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Old 12-25-2003, 10:45 PM   #29
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The zerk sticks right out the center of the axle. From there, an internal passage comes out between the rear bearing and the seal. Grease is forced through the rear bearing, fills the hub, and then forces through the front bearing. You are supposed to rotate the wheel slowly while greasing. Any excess grease spills out around the axle end. The rubber cap is donut shaped so that the zerk is exposed.

It took about a year before grease started to spill out the end. After that, the hub was filled and ran pretty hot.

I can't find a mention of this grease arrangement on the current Dexter web pages. I wonder whether they have abandoned the idea. I, for one, didn't find it very practical because of the ehat build up.

John W. Irwin
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Old 12-26-2003, 07:06 AM   #30
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here is a diagram.

looks like dexter has come out with some interesting items including disc brakes!

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you call them ferrets, i call them weasels.
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Old 04-07-2004, 06:04 AM   #31
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I'm detailing here the procedure I use with an infra-red thermometer after a bearing re-pack or brake adjustment, in case it's of interest to any other members.
The bearing temperature is normally about 10 degrees above ambient temperature if the brakes have not been applied. However, I am usually concerned with checking to see if there is any marked difference in one wheel. After a brake and bearing overhaul, I tow the trailer a few miles on a quiet road, and aim not to use the trailer brakes at all. I stop and check that the bearings are all the same low temperature. Knowing that all is well with the bearings, I then continue driving, and apply the trailer brakes firmly, perhaps five times. I then check the temperatures of the drums, through the holes in the wheels. Typically, they will be about 180 degrees, and one or two will be 210 or 150. I then go up one notch on the cool wheel, and down one notch on the hot wheel, and check again. One notch tends to equate to a change of about 20 degrees. When they are all within 10 to 15 degrees, I leave it at that. I do these minor adjustments without jacking up the trailer. 15 seconds with a bent screwdriver in a parking lot is quite sufficient. In this way, I know I have even braking on the trailer. A couple of months ago I saw a 34 ft A/S come into a Wal-Mart parking lot. The driver checked the wheel temperatures by hand. He was happy with what he found. I asked if he would like me to check with the infra-red thermometer. When I did, I found 5 wheels at about 180, and the middle one on the kerbside to be 230. He decided to come down 3 clicks on that wheel, and walked across to Radioshack to invest $29 in the tool. I also use it on the tires, as well as the bearings, brakes and tires on the tow truck. The readouts are instant, and digital, and a walk round at each stop takes less than a minute. It makes sense to me. Nick.
Nick Crowhurst, Excella 25 1988, Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel. England in summer, USA in winter.
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Old 04-07-2004, 07:38 PM   #32
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All this talk about repacking bearing & now I'm wondering what make of grease to use. My A/S manual calls for a type 2, which for a non-mechanic, means what? I'm thinking of using Mobil One, which is a type 2 synthetic grease. Anyone used this ?
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Old 04-07-2004, 08:38 PM   #33
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I used Amsoil NLGI #2 synthetic grease when I did mine a year ago.
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Old 04-07-2004, 10:46 PM   #34
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Type two grease

Mr. Turbo,

The first generation grease is a straight petrolum based lubes.

Second generation has solid additives contained in the grease like graphite, moly disulfide, PTFE (Teflon). It is best to stick with the same additive package of grease each time as to not mix greases. In a repack usually this is not an issue cause everything is cleaned out. (Bearings, hub and spindle) If you have a bearing cap that grease is just pumped in from time to time,(most common on boat trailers) then mixing grease could be an issue.

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Old 04-08-2004, 08:14 PM   #35
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Repacking bearings, AND replacing the grease seals at that time, is smart preventive maintenance.

It is suggested to do that every 10,000 miles or once a year, which ever comes first.

To reuse any grease seal, usually winds up in false economy and well being, since they certainly won't fail in a persons driveway.

We sell many axles to owners who reused the grease seals, and thought they were OK. Only to find out, the seal leaked quickly, allowing the bearings to seize and in turn destroying the spindle.

Now the real truth comes to the surface. They saved how much?

A new axle is not cheap, and normally on a tandem tailer, unless the trailer is fairly new, both axles should be replaced.

Take into consideration that cost, the cost of being trapped someplace you might not really want to be, the additional living expenses, the destroyed trip or vacation, the loss of income if your still working, and guys, having to listen to an upset mama until you can get back on the road.

Seems to us, the cost of grease seals is peanuts compared to the risks involved.

Contrary to some, grease seals wear. They do not have an unlimited life.

Be smart, be wise. Change the seals. You will never regret doing so.

Don't change them and you might regret it for many years to come. You bank account won't like it either, seriously.

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Old 04-09-2004, 06:47 AM   #36
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Once a year?

I've always repacked trailer bearings on a fairly routine basis - with due regard for how I have been using the trailer. The 2000 Airstream in my signature has less than 600 PO miles on it and, aside from that, just the miles from Jackson Center to Massachusetts. The procedure I'm questioning is the "annual repacking," as a matter of routine, when the trailer has only seen light usage in the year in question. I've frequently observed, when maintaining my previous trailers that, if my usage had been light, the bearings really did not need annual attention. Now, with respect to my current Airstream, I will repack the bearings and replace the seals (--always replace the seals!) before we start travelling with the trailer. This is because this trailer is new to me and I want to establish a baseline for maintenance. Subsequently, I simply wonder if the suggested "annual" routine - as an alternate guideline - is really necessary? It does force an annual inspection of brakes, and the like, but again, how much inspection is really needed with light usage? I do like the "warm fuzzy feeling" that everything is OK - but this is a half-day procedure that I can do without as a matter of "routine!"

2003 GMC 3500 D/A, CC, LB, 4x4 and 2000 Airstream Excella 30. WBCCI 7074
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Old 04-09-2004, 08:18 AM   #37
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I have found that much to my surprise, the wheel bearings probably do need to be repacked every 10-12,000 miles. Having never repacked auto wheel bearings nor had any consequences of it after as much as 100,000 + miles on a car gave me a false sense of security. My experience with a 8200# GVW (and using all of it) 31' Sovereign, has been find the bearings almost dry and some were worn excessively after two periods of 10,000+ miles of towing on several long trips. Bearings were repacked in all cases by a regular RV dealer shop. Not me. The only thing I can attribute this to is the weight of the unit/wheel size combination. We are getting a new unit, now, and the dealer says that he even repacks the bearings on the new trailers just to make sure they are done right.
That's my 2 cents worth, hope it helps.

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Old 04-09-2004, 08:56 AM   #38
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Repacking bearings


I didn't mean to forego repacking based on mileage. If I put even 3,000 miles on my trailer in a year I would probably be repacking annually. My comment was specifically in regard to repacking bearings using the "annual" guidelines as an alternate to mileage, i.e. "---whichever comes first." I just don't believe grease deteriorates when the trailer is sitting.

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Old 04-09-2004, 09:01 AM   #39
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Repacking the trailer bearings has a far removed reason than cars do.

We use our cars usually daily.

We use our trailers seldom. There is the real problem.

Water, moisture if you wish, can and does gather within the bearing area.
Using our cars on a daily basis, removes that moisture, only for it to slightly return again as the bearings cool.

However, since we use our trailers not very often, that moisture stays, and can cause rust on the bearings as well as the races.

Bearing failure is the major cause of destroying a spindle.

How can we assure ourselves that the trailer bearings did not rust?

Easy. Back to the first statement. Pack them once a year, regardless, or every 10,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Again, we sell many axles to people that have seized bearings. The cause? Moisture on the bearings that resulted in rust, and/or reusing grease seals.

The bottom line is simple. We all depend on that running gear to get us there and back. We can live with all the other failures that can happen to the trailer and it's equipment.

BUT, we cannot live with a failed bearing. It causes more problems that most owners can imagine.

Safety is the other issue. A locked up wheel can contribute to a loss of control accident.

Therefore, why take the chance? The possible negative results from taking that chance, is simply not worth it.

Ask someone who has been stranded. Ask a motorhome owner that has a tag axle, how it feels to be stranded. Oh yes, the tag axles are the same as the basic trailer axle. It must not be ignored, as it has the same bearings as the trailer, as well as having the same electric brakes as the trailer. And besides that, a replacement tag axle, will put a major dent in most pocket books. Airstreams price for a complete tag axle is over $3000.00, and yes, plus freight and labor.

How many motorhome owners even bother to have the tag axle checked? Very very few. How sad, when PM is so simple and inexpensive.

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Old 04-09-2004, 09:03 AM   #40
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off topic barge: hey Cracker, I see you are in Maine...are you planning on attending any of the upcoming NE unit rallies this year? there's a couple in southern Maine...

(your profile wouldn't allow me to pm you...)
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Old 04-09-2004, 11:38 AM   #41
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Why repack?

Good explanation Andy. I can certainly appreciate the moisture damage possibility. In truth, I've probably repacked often enough in the past that the potential for moisture damage never occured to me. Now that I live in the frozen North things do sit longer (---including me!) and the annual re-packing would be good insurance. Where can I find the seal numbers so that I don't have to run to the parts store after pulling the first wheel?

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Old 04-09-2004, 09:42 PM   #42
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I have lost count of the MH owners that have come in for their annual oil change, and not want to do anything else, not even check the tire pressure! After I show them that the tires are half flat, I then offer to pull off a dust cap on one of the wheels. 9 times out of ten, the grease that is visible inside the hub (if any at all) is dried up and cracked, and there is rust on the inside of the cap, if not a few drops of real water. And still a lot of them opt not to take care of an obvious problem they can see with their own eyes. Truly incredible.

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