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Old 06-17-2014, 05:04 PM   #1
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Bearing Buddies and lesson learned

I know it is not rocket science but due to some issues with my shoulder I decided to take my trailer into the shop to have the wheel bearings serviced. Dropped it off with the intention of picking it back up in a couple of hours. Shortly after returning home I get a call telling me they were all done and come on back.
When I get there the service manager tells me that my trailer has permeant sealed bearing with bearing buddies installed. Translation, no need to remove and service the bearings. Simply give them a shot or two of grease once a year thru the external grease fittings.
I had the axel and all brake/hub components replaced just over two years ago. I can find nothing in the paper work about it having bearing buddies and/or the sealed bearings.
Good news is that they did not charge me for this lesson.
Tech told me that the number one cause of wheel bearing failure is heat. Usually caused by improper inflation pressures.
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Old 06-17-2014, 05:22 PM   #2
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Dexter makes a never lube sealed bearing. Bearing buddings are usually an aftermarket device that has a grease fitting on it and a spring system to keep a positive pressure inside the bearing. These are used on boats to prevent water from getting into the bearings. The bad thing is that they can force grease past a bad seal and fill the break drum with grease. I am not sure what you have.

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Old 06-17-2014, 05:30 PM   #3
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There are Easy Lube spindles, with a grease fitting and rubber plug on the dust cap, and there are Never Lube bearings, with a solid dust cap. Never Lube bearings are just that, no grease needed or able to be greased, no matter what dust caps are on it.
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Old 06-17-2014, 05:58 PM   #4
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I have Bearing Buddies on my boat trailer. What is on the Airstream does not look externally the same. My initial thought was that they design might have been changed and looked different. Now I am thinking I should maybe have another shop take a look and get a second opinion.
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Old 06-17-2014, 07:00 PM   #5
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It is not a bad idea to pull everything apart and see what you have. Bearings can go bad even with the grease fitting. In order for grease to go into a bearing something has to leave the volume, usually through that back seal that leads to your brake drum. For open hubs like on a lot of trailers a little grease back there won't hurt a thing. I had a brake overheat because it was adjusted too tight. It got hot and blew the seal and grease got on the brake drum. The brakes would lock on that wheel.

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Old 06-17-2014, 09:07 PM   #6
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Why would anyone install Bearing Buddys on an hub that has sealed, never lube, bearings? If the bearings are sealed, adding grease through the Bearing Buddy would not lube the bearings. They are sealed. Hello!

I would pull that all apart and see just what you have. The replacement axle on our '65 Caravel has grease fittings on the ends of the drilled axle shafts. I used those fittings, and found that I was lubricating the brake shoes. After a full clean up. I now pack the bearings the good old fashion way, and install new seals.

Bottom line.....Don't add grease under pressure unless you can see exactly where that grease is going!
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Old 06-18-2014, 06:54 AM   #7
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As I said in my first post I am not currently physically not able to deal with jacking the trailer and pulling the bearings. I blew out my right shoulder and only have one working arm. I will be taking the trailer into the local dealership to have them take a look and get a second opinion about exactly what I have. They are solid booked up right now. That is why I did not take the trailer to them in the first place.
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Old 06-18-2014, 07:13 AM   #8
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If you were closer, I would say bring it over to the house and we will take a look at it.

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Old 06-18-2014, 08:16 AM   #9
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Perry, thanks for the offer.
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Old 06-18-2014, 11:24 AM   #10
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When I had the new Dexter axle put on my Argosy I had three options from Dexter. Conventional bearings, a type with a grease fitting on the cap, or the then new never lube bearings. After consulting with the guy who ordered and installed it for me, I opted for the easy lube grease fitting type. You may have that on your axle. They call for one small shot of grease a year. Of course anything can be over greased, and more is definitely not better on wheel bearings.
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Old 06-18-2014, 12:31 PM   #11
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Can you get the dexter or airstream part number from the axle ID label? With that info might be able to look up details about axle on dexter website.
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Old 06-18-2014, 01:21 PM   #12
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Remove the dust cap and take a photo of what you have for us.

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Old 06-18-2014, 02:18 PM   #13
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AW Chief: in re reading your original post, I bet you a cookie you have axles like mine on my Argosy, ones with Dexter supplied external grease fittings.

To your shop they looked like Bering Buddies grease caps, and that is why they called them that. Their statement about never lube bearings may also be a guess on their part.

This is a Dexter web site on my axle system:

http://dexteraxle.com/i/u/6149609/f/...s/E-Z-Lube.pdf
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Old 06-18-2014, 03:30 PM   #14
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You should be able to put more grease in them with a grease gun. The issue is what type of grease was used when the axle was made? The best grease to use for wheel bearings in a moly based grease. Some greases are not compatible with each other. I use Valvoline Ford spec wheel bearing grease in a cartridge tube. You can probably get away with adding grease until you have time to take the whole thing apart and pack it with a known grease type. Once you get the type of grease taken care of, you can just add new grease periodically and reduce the number of repacks. However, you will still need to inspect brake periodically and it is almost impossible to remove a drum and not contaminate the bearing grease to some extent.

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