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Old 01-15-2014, 12:24 PM   #1
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1989 34' Excella
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Bearing Replacement - a DIY job?

Got the Silver Goddess little over a month ago and have her in the driveway starting to tweak her in time for Spring camping. Excella is 1989 and I have NO IDEA when the last time, if ever, the bearings were repacked or replaced. I am kinda handy and watched youtube video on how to replacebearings on a utility trailer but it doesn't have any breaks. Looks messy but not really complicated. Recent quote is about $75 to completely replace the bearings - this babee has 6 so it now becomes my first big investment. Should I attempt it myself?...and hit the open highway always wondering if a trailer wheel will pass in front of the TV...or hold off on replacing the furnance and just pay the $450 and get her on the road. Anyone done it?
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Old 01-15-2014, 12:48 PM   #2
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Hi....If you have some time, minimum required tools and some space.....do it your self. It is not difficult, just messy. If you have seen those WEB films your OK. I doubt very seriously if you will need to replace any bearing or race. If you find one you don't like...Good. You found it in time. It will be fun and give you the opportunity to look over other running gear4 for maintenance....Check the tires too.
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Old 01-15-2014, 01:18 PM   #3
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THANKS for the quick response. I've got a holiday weekend coming up and looks like temps will be in the mid 60's. I'll give it a whirl. Also, any thoughts on a new hitch and sway control? I used my dad's hitch but with the 4x4 it is too high for the trailer. I've got to find one that drops down 8 inches and will need to get sway control/equalizer. I've read lots of threads but haven't drawn a clear conclusion yet.
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Old 01-15-2014, 02:50 PM   #4
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I did this exact job a few months ago and while messy, it was pretty simple and straightforward to do.

Was the estimate of $75 for the bearings and seals alone or for the labor as well?

$75 for the parts is a good deal.

I would go ahead and get your hands dirty, you will get to know your camper that much more and have the experience in the unlikely case that you ever have to replace your bearings while on the road.

Best of luck.

-J
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Old 01-15-2014, 02:51 PM   #5
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Repacking bearings is easy although messy. If you actually had to replace one (unlikely) getting the races out can be a challenge - I ended up taking mine to a machine shop to have them removed but even with that DYI lots cheaper.

Tow gear around these parts is an endless debate. I use a Reese Straight line. Many Use the Dual Cam, some the Pro Pride, Hensley and Anderson.
You will never get a consensus.

Mike
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Old 01-15-2014, 03:32 PM   #6
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I replaced the bearings on my old axles. After spending a long time tapping out one of the races with a flat punch, I went to Harbor Freight and bought a hydraulic shop press for about $100.

It then took a little time to cut and grind some pieces of scrap steel to engage the press with the edges of the races, and I had to use an impact socket as a mandrel to extend the reach of the press.

Once all that was figured out, the old races were pressed out and new ones pressed in within minutes. That press has come in handy for other projects as well.
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Old 01-15-2014, 03:34 PM   #7
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Easy to repack the bearings....as someone has already said you most likely won't need to replace the bearings...just buy new seals and a good grease for automotive disc brakes (they take the higher temps)...
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Old 01-15-2014, 05:07 PM   #8
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THANKS for all the insights, guys. Time to get messy.

Dwight, as you've got the same trailer 10 years younger, and are only a stone throw away, I may be "bothering" you!

Mike - Dad also has the Reese Straight Line and that's where I'm leaning....looked at others but can't justify the extra cost.
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Old 01-15-2014, 05:36 PM   #9
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I use the Lisle Bearing Packer and it flushes and packs the bearings in one push...
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Old 01-15-2014, 06:27 PM   #10
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I agree with what others have said - good chance you won't need to replace any bearings at all.

Repacking them alone is easy - just messy - good place to use those throw away nitrile gloves.

If you do find that you need to replace a bearing, then the most difficult part is removing/replacing the outer races - otherwise called the cups - that are pressed into the hub. You need to work around the race tapping it out bit by bit with a drift.

I generally take a grinder to the O.D. of the old race to reduce its diameter slightly and then once it is a loose fit in the hub, I use it to help tap the new race evenly into place.

They do suggest that if you are putting in a new cone (roller/cage/inner race assembly) you should also change the outer race (cup) as well.

$75 sounds too cheap to me for labour and material to change inner and outer bearings in one hub!

I believe it would cost more than that just to buy decent quality bearings and rear seal for one hub.

Incidentally they do also suggest replacing the seal rather than re-using it every time you remove it from the hub, and you cannot properly service the inner bearing without removing the seal.


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Old 01-15-2014, 06:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I use the Lisle Bearing Packer and it flushes and packs the bearings in one push...
That's a good bearing packer. If you use it to flush out the old grease your skipping an important step, cleaning and inspecting the bearing.
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Old 01-15-2014, 07:30 PM   #12
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I bought a simple bearing packer from Harbor Freight a couple of years ago - it's works great, no messy hands and easy to use - just clamp the bearing in it and apply grease from grease gun.
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Old 01-15-2014, 09:33 PM   #13
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My memory is a bit faded on WHO posted this, but I use a Baggie. Remove the bearing and clean it in solvent. Put a huge glob a grease inside of a Baggie and drop in the bearing, close the top of the Baggie. Work the grease into one side of the bearing until it oozes out the other side. This is easy to do in the Baggie, just slide the bearing along the side of the Baggie like a scoop.

Remove the bearing from the baggie and reuse the excess grease, re install the bearing.
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:36 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Stogiemann View Post
THANKS for the quick response. I've got a holiday weekend coming up and looks like temps will be in the mid 60's. I'll give it a whirl. Also, any thoughts on a new hitch and sway control? I used my dad's hitch but with the 4x4 it is too high for the trailer. I've got to find one that drops down 8 inches and will need to get sway control/equalizer. I've read lots of threads but haven't drawn a clear conclusion yet.
I have the Reese Dual Cam. It does take some time to initially set it up - I had mine done at JC, and Bob's brother did it just before he retired. He was also teaching a new tech how to properly set up the Reese dual cam, so I got a good lesson on how it is done. Properly set up, you should not have a sway issue at all. My 32-foot Excella is towed with a Dodge Ram 2500 and I don't even feel it when passed by a semi or bus. The new dual cam has adjustable arms (unlike mine), so there is no need to loosen the clamps and tap them to the right position.

A couple of things to keep in mind when setting up the Reese hitch:

First, unhitched, measure the distance between the fender wells of the TV and the ground for both front and back. You will want to adjust the equalizer bars so that the weight is equally distributed between the front and back of the TV, which means that when hitched, the difference between before and after is the same for front and back.

Second, before adjusting the position of the saddles, make sure you have driven in an absolutely straight line for several hundred feet (JC had me drive around the building and then the full length without wiggling the steering wheel). To ensure that the saddles are properly set, you should not be able to insert a razor blade either in front of or behind the saddles on both sides.

Lastly, remember how many links you have to count to snug the equalizer bars.

Happy trails!
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