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Old 04-21-2005, 03:23 PM   #1
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Hot hub

After 18 months of problem-free towing, the gremlin finally hit me this morning.

I was returning home the 80 miles from Fredericksburg and had stopped at a picnic area for a bio break when I smelled a smoking brake. A quick check found that the rear roadside Centramatic balancer was quite warm. After a couple of minutes, I couldn't touch the balancer and the wheel and hub had become quite hot without the airflow of the cool morning.

I pulled the front wheel up on levelling blocks and found that I could hear the brake dragging as I turned the wheel. Bearings felt OK, thankfully. There was lots of black brake dust on the back of the balancer. I removed the wheel and crept the 20 miles to my storage place at 30 MPH, hazard blinkers on.

My guess is that a spring broke in that brake. I'll pull the hub and check it before taking it too the dealer tomorrow morning. If I can stop the dragging by some means such as wiring it, I can put the wheel back on and proceed at a more respectable speed for the 20-odd miles to the dealer.
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Old 04-21-2005, 05:03 PM   #2
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By the way

The pipe for the equalizer chain snapups slipped over the straight arm of my 4-way lug wrench made removing the lug nuts a snap. I was concerned with brealing loose the 90 foot-pound torque, but with the additional leverage, it was quite easy.

Had I needed to put on the spare, I keep a long-handled torque wrench in the trailer preset for 90#.

I talked to the dealer a little while ago and told them that I was going to do what ever was necessary to be able to replace the wheel before towing it to them for warrenty repair. No problem.
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Old 04-22-2005, 01:54 PM   #3
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It's fixed

I went out to the storage yard this morning and pulled the brake drum off, expecting to find a broken spring or something similar. Instead, both brake linings fell right out on the ground. My guess is that one lining broke away from its backing and wedged the other lining off. The linings were worn pretty thin; there's no telling how many miles they had been dragging as we drove all the way home from Canton last week nonstop and I didn't check the hubs when I got home.

The dealer put in a new backing plate; it took all morning to find one since he had used up his stock by replacing all four on a trailer the day before. Fortunately, the bearings looked fine and the red grease had stayed right in them despite the high temperatures.
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Old 04-22-2005, 02:50 PM   #4
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John,

Since the drum got smokin' hot, did the dealer check it for out-of-round?

That's great news that the red grease stayed put; I used the same stuff on my Airstream, and was a little on edge since it was not what I was used to using, nor was it what was last used on my bearings.

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Old 04-22-2005, 03:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomW
John,

Since the drum got smokin' hot, did the dealer check it for out-of-round?

Tom
The drum was fine, fortunately. No sign of warping or undue wear.

When I first pulled the wheel off, the actual amount of friction was fairly small. I had actually checked the hubs earlier when I stopped at Wildflower Farms after driving about 10 miles and the hub was just about body temperature at that point.

The next 30 miles at highway speeds accumulated enough heat that I could smell the scorched linings when I stepped out of the truck. At first, I thought it was a brush fire I had just passed, but I decided to check the hubs anyway. Fortunately, that's when I discovered the problem.

Of course, it was a cool, rainy morning and the airflow was keeping the aluminum Centramatic balancer fairly cool or it would probably have heated up a lot faster.

I'm a great believer in the red grease now. There was absolutely no evidence that grease had migrated.
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Old 04-22-2005, 04:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahaska
Had I needed to put on the spare, I keep a long-handled torque wrench in the trailer preset for 90#.
Just an FYI, John, the little springs that regulate the torque tend to lose their tension from being constantly "set". It is best to turn to handle down to "0" for storage. It would not be good to unknowingly torque the wheels to, say, 75 lb/ft instead of 90, and lose a wheel.
The friction material coming off the backing plate is not as uncommon as you would think, although it is more prevalent in relined shoes.
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