Are these genuine Dexter bearings? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-17-2014, 07:55 PM   #1
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Name: Mike
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Are these genuine Dexter bearings?

I had the bearings on my 3,500lb. Dexter axle serviced the other day which, according to my local Dexter dealer/service center, simply involves R&R on the bearings and seals. Their justification for this is that cleaning and regreasing bearings takes more time, thus labor, than simply putting new ones in. Fair enough.

Before I dropped my Bigfoot off though, I asked them what kind of bearings they supply and the guy told me they use "whatever Dexter sends them", which I took to mean that they use genuine Dexter parts.

I'm usually pretty suspicious of the ethics of any kind of business that repairs things so when I picked the trailer up, I asked them to sell me a whole new bearing kit so I had a set of spares with me for my forthcoming 4,000 mile journey. So they sold me a kit for $41.00.

Here is what the kit, which was in a non-descript cardboard box with a part number on it, contained;
(2) Inner bearings
(2) Outer bearings
(2) Seals
(2) Hub center caps
(2) Dust caps for center caps
(12) Lug nuts

That all seemed fine and dandy until I really looked at the bearings and saw they are a brand called "Gemini" and are made in China. I also don't think the part number on the box (3500-HDEZ) is anything that Dexter uses.

So my question, for anyone who has ever purchased or seen a genuine Dexter bearing kit, did the kit have Gemini bearings in it? Or did I just get hosed? I'm thinking it's probably the latter.
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Old 09-17-2014, 08:31 PM   #2
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All bearing of the same size (regardless of mfg.) have the same number on them. Most are made in China and Dexter (and all other axle mfg.) are going to use the least expensive brand.

These will be fine if you ever need them.
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Old 09-17-2014, 08:44 PM   #3
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I realize bearing part numbers are universal. I don't necessarily even have a problem with Chinese-made bearings. But I do have a problem with misrepresentation. If Dexter says Gemini bearings meet or exceed their standards, and uses them in their kits, great. But if I've been sold off-brand bearings that are represented as coming from Dexter, and they did not, I have a problem with that.

I'm probably a little more wary about such things because so much of my travel is in very remote places where there are no services for hundreds and hundreds of miles. I don't mind paying extra for quality products, especially critical components such as bearings. The last thing I need is bearing failure because someone wanted to make an extra buck of profit off of me. That may cost me hundreds or thousands if something fails in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 09-17-2014, 09:18 PM   #4
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I am not sure of the mechanics logic (I am a mechanic). The new bearings that they installed were not pre greased so they had to repack them, cleaning bearings takes only a few minutes. If the bearings and races are good there is no need to replace them but replacing races takes longer than repacking bearings. Bearings and races should be replaced when needed. I buy SKF or Timken trailer bearings and races for about $5.00 ea and seals for about $4.00 so about $15.00 per side.
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Old 09-17-2014, 09:38 PM   #5
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Something is hokey here, the new bearings must be packed before installation.
Repacking the current bearings is practically no different from replacing them and the races need not be removed for a repack as they would be for replacement.
Bearings should be replaced only if found to be defective.
Some mechanics will replace the seals every time, many will inspect and reuse them as well.
"Repacking wheel bearings" is called "repacking wheel bearings" for a reason, otherwise it would be called "replacing wheel bearings".

What brand were the old bearings? Any competent shop will supply you with your old parts. In this case you should get them "repack them" and carry a spare set for emergency use.
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Old 09-17-2014, 09:54 PM   #6
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They never claimed they were repacking them. I asked them about doing a "wheel bearing service" and they told me straight up that they don't "repack" bearings, they replace them.

I don't have a lot of options for getting this kind of work done here, especially on short notice, so I gave them the work. This is the same place that installed the new axle for me last year and aside from one issue with a leaf spring, which they replaced, they did a good job. If I was home I'd do the bearing service myself. But all my tools, jack, jack stands, etc. are in California and I'm in Alaska.

Based on my particular circumstances, I was fine with them doing a bearing R&R. The total cost of the service was worth the price to me since I can't easily do it myself without investing in the right tools, allotting the time, and waiting for the weather to cooperate. But I would prefer that they be quality bearings, which I don't think I got. I can't even find anything on the Gemini bearing brand.

I may have to just invest in some tools to keep up here since I live here part of the year. I'm sure I can get Timken bearings here but I'll probably have to do the work myself the next time to insure it's done right and with the best possible components. Live and learn.
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Old 09-17-2014, 10:06 PM   #7
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No problem then!
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Old 09-18-2014, 06:39 AM   #8
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Mike, I had a warranty issue with Dexter Axle and found them very helpful, and quick to pay. I reached them at phone # 574-295-7888. You might also try contacting them at DexterAxle.com I have heard on this forum that Dexter does use some or all Chinese bearings. Not sure the brand, but I'm pretty sure they are made to Dexter specs. If you contact them, let us know what you learn.

I'd like to add my name to the ones who question replacing bearings instead of cleaning, inspecting and repacking them. I realize your options are limited up there in AK. Cleaning them is a few minute job. Even new bearings should be cleaned (remove preservative), inspected and packed. The races should be inspected while mounted in the wheel. Removing good races unnecessarily and replacing them probably does more harm than good. I would replace them when the bearings need replacing.

I think having at least one set of packed bearings kept in your trailer is good insurance, especially where you operate. You'll probably never need them, but good for peace of mind.
Good luck!

Tom
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Old 09-18-2014, 08:04 AM   #9
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I recently replaced my brakes. I used Dexter parts. Each drum came with a kit similar to yours. The old bearings and the new bearings look just like yours. Raz
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Old 09-18-2014, 08:10 AM   #10
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If I need bearings, I only use SKF or Timken. Their bearings are made in China, but to a much more exacting spec than the generics that are available for less $. In general, I inspect, clean, pack, re-install, and use new seals, and always use the same grease. My favorite grease is Lucas Red & Tacky.

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Old 09-18-2014, 10:01 AM   #11
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I fully understand the shops logic. They are taking responsibility for their work. If they reuse your old bearings and they fail your gonna be coming after them. By using new bearings they are taking responsibility for the job. While its rare to have a customer like you who is repacking bearings yearly most trailer axles are neglected. So why clean up a set of bearings just to have to call you later to replace them since your quote was a clean and repack. If your repacking bearings at home it saves you money and your taking the results of your quality of work. What I don't understand is the purchase of new bearings as spares. You should have asked for your old bearings back since they were only a year old. You already owned them. New bearings ungreased sitting in your trailer doesn't help you any in an emergency.
Now get a couple of cotter pins to add to your kit. I would rather carry 1 fully loaded hub assembly ready to go for emergency repair.
I wouldn't worry about the Gemini bearings. An internet search shows nothing on them. If they were bad bearings stuff would pop up with complaints.
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Old 09-18-2014, 03:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
What I don't understand is the purchase of new bearings as spares. You should have asked for your old bearings back since they were only a year old. You already owned them. New bearings ungreased sitting in your trailer doesn't help you any in an emergency.
Now get a couple of cotter pins to add to your kit. I would rather carry 1 fully loaded hub assembly ready to go for emergency repair.
I wouldn't worry about the Gemini bearings. An internet search shows nothing on them. If they were bad bearings stuff would pop up with complaints.
I mainly bought them to see what kind of bearing they use. I don't know why but I wasn't buying the "whatever Dexter send us" line. But yes, I should have asked for the old parts.

I carry bearing grease and tools so if I HAD to do an emergency repair, I can. Obviously the goal here with diligent servicing is to avoid that completely. I also carry a decent supply of cotter pins.

Good point about Gemini not showing up in any complaints on the 'Net. Thanks to everyone for the input.
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Old 10-27-2014, 06:34 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
I recently replaced my brakes. I used Dexter parts. Each drum came with a kit similar to yours. The old bearings and the new bearings look just like yours. Raz

X2, same here!
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Old 10-27-2014, 05:29 PM   #14
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bearings

I went to NAPA today and bought bearings for the Scamp, the boxes were marked SKF, the bearings were marked made-in-Japan and Koyo. I recommend these to anyone concerned with bearing quality. I was glad to see they were available.
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