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Old 04-13-2010, 08:14 AM   #1
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Wheel Bearings!!

My trailer is 2 years old and we are planning a month long
trip this summer so I'm biting the bullet and pulling wheels
and brake hubs and "maintaining my bearings".

I pulled one wheel yesterday and removed (drove out)
the seal and both bearing races.
They looked perfect.
It feels like this is just an exercise....
Kind of like flossing or cleaning out the garage.
You know you should do it and you'll be really glad when it's
done-- but darn I've got better things to do with my time!!

I know I can "clean and inspect" the old bearings but
etrailer.com has kits with both bearings and new double
lip seal and cotter pin for $11. It's just about the same
amount of work to replace them as to clean and inspect
the old ones.

I have installed bearing buddy grease hubs already.
It's a carry over from my boating days. These stainless
hubs look pretty good on there and I know the bearings
will be full of grease.

The hard part of this job is pounding out the old seal.
You destroy it in the process. Even if the inside bearing
was OK to start with you have to pound the bearing and
the seal out at the same time so that makes the bearing
questionable in my opinion.

I think in the future I will buy a slide hammer
seal puller and next time
I'll try to pull the seals so I can check the inside bearing
and then just replace the seal.
In fact, I ordered an extra set of seals with my bearing
kits yesterday.


I was looking at the "owners manual" for my Al-Ko axles
and they say to "remove, clean, inspect and repack"
the bearings EVERY 6 MONTHS OR 6000 MILES.
Sheesh!!!! Talk about lawyers over-ruling common sense.
No I don't want to be that guy sitting on the side of the
road with my wheel off in the weeds somewhere but
that is just crazy.
A properly greased hub does not need to be "inspected"
twice a year!! (In my humble opinion that is.....)
YMMV

I put bearing buddy hubs on my boat trailer and once the
bearings and seals were replaced I just greased them a
couple shots twice a year. We had the rig 14 years
and I never did it again....... I don't recommend going
that long with your trailer but twice a year is just nuts.
Not gonna do that!!

/rant mode off......

At least it's a beautiful day out there!
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Old 04-13-2010, 08:29 AM   #2
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Instead of pulling the bearings every couple of years, I think I am just going to keep adding grease to the Easy Lube hubs. It is a royal PITA to do it the hard way x 4. If 1 bearing starts to run hot compared to the others, I will then do a full maintenance.

As far as getting the old rear seal off, I know that the standard method is to get piece a piece of wood and beat the bearing and seal out at the same time from the opposite side of the drum, but that has always concerned me as not being the kindest to the bearing. I now try to pry the seal out........it is history regardless.
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Old 04-13-2010, 08:44 AM   #3
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My trailer didn't come with "EZ lube hubs" so I added the bearing
buddy caps.
In the past, I've taken an old screw driver or punch and collapsed
the seal by driving one edge inward toward it's center. Obviously
this kills the seal but if you do it right, the seal will fall out
and you don't have to pound out the bearing.

Right now I'm on the fence-- I've got bearing kits coming in
a couple days but my local harbor freight has a slide hammer
puller for $17. I'm gonna try collapsing my next seal and if that
doesn't work, I'll go get the slide hammer.
I hate to toss perfectly good looking bearings.
At least if I can get the seals out this way, I won't have to
drive out the bearing cups. (Assuming they look OK when
cleaned.)
Either way it's a chore I don't want to do very often!!
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Old 04-13-2010, 09:39 AM   #4
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Mtnguy, aren't those EZ Lube hubs great? It is so easy that I'll put a few pumps in each wheel before a long trip. I think it results in improved maintenance because it is not an ordeal.
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Old 04-13-2010, 09:54 AM   #5
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Back in the day when I started driving, a good friend of ours worked for a locale GM Dealer, he specialized in front end work. While he was working on my 1964 Chevy Impala he showed me how to Identify a bad wheel bearing with out pulling everything off, he jack the front of the car up on one side to where the tire was off of the ground, he placed one hand on the bumper and spun the wheel with the other....now he said if you fell a vibration as the wheel turns on the bumper then it's time to inspect and or replace the wheel bearings, otherwise if the bearing is good then there is no vibration at all. Has anyone heard or tried this? Now I wonder if it will work the same way on the camper, but of course a bumper is out of the question unless you have help or maybe placing your hand on the frame. Now I have change the bearings on my camper and I have a brass sleeve from an old pump that fits perfectly so that i can drive the old bearing out evenly. When you have the right tools the job is much easier.
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Old 04-13-2010, 12:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockwood06 View Post
he placed one hand on the bumper and spun the wheel with the other....now he said if you fell a vibration as the wheel turns on the bumper then it's time to inspect and or replace the wheel bearings, otherwise if the bearing is good then there is no vibration at all.
That was when car had (real) steel bumpers. You could feel the vibration.
You can place your hand on the trailer frame to feel vibration. This should work the same as what you described.
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Old 04-13-2010, 01:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acadianbob View Post
Mtnguy, aren't those EZ Lube hubs great? It is so easy that I'll put a few pumps in each wheel before a long trip. I think it results in improved maintenance because it is not an ordeal.
Bob, the EZ Lube hubs are great. I haven't used the zerks on my Surveyor yet, but it is spring project. I just bought the camper new in Oct. 08, and haven't got to it yet.....but I already have 3000 miles on it, so it is time. I had the EZ Lubes on my previous Trailmanor also.

I like to jack the wheels off the ground and spin them while using the EZ Lube zerks. There were some members on the Trailmanor forum that got grease on their brake shoes because the grease got past the rear seal, and spinning the wheels should help so that might not happen.

For those using the EZ Lube system a warning.......don't use an air powered grease gun.......I have read where these can apply too much pressure and shoot the grease out of the rear seal.

Now a somewhat silly question for y'all: Does the color of the grease make any difference??? I can't remember right off which is which, but the wheel bearing grease that I have is red (or blue) and the grease in the hub is blue (or red).

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockwood06 View Post
Back in the day when I started driving, a good friend of ours worked for a locale GM Dealer, he specialized in front end work. While he was working on my 1964 Chevy Impala he showed me how to Identify a bad wheel bearing with out pulling everything off, he jack the front of the car up on one side to where the tire was off of the ground, he placed one hand on the bumper and spun the wheel with the other....now he said if you fell a vibration as the wheel turns on the bumper then it's time to inspect and or replace the wheel bearings, otherwise if the bearing is good then there is no vibration at all. Has anyone heard or tried this? Now I wonder if it will work the same way on the camper, but of course a bumper is out of the question unless you have help or maybe placing your hand on the frame. Now I have change the bearings on my camper and I have a brass sleeve from an old pump that fits perfectly so that i can drive the old bearing out evenly. When you have the right tools the job is much easier.
That sounds like an excellent idea.....I am going to do that.

And for all of the newbies reading this: Every time you make a stop while towing your trailer, feel the temperature of the hubs. If 1 seems hotter than the others, then you might want to check the bearings, or the brakes on that wheel.....a hot brake can radiate to the hub. If am always relieved when all of the hubs feel the same.
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Old 04-13-2010, 03:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnguy View Post

As far as getting the old rear seal off, I know that the standard method is to get piece a piece of wood and beat the bearing and seal out at the same time from the opposite side of the drum, but that has always concerned me as not being the kindest to the bearing. I now try to pry the seal out........it is history regardless.

Never never never try to drive the old seal out by beating on the bearing. Dexter specifically warns against doing it. Pry the seal out with a screwdriver or drill a small hole in the seal and use a slidehammer. Either methods works.

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Old 04-13-2010, 04:32 PM   #9
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When using those EZ-Lub hubs. Go slow with the grease. A fast jerk on the grease gun and you will have grease coming out the back thru the seal.. When we towed TTs and 5th wheels, i had them packed every year at a camping World somewhere. It was cheap enough to know the bearings were cleaned and repacked and new seals were installed. I did use the EZ-Lubs on the 5th wheel (Montana) but only spareingly. On my boat trailer, I used the EZ-lub hubs and packed them too much and blew the seal on one wheel.
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Old 04-13-2010, 05:34 PM   #10
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If you're replacing the bearing (which I am doing) I see no
problem with driving out the bearing and seal at one time.
Done it many times over the decades......

If you're going to save the bearing then you are correct.
It's usually not too hard to collapse the seal by driving a screwdriver
into one side and then it'll pop out.
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