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Old 07-05-2004, 09:19 AM   #1
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Infrared Thermometers

I've read where some use thermometers to check the temp of their wheel hubs. Two questions, what devices would you recommend, and what is the "appropriate" temp for a hub after running 55mph for an hour or so. If there's no acceptable range of temp are you looking more for a significant variance in one or more hubs that tells you there may be a problem? I'm considering picking one up. Thank you.
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Old 07-05-2004, 09:37 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Tin Hut
I've read where some use thermometers to check the temp of their wheel hubs. Two questions, what devices would you recommend, and what is the "appropriate" temp for a hub after running 55mph for an hour or so. If there's no acceptable range of temp are you looking more for a significant variance in one or more hubs that tells you there may be a problem? I'm considering picking one up. Thank you.
I think that is really overkill. I simply touch each drum through the wheel openings with the backs of my fingers. If I can't keep my fingers on the drum, it is too hot. If any drum is noticeably hotter than the others, it bears watching, but if it is touchable, then ther eis no immediate problem. A hub that is too hot to touch is a future failure indicator.

Amazingly, you will find some small difference on sunny side of the trailer vs shady side by this method.
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Old 07-05-2004, 09:45 AM   #3
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Hub Temperatures

Generally speaking, you should be able to touch the hub, at the bearing area, without having to remove your fingers.

If you "cannot" keep your fingers on the hub, then you have a problem in the making.

A properly lubed "and" adjusted bearing retainer nut, will not cause the temperature to increase beyond what your fingers can hold on to, without letting go.

Warm yes, hot no!!

Andy
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Old 07-05-2004, 09:55 AM   #4
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Yes, but also

Quote:
If you "cannot" keep your fingers on the hub, then you have a problem in the making.
Most of us have hubcaps of one kind or another and can not directly touch right at the hub itself. The brake drum is the same piece if iron and will be at or about the same temperature. Iron is a good conductor of heat. Some folks may not realize this.
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Old 07-05-2004, 10:02 AM   #5
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You can find an IR thermometer for $30 if on sale at Radio Shack ($50 otherwise).

What you look for is _differences_in temperatures. For instance, when I saw one hub 40F higher in temp with the others I knew there was a need to investigate. The problem was a broken brake spring.

Andy's guide to temps is also good. This means that hub temps shouldn't go past 110F or so. Tires, too. If you find one that runs warm it means it is low on air. (It is interesting to run the thermometer across the thread and see the temp dif between tread and carcas)

An IR thermometer is handy because you can quickly scan tires and hubs. The Radio Shack device needs to be within a foot but some other, more expensive IR thermometers can read from several feet.

There is something to be said for thumping tires and fondling hubs - bonding with your rig through touchy-feely - but a quick check with an IR thermometer can sometimes be less hassle and there are a lot more uses for it as well - such as making sure the frying pan is the right temperature for the omlet.
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Old 07-05-2004, 10:14 AM   #6
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Just ran up to Ohio and picked up my flat bed trailer and tractor. I ran the loaded trailer over the CAT scales and had 9040 lbs. on the trailer tandems. Just put on a new set of Goodyear Marathons, ST22575R15. Total rating for all 4 tires is 10,160#. Hubs were "warm" to the touch, not hot, except on the sunny side.

In contrast, the original tires were bias ply 7.00 X 15, load range D with 2040# per tire load rating. Those tires always ran hot, now I know why, I was 1000# over their rating!!

My Airstream has 7.00 X 15 Bias ply, and the front set seems to run warmer than the rear set. Hub temps vary from 110-134 degrees, measured with an infrared thermometer.

I would like to swap the Marathons onto the A/S but they are mounted on those tacky white spoked trailer rims. These are high quality welded rims, but they just don't look right on the A/S.
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Old 07-05-2004, 10:18 AM   #7
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I agree with Bryan, but also agree with John as well. The IRs are great. I've used them in the past and they do a great job. The ones that are a bit more expensive are more accurate, but the $30 ones can give you a good indication of whats going on. As John said, it is a bit much, but to some of us with ACD (me), I do plan on getting one as they don't weigh much and take up very little space. I mean, I carry my $100 torque wrench with me....

For those without ACD (or even some with it)... the touchy feely method works well too!
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Old 07-05-2004, 10:27 AM   #8
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This thread brings up an interesting question. How are people setting up the bearings.
I learned to pre-load bearing hubs by the feel method. Learned to do it from my grandfather back in the 60's. It has worked on every thing I have used it on since then. The hub stays cool and the no free-play in the bearings.
1.) Spin the hub and tighten the retaining nut until the hub starts to drag.
2.) Back off the retaining nut until the drag goes away.
3.) Put in the cotter key, back off the pre-load to find the key-way.
This has resulted in basically a Zero to a very light pre-load torque of the bearing. The wheel does not have free play (rattle) and the hub stays at a nice temperature.
Any thoughts?
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Old 07-05-2004, 10:32 AM   #9
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You know, I've used that/similar method on my boat. I thought that's the way everyone did it.

I have yet to need to do it on the Safari yet as she only has about 2000 miles on her since December when she rolled off the line.
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Old 07-05-2004, 10:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet's Husband
This thread brings up an interesting question. How are people setting up the bearings.
I learned to pre-load bearing hubs by the feel method. Learned to do it from my grandfather back in the 60's. It has worked on every thing I have used it on since then. The hub stays cool and the no free-play in the bearings.
1.) Spin the hub and tighten the retaining nut until the hub starts to drag.
2.) Back off the retaining nut until the drag goes away.
3.) Put in the cotter key, back off the pre-load to find the key-way.
This has resulted in basically a Zero to a very light pre-load torque of the bearing. The wheel does not have free play (rattle) and the hub stays at a nice temperature.
Any thoughts?
This is a good method, IMHO. It produces about the same results as the method I have used for years that can be found on the Champion Trailers web site. Where you tighten till you get drag, they tighten a quarter turn or go to 15-20# of preload and then back off and do pretty much do as you describe. I have never had a hot bearing by this procedure.

I keep a printed copy ofthe Champion Trailer procedure in my notebook.
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Old 07-06-2004, 10:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pick
...My Airstream has 7.00 X 15 Bias ply, and the front set seems to run warmer than the rear set. Hub temps vary from 110-134 degrees, measured with an infrared thermometer...
Is your Airstream riding level? If it is pitched slightly forward, it would put more weight on the front axle.

Just a thought,
Tom
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Old 07-06-2004, 11:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahaska
Most of us have hubcaps of one kind or another and can not directly touch right at the hub itself. The brake drum is the same piece if iron and will be at or about the same temperature. Iron is a good conductor of heat. Some folks may not realize this.
My bearings are pretty cool except in the last mile to my house. Downhill the last block and backing into the driveway heats these things up pretty good. If I checked them at that point I would think that I had real problems. So use some caution when checking as to what your brakes have done recently. You may have a case of brake heat not to be confused with bearing heat.

Jack
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