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Old 03-27-2016, 04:28 PM   #15
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Some of you may find this info from Timken helpful.
http://www.timken.com/EN-US/solution...s/default.aspx
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Old 03-27-2016, 04:37 PM   #16
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I do mine every 15-20k miles without any problems.


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Old 03-27-2016, 04:47 PM   #17
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I started out repacking them every year. But everything always looked perfect, the grease, the seals, the bearings/race. So then I went to repacking every two years. Same results. Everything looked great. Now I'm at every three years. Same results for two cycles now. I do pull the hubs once a year just to inspect the brakes and make sure the grease seals have not leaked. And I regularly check my hub temperatures during towing.
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Old 03-27-2016, 05:00 PM   #18
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Not all service facilities push bearing repack. Asked twice and got the following answer. "Bearing grease absorbs moisture in high humidity environments. No need to repack unless the trailer is not used or stored in a humid area." Not sure that inside storage helps unless it is humidity controlled. Also, one recommendation can not offset the experience of many long time experienced users. However, the info sounds logical. Lot's to learn and lots of miles to travel. Pat
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Old 03-27-2016, 06:25 PM   #19
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I've heard that moisture point also. I full-time, so it's rare for more than a few months to go by without a move. Also, tend to stay in drier climates (drier than east Texas).

But some years ago, as an experiment, I took a teaspoon of my bearing grease and put a divot in it, then a half dozen drops of water. Covered it with a bottle cap. The water was still there a day later. Maybe my test was too short. Don't know.
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Old 03-27-2016, 09:20 PM   #20
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Note quote below - from http://machinedesign.com/mechanical-...t-water-part-3

"Water works like a double-edged sword. Allowing it into a lubricant degrades the lubricant’s performance. But, if water is not captured by the lubricant, it can contact bearings and gears, causing corrosion. Unlike oil, grease can either absorb or resist water, depending on the lubricant composition. Because free water leads to corrosion and absorbed water degrades grease, the lubricant composition must strike a balance between the two. Today’s calcium complex, barium complex, and polyurea-thickened greases offer the best performance in this regard. To make sure you have one of these types, check the label on the container. Where condensation corrosion is the only concern, lithium complex is best suited."

Water absorption may require mechanical action. A drop sitting on the grease likely would not be as problematic as condensation forming inside a bearing housing that is then used. Pat
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Old 03-28-2016, 12:21 AM   #21
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That's what I like about this forum. We don't need IBM's Watson. We get answers by crowd sourcing through lots of smart folks.
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Old 03-28-2016, 01:08 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Ray Eklund View Post
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Dave... I am surprised you ended up buying a vehicle to pull it after all of these years. You must have been a Giant Redwood lumber jack! You and Paul Bunyan must have been good friends and had Airstreams.
Yeah, when I was younger I did it Wally style, you know with a bicycle The tricky part was keeping it balanced just right. Kinda tough going up over a pass though.

How many of us repack the front wheel bearings in a 2 wheel drive car or pick-up? Not nearly at 3-5000 miles, more likely at 3-5 years if then. Nearly the same design.
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Old 03-28-2016, 11:01 AM   #23
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Interesting discussion. Sometimes I've thought that the recommendation to do this annually has been based on experience with boat trailers where the bearings got submersed when launching a boat. In autos, I've only had bearings go bad once. That was directly caused by driving my old VW bus through high water. The bearings went bad shortly there after, signaled by a grinding sounds when the wheels turned.

I've typically gone with a 4 to 5 year interval and never had the person who did the repacking tell me that I was waiting too long or have to replace the bearings due to lack of lube. I always feel uncomfortable that I'm not doing this more frequently but on the other end, has the every year repacking gone the way of the 3,000 mlle or 3 month oil change? It may have a lot to do with technology.

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Old 03-28-2016, 09:20 PM   #24
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How many of us repack the front wheel bearings in a 2 wheel drive car or pick-up? Not nearly at 3-5000 miles, more likely at 3-5 years if then. Nearly the same design.
Most domestic passenger cars have had sealed wheel bearing front or rear on the non-driving axle for almost 3 decades. 4X2 trucks for a little less time than that. And no lube steering and suspension joints as well.

Car manufacturers are using better bearings and grease such that repacking bearings is not needed until failure which is usually well beyond 200,000 miles. In addition the repacking process has the possibility of adding dirt into a repacked bearing and mis-adjusting preload. So these bearings are totally sealed.

The same technology has not followed trailer bearings due to a couple of factors.
There is a greater cost
Consumers have not insisted on this technology
Trailers can sit for a long time.
It is possible for some trailers to be submerged in water on purpose. This never happens in automotive applications

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Old 03-28-2016, 11:29 PM   #25
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Got our 1999 34' (triple axle) beast about 3 years ago...
Having towed a LOT but not a bazillion miles like many here... especially all other types of trailers... non AS...of course... and replaced/repacked lots of wheel bearings mostly on BOAT trailers. This was likely due to running the smaller tires much faster, generating a little heat.. then submerging them in fresh and/or salt water.. The bearings would be fine on most applications.. but really sucked on the boat trailers...
When we started using 'bearing buddy's', the problem seemed to stop... but not completely.. for various reasons.. usually, tho, the oil seal failed... due to over pressure by the bearing buddy, or the bearing buddy would 'jam' the piston with road dirt causing the 'pressure' it delivered to the hub to reduce...

Stock and other trailers.. not as often of course.. but, what I noticed is that there were a couple of hubs that continued to fail often.. problems:
1- they were on the curb side and that is where most 'potholes' and other rough areas were found...
2- so the bearings/wheels were hammered.. often.. not just rolling along, nice and easy.. and we did not pull as fast as many folks tend to do.. we rarely exceeded 60.. because there was a national 55 mph limit..
3- and, in south Louisiana, you have really lousy roads.. and lots of slower traffic.. unless you drive on Hwy90.. ...
4- Right side of Auto's had bearing, springs and shock absorber failure at a higher rate... (mechanic friend pointed out that over 3/4 of his work was done on the right/curb/passenger side of suspension.)

So.. on our AS.. due to my physical limitations,
I had someone replace the bearings, seals, and of course, properly pack the NEW TIMKEN bearings and races. This was a trusted professional.. and I am confident in the skills this person has..

A couple weeks later, we installed Centramatics... just before removal of the wheels, We checked the bearings by 'slack'/rotation, noise.. seemed 'ok'... even removed wheels a few times.. all seemed good.. just noise from the brake magnet... and a little 'slack' in the wheel.. I asked and was told the work met the TIMKEN procedure and checks... good for me!

Fast forward 3 years.. we probably pulled 6000-7000 miles on the replace/repack.. but were ready to replace the original axles...

During that process we removed the hubs... and what I found was quite disturbing... even worse than finding my old High School yearbook picture...

Each of the bearings and pressed in races were pitted and there was 'transfer' of material to the Roller bearings.... not good at all......

All I can figure out is that we got a bad batch of Timken bearings... or the axle shaft was worn in such a way as it allowed the hub to 'walk'.. we will never know.. all those parts have been turned in for scrap...

I felt truly uneasy when I noticed how bad the bearings had worn in such short mileage.. The original 'Chinesium' bearings we found in the hubs on initial removal were similarly damaged...

now.. confident the bearing replacement was done properly, what could cause this? Too much 'side load'? Were the wheels out of balance? was the trailer 'swaying', causing significant side loads (a constant oscillation can cause tire and bearing failure..) certainly faster than running straight and smooth.. was the axle shaft bad?

Well, when we checked the 'alignment' of the axle/wheels, they were out of whack.. possibly due to years of sway, running over things, tire failure, etc...

The new axles.. square as can be after install!! and, still like that after 2000 miles.. so, hope they keep running well.

I will be checking all of the wheels/hubs, then removing and repacking 1/2 of them mid season.. to ensure we are running good gear.. and extend reliability..

After all that... here is what I suggest.. For a 'new' trailer or one recently repaired (new axles for instance), Remove, inspect, clean and repack all of the hubs... if all is running good, extend your mileage then check again.. once you settle on a proper maintenance interval for YOUR AS, your whole RIG.. you may be able to go longer distances... maybe not...

One thing for sure.. unless you know how.. have a trustworthy person do the work as you watch and learn... then, if able, do it yourself... It is a great reason to get dirty, greasy and when done, look at a 'job well done'... and YOU KNOW how things are...

It is like 'packing your own parachute'.. or loading your own magazines...
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Old 03-29-2016, 09:10 AM   #26
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"It is like 'packing your own parachute'....."

Channing,

Interesting comparison....

I'm exceeding glad that every Bearing I've packed....


AND every 'chute has worked perfectly.....

Bob
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Old 03-29-2016, 10:51 AM   #27
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cwf.... I suggest that it is the "crown nut" being too tight or too loose and being cotter pinned in the too loose, too tight situation. I would call it wheel chatter where the trailer sways back and forth on loose bearings, putting pressure on the ends of the 'roller bearings'. I am sure the manufacturer's have reams of studies one way or the other.

We always "inspected the bearings" by wiping the grease off to examine each bearing and housing. Just casually turning the bearing in your hand. The worst thing to happen is having a bearing come loose and go sideways while driving and the housing comes apart... a section at a time. It will trash the bearing and can damage the wheel in the process. The wheel will lock up and smoke a tire in short... order.

If the original packing grease was that red/orangish grease and now you see 'black'... something is not right.

I believed this 'checking bearings more often than necessary'. I believed that trailers had something different for bearings. I carried extra seals and bearings. You are most likely to screw things up by... checking all the time.

I would be concerned with three thoughts:

1- Crown nut is too loose and needs to be tightened up. If still too loose, find some washers of various thicknesses, the same as the single one presently used. Most people when reinstalling their wheel get them 'too tight'. Worse than too loose.

2- If the bearing grease is discolored... now you have something to check. Usually it is the interior bearing. If you install the wheel and do not tighten the crown nut and turn the wheel, it could be tightened poorly, one way or the other.

3- When having warranty work done on our 2006 Safari, I inquired about a noisy electric brake. Well, it was fine. But the supervisor said it had a cotter pin that was too small in diameter (I would say 50% too small). That was done when the axle was assembled at the factory. They gave me some of the thicker cotter pins.

Remember 'non detergent oil' in your automobile engines? Pull the valve cover and see what years of what that stuff did to your engine. Get out something to clean this water/oil/metal wear glop. Add some moisture and it was a white gook clogging all of the oil ports and oil pump.

This can be the compressed air or nitrogen debate for tires. Nitrogen works 100% for me. Others swear that compressed air is just fine. That works for me too, but I will always go to Nitrogen. Just find what works for you. When 19th century wagons could slop anything called grease onto a wagon wheel, without bearings... it worked for them...
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Old 03-29-2016, 08:03 PM   #28
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Ray, thanks for those diagnostics..

Like I said, I have impeccable trust in the gentleman who did the work... Impeccable.

So, it should be noted that when the work mentioned above was done, the fellow pointed out the axles were possibly out of alignment. I think this misalignment was a significant contributor if not the precise cause of failure.

If so, That means the failure rests squarely upon my shoulders. Although warned, advised, I was unable to find someone to align the axles, I still ran them. That ain't too bright on my part...
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