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Old 02-19-2008, 04:23 PM   #1
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1984 31' Limited
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I am cleaning and re-packing the bearings and replacing the grease seals as well on my 1984 Airstream Excella (6 axle). Does any one have any advice I may need to know (this is my first time doing this) and what bearings (inner and outer) and grease seals should I use? Thanks!

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Old 02-19-2008, 04:31 PM   #2
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You will only need one wheel bearing seal per hub.

I would suggest finding some one to show you how to do this. It is much easier than a written explaination.

A big factor is getting the old bearings totally clean or old grease and other debris.

The next biggest factor is reassembly and the proper torqueing of the spindle nut.

Those two factors create the most amount of wheel bearing failures after repacking.


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Old 02-19-2008, 04:36 PM   #3
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I documented my repacking at Overlander '77 | Repack Bearings | Bearing Repacking.
I do not remember which bearings and seals I used but it is documented in the manual for your trailer and somebody here has that information.

I will say that a bearing packer, be it by grease gun or the ever popular "Handy Packer" will help ensure you get the old grease out and the new in. I highly recommend getting one if you don't have one yet.
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Old 02-19-2008, 04:58 PM   #4
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I benefitted greatly from Buttercup's excellent documentation for my own first bearing repack job -- thanks Buttercup!

Rather than a full-on, Yet-Another-Bearing-Repack-HowTo, I put together just a few pictures of my experience of getting to the hub-off point, as additional tips. It's 20 years younger than yours, so YMMV...

I did find that it's helpful to examine the markings on the hub, and note the wire color on the inboard side, to help determine the exact model and replacement parts needed.

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Old 02-19-2008, 05:55 PM   #5
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Another reference is Bearings with hints and a photo tutorial

You should look for double lip grease seals. Double sided is nice but not as important. These can run from a couple of bucks at a place like Low Cost Trailer Supplies to $15 or more at NAPA.

Also see Well, finally, a weekend for bearings - there is a link to the Lyle Bearing Packer which might be worth considering.
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Old 02-19-2008, 06:12 PM   #6
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Once the old grease is out, take the opportunity to check for bearing damage before regreasing. Put the clean bearing in to the clean outer race and turn while pressing down. Any roughness will indicate damage to the inner (unobservable) race. No point in repacking a bad bearing!
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Old 02-19-2008, 07:48 PM   #7
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Cool repacking bearings

you should never reuse the cotter pin always replace with a new one
also run some emry cloth over your shoes (drum) or pads (disc) and then over the drum and or disc and clean up with a can of brake clean
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Old 02-19-2008, 07:50 PM   #8
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Don't over tighten the nut. Bad, bad, bad.
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Old 02-19-2008, 09:46 PM   #9
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Bill C,

You don't say how long you have had the trailer or the last time it had new bearings, races, & seals?

I will give you a few suggestions that I learned the hard way.

My preference would be to pull the seals and therefore be able to inspect inside as well as outside bearings & races.

(1) If You cannot read the manuf & country of origin, they are probably chinese bearings. Get rid of them!!!!!! Their steel is inferior and will pit regardless of what you do.
(2) Go to a distributor like Motion Industries (southern states) and get new Timken or SKF bearings,races, & seals. They will not necessarily be made in the usa but, their quality will be far superior to chinese.
(3) Have a shop drive out the old races and install the new ones for you.
(4) A complete set should cost $190 for four wheels.
(4) Use high temp grease only
(5) Once you have all new, I question the necessity of pulling the inside seal every year to inspect the inside bearing. (make your own decision)

Spring is coming within a month and I will be outside pm'ing my unit for a trip to the Southwest.
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Old 02-22-2008, 07:49 PM   #10
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1st time repacking my wheel bearings

Thanks to all for the information on re-packing my wheel bearings. I had them done just about 4 years ago and new brake assemblies as well. We are heading out West and to Alaska this year and will be putting on many, many miles. I will be using Lucas Xtra Heavy Duty Grease for the bearings and the wheels. The company claims that it should last up to 4 times longer than normal grease, so hopefully, we might not have to stop along the way and re-pack the bearings. I will do that again in the fall when we return to Florida. I am also putting on new brake asseblies (7000 lb. rated) for the extra braking power I may need in the mountains. I already checked it out with Airstream and Dexter Manufacturing who makes the brake assemblies and they both concurred that this can be done as long as I am replacing the entire assembly and not just shoes or magnets. Again, thanks to all! Happy and safe travels.

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