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Old 05-01-2007, 04:26 PM   #1
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1986 25' Sovereign
Allegan , Michigan
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 79
Axle bearing spinning?

I just acquired a slightly less vintage unit for this summer's travels (1986 25 foot center bath) and after getting it home noticed that two of the wheels were warmer than the others. Today I jacked it up to check the brakes and bearings and discovered that they were looser than I would have adjusted them. Further, it appears that two of the outer bearings have spun on the axle spindle. (One had a funny "copper" color the other had vissable scoring.) I decided that was enough bad news for one day - I'll get a micrometer and measure for wear tomorrow.

Question: Assuming that I correctly repack (and replace if necessary) and adjust the bearings is this something I should be concerned about? I tried a search for spinning bearings and did not come up with anything.

Thanks for your help

Whit Nash

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Old 05-01-2007, 04:39 PM   #2
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1974 31' Sovereign
1993 21' Sovereign
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If the bearing has spun on the spindle, the bearing and race should be replaced. Check to make sure the spindle isn't scored, and the spindle isn't worn down. If it is good, get new bearings and seals, pack them, and put it back together.

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Old 05-01-2007, 04:48 PM   #3
Desert Fox
1985 31' Sovereign
Tucson , Arizona
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 250
Smile Nash,

The bearing race spinnig out is bad. You may have to buy new drums. There is anothet way it can be fixed is by using lock tite on the race or you can dimpple the drum with a center punch before you drive in the new race. The dimples and lock tite will work for a long time. But if you have a Dexter dealer in your area it may be better to replace the drum and bearings. You will have to replace bearings anyway. Also replace the seals and the inner bearing and race.
Good luck
From Russell in cloudy and warm Tucson Az.
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Old 05-01-2007, 05:03 PM   #4
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2005 22' Safari
Santa Ana , California
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Posts: 167

There are a couple ways to repair an outer race that spun.

One way was mentioned above. Dimpling and loctite. A couple notes to that. 1) Try to equally dimple around the hub so the outer race has a better chance of centering correctly. Also when using loctite clean really well with Acetone or MEK (I'm sure there other cleaners that would work, but those are what I use) Also, use a hi-temp / hi-strength loctite.

Another method, which I like better is using a Bearing Shim Ring. You can see what it looks like at McMaster-Carr and search for "Bearing Shim Rings." This is my preferred method but you must have a good amount of spinning to fit one. Clean and loctite as mentioned above.

Good Luck
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2003 Chevrolet Suburban Z71 5.3l
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Old 05-01-2007, 05:06 PM   #5
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Arvada , Colorado
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Clean the spindles for a good inspection. If the spindle is a very rich blue color you may have a spindle that has gotten to hot and lost the temper and you could have a failure down the road. This failure would be complete seperation of the spindle from the axle. If there is any doubt have a quailified shop check the spindles for hardness.
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Old 05-04-2007, 05:52 AM   #6
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1986 25' Sovereign
Allegan , Michigan
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Thanks everyone, I would have replied sooner but my firewood supplier called after my initial post (he can be diificult to get in touch with in his busy season) and had a load to deliver. So I spent the next day splitting, moving and stacking. Anyway, as luck would have it two retired mechanical engineers were over for pizza that evening and I learned more about bearings than I ever wanted.

Bill and Wayne were familiar with BALL bearing vehicle applications prior to the ROLLER bearing era - my first vehicle had drum brakes and roller bearings very much like the Airstream. Interesting for me but the ladies did a garden tour!

Anyway, I got the bearings out and cleaned up and will inspect them this morning. One of the cups fell out of its drum - part number did not match its associated bearing. Further, the one outer bearing spindle that was scored is a little out of round and is a little less than 0.001 undersize.

I'll see what a close inspection reveals.

Thanks again,

Whit Nash
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Old 06-07-2007, 07:08 AM   #7
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1986 25' Sovereign
Allegan , Michigan
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 79
Final report on wheel bearings

Thanks again for all the advice; I thought I'd post what I did to close out the thread.

I replaced 3 bearings and their cups. The correct cup was a slight press fit into the drum - problem solved. The spindle that was slightly worn received several small center punch marks on the top, new bearing fit nicely. I adjusted the bearings by giving them a preload and then backing off to a minimum of play. (The 30 year old Timkem manual said that the ideal was zero play - to distribute the load over the greatest number of rollers. Timken bearings were rated at 0.003 clearance.) My spindles have 16 threads per inch; with 6 notches in the nut that would give a range of 0.000 to 0.011 inches.

Anyway test run worked very well. I was able to drive for about an hour at 55 mph on cruise control and then essentially coast into a rest area (no traffic behind) finally braking from 15 to stop. I immediately checked the hubs (wheel covers not installed) all were very close to ambient temperature.

Hopefully no problems heading to Maine the end of June.

Thanks again,

Whit Nash
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Old 06-07-2007, 03:40 PM   #8
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Thanks Whit. It helps when the original thread starter finishes off a thread. Most thread starters don't reply because the issue went away, so the end result usually isn't always known.

Good 'streaming to you.


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1966 Lincoln 4 door Convertible 462 4V 1971 Ford LTD Convertible 429 4V Phoenix ~ Yeah it's hot however it's a dry heat!
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