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Old 09-26-2016, 12:13 PM   #1
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Wheel Bearings

OK... So I got home late last night from a trip to Charlotte NC for the football game. I live up in Virginia. My buddy smelled a weird smell getting out of the front seat when he was waiting around the trailer. I found that there was grease all over the wheel on one of the tire and the cap for the bearings was missing. Since it was about 12am when we got back in, I decided to unhook my Grand Surveyor 240BH at my buddies house where we found the problem. I have attached a picture I think the right way. My question what am I going to need to do to make this thing right again? I am pretty sure from research I have Al Ko tension axles. I am praying right now that I won't be replacing an axle. I feel ok doing the work myself but if I just need new bearings. I will probably go ahead and just get a hub kit where I can just bolt it on instead of messing with disassembly(I bought this unit used earlier this year and have been putting a lot of money in fixing it up since the first owners seemed not to be good about maintenance.).

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Old 09-26-2016, 12:30 PM   #2
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For starters ... jack it up and remove the tire, then wheel. It sure looks like your outer bearing is shot judging from the gap between whats left of the bearing and outer race.
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Old 09-26-2016, 12:37 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by chiggins View Post
OK... So I got home late last night from a trip to Charlotte NC for the football game. I live up in Virginia. My buddy smelled a weird smell getting out of the front seat when he was waiting around the trailer. I found that there was grease all over the wheel on one of the tire and the cap for the bearings was missing. Since it was about 12am when we got back in, I decided to unhook my Grand Surveyor 240BH at my buddies house where we found the problem. I have attached a picture I think the right way. My question what am I going to need to do to make this thing right again? I am pretty sure from research I have Al Ko tension axles. I am praying right now that I won't be replacing an axle. I feel ok doing the work myself but if I just need new bearings. I will probably go ahead and just get a hub kit where I can just bolt it on instead of messing with disassembly(I bought this unit used earlier this year and have been putting a lot of money in fixing it up since the first owners seemed not to be good about maintenance.).

.
Until you take it apart you really don't know, but my bet is you will only need to replace the bearings and races, the bub and axle should be fine still. You said your " buddy smelled a weird smell " that tells me you still dad some grease in it to be burning. But like already stated you will only know for sure when you pull it all apart. A bearing job is easy and the bearings and races should be under $50.
Good luck, travel safe.
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Old 09-26-2016, 01:09 PM   #4
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By the picture that hub is toast. Honestly? If the axle stub is good...continue the prayer routine you have. I would check them all(I am sure you already are). Hubs aren't that expensive anymore.


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Old 09-26-2016, 01:27 PM   #5
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Your pictures look just like mine did in July. Same exact scenario. I have a 2009 Flagstaff 26rlss. This time, it was my 2nd time, same wheel. The first time it happened, the outer bearing welded itself to the spindle. Some great park rangers and the campground host helped me work on it for 2 days. After they were able to get a torch to un-weld the bearing from the spindle, everything fell right off. Everything was shot. Upon inspection of the spindle, we found small gouges and the fellas were able to file them down and I replaced everything with a new hub that already had the bearings and the seals already installed. That was the easy part. When it happened the 2nd time, the newly replaced hub blew but this time, the spindle had serious gouges. I am in the process of looking at my options for replacement of the axle. I can have Al-Ko build me one with all new drums, brakes, bearings etc.and it will cost me almost $1000 without shipping. I found that I can take my old axle off, take it to a local trailer place and they will give me 2 new ones for about the same amount of money. I am leaning towards replacing both of the axles due to the lack of maintenance as you have mentioned. What a PITA. Please let us know what your outcome will be.
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Old 09-26-2016, 01:34 PM   #6
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Your pictures look just like mine did in July. Same exact scenario. I have a 2009 Flagstaff 26rlss. This time, it was my 2nd time, same wheel. The first time it happened, the outer bearing welded itself to the spindle. Some great park rangers and the campground host helped me work on it for 2 days. After they were able to get a torch to un-weld the bearing from the spindle, everything fell right off. Everything was shot. Upon inspection of the spindle, we found small gouges and the fellas were able to file them down and I replaced everything with a new hub that already had the bearings and the seals already installed. That was the easy part. When it happened the 2nd time, the newly replaced hub blew but this time, the spindle had serious gouges. I am in the process of looking at my options for replacement of the axle. I can have Al-Ko build me one with all new drums, brakes, bearings etc.and it will cost me almost $1000 without shipping. I found that I can take my old axle off, take it to a local trailer place and they will give me 2 new ones for about the same amount of money. I am leaning towards replacing both of the axles due to the lack of maintenance as you have mentioned. What a PITA. Please let us know what your outcome will be.
I am sure you can have that spindle replaced. It is welded in any decent welding or trailer shop should be able to replace. Heck I built an axle for an old boat trailer when I was a kid(went to trailer fab shop. Bought parts went home and welded together). This is far more important than that, but it can be done.
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Old 09-26-2016, 01:54 PM   #7
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O yes I am praying I don't need a new axle as I do not need a $500+ in parts. Let alone I am unsure if I want to do a whole axle replacement. I was very happy to hear that people think it may just need new bearings and a hub. $40-50 for a new hub assemble is something I can handle myself just for cost of parts. I am going to try to pull the wheel and everything this evening or tomorrow and see if I am lucky enough to be able to reuse the existing axle.

Also definitely repacking all the other bearings... Gotta love dealers, I have paperwork from them saying that was part of their "Pre-owned" service before the sale. I have probably only done about 500-1000 miles since buying it as I mostly just travel local. This Charlotte, NC trip was the easily half that mileage. But I am not going to bother calling them to complain since it was "as is" sale so I know they will just say that.
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Old 09-26-2016, 02:40 PM   #8
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I will keep my fingers crossed for you. Once you take things apart, clean them really good and inspect things, you will know.
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Old 09-26-2016, 03:21 PM   #9
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Also... Where do people recommend getting parts from? I am looking for best pricing I can get from dealer with good service. I have used Etrailer in the past but I don't think they deal in Al-KO axles.

This camper has been a blessing except for this issue (Well there are many others but hey that's a used item for you) as my son is disabled and now with this camper we can afford and have the ability to travel more with him. I would hate to have it sitting out of commission for awhile if this turns out to be very expense. Even tho it sitting may not be an option due to its not at my property right now / I am afraid to move it any further in its current condition. Sorry for the rant, very frustrating yesterday evening (Which added another fun problem where the fitting that broken the day before for the water line into the toilet which flooded our rv bathroom, luckily we were in the camper and got it cut off quickly and cleaned up off the floor.)

Ill let everyone know what I find. I may need to share some pictures of the spindle to get your opinions if its ruined or not. Thanks everyone
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Old 09-27-2016, 01:56 AM   #10
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Step one is to evaluate things starting with the bearings. I am presuming you have no idea how long you drove it this way so you will need to determine just what damage has been done.

I would not clean nor remove anything yet. Jack it up so you can grab the wheel and see if there is any wobble to indicate wear to the bearings. If no wobble then you can proceed to a spin test to see if there is any roughness at all. If no roughness you may only need to clean and repack. Any roughness or wobble and you will need to replace the bearings at a minimum.

Next take it all apart and clean it all up completely. The bearings should have an outer race that is press fit into the hub and an inner race that slides off the spindle. Look for any signs of pitting or any change in color of the bearing races and axle. If the bearing freezes up the inner race may spin on the spindle. This causes a lot of heat and the parts weld themselves together. Then the welds shear leading to gouging. Any grooves or discoloration on the spindle will require spindle replacement (may mean axle). The problem with discoloration of the spindle is it indicates a potential change to the heat treating and thus the strength of the metal. So if it is not perfect smooth silver replace it.

If everything checks out, no wobble, smooth rolling, no pitting, and no discoloration then you got quite lucky.
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