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Old 07-04-2007, 03:03 PM   #1
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Repack wheel bearings; OR, Bearing Buddies???

Howdy,
Any practical, safety, or tech reasons to do normal wheel bearings repack or is it as good as it seems to simply install bearing buddies and save a lot of my labor time.


Please advise?
Thanks, Ed
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Old 07-04-2007, 03:19 PM   #2
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Bearing buddies will blow grease all over your brake linings. Save 'em for your boat.

Tom
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Old 07-04-2007, 03:42 PM   #3
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Are you thinking about Dexter E-Z Lube hubs? I'd guess that they're fine as long as you pull them apart every two or three years for a complete inspection. You'll need to inspect the brake linings anyway.

Some people complain about blowing out the seals while pumping on a grease gun, but I just had my 7 year old continuously spin the tires while pumping, and the fresh grease eventually came back out with no trouble whatsoever. I adjusted the brakes, and considered the job done for the year. (However, I may need another brake adjustment after doing about 6,000 miles of towing this spring.)
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Old 07-04-2007, 05:46 PM   #4
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I agree with those that support packing the wheel bearings. You have to fill the entire cavity in the hub with grease using the bearing buddy to lube both the outer and innner bearing. Then when the hub gets warm/hot from driving for hours that grease has to expand somewhere; guess where. It squirts out past the seals into the brake assembly area and will likely drip down on the shoes and inside of the brake drums. Doesn't matter when you are pulling a boat trailer or small utility trailer without brakes but you don't want to do that with your Airstream.
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Old 07-04-2007, 05:59 PM   #5
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Packing bearings is not really that difficult. Easy to do by hand, but if you must, every auto parts store has a packer hanging in the tools section that works with a grease gun. They are cheap, but I never use one. Hand packing works fine and there is one less thing to keep up with. Use the best, probably the most expensive, grease you can find. Even the pricy stuff is under $6 a tub.

Vaughan
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Old 07-12-2007, 04:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Motoman
You have to fill the entire cavity in the hub with grease using the bearing buddy to lube both the outer and innner bearing. Then when the hub gets warm/hot from driving for hours that grease has to expand somewhere; guess where. It squirts out past the seals into the brake assembly area and will likely drip down on the shoes and inside of the brake drums. Doesn't matter when you are pulling a boat trailer or small utility trailer without brakes but you don't want to do that with your Airstream.
This is not the correct method for using bearing buddies. The cavity gets filled so the bearing buddy outer section just moves. As the grease heats up it will expand an push out the outer assembly against a spring. When it cools the outer assembly moves back to the original position because of spring pressure.

If grease expands out beyond the seal (into the braking area) then too much grease is inside.

Use of the bearing buddy can not take the place of brake lining, bearing and magnet inspections.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Action
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Old 07-12-2007, 05:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vswingfield
Packing bearings is not really that difficult. Easy to do by hand, but if you must, every auto parts store has a packer hanging in the tools section that works with a grease gun. They are cheap, but I never use one. Hand packing works fine and there is one less thing to keep up with.
I used a bearing packer for the first time last week and found that it speeds up the time needed to pack the grease into the bearing as opposed to packing it by hand. It isn't half as messy either. With one small push on the top, it forces new grease evenly thru all the cavities in the bearing, forcing out any black left over grease residue. I was able to repack each bearing with new grease in about 10 - 15 seconds!
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Old 07-12-2007, 05:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macsfriended
Howdy,
Any practical, safety, or tech reasons to do normal wheel bearings repack or is it as good as it seems to simply install bearing buddies and save a lot of my labor time.


Please advise?
Thanks, Ed
Packing bearings is an absolute must.

Why?

How else could you possibly determine the condition of the brakes, "unless you pulled the hub and drums?"

Electric brake components do not last as long as hydraulic brake parts.

Forcing grease into the bearings via a fitting on the grease cap, is an absolute no no. Never lube ??????

How can you tell if you have a bad bearing, a rusted bearing, too much grease, not enough grease, leaky grease seals. worn out magnets, worn out shoes, broken adjuster springs, damaged armature plate, broken shoe retractor springs, improper bearing retainer nut adjustment????????

Easy.

You will see all of those things, "when you pull the hub and drum to pack the bearings."

Don't pull the hub and drums leaves the doors wide open for possible disaster.

But, if that happens, you can look back and see all the time you saved.

NOT.....

Andy
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Old 07-12-2007, 05:54 PM   #9
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I have a great bearing packer...cost is about .02 cents.

Get a zip lock sandwich bag, put a big bunch of grease in it now work the grease into the bearing with your hands from the outside.

Since it's a clear bag you can see exactly what's going into the rollers.

The best part is your hands are clean.
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Old 07-12-2007, 06:06 PM   #10
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LI Pets,
Excellent suggestion. I have thought about rubber gloves but the ziplock is an even better idea.
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Old 07-12-2007, 06:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Packing bearings is an absolute must. ...

How can you tell if you have ...
If Andy had said "Packing bearings by hand is ..." He would have had a great post.

I have Bearing Buddies on my boat trailer (which has no brakes) and think the're great.

I have never agreed with the concept of the Dexter E-Z lubes - If your front bearing goes bad, the "maintenance" simply pushes the metal shards to the back bearing.

Andy's right, IMO, on this topic.

Tom
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Old 07-12-2007, 06:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LI Pets
I have a great bearing packer...cost is about .02 cents.

Get a zip lock sandwich bag, put a big bunch of grease in it now work the grease into the bearing with your hands from the outside.

Since it's a clear bag you can see exactly what's going into the rollers.

The best part is your hands are clean.
Zip locks cost a lot more in California.

Last I heard was about seven cents.

Now you won't get any grease on your hands, but........you still have to mess with that dirty tire.

Great idea and a half.

Andy
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Old 07-13-2007, 12:03 PM   #13
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The plastic baggie sounds like a neat trick - but do you have to first clean the bearing? If so, is it OK to use brake cleaner? I only ask because, when packing by hand I usually just wipe the bearing to inspect it and then I'm constantly wiping away the used grease as I pack in the new. If the bearing went into the bag still filled with old grease it seems like it would be hard to separate the two. In my mind's eye I'm seeing the bearing disappear behind the old grease! Maybe my bearings are just dirtier when I repack them - which, for me, is about every other year - or every 5,000 to 6,000 miles!
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Old 07-13-2007, 06:17 PM   #14
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Cleaning

Yes they must be cleaned very well, soak is solvent like kerosene etc.

Don't mix up the wheels they come from, most people do one wheel at a time anyway.

You can use brake cleaner as a final rinse or just new solvent.

Now what you don't is spin the bearing with an air compressor, that will scratch the surfaces.

Now wash the bearings in soapy water, I use dawn. Yes wash them.
Let dry, then take a good look at them for wear etc.

Pop them in the bag to pack.

Never mix old/new grease.

I've been racing cars since '65, the above steps always served me well.


After it's all together torque the nut to 50Lbs, if you don't have a torque wrench, make the nut pretty tight with a pair of channel lock pliers.

How tight, the washer behind the nut should move with pressure.

But the torque wrench is the right way.

PS: lose is better than too tight!
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