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Old 09-02-2008, 10:43 AM   #1
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Axle bearing failure

Good Morning Everyone ... I hope Labor Day vacation was good ... I had to go back to tent camping ... ugh!

I picked up my trailer from RV dealership Thursday after some minor repairs. While pulling it home to get it ready for camping, a man pulled up beside me to tell me that the chrome wheel cap blow off. I thought great ... Another $15 part.

When I got to my exit on I-40, I went back to look at the wheel. Not was the cap gone but the EZ-Lube cover was gone with grease all over the wheel. I limped another 2 miles home. I got a closer look at the wheel. The front bearing was totally gone. I borrowed a 10 ton bottle jack from a friend and took the wheel and hub off. The back bearing was gone also.

The only think holding the wheel on was the washer behind the bearing nut! The spindle was shoot. The dealership sent their brake and bearing specialist out. He said the axle would have to be replaced. He said that it appears to be nothing I did or did not do that caused the failure.

He did say that bearings should be check every 5000 miles. Does anyone have any ideas of what caused the failure?

I am just glad it happen here an not while I was climbing one the 6% grades on our 4000 mile summer trip!

David
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Old 09-02-2008, 12:05 PM   #2
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hope your warrantee covers this one. Lucky to have avoided any tragedy
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Old 09-02-2008, 12:11 PM   #3
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Wheel bearing failures are usually caused by three things. 1) Lack of lubrication. 2) Moisture or dirt contamination of bearing lubrication. 3) Over/under torquing of spindle nut.

Since both bearings went bad in a practically new rig, I'd guess it was an uh-oh from the factory. Since you say there was grease all over the place it was most likely from overtorquing the spindle nut and it took a while to wear the bearing out. It's hard to tell without actually looking at it.
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Old 09-02-2008, 02:30 PM   #4
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Yes .. It is covered under warranty. The 'Complete' axle assembly was ordered today with arrival by Thursday. The rear seal was also destroyed. Is that another indication of over torquing?

David
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Old 09-02-2008, 06:36 PM   #5
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Glad everyone is ok. Bearing failures at highway speeds can be nasty! Sounds to me like something was defective or not torqued to spec.
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Old 09-02-2008, 11:20 PM   #6
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Hi, David! I'm going outside to look at my hubs with a fine-toothed comb tomorrow! One of my hub caps mysteriously came off when I took my rig in for the Refrigerator not working on AC power. It turned out to be a .5 amp glass fuse (old style) behind the access panel outside. There is another black plastic cover to remove inside there, and there is 2 fuses- one for AC power, and one for DC 12v power. My AC 120v. fuse was blown. I'll check the hubs tomorrow. Thanks, Randy
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:45 AM   #7
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I had the same problem last year, 3 miles from home it was the right front bearing and I was out of warranty. At that time I did not know what I was getting my self into. Both front and rear bearing were falling out of the wheel as I was backing up the camper in the driveway. The dealer where I bought my camper from is approx 20 miles away and they were the closest. I called Forest River and Al-Ko who made the axle and ask them if it would be safe to tow the camper that far to have the axle and brake assemble replaced, mine you now we are talking about three tires supporting 6600 lbs and they said, deafinetly not, If the single tire blows ( which it will according to them ) then you could end up with more serious damage, So I had to change the axle my self, it was fun. After all was said and done, I pulled all four wheels and installed new bearings in the other two wheels and repacked all four wheel with heavy duty Marine grease. I had a friend mine inspect the damaged bearing to fine the cause of this problem, this is the type of work he does, he said there look to be two problems #1 not enough grease #2 the castle nut was set too loose. the bearing had room to float. All is well now, but this raised Another question about tire sizes and weights. I did post pic after I made my repairs about the way the axle was setting against the frame.
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:49 AM   #8
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OK, now you guys have gone and done it. We're going camping about 4 hours away from the house tomorrow afternoon. Now I have to go out this afternoon and check my bearings. It's all your fault! I checked them a few months ago but you've made me nervous. Oh well, what's another hour to check the wheel bearings?
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Old 09-03-2008, 09:52 AM   #9
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Thank you rockwood06 ... My thinking was along same lines. And Bama ... It is better for an hour check than to lose lives and property. I know that I will be checking mine every 5th trip with a replacement every 5000.

I really think the service department should do a 10 point safety check everytime a trailer comes in.

David
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:18 AM   #10
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If I was in an area where there was no one around and had the problem I did with the wheel bearing it would make one wounder what to do. So the next best thing is to join AAA motor club, with the RV package they will tow your TT and your TV up to 100 miles at no additional charge. And have a GPS at hand, this tool can help found possible repair shops if you are in an unknown area like the Garmin 750. I am sure there are other GPS's that will do the same.
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