Re-packing the bearings - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-14-2006, 10:10 AM   #15
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What started out with a post about a cotter pin that was apparently not installed has evolved into a discussion of what is reasonable wheel bearing maintenance.

I tend to be more than a little cavalier about the maintenance, since I've only had one failure in hundreds of thousands of miles of towing. But like Paul's dad I carry spares along and tools to do the job on the road.

The one failure was New Years day in San Diego, CA. I had everything but grease. No auto parts open. I ended up using Vaseline from a local grocery store. Needless to say, I did check the temperature of that hub about every 50 -100 miles on the trip back to Washington. I also did the 'shake test' and snugged the nut up one more notch on the way home. Probably just a bit paranoid about the issue at the time.

Since it was so long ago, I don't remember if I ever re-did that hub. See what I mean about the cavalier attitude?
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Old 07-14-2006, 12:59 PM   #16
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wow, look what we started!!! I gues it all depends on how the bearings sit in the hub. On my car (first gen Civic) for instance Honda calls for the nut to be torqued to 80 foot pounds ! Thats more than the wheel nuts call for! Of course on my Honda that nut is what holds on the entire hub and drums on the rear.


I think I'm going to go repack my bearings now....
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Old 11-09-2007, 12:59 AM   #17
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Reviving this fine old and very related topic, I'd like to ask "How often should I repack the bearings?"

I bought my 2005 Scamp 5er in lightly used condition. Now it's two years old and going into its long winter snooze, I'm wondering if I should take advantage of this time of trailer anesthesia to re-pack the bearings or let it go for another year?

--Peter
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Old 11-09-2007, 06:05 AM   #18
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Quote:
Reviving this fine old and very related topic, I'd like to ask "How often should I repack the bearings?"

I bought my 2005 Scamp 5er in lightly used condition. Now it's two years old and going into its long winter snooze, I'm wondering if I should take advantage of this time of trailer anesthesia to re-pack the bearings or let it go for another year?

--Peter
Once a year is recommended, but probably not necessary. Checking the brakes is probably just as important, and can be done at the same time. I had the Casita done 2 times in 4.5 years. Still haven't done the Bigfoot.
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Old 11-09-2007, 06:57 AM   #19
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Hi: I think that while the trailer is in "Fibernation" is a good time to do this. Better than we're all packed and ready to tow!!! Have you towed 3-5000 miles since the last repack??? Remember...a lot of things are riding on those bearings!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 11-09-2007, 07:23 PM   #20
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Quote:
Once a year is recommended, but probably not necessary. Checking the brakes is probably just as important, and can be done at the same time.
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Have you towed [b]3-5000 miles since the last repack?
I had my Fiber Stream's wheels repacked and the brakes checked the 1st time just before our Long, Long Trailer Trip of 2005. (San Diego, CA, to Syracuse, NY, to Bullard's Beach, OR, and back to San Diego, CA.) I did it again this past summer (2 years later) just before our trip from San Diego, CA, to Ardmore, OK and back. They discovered at that time that my brakes were so worn that I needed to completely replace them.

I think that Alf's recommendation to consider mileage as well as time (as a friend of mine from London says) is [b]Spot On.

My trailer had traveled over 10,000 miles in those 2 years.
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Old 11-09-2007, 08:51 PM   #21
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If you look at the life curve from the bearing manufacturer, the maximum life is with a slight preload.
The life falls off quickly as you go tighter from there.
The life falls off slowly as you go looser.
So best to err on the side of looseness, as stated above

http://www.timken.com/products/bearings/te...DFs/Vol6No3.pdf

FWIW in an automotive sized application like a trailer axle, the bearing is generally the size it is because the spindle has to be a certain diameter to have adequate bending strength and fatigue life. Generally the bearing is larger than it would be if designed on bearing capacity alone. So if you keep it clean and lubed, wheel bearings should last a long time.
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Old 11-10-2007, 06:49 PM   #22
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Here's my opinion -- The bearings may last a long time if the grease isn't contaminated, but how long do the seals last? The seals are the shield between the little world inside the hub and the cold, hot, wet, dry, gritty world outside. One surface of the seal rides on the shoulder of the axle spindle where grit may or may not build up.

If the seal fails to block foreign material (grit or water), the bearings will eventually fail. If the seal fails to block grease from getting out, the bearings will eventually fail and the brakes may become contaminated. Interestingly, I believe that the brake drums provide an extra degree of protection for those seals and bearings.

So, the question is, should the bearings-seals-brakes be disassembled, inspected, repacked and adjusted to prevent potential brake and spindle replacement or brake failure? Or should one allow time and miles to go by? We each have risk tolerances.

If one considers oneself incapable of doing these tasks oneself, one would be wise to find a local mechanic who would agree to do them on a regular, non-emergency basis for negotiated fees.

At a bare minimum, I strongly recommend that anyone exceeding Dexter and Al-Ko's recommendations at least remove the dust cover and check what grease can be seen for water contamination (turns milky).

Al-Ko brakes, bearings and seal standard service schedule, per the Owner's Manual PDF on their site, is "6,000 Miles or 6 Months whichever comes first".

http://www.al-kousa.com/index.htm

Dexter recommends "12 Months or 12,000 miles" under the same circumstances, per the Maintenance Schedule PDF under the Service Literature at:

http://dexteraxle.com/products___literature

As I have said before, both of the above sites contain a wealth of information on all the running gear that may be found under most of our trailers and I highly recommend downloading some of it to files for reference either by oneself or by a mechanic.
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