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Old 12-11-2007, 07:03 PM   #1
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Help w/ wheel bearings and brakes.

I wanted to do the bearings and check replace brakes before the canopener in three weeks so I took off a wheel and I feel here some friction/grating when turning. All of the screws/bolts that hold the drum on are rusted on solid. I need help, should I try a eazout or drill them out? I have never packed or replaced wheel bearings before. Do I have to take the drum off to replace the bearings or repack them? Shocks need replacing as well and they are all rusted up too, but they will probably have to wait until after the canopener. Any help would be much appreciated.
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Old 12-11-2007, 07:21 PM   #2
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There is one nut that holds the drum on. It is located in the center under a metal dust cover. It should have a carter pin holding the nut in place. After you remove the nut the drum should pull off. You will need to remove the grease seal on the rear to get to the inner bearing. A new grease seal should be installed after you pack the bearings.

There are a few threads that talk about how to tighten the nut properly when you are done.
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Old 12-11-2007, 07:28 PM   #3
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A lot depends on your experience/skill level. Bearings and brakes are not "rocket science" but need to done correctly to maintain safety and economy. Hubs with the bearings can usually be removed with the drums attached. The preferred way to remove rusted bolts would be to soak with pentrating oil (liquid wrench, PB blaster, kroil, etc.) and tap with a hammer to help loosen the rust. Judiciously applied heat will often free up rusted bolts. Bearings are to be cleaned (some kind of petroleum solvent) and inspected. Roller bearings can be then reassembled dry and turned by hand to feel for roughness on the inner (not directly observable)race. If a bearing is not smooth, replace it. The race in the hub is pressed or driven in/out with a suitable punch (carefully).Match old bearings and races exactly. Pack grease thoroughly into the bearing and into the annular space in the hub between the bearings (leave room for the axel shaft). In general, the retaining nut is tightened to remove play(on new bearings, tighten a half turn beyond hand tight and then back off to "no play" to seat the bearings then key with a split pin or special washer to secure. Sometimes there is a recommended preload-check your specs. if you have them. Brake hardware needs to be free and corrrectly adjusted. New complete units (electric brake) are inthe $50 range and are often more cost effective than repairing older units. Plenty of info in the forums. Do some searching. Finally, vicegrips are a good handle to finesse the retaing bolts or screws when they are rusted and rounded.
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Old 12-11-2007, 10:36 PM   #4
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Mrmossyone,

My trailer is a 1987. Since your unit is older and has electric brakes, I would assume most things are similar.

Do you have any idea when the brakes & bearings were last done? If they have been done within the last few years, you may not have too big a job.

You need to take inventory on one side. Be sure to block the tires on the side you are not working on so the trailer doesn't move.

If you have a floor jack, it should fit between the tires and is very stable. If not a bottle jack will do. Be sure to get it centered on the frame between the tires. I like to have a jack stand when both tires are removed at the same time.

(1) With tire removed, the hub should have six threaded bolts.
(2) Remove hub cover with a screwdriver and hammer
(3) Remove outside bearing, cotter pin & castle nut & aside to the hub cover.
(4) Drum should slide off with minimal effort. If it does not, there is a rubber cover at the bottom inside of brake assembly. Remove it and use a screwdriver or brake wrench to turn the star wheel and back off the adjuster so brake shoes/linings do not touch the drum. Then remove drum.
(5) Inspect all parts for wear; drum should not have bad grooves in the brake shoe surface or the elec magnet surface. Drums can be turned. Magnets should not be worn excessively, Brake shoe linings should not have rivets grinding on the drum surface. If bonded/glued linings to shoes, should have approx 1/8" minimum lining material.
(6) Inspect outside bearing & race, wipe off grease, check each bearing for pitting, look for name of manuf & country, replace if chinese no questions asked.
(7) Pull seal from inside of hub, remove inside and inspect bearing & race carefully.
(8) In Tenn, try to find a bearing specialist named Motion Industries. full set of bearings, races, seals is $190 for timken or skf. Take your old bearings so they can replace exactly. They will overnight from Birmingham if not in stock.
(9)If bearings are not chinese & not pitted at all, then all you need is new seals
(10) If you have good lining on the shoes, magnets are not worn to a bevel so that contact with the drum will be even, springs are not broken, etc. then you may get off easy.
(11) If you have to do either magnets or shoes, then price a complete unit (backing plate, shoes, magnets, springs), etc.

Note: a new unit will require you to resplice the electric line to the controller. Use connectors that are heat shrink. I use high temp grease for everything. The old mechanics take a hand full of grease and squeeze it into the bearings from the side of the rollers.

If you need new bearings, find a mechanic to drive in the new races, lube new bearings, & install inside seal.

I am sure I missed some things. Come on folks, jump in and keep me straight.
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Old 12-11-2007, 10:36 PM   #5
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If the drums are removeable from the hubs, you might want to consider removing the hubs first. (Follow the directions listed above) If the drums have been on the hubs for a long time (two years in salt and snow is a long time) forget seperating the drums from the hubs. It may not happen.

And a lot of drums do not seperate from the hub at all.
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Old 12-12-2007, 05:57 AM   #6
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On an Airstream the drums are not separate from the hubs. They are like the front wheels on an old car. From your posting it does not seem you are very knowledgeable about brakes. Bad brakes can cause an accident that can kill you. A badly done brake job can kill you. The brakes used on old Airstreams are the same as most other RV's. If there is a reputable RV dealer near you I think you would be better off leaving the job to the professionals for the first time. If they will let you, I would stand around and watch them and learn how to properly do it so you can do it next time. If the unit has set around for over a couple of months it is not unusual for the brakes drums to rust up a bit and cause the grinding you are hearing. It usually takes a couple of miles and a few stops to get the brakes to function properly. A little noise is normal but if you feel the wheel turning over unevenly after a you have used the trailer the previous day there is possibly something wrong and you have to take the drums off to check. Airstream wheel bearings are not recomended to be pre loaded. They are specified to have 0.000 to 0.010 of end play. Too high a preload will lead to bearing overheating and premature failure.
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Old 12-12-2007, 06:12 AM   #7
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Changing the brakes is not tough, but if you have never done them before, you should have a professional perform the work for you, while you watch.
The hubs are held on by a cotter pin through the spindle, which is threaded so a castle nut can hold the wheel bearings in place. The backing plates are held on by 4 or 5 nut-bolt assemblies which need to be removed to take off the backing plates. The brake magnets are connected by two wires per magnet, and the brakes are different, left and right sides of the trailer.
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Old 12-12-2007, 12:32 PM   #8
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Well I have changed pads on a truck once and on my motorcycle several times but never any drum brakes. From the posts I have realized my error and I will be removing the drums when it stops raining. I have never done wheel bearings but I think with some advice I can do it. I probably will just call my Dad or Father-in-law for help, one is a mechanic and the other was a mechanic and then an electrical engineer that way I can do all the work and learn while they tell me what to do and fuss at me for not doing right. Should be fun. Thanks for the advice, I'll need more.
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Old 12-12-2007, 03:43 PM   #9
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To see what you are getting into in repacking bearings, see Hints and Tips and Bryan and Dave's Greasy Adventure

As far as brakes go, If the drums are OK, replace the backing plates. The backing plates aren't that expensive ($30 - $80 each depending upon source) and include springs, magnet, and all the other moving parts. (a photo gallery on this is in the works). 5 bolts, wiring, and an easy adjustment is all it takes! ;-)

If you have to replace any bearings, always replace the bearings with the race as a set. You have to do a bit of pounding to get the races out and in with the proper tool and care not to scratch or otherwise damage anything.
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Old 12-12-2007, 07:14 PM   #10
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Brake Photo

Just a suggestion from my shade tree mechanics days...if you do the brake job yourself...take a picture of the brake assembly after you get the hub off. I doubt that AS brakes have as many configurations as my old 68 Firebird came with but I found it quite helpful when reassembly time came....of course that was over 30 years ago.
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Old 12-13-2007, 06:32 PM   #11
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Well I got one side done and the wheels and drums off the other side w/ one set of berings, races and seal out. After supper I'll get the other side out and then pack bearings, put races in and call it a night because I don't have the last two berings, NAPA has them coming in the morning. I had my Dad to tell me when I was messing up. I tightened the nut down and then backed it off and put cotter pin in. I also adjusted the brakes, there was plenty of pad left and drums looked good. I will however replace the brakes in the spring or summer when I have more time. I believe I will have to replace axels in the summer as well, along with the shocks.

One thing bad happened in reassembly. The second to last lug on second wheel to be put back on just kept on turning and never tightened. I backed it back out and nothing was broke nor did the threads look bad. My Dad had also already left so I couldn't ask him so now I am asking y'all, anybody have any advice? Thanks again.
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Old 12-13-2007, 06:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmossyone
One thing bad happened in reassembly. The second to last lug on second wheel to be put back on just kept on turning and never tightened. I backed it back out and nothing was broke nor did the threads look bad. My Dad had also already left so I couldn't ask him so now I am asking y'all, anybody have any advice? Thanks again.
The studs or lugs are pressed on and have a ribbed shaft that sinches up in the brake drum. If too much torque is applied - say, if a tire place used too much torque with an air impact wrench, then it is possible to strip the shaft and have it spin in the drum. Solution, remove drum - drive out stud (big hammer) and drive in a replacement. You can do it at home, use caution, you can shatter a cast drum.

Wait, do you have lugs nuts or lug bolts? My original Caravel drums had lug bolts, it that's the case the drum may be stripped out.
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Old 12-13-2007, 07:04 PM   #13
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I have lug studs, not studs and lugs. So your saying I will have to take the drum off take all the newly installed berings, races and seals out, buy a new drum, repack new wheel berings and reinstall in new drum and then reassemble.

Anybody got a easier, less painful, less costly solution?????
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Old 12-13-2007, 08:00 PM   #14
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Sometimes you can rescue a drum by just pushing in a new stud if it is the kind that installs from inside the drum and has a flat head on it. Some of the people did not like the original lug bolts used on many of the trailers and installed just double ended studs from the outside of the drums. If you strip one of these out of the drum you will have to take the drum down to the local repair shop and have it taped out a litttle bigger with a special tap and then have what is called a "Helicoil" installed. It will cost a lot less than a new drum and all the problems entailed.
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