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Old 04-17-2006, 12:46 PM   #1
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2005 25' Safari
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Airstream Wheel Bearings

I have a 2005 Airstream Safari 25 and have logged 4,000 miles during the past two seasons. It would be great if someone could shed some light on when the wheel bearings should be repacked.

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Old 04-17-2006, 12:59 PM   #2
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The scheduled maintenance for the wheel bearing should be..At least once each year (preferably in the Spring) before your seasons starts, or every 6,000 miles..(to be on the safe side.)
You might be able to stretch it out but, having seen the damages done when the wheels seizes..It's just not worth it..IMHO
Hope this helps..
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Old 04-17-2006, 01:07 PM   #3
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Once a year

No matter what the milage - I believe the bearings should be checked out, along with the rest of your systems, atleast once a year. It should only take an hour for a single axle. If you run the trailer up to the hubs in water (crossing a stream for example) then do them as soon as you can get to them. Water and grease spells disaster for your bearings. BTW, get a spare set and a new seal and carry them with you. Never know when you may need them and cannot find them where ever you are. The set should run you under $20.
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Old 04-17-2006, 01:19 PM   #4
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Airstream Wheel Bearings

A good source for wheel bearing kits is;

Remove the wheels and drums and identify the bearings and cups by bearing number and cup number to insure you get the right ones.

Reasonable too.

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Old 04-17-2006, 01:56 PM   #5
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Our 2004 25' International manual states 10K miles or 6 months. I chose to ignore (the mind can play tricks...) the 6 months part and ran it well past 8K miles before getting the bearings checked. They were fine. Of course I wasn't fording any streams either.
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Old 04-17-2006, 03:09 PM   #6
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I just got off the phone with Toscanos to schedule a wheel bearing pack and brake check. When I get there, the bearings will have about 6,400 miles on them since the last pack.

Yes, my manual says 10,000 miles or 6 months (I'm ignoring the 6 months) ... and the service guy at Toscanos says they see trailers with 12,000 to 15,000 miles on them before packing.

I may be doing it early, but will be towing in the Rockies this summer, and would like to make sure the brakes are properly adjusted and A-OK. Might as well do the bearings at the same time.

Hunter ... 4,000 miles sounds a bit early ... but it has been two years ... at least get the brakes looked at.
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Old 04-17-2006, 04:07 PM   #7
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hi hunter 1 and others....

mileage and service intervals are open to interpretation and yearly seems reasonable.....10k miles seems reasonable too...

to keep your warranty coverage, it is required that the hubs/bearings be inspected at 6 months or before 10k miles....waiting a year for the first inspection can void the warranty. this visit doesn't require repacking.

yearly packing, if planning to keep the trailer long term would be wise....

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Old 04-17-2006, 04:08 PM   #8
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Usually you can let them go for 3 or 4 years, maybe more. I know this is a shock to some of you, but it is true. Wheel bearings on vehicles often go 50,000 miles plus without re-packing. Your chances of introducing foreign material into your bearings is much greater, if you start fooling around with them every year. I have a 1998 10,000 lb equipment trailer that has been back and forth to Florida, Ohio and Michigan many times. I have never touched the wheel bearings, and won't until I really think it needs it. If it ain't broke don't fix it, I don't care what the manual says.
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Old 04-17-2006, 07:36 PM   #9
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My dealer recommends 15000 miles, When asked why, when similar car and truck bearings work fine for 50,000 miles or more, he said it was to check the brakes, not for the bearings. I agree that properly packed and adjusted bearings will certainly go at least 25,000 miles. I towed Coleman pop-ups for years with those little 20x8x10 tires without any bearing problems. Towed at speeds up to 80 and more when permitted by law. Packed them at about 25,000 miles, and even then they didn't need it. I used a pressure packer to be sure that they were really packed.

That said, you probably should pack a new unit fairly early as Airstream has NO quality control in this area. Once you do it correctly, leave them alone for a long time.
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Old 04-17-2006, 07:59 PM   #10
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We have a little over 20K miles on ours in the past 23 months of ownership. I have ours checked and re-packed each of the two winters we've had it. No new bearings needed yet.
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Old 04-17-2006, 09:21 PM   #11
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I log on about 15,000 miles a year on my 95 excella and check for play (jack up and check the tires for play, remove grease cap and check for discoloreration) every 6 months.
I repack bearings once a year, and have always found the grease and bearings in good condition. I also keep a spare set of bearings on board.

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Old 04-17-2006, 11:39 PM   #12
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An ounce of prevention.... I haven't had any problems with the A/S, but last summer I was towing my boat on a nine hour drive home from camping. The bearings had been re-packed the previous fall and this was the first trip (and first water-dunks). Being obsessive-compulsive, I checked the bearing temp every hour and a half on both legs of the trip, and all was good. They were just slightly warm.

I was about seventy miles from home when I saw a wisp of smoke come off the driver's side trailer wheel, and pulled off the road asap. Too late! The wheel bearings were gone--just a piece of the wire cage that hold the bearings in place was hanging down. The wheel was grinding away at the spindle, which was glowing red! $200 for the tow truck and $600 for the new axle. Sorta put a damper on the camping trip!

I'm a big believer in re-packing every spring, even if it seems like overkill....

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Old 04-18-2006, 08:30 AM   #13
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The reason for annual inspection and repack is because of low use. You need to check the brakes and the running gear and to make sure condensation and just sitting around has not caused rust or whatever. You also need to inspect the tires, check their DOT dates, and replace if suspect or more than 5-7 years old.

Whenever you have the wheel bearings done or any work that removes the wheels be sure to check the lug nuts after a few minutes on the road. You should make sure your lug nuts are tight every morning until you are sure they stay tight. You should also check the temperatures of tires and wheel hubs at every gas stop to see if there any significant temperature variations.

Hot tires need more air. Hot hubs need immediate attention. Loose lug nuts have lost many a wheel. Just paying attention can significantly lower the risk of running gear problems.
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Old 04-18-2006, 09:03 AM   #14
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Hi 4slice--Reading about the bearing failure on your boat trailer, after having repacked the previous fall started me wondering if your problem might have been incorrect bearing adjustment after the repack. Tapered bearings on wheels must run loose. Correct adjustment is to tighten nut snug. Rotate wheel to insure grease is spread. Grab wheel top and bottom and shake. Should be no looseness. Back off nut one position. Grab wheel top and bottom and shake. Should be looseness. Lock up cotter pin, and wheel should be correctly adjusted.--Frank S
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Old 04-18-2006, 09:19 AM   #15
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Regarding checking temperature of the running gear at stops -

I bought an infrared temp sensor a couple of years ago, and caryy it in the truck. Just point it at the tire or wheel, squeeze the trigger, and immediate digital readout of the temps. I check all the tires & wheels at each stop ( I always do a walk-around when towing, to check things), makes it really easy to know what's going on. After doing this a few times, you get a sense of what thing's normally read, it will be easy to tell if anything ever gets out of 'normal'.

Many other uses for this gadget around trucks and trailers, too.

Of course, I'm a technology freak, but this thing is actually useful!
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Old 04-18-2006, 02:54 PM   #16
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I repack annually not because the bearings need it but because I want to inspect the wheels and brakes. One broken spring and missing adjuster this spring, bearings were well lubed but I repacked anyway only takes a few minutes.
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