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Old 10-13-2012, 06:29 AM   #1
Luc
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1999 19' Bambi
Cape Canaveral , Florida
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Burn spot on bearings

Hello,
I purchased my Airstream used last year in NC. Before going to pick it up I bought new wheels, tires, shocks, brakes and complete bearing sets.
A mechanic I am not. I had a mobile trailer specialist come to the storage place where the coach was and replaced everything.
The only old parts I saved were the old bearings, just in case, to use as spares.
Since then I have put less than 2000 miles and everything was fine until last week. I bought new seals and a friend came over to show me and help re-pack the bearings.
We found a burnt spot on each side on the inner bearings. The outside bearings are fine, the seals were still good, plenty of grease, no "caking", no burnt smell. Just a dark spot, approximately 2", smooth, on each side.
The bearings were purchased from Inland RV and well packed. I went to my old junk shelve and found the original bearings. Cleaned them up and found the exact burnt spots.
Can anyone explain this? Any similar situations? Thanks for the help.
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Old 10-13-2012, 06:33 AM   #2
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1994 30' Excella
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Did you notice any discoloration or roughness in the spindle?
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Old 10-13-2012, 06:38 AM   #3
Luc
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No, not that I can tell.
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Old 10-13-2012, 07:11 AM   #4
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Possibly the bearings were not adjusted properly. The spindle may be slightly too narrow, or not large enough diameter.
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Old 10-13-2012, 07:28 AM   #5
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1999 19' Bambi
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I thought of bad adjustment or poor installation when I removed the first one. Thought about it when I removed the second one since the same guy did both. But, when I checked the original bearings and found the same burnt spot I had to rulle that out. It could be the spindles but then again, it would have to be both of them?
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Old 10-13-2012, 07:56 AM   #6
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Here's my best guess. If the spindles were slightly out of round (such as a slight lump in the area of the burn) that could create tight clearances when the rollers went past that area causing friction and heat build up localized around the lump.
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Old 10-13-2012, 08:07 AM   #7
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1981 31' Excella II
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It looks more like a discoloration which could be from overheating or corrosion from sitting. Overheating could be caused by not having enough grease or using the wrong grease. You need high temp wheel bearing grease preferably moly based. I use the Valvoline stuff in the grease gun tube that is dark gray. The dark gray is from the moly. You could have the bearings too tight. Tighten the bearings as tight as you can with a crescent wrench while spinning the drum and then back off about 1/4 turn. Also don't use Chinese bearings if you can help it and replace the bearing and race together. I don't see any pitting in the metal or gauling that would indicate a serious problem. You also need to make sure the race is seated all the way in the bore. If there is a nick at the bottom of the bore it might cause the race to sit in there at an angle. It has to go all the way till it seats at the bottom lip of the bore.

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Old 10-13-2012, 08:12 AM   #8
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I do not know what the problem is. But one more thing to consider is the possibility of a couple of warped drums or something in the recess for the races in the drums. I think there is more of a chance of deflecting the large, thin outer race or seating it crooked than the thick one one on the spindle. You did change the outer races? And how tight are the bearings adjusted? They should be pretty loose. Enough so that they do not tighten up when they warm up. Could be the bearings were not packed well enough to get grease all the way in? Could be the bearings. Do not think they are as good now as they used to be. Good thing you checked them. Makes you want to look at them every year, right?
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:06 AM   #9
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Is that the part that sits on the axel? I just noticed that. If that is the case you don't need to worry. It is just a normal contact patch. The parts that you need to worry about are the inside of the outer race and the rollers. If those are ok don't worry about shaft discoloration. It is possible for a little water to get in there and cause some light surface corrosion. If the trailer sits a long time between runs water will get in there from condensation and since the trailer is not run so the bearings get hot the water stays in there.

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Old 10-13-2012, 09:11 AM   #10
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1999 19' Bambi
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Lots to look at and adjust. Again I am not a mechanic. Most of my limited knowledge comes from reading posts on this forum. You guys said to inspect and re-pack bearings every year. That is what I am doing. Thanks to all of you!
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