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Old 10-14-2019, 09:01 PM   #1
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Bearing failure... no grease?

Hello all. I am new to RV'ing, and bought a new 2019 FR Wolf Pup BHS in February. I put about 2300 miles on it in a few trips this summer, finally landing here at my Dad's in Florida. This past Friday night, just as the trailer shops were closing (of course), I had a wheel bearing failure.

Smoke billowed out from one wheel after I just happened to pull off the road to buy a soda. I sat with fire extinguisher in hand, in case a fire started up due to the friction. No fire ensued, and I stayed put until daytime to assess the damage and make a repair.

Upon removing the wheel, it was evident the bearing dust cap had fallen off, and the outer bearing was disintegrated. The inner bearing was mostly intact, but damaged enough to need replacing as well. There was absolutely NO sign of the grease having flown out when the cap fell off. Is this a failure of the manufacturer to service the bearings, or does that responsibility fall to the dealer?

I was able to replace it roadside with a good used hub, new bearings and grease from a local trailer shop. Needless to say, I'm disappointed such a thing could happen to so new a trailer. I also received no paperwork explaining any sort of bearing/axle maintenance I should be prepared to perform, so I will add that to my list of things I think these dealers should be doing better.

During this process, it has also occurred to me that selling a trailer that's weight is about 3200 lbs yet rides on an axle rated for 3500 lbs is a bit risky, if not downright shady. I'll be upgrading the axle, wheel to wheel, before taking it out again.

Thank you for shedding any light you have,
Tara
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:21 PM   #2
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Bearings are a maintenance item. Yours may not have had much grease from the start.
First thing I did after buying my trailer was to pull all the bearings/inspect/regrease and adjust the brakes correctly.
Your axle should be fine, 10-15% of that 3200lbs will be on the hitch. Take your trailer over to the scales and get an axle weight for a little piece of mind.
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:29 PM   #3
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I'd contact the axle manufacturer. They're more likely to help than the RV manufacturer.

Unfortunately, I think it's pretty common for this type of thing to happen. It happened to us this summer except with us I couldn't get it fixed for three days. Pretty miserable so I completely understand.

I'll be repacking/inspecting yearly from now on and spot-checking for bearing play prior to every major trip.
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:32 PM   #4
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Bearings are a maintenance item. Yours may not have had much grease from the start.
First thing I did after buying my trailer was to pull all the bearings/inspect/regrease and adjust the brakes correctly.
Your axle should be fine, 10-15% of that 3200lbs will be on the hitch. Take your trailer over to the scales and get an axle weight for a little piece of mind.

I concur with upgrading the axle. We had no end of trouble with a trailer that ran too close to the gross rating on two of those marginal 3500 lb general purpose axles.

I was about to order brand new from hub/bearing cap to cap when I decided the frame was too flimsy to make the upgrade worth it.

If you are happy with the trailer, I think you might be thrilled with 5000 lb axles. AND BIGGER WHEELS AND TIRES IF THEY WILL FIT.
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Old 10-15-2019, 12:44 PM   #5
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Don't know if this will help or will pertain to your problem. We had the same thing happen, barely got stopped before wheel was to come off. Mobile repair tech said he had never seen Chinese bearings on an dexter axle trailer, he said they just don't fit right. We went to our repair shop, RV dealer needless to say the extended warranty paid almost all we had to pay for the repair to the one wheel and then they replaced the rest all of the way around with American made bearings, brakes and so forth. Every time we have to replace something in this Cedar Creek 36CKTS it is a Chinese product that is super hard to replace. Thank goodness for extended warranty, which just ran out after 7 years, hope we have everything replaced that needs to be. Just put our 5th Domectic A/C.
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Old 10-15-2019, 01:28 PM   #6
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Thank goodness for extended warranty, which just ran out after 7 years, hope we have everything replaced that needs to be. Just put our 5th Domectic A/C.
That seems like A LOT OF AC unit failures in a very short period of time!

We have had two campers in the last 15 years. Between the two of them they had over 25 years of service (we bought both as used units) and never once had any problems with our AC units.

Im wondering, do you go to the same camp grounds regularly or do you always go to different ones?

The reason I ask is could it be possible the campgrounds suffer from low voltage at the pedestal? If this were the case teh lower Voltage would cause a higher amp draw which can easily bun out things like RV AC Compressors.

If you have an EMS it would shut off the electricity if it dropped too low, thus saving your AC unit.

If not, it would not hurt to occasionally check the voltage at the pedestal with a multimeter, particularly during peak usage times (like middle of the day) when everyone's AC is running.

Just a thought, my .02
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Old 10-15-2019, 01:44 PM   #7
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the dust cap came off due to the heat . it did not cause the bearings to go . many times from the factory the bearings are not greased well and should be covered under warranty at least for the first year . good rule of thumb is any new trailers needs and bearing pack . as far as Chinese bearing being bad i don't follow that rule of thumb . almost 30,000 miles on my original dexter Chinese bearings . i did just install the timkens on my trailer last month as a preventive maintenance thing though the bearings on there were still in great shape and could go another 30,000 miles . Now i have them in a zip lock just in case the timkens go but yearly maintenance of bearings should prevent that
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Old 10-15-2019, 01:58 PM   #8
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the dust cap came off due to the heat . it did not cause the bearings to go . many times from the factory the bearings are not greased well and should be covered under warranty at least for the first year . good rule of thumb is any new trailers needs and bearing pack . as far as Chinese bearing being bad i don't follow that rule of thumb . almost 30,000 miles on my original dexter Chinese bearings . i did just install the timkens on my trailer last month as a preventive maintenance thing though the bearings on there were still in great shape and could go another 30,000 miles . Now i have them in a zip lock just in case the timkens go but yearly maintenance of bearings should prevent that

That would solve most problems with just about anything on an RV.

Don't know about others here, including OP, but when I took delivery of my new TT I received a binder that had operating and maintenance instructions for everything installed on my TT. Among those was a booklet from Dexter outlining maintenance requirements along with instructions.

I don't rely on Dealer personnel to cover everything when I take delivery but I do try to read ALL the information regarding maintenance of items in/on my trailer. Wheel, Brake, and Tires are high on my list of priorities. Failure due to lack of maintenance there can leave you sitting alongside the road. A malfunctioning A/C, Stove, Furnace, etc can be dealt with "in town".
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Old 10-15-2019, 02:19 PM   #9
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That seems like A LOT OF AC unit failures in a very short period of time!

We have had two campers in the last 15 years. Between the two of them they had over 25 years of service (we bought both as used units) and never once had any problems with our AC units.

Im wondering, do you go to the same camp grounds regularly or do you always go to different ones?

The reason I ask is could it be possible the campgrounds suffer from low voltage at the pedestal? If this were the case teh lower Voltage would cause a higher amp draw which can easily bun out things like RV AC Compressors.

If you have an EMS it would shut off the electricity if it dropped too low, thus saving your AC unit.

If not, it would not hurt to occasionally check the voltage at the pedestal with a multimeter, particularly during peak usage times (like middle of the day) when everyone's AC is running.

Just a thought, my .02
Every time it has been low freon which has leaked out,not the compressor. Dometic has taken responsibility each time, thank goodness. And it also has been two different models of units the first two were Brisk Air and the last two plus the one on now is Blizzard, the bedroom unit is not ducted Dometic ( it does use the same control) which has not given one minutes worth of trouble. The last unit was on for one trip before it went out in less than 4 months. I am beginning to wonder if it is not the dealer installation guys but Dometic doesn't seem to question that. We are just unlucky I guess. And we do not usually stay at the same campground.
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Old 10-15-2019, 05:47 PM   #10
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Every time it has been low freon which has leaked out,not the compressor. Dometic has taken responsibility each time, thank goodness. And it also has been two different models of units the first two were Brisk Air and the last two plus the one on now is Blizzard, the bedroom unit is not ducted Dometic ( it does use the same control) which has not given one minutes worth of trouble. The last unit was on for one trip before it went out in less than 4 months. I am beginning to wonder if it is not the dealer installation guys but Dometic doesn't seem to question that. We are just unlucky I guess. And we do not usually stay at the same campground.
You would have to go out of your way to damage an AC on install . 4 bolts , plug in electric connection and make sure it's sealed off between suppley and return . pretty simple the hardest thing is getting it on the roof .
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:14 PM   #11
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3500 lb axle is big enough. If the RV weighs 3200 lbs, 10-15% of that is on tong weight so the remaining 2700-2900 is on axle.
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:15 PM   #12
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I don't think they actually "pack" the bearings at the factory, but instead use the "EZ Lube" feature on the spindle. I just removed, inspected and repacked the bearing on my Windjammer for the first time since I bought it new. They were well lubed, but I could tell that they were lubed using the EZ Lube because two of the spindles had lots of grease past the seal that was forced out when they lubed it. Easy for someone at the factory to skip or forget to lube an axle before it goes out the door if they don't actually hand pack the bearings.
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:20 PM   #13
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I don't think they actually "pack" the bearings at the factory, but instead use the "EZ Lube" feature on the spindle. I just removed, inspected and repacked the bearing on my Windjammer for the first time since I bought it new. They were well lubed, but I could tell that they were lubed using the EZ Lube because two of the spindles had lots of grease past the seal that was forced out when they lubed it. Easy for someone at the factory to skip or forget to lube an axle before it goes out the door if they don't actually hand pack the bearings.

Not really . depends on the dealer or factory , some come with just the bearings greased and the void between empty . some come with grease all the way through and if done right it will not force grease past the rear seal . When i bought mine it used 2 tubes of grease before it started coming out i did this on the way home from dealer as i had 1300 miles to get home . have replaced the rear seals 3 times and never any grease past the seals . i pack by hand every other year and if all looks and feels good i use the zerk in between . just last month pulled and new bearings no grease past the rear seal so using the zerks if done right works just fine
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:50 PM   #14
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Sounds like a good idea to check bearings more frequently. It never occurred to me that I'd have to check the bearings/grease on a brand new trailer axle! After I have upgraded the axle, I'll be carrying an Infra Red Thermometer and extra bearings and grease. I don't want to be stuck in a situation like this again.
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:57 PM   #15
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I know you said you replaced the hub and new bearings, but did you also replace the bearing races? New bearings = new races as well. Also if that bearing disintegrated like in your photo the old race had to be damaged.
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:57 PM   #16
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I keep a spare hub drum with bearings, seal, washer, nut and retainer on board for times like these. It was about $100 shipped from Dexter. I packed and pre assembled everything so it is ready to go in the event one takes a dump. Provided the spindle is still good of course.
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:13 PM   #17
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I know you said you replaced the hub and new bearings, but did you also replace the bearing races? New bearings = new races as well. Also if that bearing disintegrated like in your photo the old race had to be damaged.
Thank you. I bought the hub with new bearings and races installed. Will upgrade everything before my next big trip.
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:19 PM   #18
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I keep a spare hub drum with bearings, seal, washer, nut and retainer on board for times like these.
Great idea, I'll likely do this myself, thanks!
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Old 10-18-2019, 03:03 PM   #19
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I got worried after reading all the bearing issues here on the forum. So I pulled my wheels - had the Castle Rocks balanced while I was at it - 9 months after I bought the A-frame.

I was very pleasantly surprised to see both wheels had been properly hand packed at the factory. Although it's messy, I cleaned out the bearings and hand-repacked. Put them back together with new seals, and now I know everything is good for a couple of years.

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