View Poll Results: When do you repack your wheel bearings?
As per Airstream, once a year or 10,000 miles. 21 41.18%
Every other year. 17 33.33%
Every five years. 9 17.65%
When you need new brakes. 1 1.96%
When you replace your tires. 1 1.96%
When one make a noise, seizes up, or wheel falls off. 0 0%
Other, explain. [or never] 2 3.92%
Voters: 51. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-10-2009, 12:34 AM   #1
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Wheel Bearings, when do you repack yours?

Hi, how often do you have your wheel bearings repacked? After my trailer was about two years old, I had a service dealer repack my wheel bearings. Now my trailer is close to being five years old and I'm contemplateing doing them again, but I will do them myself this time. I personally don't think they need to be done so often unless for some reason your trailer hubs have been submerged in deep water, one or more times. Or if you over heated your brakes and/or burned up a tire. What is your opinion and experiences on Airstream wheel bearings?
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Old 08-10-2009, 05:12 AM   #2
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Thumbs up Very interesting....



Cloudsplitter sits on stands every winter so it's easy to give them a quick check in the Spring. Re-packed them this year for the first time.

I think it's just as important, to give the brakes a check every year, but that's just the "Old School" showing up again.
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:19 AM   #3
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We keep a fairly accurate travel log for Lucy. She has covered 50,000 miles in the last three years. We have had her wheel bearings repacked pretty much at every 10,000 mile mark, which is pretty much every year or a little less.

Earlier this year we replaced Lucy's brakes out in Oregon. At this point we also had brand new bearings installed.

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Old 08-10-2009, 06:34 AM   #4
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It is easy to inspect the bearings every time you need to check the brakes. You need to check the brakes every year before venturing out on the highway for the first time after the winter layup. If you are a big traveler, you need to check the brakes and bearings more frequently or if anything unusual is felt or detected when you check the tire and bearing temperatures as the gas is going into the tow vehicle tank. You need to repack the bearings when the grease shows even the slightest amount of degradation. Keep records to make sure you are keeping up with the preventive maintenance schedule. You do not want to find out by accident on the road that you should have checked your brakes and bearings before you hit the road.
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Old 08-10-2009, 07:55 AM   #5
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i'll just tack on a related question

what is the best solvent to use for cleaning the bearings?
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:17 AM   #6
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i'll just tack on a related question

what is the best solvent to use for cleaning the bearings?
Mineral spirits, with gloves and ventalation.
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
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i'll just tack on a related question

what is the best solvent to use for cleaning the bearings?

Kerosene.
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:42 AM   #8
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I voted "Other" because I installed the nevr-lube option on the axles for the '77. I gotta do them on the 34' and will probably repack every other year or just prior to a big trip, wich ever comes first.
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:25 AM   #9
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I had mine repacked the first spring after our first camping season. We average a camping trip of some length or another once a month. However, I skipped the following year and had them repacked this past spring. But we are hoping to take a cross country trip next summer so I plan to have the bearings repacked again next spring.

I also had the brakes and tread inspected both times. I had the brakes adjusted this year when having the bearings repacked. I was glad I did because our first trip afterward required emergency braking that required the anti-lock break system to activate and aid the stopping. My truck's built in braking system also pulses the trailer brakes to help prevent the trailer brakes from locking and track straight.
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:59 AM   #10
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I guess I will answer that question with another question? Being a mechanic myself I would ask folks how often they had their front wheel bearing repacked on their Mid 90's or earlier pickup? How often have I pulled the front hubs apart at 50k and saw that the bearings were full of grease and in good shape. Now the difference is that with an RV the grease can get hard and begin to dry a bit due to the infrequency of usage. But you still cant convince me that the bearings need to be repacked every year! I think there is a greater risk to some monkey mechanic over torquing the bearings or washing the grease out with a solvent that does not allow the new grease to stick to the rollers inducing a quicker death. People may disagree but I think based on the way im using my trailer that stays inside and travels about 4 or 5 times a year every three years should be fine. Its a good time to adjust the brakes and check that stuff out as well.

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Old 08-10-2009, 12:04 PM   #11
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I agree with Vinnie. My '55-Chevy 1/2-pickup has bearings and drum brakes on the front wheels similar to the Airstream. I put 100,000 miles on that truck and only looked at the front hubs every three years or so. A quick repack and brake adjust and it was good for another three years and 30,000 miles. Never once had to replace the bearings.
Granted the electric brakes on the Airstream cause added dust / ware inside the drum, so checking the trailer more often might not be a bad idea. What the heck, it's not a tough job, if you want to do it more often go for it.
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Old 08-10-2009, 12:18 PM   #12
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i'd have to rate trailer brake systems as "extreme use". (in general) they sit for long periods, have heavier loads to carry and operate out of hearing/feeling range of the vehicle operator. i'd guess they are subject to more severe stopping too. also factor in more side to side movement from sway.

i might not repack the bearings every year/10k miles but i'd sure like to peek at the brake parts, look inside the hubs and adjust the bearings and shoes that often.
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Old 08-10-2009, 01:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richinny View Post
i'd have to rate trailer brake systems as "extreme use". (in general) they sit for long periods, have heavier loads to carry and operate out of hearing/feeling range of the vehicle operator. i'd guess they are subject to more severe stopping too. also factor in more side to side movement from sway.

i might not repack the bearings every year/10k miles but i'd sure like to peek at the brake parts, look inside the hubs and adjust the bearings and shoes that often.
Good point Rich,

I hate to say this but working here at a dealership / auto repair facility things go wrong. Sometimes we induce problems that otherwise wouldnt have happened. I could tell you horror stories about guys doing stupid things while talking about their weekend?!

I do all my own work for the most part but with your rig there are 6 possibilities with all those wheels to screw something up. I agree with the inspections though. Good to know what that wheel bearing play is like once in a while. I noticed that my bearings on my 01' are made in China. They are beefy but thought they might be Timkins or SKF or something like that. A mobile repair guy once told me in a rv park that most people who continually check there lug nuts for tightness (because it says to on the side of the wheel well) actually end up breaking them off because they are torqued to 150lbs!!!

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Old 08-10-2009, 04:38 PM   #14
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Yes repacking the bearings is a side job to inspecting the brakes. As long as you are in there you might as well repack them because you are going to replace the seals and to do that you will have the bearings in your hand.

Now that said how often do you have to inspect the brakes. I use an exhaust brake on the TV and the trailer brakes almost never show and ware when I open things up ever second yer or so.
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