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Old 04-22-2012, 08:35 PM   #1
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Lost a bearing

We lost a outer bearing on our madin trip this year. I just happened to see the hub cap fly off so I stopped quickly and it was smoking hot. I took the tire off and limped to the nearest town and got it repaired.
We did get to finish our trip but when we were getting ready to leave I was going to add more grease just in case and the fitting would not take any. If the wrong bearing was used for replacement could it keep it from adding new grease? I had just added grease in December before our new year trip. I might need to tear it down and take a look at it.
Where is the best place to get new bearings and seals?
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:41 PM   #2
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Would guess the fitting is bad. You can get bearing at an auto parts store or a Northern Tool store. They are pretty common brgs, etc. Make sure you buy new seals also.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:47 PM   #3
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I unscrewed the fitting and put it in the grease gun and it let grease through it. There was fresh grease in the spindle also but it would just not go in with the zerk fitting screwed in????
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:01 PM   #4
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Shouldn't have anything to do with the bearing as the lube goes thru the center of the hub and exits somewhere in the center.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Trailer Axle Lube ADD.pdf (575.7 KB, 46 views)
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:53 PM   #5
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If I have to pull the drum back off does the outside bearing come out before the drum comes off? I thought I read that somewhere on here.
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Old 04-22-2012, 11:06 PM   #6
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If you are unfamiliar with changing wheel bearings, I would suggest letting someone with experience do it. It seems like a simple job, but really isn't.
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Old 04-23-2012, 07:44 AM   #7
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See this very long thread on Ultra lube axles--
Ultra-Lube Axles and Bearings Procedures
Read post #1 for PDF links to various axle manuals.

You can also order bearing/seal kits from etrailer.com

The grease travels from the grease fitting (called a zerk) thru a hole drilled down
the center of your spindle and exits out a hole in the side of the spindle that is
located just behind the inner bearing. This puts the grease coming out in between
the seal and rear or inner bearing.

For clarity we call the bearing that is closest to the end of the spindle
and closest to you when you're sitting in front of the hub the outer
bearing. The bearing that's farthest away from you is the inner bearing.

The grease hits the seal and can't go that way (we hope!) so it must travel thru
the inner bearing, filling the hub more or less completely and finally out thru the
outer bearing where you see it around the end of the spindle.

IF you know the zerk is OK there is a blockage between the fitting and the
exit hole in the spindle. Could be burnt grease in the spindle or the seal or rear bearing
is somehow miss-located so it's sitting over the hole.

IF you really want to get to the bottom of this, I suggest pulling the outer grease/dust
cap. Remove the cotter key and spindle nut and washer.
Pull on the hub gently and rock it side to side.
This will cause the outer bearing to slide out where you can get
it with your fingers. Pull the bearing off the spindle with clean fingers
and lay it aside on a clean paper towel.
Pull off the hub.
You probably don't need to remove the rear seal and bearing. Pump some grease
into the fitting with the hub removed. See it come out the little side hole near the
seal area in the spindle??
IF you go this far you will probably be able to find out what's blocking the grease.

Good Luck.
You should have papers with your trailer that are from the axle maker that tell
how to change bearings and adjust brakes and so forth.
If you don't have papers, you can find axle maintenance manuals online.
Tell us what axle you have and someone can point you to the PDF file for your
axle/brake assemblies.

Good Luck!
Please drop back and tell us what you found.
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:29 AM   #8
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One of my favorite animations:

AL-KO Kober - Brakes, Hubs & Drums

You can see why the bearing failure was due to a LACK of lubrication; not too much.

Make sure you are using the correct grease. If it is too thick it will not flow smoothly around the bearings. #2 Lithium or Lithium Complex with a minimum dropping point of 440 degrees ONLY.

The biggest issue I have with these hubs are ignorant RV dealership laborers (I HATE calling them "technicians" - Makes witch doctors sound like surgeons). The inner seal MUST be replaced when the hub is removed for brake inspection. There is a WARNING in the hub literature about doing that. See post below and literature attached.

Getting them to DO IT is the problem. Techs trained on the old hubs just peek at the inner seal and slide the hub back on if the inner seal still looks good (which it will since if the previous tech was any good got changed). Worse yet, they might have an old can of "axle grease" they are fond of when they hand packed your bearings like "daddy taught me".

You go home, realize they did not refill the hubs and pump it full and blow out the rear seal.

The next time it goes in you start hearing how the brakes were covered in grease and they then blame YOU because you filled the hub like you are supposed to!

My guess is whoever repacked your bearings last either use the wrong type of grease that would not flow cold OR it has been too long since the last standard "hand pack" and that grease was old and hard.

No amount of safe hand pressure can get old hard caked grease out of the bearings. Once you have a fresh repack; then immediately fill the hubs; give a pump or two to put fresh grease on the bearing surfaces every time you tow; you will never have a problem with your bearings again. Just make sure the "so called tech" who does your inspection knows that YOU know you are paying for the rear seals and you want to see your old ones.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Trailer Axle Lube ADD.pdf (575.7 KB, 18 views)
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Old 04-23-2012, 11:10 AM   #9
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Go ahead and put new zerk fittings in. I too could not get grease to pump into the bearing, but the zerk would pass grease when unscrewed from the axle. New fittings solved this issue. It's an issue that several have had.
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Old 04-23-2012, 03:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lindy
Go ahead and put new zerk fittings in. I too could not get grease to pump into the bearing, but the zerk would pass grease when unscrewed from the axle. New fittings solved this issue. It's an issue that several have had.
Me too change the fitting !
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