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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers  >  General Q&A

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

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BurbMan

Indianapolis, IN

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Posted: 02/25/22 03:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

theoldwizard1 wrote:

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


I found that a 3/4" slice of 1-1/2" PVC pipe is perfect for driving in the seals on my axles.

JRscooby

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Posted: 02/25/22 04:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My thoughts: Bearing inspection is important. You need to clean the race if you're going to re-use, so do that first. If the race is rough, no reason to clean the bearing. It is scrap. Just wipe enough to get the number. If race looks good, clean and inspect bearing.
Factory shoe lining is not very thick, but lasts a long time if it does not get contaminated. Any time you replace wore out shoes, you need new springs and star wheels. When you price it out, look at a complete kit with shoes, magnets and all mounted on new backing plate. (I don't stand under how, but the last few times I braked the landscape co's small trailers it was cheaper that way.) Magnets should not rub drum hard/long. If they are wore you can see it. Most likely problem they will have is wire broke off right where they attach. (I have had no luck with repair, you might)
When I service my axles, I do 1 wheel at a time. And when I'm done, I make sure I have all the parts I need to service 1 more wheel, keep in the trailer. And I pack the bearings, and store them in the grease can. I learned a long time ago that if you have all the tools and parts to fix something, never have problems with that. I make sure I have any part needed to fix my trailer to get it home.
And by cotter pins!! If you have them to hand you are working pretty cheap trying to save them.

JRscooby

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Posted: 02/26/22 05:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BurbMan wrote:

theoldwizard1 wrote:

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


I found that a 3/4" slice of 1-1/2" PVC pipe is perfect for driving in the seals on my axles.


Driving seals on the axle?

I have a tool to pack the bearings. It stays down at the shop of the landscaper where I maintain a small fleet of trailers. My camper? Use my hands.
I had seal drivers for the big seals for the hubs on 16,000 plus axles. For the small hubs, I normally start tapping with top of 3 lb hammer head, holding handle vertical, then wood between seal and hammer.
The only "special" tool I grab is a punch, long enough to reach thru hub, leave room to hold. Needs a flat point, to catch the edge of race. And works better if it is something hard, tool steel, so it will transfer the impact to race, not distort or bounce around. Mine is long enough that I can catch the seal thru bearing, and pop it out. The old race works to drive the new one in.
BTW. In shop, I pick up the right size hammer. But in my tool box that rides in TV I only carry 1. It is not easy to tap gently with a big hammer, but it can be done. Hit hard with a little hammer? Not so much.

time2roll

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Posted: 02/26/22 10:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

etrailer.com has some videos


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JBarca

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Posted: 02/26/22 10:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Baja Man wrote:



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?



Hi,

I'll add some not said already. See this post on the towing forum, it may help Annual Brake Inspection and Axle Re - Lube (Pic's)

To turning the brake drum, this is what I have found, and this applies to trailer drum brakes, not automotive. There are 2 parts on trailer electric brake drums that need to be looked at.

The brake shoe riding surface. There is a minimum wear diameter stamped into the drum. Odds are high with only 10,000 miles on the trailer with manual adjust brakes, you have not exceeded the min. wear. If the drum shoe surface is smooth and not grooved up, then I would not have it turned. I have asked at the local auto parts store if they turn trailer drums. They did, so I asked to tell me what total runout (TIR) of the drum will be turned too? They said it would be in spec. I said what is the spec, they did not know. I said thank you, and left. Trailer drums do not spin very true like autos brake drums. The drum being 0.015" out of round at the shoe surface is acceptable. I have seen some at 0.025" TIR. I'm not keen on that and prefer them to be at least within 0.005" TIR. If you take your drums to a place to turn them, confirm what they will hold them too, or forget it. They may be worse then what you started with. Just spin the drum when you go to adjust the brakes. You will hear a skip and a swoosh as the drum spins. The skip is air touching the shoes, and the swoosh is the lining touching the drum. The drum is spinning out of round and that is the way trailer brakes are.

For sure, adjust the brake shoes as part of the bearing servicing and make sure the adjuster is not rusted up. Unless you have the newer forward self adjusting brake option, they are manual adjust and should be tweaked every 2,000 miles for adjustment. And manual adjust brakes do not wear fast as they wear out of adjustment and the owner never knew to adjust them. Years go by with no adjustment. When they are not in adjustment, the shoes/or drums do not wear much as they are not stopping well, the truck is doing more of the stopping.

The other part of the drum is the magnet surface. I have found, the magnet surface wears more then the drum shoe surface to be a problem. This can come in the 20,000 to 30,000 mile time frame. If you have grooved scored areas in the magnet surface, and the depth of the groove is greater then 0.010", then get the magnet surface refaced or replace the drum. If the groove gets to 0.012" - 0.015" deep, or deeper, you will start loosing braking strength as the magnet needs good full contact to have the proper holding strength. There are not many drum shops that can handle the magnet surface. And a full machine shop can do it, but it may cost more then a new drum. There is a Dexter tolerance on resurfacing the magnet face. I would have to look it up. Something in the 0.030" range, but don't quote me on that.

Dexter states that when the shoes wear to 1/16" of lining, it is time to replace them. Small heat cracks in the linings are considered normal. The shoes are bonded to the lining so it is not a problem. The shoes are not thick when new like the older automotive drum brakes use to be.

The magnets need to be wearing flat and even, not on an angle. A magnet that wears on an angle generally has an issue with the mounting being worn holding it to the magnet arm. And you can't buy just a magnet arm as a spare part, but you can buy new magnets. If the arm is shot, then it's time for an entire new brake plate. Many magnets have wear dots on them, 4 small holes about 1/32" in diameter in the wear surface. When the hole is worn flat and gone, the magnet is considered to be replaced.

When you have the wheels off, look at the trailer suspension and the leaf spring bushings. Odds are high, at 10,000 miles the original nylon spring pin bushings are worn through and you are grinding the pin on the leaf spring. The standard nylon bushings have been known to wear through in 8,000 miles pending dust etc. conditions. Check the shackles for wear, odds are high the equalizer center pin is worn through the nylon bushing and eating into the casting. When the casting is worn, any new bushing in it will wear faster. Replace the equalizer if the casting has wear. They are cheap. When the center pin wears, it starts flexing the equalizer and the shackle links. Flexing shackle links start wearing faster/worse and soon the spring pins in the links start spinning making everything wear even faster. In order to check the nylon bushings, you almost have to pull the pins, and by then, replace the bushings. If you want to keep the camper another 10,000 miles, consider a greaseable bronze wet bolt kit upgrade with heavy duty shackles. When the shackles start wearing from spinning pins, sooner or later they will break the hole out through shackle plate at the pins area and leave you stranded on the side of the road.

Hope this helps

John

John


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JBarca

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Posted: 02/26/22 11:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Oh and another thing, when buying the grease seals, look for the double lip seal with the garter spring inside. They do sell single lip seals in the trailer industry with no garter spring. Yes they work, but they are so cheap it is pathetic to consider using them on such an important thing to keep dirt out of the bearings. The cost to upgrade to the double lip seal is not much and very much worth it.

Fisherman

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Posted: 02/26/22 05:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JBarca wrote:

Oh and another thing, when buying the grease seals, look for the double lip seal with the garter spring inside. They do sell single lip seals in the trailer industry with no garter spring. Yes they work, but they are so cheap it is pathetic to consider using them on such an important thing to keep dirt out of the bearings. The cost to upgrade to the double lip seal is not much and very much worth it.


Without a doubt, one of the best seals to use, same for boat trailers.

ferndaleflyer

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Posted: 02/26/22 06:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'll probably have bearing failure tomorrow for saying this but I have a 32ft enclosed tr-axel car trailer that I bought new in 1999 and has over 100,000mi on it and has never had a bearing packed or a failure---it has had the brakes replaced several times.

CharlesinGA

South of Atlanta, Georgia

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Posted: 02/26/22 08:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Race drivers are cheap and readily available. I used a punch and care for many years, till I bought a race driver set. Night and day difference. Can drive the race in a couple of good hits and move on to the next one, and no worries about anything slipping and damaging the race or your fingers.

I gave up doing things the hard way.

Since most auto parts stores have them in the loan pool, why fight it?

For seals I use a wood block and hammer to get it started and then off to the arbor press with a socket that sits just right on the seal.

JRscooby wrote:

The only "special" tool I grab is a punch, long enough to reach thru hub, leave room to hold. Needs a flat point, to catch the edge of race. And works better if it is something hard, tool steel, so it will transfer the impact to race, not distort or bounce around. Mine is long enough that I can catch the seal thru bearing, and pop it out.


Though I do not own any, Snap On actually makes punches specifically for bearing race removal that are oval tipped. Not cheap but if you do a lot of bearing races, its probably worth having. I miss the older auto hubs with notches cast into them behind the races to give you full access to the back side of the race,

Oval Bearing Race Punches

Charles

* This post was edited 02/26/22 09:05pm by CharlesinGA *


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JRscooby

Indepmo

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Posted: 02/27/22 06:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

CharlesinGA wrote:

Race drivers are cheap and readily available. I used a punch and care for many years, till I bought a race driver set. Night and day difference. Can drive the race in a couple of good hits and move on to the next one, and no worries about anything slipping and damaging the race or your fingers.

I gave up doing things the hard way.

Since most auto parts stores have them in the loan pool, why fight it?

For seals I use a wood block and hammer to get it started and then off to the arbor press with a socket that sits just right on the seal.

JRscooby wrote:

The only "special" tool I grab is a punch, long enough to reach thru hub, leave room to hold. Needs a flat point, to catch the edge of race. And works better if it is something hard, tool steel, so it will transfer the impact to race, not distort or bounce around. Mine is long enough that I can catch the seal thru bearing, and pop it out.


Though I do not own any, Snap On actually makes punches specifically for bearing race removal that are oval tipped. Not cheap but if you do a lot of bearing races, its probably worth having. I miss the older auto hubs with notches cast into them behind the races to give you full access to the back side of the race,



Back when I was doing maybe a couple dozen axles a year, I had all the tools to do it fast and easy. (Many times, before I grabbed the hammer I would run a bead 1/3 of the way around on race. The heat break loc-tight, weld pull reduce the chance of damage to alloy hub.)
Down at the landscapers shop, there are tools I made to use press to install races and seals. The kid I trained can handle them pretty quick. But how often does the average person looking at this site service bearings? I do mine every other year.

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