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Open Roads Forum  >  Fifth-Wheels

 > Axle Seals (Wheels)

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aruba5er

Neenah Wisconsin

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Posted: 02/20/12 10:10am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What makes trailer bearings any differant from car or truck bearings? I've gone over 140,000 miles on an old pickup and never touched the bearings. My daughters car (Saturn) has 83k on it. Never touched the bearings. Front or rear. I think personally that "grease your bearings once a year" is the only way to get much needed money from you, the person that can't do it themselves. To the orignal poster. Don't let them clean the brake shoes. They never get clean. Replace them. Know what they cost and pay accordingly.Don't buy magnets. They can clean.

chuggs

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Posted: 02/20/12 10:30am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Etrailer.com videos...

Check out the helpful videos on repacking bearings...

If you have a torque wrench, and some basic tools...there's no reason you can't do this yourself every year and save money!

If your bearings are kept in good shape...they will last for years. You just need to replace the grease seal, perhaps a cotter pin, and grease!

If your brakes are worn out...it is usually MUCH cheaper to remove the entire brake assembly and replace it with a new one. I find a complete assembly, which takes two wire connectors, and 4 or 5 bolts to change out...much cheaper than if you rebuild your brake assembly with new pads and magnets... The pads and magnets alone cost more than a brake assembly --- and you'll still be using old springs, adjusters, etc... That's just my opinion.

I'm not calling anyone a crook...but I suspect the brake job they did was probably unwarranted. Brake cleaner would have removed the axle grease...but whatever.

I don't recommend using an ez-lube port to put grease in anything but a boat trailer (dipping the axles underwater)...it's best use is to displace all the air in the hub so that the cool water can't cause the air pocket to contract and suck water in. The displaced grease that comes out of the hub can be inspected for the formation of an emulsion (grease-water mix)...which would indicate the seals are leaking water into the hub. Boat trailers usually use hydrualic disc brakes...and you can more easily inspect these for grease seal leakage.

RV hubs...personally...just remove/clean/inspect/repack/reinstall every year or 10,000 miles whicever comes first. Use a new grease seal each time you do it...and have extra cotter pins on hand should you break one...or feel like using a new one.

cabanaman

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Posted: 02/20/12 10:47am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

aruba5er wrote:

What makes trailer bearings any differant from car or truck bearings? I've gone over 140,000 miles on an old pickup and never touched the bearings. My daughters car (Saturn) has 83k on it. Never touched the bearings. Front or rear. I think personally that "grease your bearings once a year" is the only way to get much needed money from you.
I sold my 2000 dodge durango with 248,000 miles on it and 10 years old and still the original front bearings.I just repacked my open roads EZ lube bearings for the first time,it's been 5 years and about 20,000 miles they were in fine condition.Also those who call the
EZ lubes buddy bearings are incorrect,they are two different systems.


Retired Navy
2007 Dodge Ram 2500 quad cab 6.7 cummins,6 speed auto,exhaust brake. Emissions removed.
2007 Open Road 378SA4S-5,equa-flex and morryde X factor,wet bolt kit,michelin ltx M/S 2 tires


jmtandem

western nevada

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Posted: 02/22/12 06:02pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

Also those who call the
EZ lubes buddy bearings are incorrect,they are two different systems.



Correct! Bearing buddies are found on boat axles typically without brakes. The grease displaces water and too much new grease has no place to go except out the seals. If the axle has brakes the grease will get into the brakes past the seals. Often with these buddies the excess grease has been pushed onto the inside of the wheels.

EZ lube has an outlet for grease. Never use force getting grease into the zerk. Excess grease should exit gracefully out the front near the zerk. If little or no force is used the seals should be OK. As to repack of bearings I cannot see any reason why the OP should worry about repacking bearings unless the trailer has 10,000 miles on it or more or there is a bearing/seal problem.


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Gunpilot77

Killeen, Tx

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Posted: 02/22/12 07:13pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jmtandem wrote:

Correct! Bearing buddies are found on boat axles typically without brakes.


News flash!!! Some boat trailers come with E-Z lube hubs. My boat trailer has them as does my enclosed cargo trailer. Neither have brakes, and it is a good thing. The seals will leak grease if they have been pumped full. Because of that, I believe it is very foolish to pump grease into the hubs that have brakes. In fact, I don't use the feature on my non-brake trailers anymore.

I really enjoyed you hedging your statements.

"Excess grease should exit gracefully out the front near the zerk. If little or no force is used the seals should be OK."

* This post was edited 02/22/12 07:21pm by Gunpilot77 *


Fifth wheel pulled with a pick-up

davelinde

Lake Nona, Florida

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Posted: 02/22/12 07:25pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

aruba5er wrote:

What makes trailer bearings any differant from car or truck bearings?


My car bearings are sealed, my truck bearings are in an oil bath and my trailer bearing have grease fittings. The manual for the the trailer indicates repacking needed. The car and truck don't. So they seem to be engineered differently.

With that said, I do stretch the maintenance interval on my trailer bearings. Still I have heard of several instances of trailer bearings failing and never heard of a car wheel bearing fail.

Personally the best argument for repacking is that it's good to do a visual inspection on the brakes, springs, shackles, hangers etc and if you re-pack you will see all this stuff. If I'd repacked my TH on time I might have seen the worn spring shackle before it pulled through completely.


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newk

Gillette, WY

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Posted: 02/22/12 08:34pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

davelinde wrote:

... I have heard of several instances of trailer bearings failing and never heard of a car wheel bearing fail.


Uh huh... Mine failed. It could have been disastrous as the hub almost came off at interstate speeds. I caught it just in time. Stopped. Backed up. The wheel/hub popped off. I now keep a pretty close eye on wheel bearings.

ExRocketScientist

Laurel, MD

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Posted: 02/23/12 05:26am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gunpilot77 wrote:

jmtandem wrote:

Correct! Bearing buddies are found on boat axles typically without brakes.


News flash!!! Some boat trailers come with E-Z lube hubs. My boat trailer has them as does my enclosed cargo trailer. Neither have brakes, and it is a good thing. The seals will leak grease if they have been pumped full. Because of that, I believe it is very foolish to pump grease into the hubs that have brakes. In fact, I don't use the feature on my non-brake trailers anymore.

I really enjoyed you hedging your statements.

"Excess grease should exit gracefully out the front near the zerk. If little or no force is used the seals should be OK."

As a side note, Dexter invented the EZ-Lube feature specifically for boat trailers. The idea was that if you got water into the hub, you could essentially change out all of the contaminated grease without taking everything apart. You can view this idea several ways. If every time you launch your boat you needed the bearing repacked, you would either have to take it and have it done, or do it yourself. If the former, the Ez-Lube system will save you lots of money because it only takes three tubes of grease for a tandem axle trailer, and it will allow you to use your boat more instead of it always sitting at a shop for them to repack the bearings. If you do the repack yourself, well the Ez-Lube system only gives you convenience of not having to take it apart and put it back together all the time.

Dexter never intended it to be used the way it is typically used on a camping trailer (i.e. once a year; certainly not the "one or two pump" users).


ERS

Mitchellg

St.Louis

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Posted: 02/23/12 05:54am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

newk wrote:

davelinde wrote:

... I have heard of several instances of trailer bearings failing and never heard of a car wheel bearing fail.


Uh huh... Mine failed. It could have been disastrous as the hub almost came off at interstate speeds. I caught it just in time. Stopped. Backed up. The wheel/hub popped off. I now keep a pretty close eye on wheel bearings.


Same here. I've had 3 cars that had hubs fail.

Vulcaneer

Central New Hampshire, Naples, FL

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Posted: 02/23/12 07:53am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Does anyone ever wonder if part of the reason so many trailer bearings fail is because so many are needlessly taken apart, cleaned, re-packed, and re-torqued? And many times not by a real qualified technician.

I have seen it done quite a few times where one or more parts of the process is not done correctly. May be cleaning, packing, or re-assembly in the hub, or re-torquing. Ex: blowing out the cleaning solvent from the bearing with unfiltered/un-dried compressed air.

I do believe this is where the term, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it.", came from.


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