on your schedule, not on the side of the road when they fail - or worse, having to have the camper towed into a garage on a flatbed to have the old bearings cut off because they were run without grease and they have fused themselves to the axle.

The second issue out trailers deal with is neglect. I know, many here take fastidious care of their campers, and I try to as well. The truth is, at least for me, my trailer will sit in the back yard for weeks and I will hook up on Friday evening and hit the road without checking everything I should. I may have noticed a minor problem the last time I parked the trailer, and with the best intentions tell myself the problem will be fixed within a week. Then some other minor crisis happens. The trailer doesn't get fixed, and the problem is forgotten until it is noticed again during the next trip. Sooner or later this will bite you.

Bottom line: If you do nothing else to maintain your camper, monitor the wheel bearings closely. If almost anything else fails on your camper, you will still be able to hitch up and take it home. With failed wheel bearings you will likely get towed on a flatbed to the nearest garage.

As for the water heater; mine gets drained at minimum once a year, in the fall, when the trailer gets winterized.

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Old 03-09-2008, 11:04 AM   #4
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Lisa, Dan offers good counsel. The only thing I can add is regarding the water heater. If I plan to let the trailer sit for more than a couple of weeks, I allow it to drain. That does a couple of things; first it allows the tank to dry out. Water heater failures occur because of rusting at the weld seams with heatup/cool down cycles. If the seams aren't wet, it's much more difficult for them to rust (in a steel tank, anyway). Second, things grow in water that sits including water heaters. Third, I allow the water heater to flush for a couple of minutes when refilling it prior to taking off again on the next trip.

It's worked OK so far for me.

Roger
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Old 03-09-2008, 08:57 PM   #5
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Thank you all for your advice! I will drain the water heater this week. I guess it would have been better to be doing it after each trip. A trucker friend just helped another trucker friend of ours repack his wheel bearings, showed him how so he could do it himself next time. So I've got a couple friends to teach me when the time comes.

Bob, here I try not to bother you with questions all the time (don't want to make you sorry for selling your Casita to me!) and you're the one who always chimes in first with an answer. Thanks!
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Old 03-09-2008, 09:40 PM   #6
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Once you have the WH drained, consider putting in a by-pass kit. Allows you to drain it for winter, yet fill lines with anti-freeze. Wally, less than $20.
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Old 03-09-2008, 09:45 PM   #7
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That sounds different from what Bob was talking about. Can I do both? I'm not sure that it's really necessary where I live. It only dropped below 32 degrees for a few hours a night a few nights this winter. A couple I met at Lake Casita who live in Fresno (near me) said they never winterize, it's not a problem. Last winter it probably would have been a good idea because it was very cold, so I guess I should learn how for the future and watch the weather report!


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Once you have the WH drained, consider putting in a by-pass kit. Allows you to drain it for winter, yet fill lines with anti-freeze. Wally, less than $20.
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Old 03-10-2008, 12:22 PM   #8
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I posted that for general info, but you put CA in your info and that can mean CAnada also...
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Old 03-10-2008, 10:12 PM   #9
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Very good point, Pete! Most people have never heard of Hanford, where cows outnumber people ___ to one. It does freeze big time in many parts of CA so you were right on...
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Old 03-11-2008, 12:36 PM   #10
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There's a Hanford up here in WA (or down here if one is in the other CA) that's rather infamous...
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Old 03-11-2008, 12:58 PM   #11
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There's a Hanford up here in WA (or down here if one is in the other CA) that's rather infamous...
Ya! the WA Hanford is famous for it's glow in the dark rabbits.
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