trailer wheel bearings? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-09-2012, 09:24 AM   #15
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Timken bearings can be had but most parts stores do not stock them. You have to ask and you will get resistance. Call before you go to the store. The company started in Kansas during WWII. Most now are made in France. The quality is first rate.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:07 AM   #16
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Bearings

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Timken bearings can be had but most parts stores do not stock them. You have to ask and you will get resistance. Call before you go to the store. The company started in Kansas during WWII. Most now are made in France. The quality is first rate.
We rebuilt 2 Swiss made machines at work, each took about 3500 bearings
In the past we had always used bearings that were made in the USA or Europe but the boss decided to go with Chinese bearings to save money.
The failure rate after one year on the Chinese bearings was over 30%.
I called our bearing supplier ,who told me that the quality of Chinese bearings was very inconsistent and that we got what we paid for. When we figured up the cost to replace the bad Chinese bearings and the downtime costs , we did NOT save any money. Cheap bearings are no bargain .
The Chinese bearings were the sealed type , we removed the seal on several bearings and discovered they forgot to grease some of the bearings at the factory . Great quality control?
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:08 PM   #17
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......... we removed the seal on several bearings and discovered they forgot to grease some of the bearings at the factory . .........

Well, aren't you the nitpicker?

Seriously though, consistency seems to be the biggest Chinese shortcoming right now. Read the tool ratings at Harbor Freight and they range all over the map from used everyday and works great to smoked right out of the box.
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:10 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by ruscal View Post
My observations about tapered roller bearings over the years:
Timken = top quality, tight tolerances, excellent heat treating and metallurgy.

With quality grease and proper adjustment Timken bearings will last a long time. I really don’t know how well the newer Chinese bearings hold up compared to Timken.
a family member who has run an automotive parts store as well as a bearing supply store for years, would totally agree with you on the above. They wagged their finger at me recently for suggesting I was going to try out some chinese made bearings due to the cost difference. Assured me I would at the worst possible time regreat it - they suggested that as I had already purchased the chinese made bearings that I keep them in the trailer for emerg use only on a road trip and only use temp until I could get the better ones.
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:19 PM   #19
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I'm only using the Chinese bearings because the axle supplier had them installed already. If buying new to replace worn ones I would go with Timken, even if double the cost. I'm sure it would be wrong to lump all Chinese bearing companies into a low quality heap, as the products may be engineered by older experienced international brand name companies. It will probably be years before we recognize some of the now obscure Chinese names, and associate them with quality we can trust. Just like when we first started seeing Japanese bearings. For now it's a crap shoot!
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Old 10-09-2012, 04:11 PM   #20
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Russ, I have no doubt you are correct but as been pointed out the current problem is its hard to find the good from the bad so I prefer to play it safe and stick to what I know to be good.
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:30 PM   #21
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Russ, I have no doubt you are correct but as been pointed out the current problem is its hard to find the good from the bad so I prefer to play it safe and stick to what I know to be good.
Correct about what? I was only recalling from past personal experience and relaying my findings. I would purchase Timkens due to that experience. They earned and deserve a stellar reputation. I wouldn't know how to pick a competent Chinese bearing manufacturer, as there is not much brand history available to me to make a good choice. I will have to do some inspection tear-downs to see how the imported bearings are doing over time, and will report my findings on this forum. So far they've gone 2500 miles without disintegrating! (better than some Harbor Freight tools that failed on start-up). That's why these forums are so valuable, by sharing our experiences.
Russ
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:55 PM   #22
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What I was referring to is that its probable correct that in the coming years we will be able to recognize some of the Chinese names and trust them. Like you I purchase based on personal experience and use the Timkens. What I did notice with a set of Chinese bearings I did purchased but not use from E-trailer was they just didnt even look or feel the same quality.
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:19 PM   #23
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Wheel Bearings

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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
What I was referring to is that is probable correct that in the coming years we will be able to recognize some of the Chinese names and trust them. Like you I purchase based on personal experience and use the Timkens. What I did notice with a set of Chinese bearings I did purchased but not use from E-trailer was they just didnt even look or feel the same quality.
My 2001 Bigfoot I bought when I got it home. I torn it down to repack the bearings. The left side bearings were good so I repacked them. The right side the bearing cones fell apart and they were USA bearings. Had to replace the bearings on both axles. I sell bearing and seals on my website so I will see how long they will last. Mexico and China look and feel the same.
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:25 PM   #24
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Eastern Marine has "Tie Down" (Chinese) brand in sets. Typical 1 1/6 outer and 1 3/8" inner bearing and race, seal, dust cup, and cotter pin.

$11.99

Eastern Marine has "Fulton" brand in sets, two bearings, maybe no dust cap or new cotter key.

$17.99

Eastern Marine has Timken a la carte. 1 1/16" bearing and race and 1 3/8" respectively:

$9.95 and $10.69.

So the low price Chinese spread is $23.98 for a single axle trailer.

The deluxe deal at Eastern Marine (Fulton) is $35.98 for two wheels plus a couple of seals so say another 5$ or 41$ for single axle. Not sure if these are also Chinese but possibly

Timkens a la carte 20.64 per wheel or $41.48 also plus seals so about $47 for single axle.

An additional 25$ on a one-time bearing replacement which SHOULD take care of things for a lot years if done right and repacked on schedule doesn't seem like a big price to pay considering the price parts and labor at a trailer repair business or the just plain grubby nature of doing it yourself. That's assuming of course that Timken aren't making theirs in Zimbabwe these days and that the quality control assures a product conforming to their historical standard of quality. As stated earlier, SKF and other producers mentioned higher up in the thread are probably also more trustworthy than those from eastern Europe and Asia.


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Old 10-11-2012, 10:14 PM   #25
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Long winded saga regarding my first exposure to Timken bearings

I was 14 years old and used my life savings to purchase a go Kart made by Bug Engineering. Bug was known back in those days to build a quality product. I discovered after a few days of running the kart that grease was streaking out from the hubs out onto the wheels and tire sidewalls. I stared at the mess wondering what was wrong, and proceeded to remove the wheel for inspection. After removing the aircraft lock nut I pulled the wheel off and the outer bearing fell to the floor. It was greasy and had sucked in some grit. I washed the bearing in some gasoline and inspected it. It said Timken on the side and had tapered rollers held in a cage. There was no seal; the bearing was exposed to whatever dirt was airborne! I got in the habit of tearing down the wheels periodically to clean and re-grease them. Every time they were gritty from the sand in the grease. Then one day I had a revelation….. Why add the grease which attracted so much dirt? So I proceeded to assemble the first wheel with squeaky clean un-greased wheels. I noticed it spun very freely without the grease. So I went to the races and all was well. The wheels remained greaseless for a couple of years until I sold the kart. For those bearings to stand up to that kind of neglect and abuse, they had to have been made of some super materials and manufactured to exacting tolerances! Years later a friend of mine was racing Corvettes in SCCA road races. He was replacing rear spindle bearings after every race or two, due to the high loading forces applied to the bearings from the super wide wheels and high G forces of cornering. One time he tried Timken and they lasted for a whole season of racing! Way better than the American made GM stock bearings. So for me it is just “stick with something that works.” And no I do not condone running bearings with no lube, nor washing parts in gasoline.
Russ
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:22 AM   #26
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.........There was no seal; the bearing was exposed to whatever dirt was airborne!...........Russ
What does this tell you about the person that designed this go kart? Sealed bearings have been around forever.
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:12 AM   #27
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Just some more thoughts on Wheel Bearings:

Some background: Toyota Motorhomes (should) all have what's called a "full floating" rear axle to carry the load of dual rear wheels and the weight of a small motorhome. That said, this type of axle DOES NOT get lube from the differential supply, but has bearings that are greased and must be repacked just like trailer wheel bearings.

The connection to FGRV's is that I have seen rear axles with upwards of 75,000 miles that have never been repacked and still show no wear. However, the two bearing failures that I have seen in this application both happened on rigs that had been stored and not moved for years on end, and the grease, for lack of a better word, had caked up and dried out, as had the seals on each side of them.

When I was buying my Hunter C-II, I was told that it had been parked for at least 7 years. As I had a 500 miles tow home I negotiated with an excellent seller, who also just happened to be a mechanic, to not only replace the tires with something newer, but to also repack the bearings before I got there. (Not only did he do this, he saved the old seals to show me of his work.) As expected, the grease on the south side (the side always towards the sun) had turned into a semi-solid mass and those on the north side were still somewhat greasy(?). Some months later, when I was getting new tires, I pulled the drums to check the seals and all was well.

Bottom line: Unless it comes with a complete service history, I would suggest starting out ownership of a used FGRV with a bearing repack and new seals at a minimum and, if there is any question, new (never chinese) bearings. that way you know the history of your bearings. And, as Donna mentioned, if it sits a lot, take a few minutes every once in a while, to raise each wheel and give it a spin to move the grease around and prevent getting flat spots (?) on the bearings.

BTW: When replacing bearings, NEVER reuse the old races with new rollers, they don't match and an early failure may result.
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:40 AM   #28
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What does this tell you about the person that designed this go kart? Sealed bearings have been around forever.
That he was just a kid with no money but the imagination to use what they had
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