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Old 11-29-2020, 01:20 PM   #1
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TT just sitting - Wheel Bearings

Back in April (2020) I purchased a new 2021 Vibe 21BH as a down size move from the 35í Diesel pusher I owned for 6 years. I Live in NE Florida so I have never had to winterize any RV and was able to use my RVís 12 months a year and I did. My motorhome was used at least 1 week every month during the winter months.

While the cold (below freezing) weather doesnít come to most of Florida, COVID-19 did and that has restricted, in a big way, our normal yearly RV Travel. I have only had our Vibe out twice since purchase, for a total of maybe 300 miles, the rest of the time it has sat on a concrete driveway at home plugged in to a 50 amp pedestal converted to 30 amp. The refrigerator is always on, set at a higher that normal temp setting and the AC is always on set at 78 degrees just to keep the humidity down.

So here is my concerns and questions. I know many RV owners, those up north, have their RVs sit for months during the winter. What, if anything, needs maintenance due to long periods of non-use (not talking about de-winterizing since I do not have to do that). My biggest concerns (in my mind) are the tires, they are covered for UV protection and wheel bearings because they are not spinning. How long is too long for a travel trailer or 5th wheel to just sit?

Relative to wheel bearings (TT and 5th wheel), how often do you grease yours? Yearly? I donít know if its just me, but after spending time on forums it leaves me with the feeling that owners of TTís and 5erís are greasing their bearings every year or so. Is that the reality? I have never had my auto or truck bearings re-packed during my ownership (usually 50,000 to 70,000 miles) and own a 02 Mustang with only 25,000 miles, so it does sit a fair amount of time per year, that have never been re-packed. So why do RV wheel bearings, spindles and seals seem to get more attention than in automobiles? Is it just they are not manufactured to the same quality as in automobiles?

I look forward to hearing other membersí views on RVs sitting and wheel bearing maintenance.

Safe Travels.

Thank you.
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Old 11-29-2020, 01:39 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by RGrimm View Post
Back in April (2020) I purchased a new 2021 Vibe 21BH as a down size move from the 35í Diesel pusher I owned for 6 years. I Live in NE Florida so I have never had to winterize any RV and was able to use my RVís 12 months a year and I did. My motorhome was used at least 1 week every month during the winter months.

While the cold (below freezing) weather doesnít come to most of Florida, COVID-19 did and that has restricted, in a big way, our normal yearly RV Travel. I have only had our Vibe out twice since purchase, for a total of maybe 300 miles, the rest of the time it has sat on a concrete driveway at home plugged in to a 50 amp pedestal converted to 30 amp. The refrigerator is always on, set at a higher that normal temp setting and the AC is always on set at 78 degrees just to keep the humidity down.

So here is my concerns and questions. I know many RV owners, those up north, have their RVs sit for months during the winter. What, if anything, needs maintenance due to long periods of non-use (not talking about de-winterizing since I do not have to do that). My biggest concerns (in my mind) are the tires, they are covered for UV protection and wheel bearings because they are not spinning. How long is too long for a travel trailer or 5th wheel to just sit?

Relative to wheel bearings (TT and 5th wheel), how often do you grease yours? Yearly? I donít know if its just me, but after spending time on forums it leaves me with the feeling that owners of TTís and 5erís are greasing their bearings every year or so. Is that the reality? I have never had my auto or truck bearings re-packed during my ownership (usually 50,000 to 70,000 miles) and own a 02 Mustang with only 25,000 miles, so it does sit a fair amount of time per year, that have never been re-packed. So why do RV wheel bearings, spindles and seals seem to get more attention than in automobiles? Is it just they are not manufactured to the same quality as in automobiles?

I look forward to hearing other membersí views on RVs sitting and wheel bearing maintenance.

Safe Travels.

Thank you.
The bearing don't get any more attention . remember most all autos for the last 20 or 30 yrs have sealed bearings . go back to the 60's and auto bearing were repacked once a yr or 12,000 miles which ever came first . which is the case for TT's 5er's .
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Old 11-29-2020, 04:27 PM   #3
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The biggest issue with wheel bearings on a vehicle that just sits is moisture. If it's a boat trailer that gets dunked regularly and then left to sit for 6 or more months, rust may set in if water has made it's way into the grease.

If not, little likelihood that water has contaminated the grease in any amount that the grease's corrosion inhibitors can't control.
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Old 11-29-2020, 06:22 PM   #4
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The bearing don't get any more attention . remember most all autos for the last 20 or 30 yrs have sealed bearings . go back to the 60's and auto bearing were repacked once a yr or 12,000 miles which ever came first . which is the case for TT's 5er's .
I guess since I haven't had a spindle wheel off a car in a long long time I didn't realize they went to sealed bearings. Too bad the RV (towable industry) hasn't done the same.

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The biggest issue with wheel bearings on a vehicle that just sits is moisture. If it's a boat trailer that gets dunked regularly and then left to sit for 6 or more months, rust may set in if water has made it's way into the grease.

If not, little likelihood that water has contaminated the grease in any amount that the grease's corrosion inhibitors can't control.
In my mind I felt the spinning of the wheel would help to keep the grease spread around the bearing/race and spindle. Living in Florida, warmer temps, I thought that the warmer ambient summer temps would thin the grease to a point that gravity would cause some of it to migrate from the upper parts of the bearings and races. I suppose I'm over thinking it. Maybe I need to just hook up and tow the Vibe once a month to rotate the tires and bearings. And I guess inspect and re-pack them once a year.

Thanks TitanMike and Mr. M
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Old 11-30-2020, 11:25 AM   #5
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Reliability Centered Maintenance (we implemented on Coast Guard aircraft) would say that 12 months/12K miles is too often on a camper (not on a boat trailer) - you just don't find any impending failures at that interval. But unfortunately, there is very little data to say what the interval should be. And I suspect the optimal interval would vary by region and climate - it's really the breakdown of the grease you are guarding against.

Heat from brake use and air/water intrusion would be factors that would lead to early breakdown of the grease. Based on all these factors, my opinion is that a 2 year interval between repacking is adequate provided there are no other indications of bearing/seal/brake problems. However, if you pull the wheel in the interim for any reason, you might as well repack the bearings when remounting the wheel.

Just my opinions - I am actually using a 3 year interval for a garage-stored single axle A-frame. Single axles have far less side-loading of the bearings, and garage storing reduces environmental impact. I did repack as a check of the factory 8 months after taking delivery. The factory bearing pack was perfectly fine. I also had the tires balanced while I was at it, which would also reduce dynamic bearing loads.

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Old 11-30-2020, 12:03 PM   #6
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Comparing to automobiles is also not a fair comparison as trailer axles are almost always maxed out weight capacity wise.

When we bought our TT 4 years ago, I'm sure the bearings had never been touched - so 10 years possibly? The grease looked terrible but the bearings were fine. The following two years we took long trips to the west coast so I went through the bearings before each trip. Due to work contraints and 2020 being the best year ever, we did not get any long trips in so I haven't bothered to touch the bearings. In spring I will go through them regardless. I don't know the service history of people I have seen dealing with trailer axle and tire issues on the side of the highway but I don't plan on being one of them if I can help it.

On a gooseneck equipment trailer I bought a year ago, I found the bearings were damaged when I went to service them in summer as the rubber on the bearing caps (ez-lube) did not fit well and water got in.
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Old 11-30-2020, 03:56 PM   #7
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pgandw and Lins

Thank you for your posts. Since I only put 300-400 miles on the Vibe in 2020 because as Lins said, "2020 being the best year ever", I will probably wait until after our 2021 travel season (if its not as good as 2020 ). In late 2021 or early 2022, I'll pull the bearings to inspect and repack them. Then I'll get on an every two year schedule.

Again, thank you for your responses.

Safe Travels.
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:43 PM   #8
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I have had an original warranty and an extended program (no more) which both would refuse any undercarriage claims, if you did not provide proof of repacking wheels once per year. Something to be aware of
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Old 11-30-2020, 05:07 PM   #9
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We only take our tt out 4 times a year and our longest trip is only 300 miles and total miles for the year about600 miles. It does have the lubable hubs on it so I might give them a couple of pumps a year to make sure things look good. I do get some old grease out the ends and it looks ok and not gritty. I have my mechanic re-grease every three years.
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Old 11-30-2020, 05:25 PM   #10
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I have had an original warranty and an extended program (no more) which both would refuse any undercarriage claims, if you did not provide proof of repacking wheels once per year. Something to be aware of
So one who does his own work is kind of screwed. How would you prove it without an invoice from a shop? A receipt for a couple tubes of Red N Tacky from Walmart?

Reason # 26 on my list of why I don't buy extended warranties.
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Old 12-02-2020, 09:37 AM   #11
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So one who does his own work is kind of screwed. How would you prove it without an invoice from a shop? A receipt for a couple tubes of Red N Tacky from Walmart?

Reason # 26 on my list of why I don't buy extended warranties.
Like you I stopped purchasing extended warranties back in the early 80's. As you I had done all my on maintenance on my vehicles and without the 'proof' of maintenance performed I assumed any claim would be rejected.
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Old 12-02-2020, 09:46 AM   #12
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I decided to go on Dexter's site and did find the maintenance schedule for their light duty axles. My Vibe has 3500 lb axles.

According to their schedule, the bearings are suppose to be pulled, inspected and re-packed every 12 months or 12,000 miles. (see attached Maintenance Schedule)

On their storage guide, and they reference as an example winter storage, they indicate that you are to put the trailer on jack stands (NOT on the axle tubes) and pull the tires: "2. Jack up the trailer and place jack stands under the trailer frame so that the weight will be off the tires. Follow trailer manufacturer’s guidelines to lift and support the unit. Never jack up or place jack stands on the axle tube or on the equalizers."

Thank you everyone for your posts.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Dexter-Axle-light-duty-maintenance.pdf (70.3 KB, 7 views)
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Old 12-02-2020, 10:00 AM   #13
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So one who does his own work is kind of screwed. How would you prove it without an invoice from a shop? A receipt for a couple tubes of Red N Tacky from Walmart?

Reason # 26 on my list of why I don't buy extended warranties.

You can prove it with a maintenance records of your own along with invoices for materials . I don't see anywhere you have to pay for service to prove service .
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Old 12-02-2020, 11:16 AM   #14
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''On their storage guide, and they reference as an example winter storage, they indicate that you are to put the trailer on jack stands (NOT on the axle tubes) and pull the tires: "2. Jack up the trailer and place jack stands under the trailer frame so that the weight will be off the tires. Follow trailer manufacturerís guidelines to lift and support the unit. Never jack up or place jack stands on the axle tube or on the equalizers."



Yea..... Not doing that! While I know there are some who might that seems like overkill to me
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Old 12-02-2020, 12:01 PM   #15
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'' ........ Yea..... Not doing that! While I know there are some who might that seems like overkill to me
I am thankful I live in an area of the country that seldom has hard freezes (NE FL), so I do not have to winterize and in a normal year can travel 12 months a year.
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Old 12-03-2020, 09:49 PM   #16
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greasing of axles

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We only take our tt out 4 times a year and our longest trip is only 300 miles and total miles for the year about600 miles. It does have the lubable hubs on it so I might give them a couple of pumps a year to make sure things look good. I do get some old grease out the ends and it looks ok and not gritty. I have my mechanic re-grease every three years.
We just bought a 2020 Arctic Wolf 29lb. I have kept our campers in pole buildings for the last 17 years. In the past, I have just greased the zerks on the ends of the axles maybe every four years. We take our camper out, like others on these forums, 4 or 5 times a year for 200-400 mile trips. I've never had a bearing problem on any trailers, not just campers, that I've owned. When I took the outside bearings out of each axle, I discovered something I've never noticed before, assuming all the campers I've owned are the same as this one, that only the inside bearing gets any grease when greasing the zerk on the end of the axle. I plugged the hole where the grease comes out with my finger and kept feeding grease into the zerk expecting grease to come out of a hole for the outer bearing but none did. So my question is, how does the outer bearing get any grease? Mine were packed from the factory but I repacked them any way. So can someone on these forums tell me how the grease gets from the inner bearing where the grease comes out clear to the outside bearing? Shouldn't there be two holes in the axle for the grease to come out?
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Old 12-03-2020, 09:53 PM   #17
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We just bought a 2020 Arctic Wolf 29lb. I have kept our campers in pole buildings for the last 17 years. In the past, I have just greased the zerks on the ends of the axles maybe every four years. We take our camper out, like others on these forums, 4 or 5 times a year for 200-400 mile trips. I've never had a bearing problem on any trailers, not just campers, that I've owned. When I took the outside bearings out of each axle, I discovered something I've never noticed before, assuming all the campers I've owned are the same as this one, that only the inside bearing gets any grease when greasing the zerk on the end of the axle. I plugged the hole where the grease comes out with my finger and kept feeding grease into the zerk expecting grease to come out of a hole for the outer bearing but none did. So my question is, how does the outer bearing get any grease? Mine were packed from the factory but I repacked them any way. So can someone on these forums tell me how the grease gets from the inner bearing where the grease comes out clear to the outside bearing? Shouldn't there be two holes in the axle for the grease to come out?
With the hub installed it forces the grease through the outer bearing - assuming the inner seal doesn’t pop out on you.
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Old 12-04-2020, 02:55 PM   #18
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With the hub installed it forces the grease through the outer bearing - assuming the inner seal doesnít pop out on you.
If one follows the instructions, using a HAND operated grease gun, the proper grease, rotating the wheel as directed, the chance of the rear seal "popping out" is nil. A properly installed seal is a real bugger to pull out using the proper tools and there's nothing to keep the grease from passing through the rear bearing, through the hub, and out through the outer bearing.

If one pulls their hub off and finds the seal remaining on the axle there are only two possibilities, a) the wrong seal was installed or wasn't installed properly; b) the instructions were ignored and a power grease gun was used which put grease in faster than it could move through bearings and hub.


There's nothing to fear by using the EZ-Lube system IF THE INSTRUCTIONS ARE FOLLOWED.

For those that don't like it-------------Don't use it.
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Old 12-04-2020, 02:58 PM   #19
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If one follows the instructions, using a HAND operated grease gun, the proper grease, rotating the wheel as directed, the chance of the rear seal "popping out" is nil. A properly installed seal is a real bugger to pull out using the proper tools and there's nothing to keep the grease from passing through the rear bearing, through the hub, and out through the outer bearing.

If one pulls their hub off and finds the seal remaining on the axle there are only two possibilities, a) the wrong seal was installed or wasn't installed properly; b) the instructions were ignored and a power grease gun was used which put grease in faster than it could move through bearings and hub.


There's nothing to fear by using the EZ-Lube system IF THE INSTRUCTIONS ARE FOLLOWED.

For those that don't like it-------------Don't use it.
Quite long winded considering mixerman just wanted to know how the grease gets to the outer bearing.
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Old 12-05-2020, 12:53 AM   #20
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greasing hubs/axle bearings

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With the hub installed it forces the grease through the outer bearing - assuming the inner seal doesnít pop out on you.
How does the grease get to the outer bearing even with the hub installed. The only way that I can see that happening is if the whole inner part of the hub was filled plumb full of grease. We're talking about a lot of grease to do that. There is nothing that I see that will force the grease towards the outside. It's not like centrifugal force is going to do it.
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