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Old 05-29-2016, 12:36 PM   #1
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Spare Axle Bearings

Since I'm a first time trailer owner, I have more questions than answers! I see that folks suggest carrying a set of packed wheel bearings. I understand that bearings are a common failure point, and would certainly stop me from being able to tow the trailer anywhere. My questions are: How often do they truly fail? I am type "A" with maintenance (with everything I own) so I'll be greasing them often and likely taking them all apart to clean and repack one a year, maybe every other. I doubt that I'll be going very far each year, maybe 500-1000 miles per year with it. Second, how many spares should I carry? Logic dictates that if one set fails, the other 3 might be soon also, since they all have the same wear. Last one: What type of grease is beast for a travel trailer?

Joe
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Old 05-29-2016, 12:45 PM   #2
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I currently have 4 utility trailers and the camper (5 total trailers) and have for 20 years, have been camping for 30 plus years.............. I have never had a bearing fail nor had a flat tire................... The trailers all go up to 200 miles plus at a time....................

Wear has nothing to do with when a trailer tire might fail ..... most trailer tires look like the tread is new till you replace them. Age and overloading have much more to do with failure............. I have a set of 1988 trailer tires with brand new looking tread but I would not trust them much around the block.........

I repack my bearings every 3-5 years depending................ on usage. Annually is not necessary unless you travel across country often.


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Old 05-30-2016, 11:23 AM   #3
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Since you maintain your bearings, you'll probably never smoke a set. One set in reserve should be adequate. Don't mix grease bases. Grease mfgrs. publish tables showing compatibility. See https://www.etrailer.com/faq-grease.aspx for a good discussion about greases.
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Old 05-30-2016, 11:27 AM   #4
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If you are considering carrying a spare to account for a future potential failure, may I suggest a spare Dometic air conditioner? They seem to fail more often.

I have never had a bearing failure and I'm on my 5th camper and currently own 3 trailers.
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Old 05-30-2016, 12:04 PM   #5
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I've had a bearing failure. I trusted that a one year old trailer would have been in good shape from the factory. I carry a spare set.

I had 30 years of towing a boat before this and never had a failure...that history means nothing. It only matters when it happens.
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Old 06-14-2016, 02:39 PM   #6
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Please tell me why after 50+ years of owning cars, trucks and vans and typically running them 100,000 miles or more before replacing, I have never lost a bearing yet. However, myboat trailers average a bearing set a year and my travel trailers, at least one every 2 years. The boat does see water often which seems could be the problem but my friends aren't losing theirs. The campers don't get any abuse.
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Old 06-14-2016, 02:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joehbus View Post
Since I'm a first time trailer owner, I have more questions than answers! I see that folks suggest carrying a set of packed wheel bearings. I understand that bearings are a common failure point, and would certainly stop me from being able to tow the trailer anywhere. My questions are: How often do they truly fail? I am type "A" with maintenance (with everything I own) so I'll be greasing them often and likely taking them all apart to clean and repack one a year, maybe every other. I doubt that I'll be going very far each year, maybe 500-1000 miles per year with it. Second, how many spares should I carry? Logic dictates that if one set fails, the other 3 might be soon also, since they all have the same wear. Last one: What type of grease is beast for a travel trailer?

Joe
I think the best grease for a trailer LUKAS TACKY RED has a drop point over 440 degrees...
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Old 06-14-2016, 02:56 PM   #8
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Generally boat trailer bearings don't last near as long passenger cars / trucks as like you said, there is water involved. The worst thing is not to repack your boat trailer bearings at the END of season. Wheel seals sometimes seep water and if it sits all winter long in storage it etches the races and rollers in the bearings. Next Spring you hit the road with the compromised bearings and at some point they fail usually on a hot day out in the middle of nowhere. Type of grease, load weight, condition of wheel seals, and spindle bearing adjustment are the variables. Bearing Buddies help, but do not entirely aid in water displacement. Lastly ... bearings/races used to be made in the USA ... now they are made in By-God-A-Stan. Poor quality and a shortened life.
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Old 06-14-2016, 03:06 PM   #9
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also trailers on the most part spin faster and they are not as big bearing as car or truck
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Old 06-18-2016, 12:09 AM   #10
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I had no wheel bearing problems for three years, and hadn't had them repacked. Probably had 15,000 miles on them before smoking one out and learning the hard way about that point of maintenance. I've been diligent about repacking ever since, but have smoked two more out over the past year, on the same wheel, gouging the spindle. Next week I'll have that torsion axle replaced, which includes new bearings, brakes and hubs, plus I'll have new bearings installed on the other axle. It's no fun at all having to keep looking for smoke from your wheels! And it is no fun at all to fix one or wait for roadside assistance to fix one on the roadside. I also bought an infrared temperature gun to check hub temps at each stop from now on. I guess my point is that while some folks don't have a bit of wheel bearing problems, at least a few of us have found them to be a major headache. My advice is to have them repacked every year unless you just put a few hundred miles on them. Better safe than sorry.


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