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Old 01-24-2020, 12:32 PM   #1
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Argosy Motorhome Rear Wheel Bearings

Please forgive me for posting if this topic and my questions have been answered elsewhere. I've searched the forums (via forum search and google) and it seems that most, if not all of the postings on bearings are related to trailers. I'm posting under the Argosy Motorhome section versus the Wheels/Hubs/Bearings subsection in another area on the forums for that reason. Anyway...Spouse has ask me to post the following to see if anyone can help.

1978 Argosy MH, 454, with 89,000 miles

We are in the process of replacing the rear brake shoes and wheel cylinders (due to leaking cylinder) . To do this, the rear drums need to be removed and the rear wheel bearings serviced. In the Chevrolet service manual there seems to be either conflicting ways to lubricate the rear wheel bearings or I’m just not looking at the correct differential (I’m guessing we have a 10-1/2” Chevrolet as a standard).

In the ‘Lubrication’ section of the manual, the rear wheel bearings are said to be lubricated from the rear axle (i.e., gear oil) and “when installing bearings which have been cleaned, pre-lube with wheel bearing grease”. I’m reading this as a light coat of EP grease to provide minimal lubrication until the gear oil gets over to the bearings.

Conversely, In the “rear suspension and driveline section”, the rear bearing are to be “liberally packed” with EP grease.

In speaking with Les Schwab brake tech, he says that they don’t grease pack the bearings after cleaning but pre-lube with gear oil and make sure the axle is lifted side to side so that gear oil flows down to the bearings before operation.

Both approaches seem to have validity.
A few other points:
  • When cleaning the bearing hub, I did encounter some grease in the area of the bearing lock nuts (in the milled slots). The bearings themselves did not seem to have any grease but there was gear oil” in the hub.
  • If the bearings were to be packed with grease, the outer bearing grease would prevent the gear oil from readily reaching the inner bearing. But a greased inner bearing would provide an additional barrier to gear oil reaching the inner oil seal and possible leakage into the brake drum

Is there any experience or thoughts regarding one method over another (liberally packed with grease or just enough pre-lube to provide lubrication until the gear oil can fill the hub). Is the “oil bath” design more applicable to much newer vehicles and “greased” bearings standard practice for floating axle wheel bearings of that era?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
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Old 01-24-2020, 05:49 PM   #2
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My take on it is liberally packing with grease isn't going to hurt anything whereas lightly packing might not be enough. In this case I would think to much lubrication would be better than not enough.
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Old 01-24-2020, 06:42 PM   #3
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Also as you drive the oil migrates to the hubs from the differential and as the hubs fill the grease will dissolve into the oil and the bearings will become awash in oil. After a hundred miles or so top off the differential to replace the oil that migrated to the hubs.
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Old 01-25-2020, 09:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belle View Post
Please forgive me for posting if this topic and my questions have been answered elsewhere. I've searched the forums (via forum search and google) and it seems that most, if not all of the postings on bearings are related to trailers. I'm posting under the Argosy Motorhome section versus the Wheels/Hubs/Bearings subsection in another area on the forums for that reason. Anyway...Spouse has ask me to post the following to see if anyone can help.

1978 Argosy MH, 454, with 89,000 miles

We are in the process of replacing the rear brake shoes and wheel cylinders (due to leaking cylinder) . To do this, the rear drums need to be removed and the rear wheel bearings serviced. In the Chevrolet service manual there seems to be either conflicting ways to lubricate the rear wheel bearings or I’m just not looking at the correct differential (I’m guessing we have a 10-1/2” Chevrolet as a standard).

In the ‘Lubrication’ section of the manual, the rear wheel bearings are said to be lubricated from the rear axle (i.e., gear oil) and “when installing bearings which have been cleaned, pre-lube with wheel bearing grease”. I’m reading this as a light coat of EP grease to provide minimal lubrication until the gear oil gets over to the bearings.

Conversely, In the “rear suspension and driveline section”, the rear bearing are to be “liberally packed” with EP grease.

In speaking with Les Schwab brake tech, he says that they don’t grease pack the bearings after cleaning but pre-lube with gear oil and make sure the axle is lifted side to side so that gear oil flows down to the bearings before operation.

Both approaches seem to have validity.
A few other points:
  • When cleaning the bearing hub, I did encounter some grease in the area of the bearing lock nuts (in the milled slots). The bearings themselves did not seem to have any grease but there was gear oil” in the hub.
  • If the bearings were to be packed with grease, the outer bearing grease would prevent the gear oil from readily reaching the inner bearing. But a greased inner bearing would provide an additional barrier to gear oil reaching the inner oil seal and possible leakage into the brake drum

Is there any experience or thoughts regarding one method over another (liberally packed with grease or just enough pre-lube to provide lubrication until the gear oil can fill the hub). Is the “oil bath” design more applicable to much newer vehicles and “greased” bearings standard practice for floating axle wheel bearings of that era?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
.....same as at truck diff...I soak the bearings in the 80-90.. in a pan..and install..the inner bearing..install new seal...mount on axle..put some 90 in before installing outer bearing..tighten nuts....install axle.....fill diff with 90...now..jack up the opposite wheel...high.....and the 90 will run into the other wheel.....leave up for a while....refill diff......any truck shop...
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Old 02-08-2020, 08:24 AM   #5
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1987 34.5' Airstream 345
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Hey,
When the manual says liberal, it means packing them with a little more grease ,than just putting a small amount around the outside of the bearing. You don t nor shouldn't t pack them like front wheel bearing, but a fair amount of grease won t hurt or-damage any components. Once the rear end warms up the grease will get very loose and mix with oil. Dunking the bearings in gear lube will also work. A coating of oil, is what is needed on those bearings until the rotation of the axles pull the gear lube from the center of the diff. I always got a kick on how the service manuals try to cover every possible scene rio on a repair. They do get somewhat over board on what they mean. It wouldn't t sound to technical if the manual said, after cleaning the bearings off, dry them, dunk em in oil, throw er back together and tight the big nut down till she's good and tight.
You get my drift. Oh, yah, after your done Witt it, have a couple of PBRs ainna hey. U betcha. DJ. My Milwaukee Polish side slipped out der.
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Old 02-08-2020, 08:25 AM   #6
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1987 34.5' Airstream 345
Menomonee Falls , Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 360
Hey,
When the manual says liberal, it means packing them with a little more grease ,than just putting a small amount around the outside of the bearing. You don t nor shouldn't t pack them like front wheel bearing, but a fair amount of grease won t hurt or-damage any components. Once the rear end warms up the grease will get very loose and mix with oil. Dunking the bearings in gear lube will also work. A coating of oil, is what is needed on those bearings until the rotation of the axles pull the gear lube from the center of the diff. I always got a kick on how the service manuals try to cover every possible scene rio on a repair. They do get somewhat over board on what they mean. It wouldn't t sound to technical if the manual said, after cleaning the bearings off, dry them, dunk em in oil, throw er back together and tight the big nut down till she's good and tight.
You get my drift. Oh, yah, after your done Witt it, have a couple of tPBRs ainna hey. U betcha. DJ. My Milwaukee Polish side slipped out der.
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