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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers

 > When is it time to repack bearings?

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Ivylog

Blairsville, GA and WPB, FL.

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Posted: 01/15/13 07:01am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For those of you who repack every year, what do you find wrong with the grease? Are you using grease made in China that will not last longer than a year?
OP, with only 5k miles I would pull the caps and see what the grease looks like. If it's still soft I'd put the caps back on and put the grease gun to them with the proper grease.
For those of you who repack every year, I'll suggest (and get flamed) that you spend $25 on a IR temp gun instead of repacking and use it on your tires, brakes, wheel bearings every time you stop for fuel. It will come closer to saving you from a breakdown in the middle of nowhere than repacking every year. I own a bunch of trailers and have only repacked one set of axles when I replaced the brakes in the last 10 years. I do pull the caps before going on a long trip and if the grease is not soft, then I put some 90 gear oil in the cap and put it back on. Before jumping on this, tell me about axles that use all gear oil and a slightly different seal.


This post is my opinion (free advice). It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.

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dieselenthusiast

Zuni Mountains, NM

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Posted: 01/15/13 08:21am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

phillyg wrote:

In your case you need to see what the brakes look like so a total re-pack is appropriate, anyway. I'm not with the yearly crowd and inspect and re-pack every two years unless I've gone over 12k miles, which would be unusual.


Yeah, there seems to be a lot of confusion, misinformation, and different theories out there on when to service bearings. Most service departments follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for liability reasons while some independent service centers offer their own opinions. When I bought my trailer new, the service department guy told me to avoid using the E-Z Lube method and simply repack every 3-4 years or 10,000 miles. With an estimated 5,000 miles on the trailer, I haven’t repacked them, but realize that it’s been nearly 4.5 years since they were repacked. My nearest Jayco dealer is in Albuquerque but they are huge and seem disconnected from the customer. I prefer the smaller service departments because you can actually have a conversation with the tech and get feedback on the condition of the bearings, breaks, etc.


2008 Jayco Jay Feather Sport 199
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mpfireman

Cook County Il

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Posted: 01/15/13 09:30am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When we purchased our FIRST new pop up, i pulled it like 1,000 miles during our first two week outing, then i noticed that one wheel seemed HOT to the touch one evening. The long story, no grease, or very little in the wheel bearing. As we were on our last leg going home, i applied a lot of grease to that bearing, and then replaced both sets of bearings at home. Thus even if it is a new unit, check the wheel bearings prior to using it.


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ScottG

Bothell Wa.

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Posted: 01/15/13 09:32am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The 12/12 thing from Dexter is a CYA thing. Do your own packing every year and you will eventually come to the conclusion that your wasting your time.
After repacking every year I decided that with this TT I would just check them and adjust the brakes every spring. I waited more than 45,000 miles and 8 years before repacking and even then, it just wasn't needed.
Rear wheel drive cars of yesterday had the same kind of bearings for their front wheels and were generally only packed during brake jobs.
Unless the bearings have not been set-up correctly or have been contaminated, you just don't need to repack very often.


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dieselenthusiast

Zuni Mountains, NM

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Posted: 01/15/13 09:36am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mpfireman wrote:

When we purchased our FIRST new pop up, i pulled it like 1,000 miles during our first two week outing, then i noticed that one wheel seemed HOT to the touch one evening. The long story, no grease, or very little in the wheel bearing. As we were on our last leg going home, i applied a lot of grease to that bearing, and then replaced both sets of bearings at home. Thus even if it is a new unit, check the wheel bearings prior to using it.


Wow, that’s scary. My RV dealership said that it’s standard to repack the bearings before the new owner takes hold of it. In other words, the camper gets grease from the factory and towed to the dealer, then it gets repacked again for the customer. Since yours was a popup, it may have been trailered to the dealer. Then the dealer was too lazy to check it before they sold it to you. That’s just a theory.

Turtle n Peeps

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Posted: 01/15/13 09:47am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dieselenthusiast wrote:

Okay, so you guys/girls are going to give me some heat for this, but I’ll be truthful. We bought a 2008 Jayco Sport 199 brand new in October 2008. Long story short, I have never greased the bearings. And what’s more embarrassing, I have the E-Z Lube Axles. Anyway, I’m guessing that I have approximately 5,000 miles on the trailer. We were attending grad school at the time, so the trailer didn’t get a lot of miles on it. So here’s my question, should I just lube the bearings or should I get my bearings repacked?


Ok, I'll be odd man out on this one.

I "inspect" about every 7 years. Why 7 years? Because after owning over 7 trailers in my life I have learned that "my" trailers need "inspecting" after 7 years at about 5K a year average.

Even then I don't always pack them. In fact, most of the time I don't. The magnets most of the time need redoing after this time but the lining is usually in good shape and so are the bearings. I adjust up the brakes and call it good for another 7 years.

To all you anal retentive packers out there: Do you pack your TV wheel bearings every year?


~ Too many freaks & not enough circuses ~


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batman99

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Posted: 01/15/13 10:45am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not too sure what's the big deal about NOT annually inspecting brakes / re-packing wheel bearing grease "at a minimum" every spring (after the damp winter / spring months). I can do each wheel hub under 20 minutes (15 minutes when doing all 4 hubs at same time). For each of my trailer's it takes me 30 minutes or 60 minutes (for dual axle trailer) each spring to ensure all natural moisture is removed from its wheel bearing area. And, all internal brake drums contents (that cannot be seen from the outside - like disc brakes) look and are rust free. And, I check wiring for natural UV damage as well. Each year, a simple 30-60 minutes to inspect its hidden brake parts and I've also dramatic lower the risk of blowing a wheel bearing.

You know, it probably took me 20 minutes just to type this post. In the same amount of time, I could have pulled 1 wheel hub and did proper inspection / maintenance in the same amount of time...

For those of don't change / re-fresh wheel bearing grease based on factory maintenance schedule (like Dexter Maintenance Schedule), do remember to tell the next buyer the truth. Or, some cop that pulls up to their trailer accident because their trailer brakes stopped working. They'd be very interested in hearing the trailer owner say "oh ya - I replaced its wheel bearing grease and inspected my brakes 10 years ago. What's a matter with that?". Cops and future buyers want truthful maintenance logs - that is aligned to manufactory recommendations. Would you buy a vehicle that had its engine oil changed 7 or even 10 years ago? I bet many would run away from that "up for sale" product. I would!!!

Like I stated above, it takes very little time and physical effort to do one's own brake inspections and wheel bearing grease re-fresh tasks. Especially when it does save lives (or blown bearings on the long distance trip…).

rustycopperballs

Four Corners

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Posted: 01/15/13 11:23am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not too sure what's the big deal about NOT annually inspecting brakes / re-packing wheel bearing grease "at a minimum" every spring (after the damp winter / spring months). I can do each wheel hub under 20 minutes (15 minutes when doing all 4 hubs at same time). For each of my trailer's it takes me 30 minutes or 60 minutes (for dual axle trailer) each spring to ensure all natural moisture is removed from its wheel bearing area. And, all internal brake drums contents (that cannot be seen from the outside - like disc brakes) look and are rust free. And, I check wiring for natural UV damage as well. Each year, a simple 30-60 minutes to inspect its hidden brake parts and I've also dramatic lower the risk of blowing a wheel bearing.

Ok, I see you live where it's humid,do you find moisture when you inspect? do you repack the inner wheel bearing and replace the wheel seal every year and if so why? Out here in the western part of the country it's dry, very dry. I inspect every 2 or 3 years depending on how many miles we put on. I pull through creeks every year and have had no problems, (knock on wood). Guess it just depends on what you want to do and what you feel you need to do. I too use a temp gun. it works!!

LVJJJ

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Posted: 01/15/13 01:25pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I leave the fancy hub covers off of my wheels so I can pop the dust cover off without pulling the wheel so I can check the outer bearing to see if there is still a lot of grease around it. A well done grease job will actually last a long time (3-4 years, how often to do check the wheel bearings on your car?), but I check 'em once a year anyway, or more often when travelling thru the dusty desert or lots of rain. It's called peace of mind.


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CavemanCharlie

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Posted: 01/15/13 02:30pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

How ever often you repack you should still stop every few hours to stretch your legs anyway. When I do I walk around both the camper and my tow vehicle and put my hand on the hubs to see if one of them is running hotter then the rest. I also look at the lug nuts, tires, and everything else just to check that it's all still OK.

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