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Old 08-26-2009, 01:27 AM   #1
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Bearings and other maintenance

I'm new to the world of RV, having bought a 2009 Rockwood 8319SS last year.

I've read that I need to inspect the bearings, even on a new trailer. So far we've camped about 20 days or so in the trailer, and driven it about 2,000 kms (1200 miles).

So far there has only been a couple of cosmetic problems quickly fixed. But I do tend to fret easily.

I've never inspected or re-packed bearings on anything. Last time I've had a bearing in my hand would have been 50 years ago playing marbles with those lovely "Steelies".

Is there a step by step easy to follow, bearing inspection for dummies manual or Utube video out there?

How common is bearing failure?
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Old 08-26-2009, 07:40 AM   #2
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You don't hear of it much so I'd venture to say there's not a lot of it. I have heard of a few cases of infant mortality but even that's rare. I use an infrared thermometer to check the temp of the hubs periodically and feel that its a good indicator if one is hotter than the rest. One side on our RV runs a little hotter than the other but per side, they are very close.

Annual Brake Inspection and Axle Re-Lube Thread This is a great thread on just how to remove, inspect, repack, adjust brakes and bearings, with pics too!
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Old 08-26-2009, 09:12 AM   #3
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Actually there's really good primers here: http://www.etrailer.com/tv-repack_tr..._bearings.aspx

My best advice is this:
1. Temperature. Touch your hubs after running for 50 miles and get a feel for how warm they get. Very hot hubs may mean you are running dry and need to grease up or theres a mechanical failure. Could also be heat generated from braking so you have to develop a "touch" or feel for this test.

2. Visual. the wrong grease, mechanical failure, or incorrect reassembly will allow grease to sling out of the hub and get the wheels greasy.

3. Inspection. Put the trailer on a jack and grab the mounted mounted wheel like a steering wheel and check for play. It should have a small amount of wiggle or the hub is installed too tight. If you don't have an oil bath or grease buddy caps, pull off the dust cap and see how the grease looks. If there is a cavity where there should be grease, inspect the bearings before a very long trip occurs. If the grease is settled at the bottom, you parked the trailer with hot hubs. That's no problem. Just remember to start slow next trip to redistribute the grease. When I say inpect the bearings - that is really a bearing job because grease seals cannot be reused. I have reused grease seals to cut corners and lost the savings when I had to constantly clean up grease leaks and regrease the hubs.

4. Run the trailer LEVEL. That assures weight is even on all wheels. This reduces bearing wear, sway, and uneven tire wear.
For the first time, I would get a tech to do it and ask to save the parts. Look at them to get used to how they wear and score. Get another replacement set for all axles matching them to the old parts for the next job. Easy stuff.
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:45 AM   #4
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I venture to guess that the bearing failures that you hear so much about are usually more associated to boat trailers where the bearings are much more susceptible to water intrusion than an RV trailer.

Follow Turbopuppy's advice, he has laid it out very well. Changing out the bearings and greasing them however is a very easy job.
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Old 08-26-2009, 04:05 PM   #5
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When you launch a boat, the hubs are quenched and form a vacuum in the bearings. Water gets sucked in. Experienced boaters will allow the hubs to cool first. They should use special grease and water resistant parts and seals to slow down the water ingress.

Everyone should replace the stock dust caps with bearing protectors and bras, oil bath, or bearing buddies.
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Old 08-26-2009, 07:13 PM   #6
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Even on new I would check bearings and brakes.Recent example,I purchased a left over 2008 5th wheel Feb. of this year.Purchased in Fla while there for winter.Had questioned service abut noisy brakes and if bearings had been checked told all O.K.After treturning home 1500 miles pulled wheels, found 3 of axles had been pumped too full of grease and blew seals also 1 brake shoe had no lining on it.Sorry for long response but think it is a good idea to check if able.
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Old 08-26-2009, 07:38 PM   #7
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Those are great responses. Here's a few more site to check out.

Bryan and Dave's Greasy Adventure

Servicing Wheel Bearings

Repacing Wheel Bearings

Replacing the Bearing, Races and Seals on a Trailer Hub

Step-by-Step
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbopuppy View Post
When you launch a boat, the hubs are quenched and form a vacuum in the bearings. Water gets sucked in. Experienced boaters will allow the hubs to cool first. They should use special grease and water resistant parts and seals to slow down the water ingress.

Everyone should replace the stock dust caps with bearing protectors and bras, oil bath, or bearing buddies.
Good point Turbopuppy and interestingly enough the same thing happens on our Jeep axles when submersing them into deep puddles. The rapid cooling of the hot differential causes a vacuum which can draw in water through the axle seals if they are at all in poor shape. Precisely why I do at least one oil change a year on our Jeep diffs.
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