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Topic: Wheel Bearings

Posted By: bertgrimes on 04/13/09 06:38am

How often should I grease the wheel bearings of a Travel Trailer?


Posted By: skipnchar on 04/13/09 06:54am

Different folks have different opinions. Mine are on a two year or 25,000 miles schedule. Never had a bearing failure in 40 years of RVing.
Good luck / skip


2011 F-150 HD Ecoboost 3.5 V6. 2550 payload, 17,100 GCVWR -
2004 F-150 HD (Traded after 80,000 towing miles)
2007 Rockwood 8314SS 34' travel trailer

US Govt survey shows three out of four people make up 75% of the total population



Posted By: brittsnbirds on 04/13/09 07:23am

If you don't mind me asking? How about the bearing buddy style caps? I've noticed some people use them on TT but not everyone. I use them on my flatbed.

Pat


Pat

2009 Chevy Silverado 2500HD Z-71
2009 Forest River Wildwood 27RBEC
Equa-l-izer hitch
Sig Sauer P245
Glock 30
Smith & Wesson 642
2 Brittany's and a ton of trout rods!



Posted By: RJsfishin on 04/13/09 07:29am

If it has grease gun fittings, use them. They didn't put them there just to make the axles more expensive. But it is important to follow the greasing instructions closely. If you over grease them, the excess grease could get to the brake lining. This is one place where just 2 pumps a year will do it.


Rich

'01 31 ft Rexall Vision, Generac 5.5k, 1000 watt Honda, PD 9245 conv, 200 watts Solar, 400 watt inv, 2 12v batts, ammeters, led voltmeters all over the place, KingDome/sat, 2 Oly Cat heaters, and towing a Liberty, or a Lowe bass boat, or a Kawi Mule.



Posted By: skipnchar on 04/13/09 07:48am

I agree completely with RJsfishin about not over lubing. Biggest mistake folks make in using them is OVER using them. When I grease mine it is more because I want to check the brake linings than to grease the bearings so I wouldn't use the lube system for that reason.


Posted By: BillB800si on 04/13/09 08:26am

Something I've always wondered about trailer bearings. Why do auto bearings last almost a lifetime yet trailer bearings must be lubed annually???

I mean the technology has been there for years now??

Oh well.


Bill B. (Michigan)
2007 Dodge Ram 2500 MegaCab CTD
2014 Keystone Cougar High Country 321RES trailer


Posted By: LarryJM on 04/14/09 02:22am

Pete D wrote:

Bearing Buddies, which are intended for boat trailers, keep spring pressure on the grease so water isn't sucked in when a warm hub is dunked in cold water at the boat ramp. The problem is that no matter how much grease goes into them, it never reaches the inner bearings unless the seal is blown.

http://www.bearingbuddy.com/why.html

This is not true of Dexter's EZLube or Al-Ko's AG Hub, where the grease is pumped inside the spindle, emerges on the seal side of the inner bearing and comes back through that bearing and then through the outer bearing, pushing the old grease in front of it.

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

http://dexteraxle.com/e_z_lube_system


I'm in the process of doing my first full tear down/inspection on my Dexter E-Z Lube axles and took some pics.

This is a pic of the axle spindle upon removal of the drum and you can see that there was zero grease in the area around the axle spindle between the inner and outer bearing.



Here is where the grease exits which is on the inner face of where the grease seal fits and exits at only one small hole.



and a pic of the new grease coming out



Here is how much grease was on the inner bearing and grease seal and notice even the cavity in the grease seal wasn't full.





I've read several comments on this one or two pumps is all you need so I took and cleaned both the bearing and grease seal and reinstalled them dry and then applied two good pumps to the grease fitting on the end of the axle and below is how much grease got applied and I did not rotate the wheel either during or after pumping the new grease in.



Also be aware that until you fill the cavity in the hub/axle between the inner and outer bearings no grease will be applied to the outer bearing until you pump enough grease in to fill that cavity. I gave up after about 20 pumps and took the outer bearing out and squirted grease directly into the cavity and this was after I had filled the new grease seal up with grease in it's cavity also.

At least with the Dexter E-Z Lube axles there is absolutely no way to use the "number of pumps" to lubricate both bearings. You have to keep pumping while rotating the tire until the cavity if full and you seal grease being expelled from around the outer bearing and axle spindle nut.

While the E-Z Lube concept is good and does work after doing two wheels I'm somewhat concerned about just the amount of grease it takes to get it where it's working as designed. I'm estimating almost 1/3 or more of a standard tube of grease to fill things up on just one wheel. At $6/tube that might approach $9 in grease. I'm still formulating what I consider a reasonable maintenance schedule, but am starting to consider the following.

1. Doing a complete tear down for brake inspection, new grease seals that are required if the hub is removed every 5 years or 15K miles whichever comes first. I'm not recommending this, but having maintained and repacked TT wheels for over 25 years, IMHO this yearly requirement is overkill especially if you use the newer greases that also are more impervious to attracting moisture.

2. I think I might dump trying to fill the axle cavity after a complete tear down and inspection and lubricate both bearings via the grease fitting. I might just hand pack both bearings and not try and fill that hub/axle cavity with new grease and then each year or two pump in 10 pumps via the grease fitting while rotating the wheel to re-grease the inner bearing. Then I will buy one extra outer bearing that I will have prepacked and then w/o removing the hub and holding it in place, pry out the outer bearing and put the pre packed one back in and close things up. This will save me the cost of 4 new grease fittings (~$15 at current prices) and around $7 or so in un-needed grease sitting in that inner cavity.

Remember, I'm not recommending this type of maintenance schedule, but IMHO it seems a more reasonable approach and a good balance between using some of the E-Z Lube axle features and still lubricating both bearing every year or so and at least inspecting the outer bearing when lubing the wheel. I'm also not looking forward during my next complete tear down in digging all that grease out of the hub.

Larry


2001 standard box 7.3L E-350 PSD Van with 4.10 rear and 2007 Holiday Rambler Aluma-Lite 8306S Been RV'ing since 1974.
RAINKAP INSTALL////ETERNABOND INSTALL



Posted By: canoe on top on 04/13/09 11:14am

The way it was explained to me was that car bearings get used often enough to get warm and drive out moisture. TT's, on the other hand, often set for extended periods. Temperature changes can cause condensation which can cause rust which causes pitting, which causes bearing failure.


Posted By: LAdams on 04/13/09 11:18am

Additionally to the above post - TT bearings are subjected to tremendous side stresses when we back in or turn our trialers and skuff the tires across the pavement... Auto bearings are not subjected to these types of forces as the front axles are steering axles and the rear axles have differentials...

Les


2000 Ford F-250SD, XLT, 4X4 Off Road, SuperCab
w/ 6.8L (415 C.I.) V-10/3:73LS/4R100
Banks Power Pack w/Trans Command & OttoMind
Sold Trailer - not RV'ing at this point in time



HUNTER THERMOSTAT INSTALL

HOME MADE WHEEL CHOCKS


Posted By: Chuck&Gail on 04/13/09 04:35pm

I lube ours every 12 to 15,000 miles, when I peek at the brakes.


Chuck
Wonderful Wife
Australian Shepherd
2010 Ford Expedition TV
2010 Outback 230RS Toybox, 5390# UVW, 6800# Loaded
Not yet camped in Hawaii, 2 Canada Provinces, & 2 Territories
I can't be lost because I don't care where this lovely road is going


Posted By: marc71 on 04/13/09 04:38pm

We have buddie bearings on our TT... I check them every other trip, but usually only add grease once or twice a year depending on the trips we take.


2002 Toyota Tundra SR5 TRD 4x4
2008 Forest River SV-302
Prodigy Brake Control
Eaz-Lift WD - Eaz-Lift sway control



Posted By: propane1320 on 04/13/09 05:12pm

LAdams wrote:

Additionally to the above post - TT bearings are subjected to tremendous side stresses when we back in or turn our trialers and skuff the tires across the pavement... Auto bearings are not subjected to these types of forces as the front axles are steering axles and the rear axles have differentials...

Les


I agree with this... but all the grease in the world isn't going to eliminate or even reduce these side loads. More so for the condensation/extensive time not-in-use IMHO...


2003 Winnebago Journey 32T Diesel with propane injection
2006 Suzuki XL-7 toad



Posted By: LarryJM on 04/13/09 05:24pm

bertgrimes wrote:

How often should I grease the wheel bearings of a Travel Trailer?


What type of axle, regular, BB, or an E-Z lube type. Makes a big difference on how you lubricate them.

The regular had to be hand packed. The BB which is under pressure can be over greased and possibly contaminate the brakes. The EZ-lube which is not a pressurized systems really can't be overgreased, but can definitely be under greased and you have to pump enough so some is expelled out around the outer bearing or you might starve the outer bearing.

Larry


Posted By: Pete D on 04/13/09 07:47pm

Bearing Buddies, which are intended for boat trailers, keep spring pressure on the grease so water isn't sucked in when a warm hub is dunked in cold water at the boat ramp. The problem is that no matter how much grease goes into them, it never reaches the inner bearings unless the seal is blown.

http://www.bearingbuddy.com/why.html

This is not true of Dexter's EZLube or Al-Ko's AG Hub, where the grease is pumped inside the spindle, emerges on the seal side of the inner bearing and comes back through that bearing and then through the outer bearing, pushing the old grease in front of it.

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

http://dexteraxle.com/e_z_lube_system


1998 Ranger 4.0 4x4
1991 Scamp 13'


Posted By: camping man on 04/26/09 02:16pm

Every couple years I tear into mine, I always find something a miss, usually grease got passed the seals, and soaked the magnets or linings. This time I had two like that, and also found my bearing cap came off and was rolling around in my hub cap . No wonder they tell you to do annual inspections.I always use new seals too, and don't take short cuts.


05 Dodge CTD NV5600 6speed (100K Mile Club) / 97 Sprinter 5er



Posted By: rob1105 on 04/26/09 02:21am

I have a 98 TT and never till recently packed the bearings(don't recomend doing) The bearings were in great shape but the grease stared to break down and I had a leaking seal on 1 of my hubs which could have cause me break failure. I will pack my bearings every other year.


Posted By: whjco on 04/14/09 07:57am

When I had the quick lube type hubs in one of my trailers, I would still periodically remove, clean and inspect the bearings and races and then hand pack them and also make sure there was a layer of grease on the inner and outer race before reinstalling the bearings.

It's typical to not find the area between the bearing and the seal full of grease. Centrifugal force of the wheel rotation forces the grease back into the bearing cage where it belongs. Consequently, attempting to fill the void in the hub between the inner and outer bearing just introduces an excessive amount of grease within the hub and that same centrifugal force will try to force the grease through the bearing and past the seal thereby getting grease onto your brake drums and brake shoes.

The grease ports in the axle are just designed to replace the grease in an already properly packed bearing due to use. The ONLY place you need lubrication is within the bearing cage and the race.

Regardless of what kind of hub lubrication system you have, the only sure way to maintain your hub bearings is to periodically remove, clean, inspect and pack them.


Bill J., Lexington, KY
2006 Starcraft 2500RKS 25' Travel Trailer
2000 Excursion Ltd. 7.3 PSD
2000 Ford E350 7.3 PSD


Posted By: wrenchbender on 04/14/09 01:49pm

I do mine every other year.


Posted By: FamilyCamping on 04/14/09 02:05pm

I do not check, or grease mine near often enough!


Posted By: mflanagan on 04/14/09 06:37am

How do I know which kind I have to be able to service it? I looked thru all my documentation. I have a 2005 Rockwood 2602.


2000 GMC Yukon XL
Equalizer Hitch, P3 Brake control
2005 Rockwood 2602



Posted By: brittsnbirds on 04/14/09 07:28am

Thanks for the shots Larry. Pretty much makes my mind up not to go with any type of self lubing system. I bought a bearing packer from Oreilly's a while back. It does a good job of injecting the grease into the bearing and filling the racing completely. Saves me from the old "hand pack" method and does a better job.

I think before I take the new TT out again I will pull some wheels and check out how good of a job the factory does!!


Posted By: Pete D on 04/14/09 06:12pm

One thing that's important with the EZLube or AG Hub systems is to use the better seal with the double lip and spring retainer to better resist the force of the pumped grease on the seal.

The nice thing about the system is that you don't have to use it if you don't want, so you have choices. I think it's about a $3-4 option on a new axle.


Posted By: wannabegone on 04/15/09 09:46am

I just disassembled and repacked mine yesterday. I've had the TH for about a year and a half and decided to make sure everything was in good working order. It has the AG lube system and it looked like someone went alittle crazy, luckly all the brake linings were dry but I had to clean the grease off of 3 of the 4 magnets


Check out my TC restoration project Lance 9000 Project

Chris (Me)
Lori (DW)
2005 Chevy Crew Cab 3500 6.6 Duramax
2008 Keystone Springdale 307FKLGL
1987 Lance ES9000
1994 Harley Electra Glide Classic



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