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Old 03-11-2012, 06:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
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I'm retracting my recommended 'suggestion' in post #6 above - the: Bearing Grease Packer - Save on this Bearing Grease Packer

I tackled the packing of our wheel bearings yesterday - tried using the contraption above - it's a BIG piece of CRAP!!! It's now a candidate for landfill!

You unscrew the top, place the bearing inside, replace the top and begin pumping grease into the unit via the Zerk on top...then you pump some more...then you pump some more - almost a complete cartridge to fill that mother up...Then you unscrew the top and there the bearing is, in the middle of a 'tub' of grease...by the time you get the bearing out of that 'blob', you've got both hands covered in grease!

After that first 'experience', I quickly went back to packing the bearings with the 'palm' method, which I've done all my life - effective, quick, and no wasted grease! - Long live the 'Palm' method...

BTW, the bearing repacking was brought about by the failure of two of the Kodiac oil-bath seals that I had put on the new axles when I installed em'...What a mess - had to replace three pairs of brake shoes - the two that were covered in oir, and the third that was almost worn out due to doing most of the braking the others weren't providing!

What a mess, cleaning up the two brakes/hubs that were covered in rear-axle-like smelly oil - yeah the bearings were like new, well lubed, and everything else was also like new, 'preserved' in oil!

Live and learn...The basic old grease packed wheel bearing technologies are best left alone!
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:32 PM   #16
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:44 PM   #17
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I do it the OLD SCHOOL way. Get six new seals at NAPA before the job, then do it. It sux, but it works. I guess I could use the latex....but the old school way works fine.

Lotsa luck!
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:47 PM   #18
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I figured out how to do it without getting all greasy. I get either o ne of my sons to do it. Sal.
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:30 PM   #19
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I always do a repack just by packing the grease into the races by hand - no big deal.

I think that putting a whole cartridge full of grease into one hub as someone mentioned could be inviting problems. No need for that much grease.

I don't speak from experience in that regard but I have heard that too much grease can cause the grease to overheat, fluidize (if that is a word) and runout past the grease seals.

Possible for someone doing this for the first time, the biggest challenge might be getting the new grease seals back in place properly.

Most sources recommend installing new seals each time and I generally do that. Getting them in properly is just a matter of gently tapping them in squarely with a hammer and a suitable block of wood - all pretty easy.

Once re-assembled tighten the nut hand gently with a large crescent wrench, then back off one flat on the nut so you can get the cotter pin in place and you are good to go!

You'll possibly save up to $200 and know it is done properly!

You can find many websites that will give more detail and give you confidence if it is your first attempt.


Incidentally, if you have two axles on your trailer, then rather than mess with jacks, just run one wheel up onto those stacking blocks, assembled in a pyramid, and the adjacent wheel will be hanging in the air ready to remove! I would suggest breaking the lugnuts slightly loose first - easier than when the wheel is spinning free in mid air!


Brian (Currently in melbourne Fla!)
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Old 03-11-2012, 08:22 PM   #20
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Robert,

I'd say, before packing wheel bearings with the 'Palm Method', if one had any hair in their palm, it would be prudent to shave first lest some get caught in the rollers...
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Old 03-11-2012, 09:09 PM   #21
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Ray,
Hairy palms are mitigated by latex.

I have those sealed gear oil filled bearings, (different brand?), on our small boat trailer, they work at keeping the water out and have lasted 8 yrs, most likely because of the light weight. I can see them failing on a heavy trailer with the higher bearing temps over long distance. Not something I'd want on the AS.

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Old 04-01-2012, 05:10 PM   #22
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Had mine repacked after it was in storage for about 8 months. We just finished a 3,000 mile trip to Florida & return. My question: How often should the bearings be repacked & how many miles between having them serviced? We are planning a trip out "West" in a few weeks. I have had bearings go out on both a utility & boat trailer. Not good when you have to unhook & leave it on the side of the road. I haven't taken the wheels & hubs off to see how they are set up on the Airstream since we have only had it little over a year. My boat trailer has a grease fitting & it's east to squirt a little with a grease gun. So do "Buddy Bearing Grease Fittings" work on Airstreams?
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Old 04-01-2012, 05:33 PM   #23
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Had mine repacked after it was in storage for about 8 months. We just finished a 3,000 mile trip to Florida & return. My question: How often should the bearings be repacked & how many miles between having them serviced? We are planning a trip out "West" in a few weeks. I have had bearings go out on both a utility & boat trailer. Not good when you have to unhook & leave it on the side of the road. I haven't taken the wheels & hubs off to see how they are set up on the Airstream since we have only had it little over a year. My boat trailer has a grease fitting & it's east to squirt a little with a grease gun. So do "Buddy Bearing Grease Fittings" work on Airstreams?
Sams,

I also have the BB's on a boat trailer, they work very well at keeping the water out and bearings lubed. I don't feel they would be that effective on the AS what with the much heavier loads and higher temps involved. The grease as it thins with heat is much more likely to be forced out the rear seal by the pressure spring.

At 3000mi your re-pack should be fine, but I would still remove the drums and inspect the brakes and bearings just to be on the safe side.

Check out this thread to see what to check for on the brakes and bearing condition.

Bob
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Old 04-01-2012, 06:40 PM   #24
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I believe Airstream recommends 6 months or 10,000 miles, whichever comes first. I have gone 18,000 miles and many more months before I repacked them and they were fine. It is good to have spares—one of each size bearing, seals and grease ready for an emergency. It is not easy to find out the proper sizes when stuck in Boondockville where cellphones don't work.

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Old 04-01-2012, 07:01 PM   #25
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I'm also going to say you just can't beat the old palm packing method. It's quick, easy, effective and has the least amount of waste.

Though I usually throw them in the parts washer first to get all the old grease and crud out of them. Can do it with a bucket and a spraycan of break cleaner. Can't give them a proper inspection unless you can actually see the cage and rollers.

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Old 04-01-2012, 07:42 PM   #26
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After repacking bearings for the past 55 years or so by hand, I decided to try the packer first mentioned above. It was a bit pricey at $29.00, however, I think that it did a very good job. I did not use the grease zerk on the top - choosing instead to simply pre-fill the container with wheel bearing grease. It takes quite a bit of pressure (---slowly) to push the grease through the bearing but, the ability to see a curl of old grease come out of the top of the bearing at each roller, followed by new grease, was proof-positive that the bearing was indeed packed. I don't believe that the amount of waste, or surplus, grease was any worse than when packing by hand. For me, it was a time-saver, and not near as messy as hand packing.
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:08 PM   #27
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This is the one I use and it works great...

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Old 04-02-2012, 05:57 AM   #28
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"I'm also going to say you just can't beat the old palm packing method. It's quick, easy, effective and has the least amount of waste."

I'm with Hans, although I changed my procedure substantially this time.....I used a glove.

Bob
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