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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers  >  General Q&A

 > Axle Bearing Service - Dos and Dont's???

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Baja Man

Inland Empire, CA

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Posted: 02/25/22 08:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Trailer: 2011 Keystone 25RS
GVWR: 7500#
Axles, bearings, brakes, etc. have never been serviced. (the way I purchased from original owner)
Mileage: Approx. 10,000

Considering servicing my own bearings, seals, and potentially brakes. I'm pretty handy and have plenty of tools. I have never serviced travel trailer bearings before. Boat trailer bearings, seals, races, hubs, YES......but not travel trailer axles, bearings, seals, brakes, magnets.

A few questions I have been pondering:

Are there any good step by step procedures or videos you can refer me to?

Are brake drums turned?

When are brake shoes replaced?

Are magnets replaced? How do you inspect and what to look for in terms of wear, required thickness, etc?

Where can I source Timken bearings and quality USA seals?


Many thanks!


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deltabravo

Spokane, WA

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Posted: 02/25/22 08:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Baja Man wrote:

Are there any good step by step procedures or videos you can refer me to?


Yep: Here's my video

This is helpful too, where I dismantled everything to look at the brakes

Baja Man wrote:


Where can I source Timken bearings and quality USA seals?

Look locally for bearing supply houses. I buy from two local stores, either Brown Bearing or McGuire Bearing


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Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 02/25/22 09:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Don't assume you "need" new bearings, although I will often just replace rather than clean them to re-pack, myself, it's cheap. Napa will have, or just order online. Consider SKF as equal to Timken. If ordering online, lots of "fake" good bearings. I got some (for a 4 wheeler that NO dealers apparently carry because well, who knows) in a name brand box and the box was actually a poor forgery of the real name brand. Sort of comical and they were like 1mm wider so snap ring wouldn't go back in.
I'm sure there's 100 threads on here and 1000 YooToob videos, but the process is quite simple and should be pretty easy with even a nominal amount of mechanical aptitude.
Couple key things.
1. Don't fill the whole hub cavity with grease. Some will say pack the bearings and that's all the grease needed. I prefer to fill the hub at least 25%? full of grease in addition to packing the bearings.
2. If you replace bearings you should replace the races. you can drive them in out and back in with hand tools and wood blocks generally.
3. Magnets, I don't know the actual criteria. Have replaced some, but generally if brakes just aren't grabbing hard and they should be.
4. Shoes and drums. If it aint broke or wore out, don't fix it. I wouldn't turn the drums unless you feel they're warped or you have a brake shoe that grooved the drum. If the drums are off, I'll scuff them real well with (wire wheel, emory cloth, sandpaper). Restoring friction and getting rid of any glaze helps. And is necessary if you replace brake shoes.
Finally, if you need more new components than not, buying complete new hub/brake assemblies "can" be more economical and quicker than replacing individual components.


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BurbMan

Indianapolis, IN

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Posted: 02/25/22 11:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you've done bearings on a boat trailer, they work the same way on a TT. Bearings come out, replace the seals, grease, install and adjust. If you look under the trailer there should be a sticker on the axle tube that identifies the make and model of the axle, chances are it's either Lippert or Dexter. The load rating of the axle generally determines brake and bearing size.

If the bearings aren't scored, pitted, or otherwise damaged, I wouldn't replace them. Use a hi quality grease and you'll be fine.

Brakes operate like typical drum brake assemblies. If the ones on the TT now aren't self-adjusting, I highly recommend replacing them with the Dexter self-adjusting assemblies. You'll be able to eyeball both the shoes and magnets and see if they worn to the point of replacing. If you decide to replace the shoes, generally you buy whole assemblies that come pre-assembled with shoes, springs and magnets. Just clip the brake wires behind the backing plate and remove the 5 bolts holding in the brake assembly and remove the whole works.

Regarding the drums, there are very few places that resurface drums anymore. With electric brakes, the magnet rides on the inside face of the drum, and the magnets will score the face just like the shoes do to the inside circumference. Turning the drums meaning turning both the show surface and the magnet surface. The few old-school shops that still turn drums wouldn't do a trailer drum because they can't turn the magnet surface. If there surface is not badly scored or grooved, just re-use the drums. If they need replacing, then just get new ones.

A good source for trailer parts is e-Trailer. last time I did brakes and bearings I got the brake assemblies, new drums, bearings and seals for under $500, and this was on a 10k GVWR TT with two 6k axles.

theoldwizard1

SE MI

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Posted: 02/25/22 11:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not much different from any other trailer bearings. Inspect the brakes and magnets, especially the wires. Best practice is to replace the seals.

Buy a Lisle 34550 Bearing Packer. Under $30 and it worth the money!

Shoes will likely fall apart from age before wearing out.

In the "Be Prepared" area, buying a couple of spare magnets and an extra set of seals is not a bad idea.

theoldwizard1

SE MI

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Posted: 02/25/22 11:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Baja Man wrote:


Where can I source Timken bearings and quality USA seals?

Don't bet on all Timken bearings being made in the USA !

CharlesinGA

South of Atlanta, Georgia

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Posted: 02/25/22 11:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here is a table of bearing part numbers. It is an image and you may need to click to expand it or open it in another tab. I created the table in MS Word and ended up converting to a JPG image to make it easy to upload to various discussion forums. This site in particular resizes the image so it is difficult to read. I used the current Dexter catalogs for the bearing and seal part numbers.

[image]

There are two columns that have SET numbers. Generally when you buy bearings from industrial bearing and drive businesses they get the races and bearings as separate items. Timken does package them in sets of bearing and race in one package, and that is what the SET numbers are.

You almost certainly have 3500 lb axles and no matter if Lippert or Dexter the bearings and seals will be the same. If the table turns out to be difficult to read the numbers you will need are.........

The inner bearing (larger one) is L68149 and its race is L68111 (which make up SET17). The outer bearing is L44649 and its race is L44610 (which make up SET4). The seal is National 473336.

Timken bearings are found on Amazon, however, Amazon has a lot of problems with bogus and fake parts and Timken bearings are commonly faked. Stick to known suppliers. To save money, I recommend purchasing the sets from Summit Racing....

https://www.summitracing.com/

Generally shipping is free on orders over $99 with Summit so if you order an entire set of bearings, and National brand seals, throw in a tube of grease, you are over $100. If you buy from the Industrial suppliers, you will pay over $160 for the same bearings. However if you only want one or two, that is the way to go. You will most certainly have China made bearings and I highly recommend replacing the entire set of bearings and races with Timken. Just the Summit site for SET4 and then for SET17 and you will get them.

You will need a set of bearing race drivers to install the races and you can purchase the drivers from various tool businesses or borrow them from most auto parts stores with a deposit. Make sure the set is complete. You will need a large wooden block and also a 2 lb or so ball pein hammer, and a 10 inch or so drift to punch out the old races.

[image]

For packing the bearings there is nothing easier than a good bearing packer...........

https://www.amazon.com/Lisle-34550-Handy-Packer-Bearing/dp/B0002NYDYO

[image]

Another bearing packer I can recommend is this Gearwrench branded one (I own the same packer Snap On branded, in addition to owning a Lisle packer)

GEARWRENCH Hand Bearing Packer - 2775D

[image]

For grease I prefer a synthetic grease with Moly in it, such as Valvoline Moly Fortified Full Synthetic grease (2.5% moly).

theoldwizard1 wrote:

Don't bet on all Timken bearings being made in the USA !


Indeed they are not, however in my experience purchasing a couple of complete bearing and race sets thru industrial suppliers, and another couple of sets thru Summit Racing, (all 3500 lb axle sizes) they were all USA made. National seals are a division of Timken and the seals have varied, some made in Mexico and some made in Taiwan. In any case you are assured of a quality standard well above anything else. Toyo Koyo is another quality manufacturer I can recommend.

Charles

* This post was last edited 02/26/22 08:04am by an administrator/moderator *   View edit history


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Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 02/25/22 11:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You don’t even remotely need a set of seal/race drivers. They are handy for sure. But wholly unnecessary for a backyard diy 1 time repair. Guess you may be able to get a loan a tool set, but I’ve never had the pleasure of using them and have replaced a lot of bearing races and seals.

BurbMan

Indianapolis, IN

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Posted: 02/25/22 12:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great info! But again, bearing and races are not maintenance items, there is no reason to replace unless either is damaged. We only replace the seals because they are impossible to remove without damaging them.

theoldwizard1

SE MI

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Posted: 02/25/22 02:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Seal/bearing driver not required. Whittle a 2x4 down to the right size and or use a brass drift.

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