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Old 07-08-2006, 10:08 AM   #21
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Think about this

I guess this is a good forum to mention this.

I was at my local Airstream shop yesterday and came across an interesting sight.....with an interesting story attached.

Briefly, a 2004 Bambi with pretty good damage to the right wheel well and area aft of the well. With discussion on tire failures I thought that was the problem, Bambi did have Marathons...all in good shape. Not the problem

Apparently the owners, coming across West Texas suddenly had the Bambi collapse on the right side, drag the ground a bit....and guess what? Started a fire in the dry grass. Excitement? You bet! Fire was put out, help called and the trailer trailered to repair shop.

Seems like the outer bearing failed completely. The wheel came completely off the axel (For the Caravel guys....this is NOT a call to change Bambi axels.) The retaining nut, washer and key all still in place. The grease was the same as in the other side and all looked correct and good on that other side. The Bambi is obviously well maintained and used. What happened? Bearing pre-load? Defective bearing? I am waiting to hear.
I am hoping that the lady owners are members here or have friends here who will keep us informed.
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Old 07-08-2006, 11:11 AM   #22
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Having worked in the auto repair business for 40 years I've seen a lot of bearing failures. Here is what I observed. More bearing failures come from incorrect service procedures{ packing, assembly, adjustment} than come from neglect. I've seen wheel bearing burn up in less than 50 miles when adusted to tight and run for thousands when to loose. I had an interesting conversation with an engineer from a major oil company about lubricants and bearings in general. Here are some interesting things he told me,some of which I knew some I didn't and what I practiced ,NEVER HAVING HAD A BEARING FAILURE.
{1}When cleaning bearings always wash them in hot soapy water and dry thoroughly as the final step before packing. The slightest film of solvent left over from cleaning can cause the lubricants to break down and fail.
{2} Never mix greases.
{3} Never add grease to bearing without removing the old lubricate completely--EVEN IF IT'S FROM THE SAME CONTAINER. He claims the heating and cooling of the lube in the bearings will change the molecular structure of the grease and can make it incompatable with the original grease IN THE CONTAINER IT CAME FROM.
{4} Never use more lube than absolutely needed. A hub full of grease is of no value and can lead to grease leaking onto brake shoes.
I suppose because it looks so simple few people realize how technical this procedure really is. If you find youself sitting along side the road with a spendle burnded off and a wheel well ripped from your trailer the reality of this will become evident.---Pieman
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Old 07-08-2006, 11:44 AM   #23
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Hi Melody Ranch--I agree with Mike Lewis. My bet would be bearings were preloaded, resulting in failure of the outside (smaller) bearing. Never heard of a wheel bearing failing because it was too loose, but heard of plenty of failures of bearings that were too tight. Really, a 2-year old Bambi doesn't need any type of wheel bearing service. I'd put my money on the fact that the bearings were regreased recently, and not adjusted correctly (39-years in the bearing business).--Frank S
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Old 07-25-2006, 08:14 AM   #24
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Bambi wheel failure

Pictures here if I can get it resized. Ref the previous posting for the story.
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Old 07-25-2006, 08:49 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melody Ranch
... Started a fire in the dry grass. Excitement? You bet! Fire was put out, help called and the trailer trailered to repair shop.

Seems like the outer bearing failed completely. The wheel came completely off the axel (For the Caravel guys....this is NOT a call to change Bambi axels.) The retaining nut, washer and key all still in place. ...
OK, how the heck did the wheel come off if the nut was still on the spindle? Did the spindle fail? I can't believe the hub can get across the nut, even with a bearing failure, but I'm guessing I'm about to be educated here.

Obviously the hub was hot, if it started a fire. All other factors having been discussed, I bet the nut was on too tight (slight chance the heat came from a too tight brake adjustment, but not quite as likely).
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Old 07-26-2006, 02:19 AM   #26
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Hello zep ,
the outer bearing cone is smaller than the inner so when the outer bearing selfdestructed ,all that was left was the race of the outer bearing which is
small stuck to the spindle ,the wheel and inner bearing just went right over the race an off the trailer.

Scott
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Old 07-26-2006, 02:21 AM   #27
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Forgot to say that the nut diameter is smaller as well than the inner bearing
so it can still pass over the nut also.

Scott
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Old 10-02-2006, 08:50 PM   #28
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Bearing info- continued

If you are setting up new bearings, then you should go all the way to 50 foot lbs. in order to set the bearings in the spindle and into their proper seats. This is the case with almost all bearings of this type. If you are repacking bearings that have already been run, then you could go to a lower torque, but the key is that their must be some play...do not tighten them any more than finger tight after backing off. Once you are finger tight, always loosen to get the cotter pin in place, never tighten.

On the issue of the tab washer...they either are designed to use them or not, no system that I have ever seen uses both the washer and a cotter pin.
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Old 07-09-2007, 10:11 PM   #29
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internal tooth washer (tongue washer) on axle spindle

I think Beginner was talking about the use of an "internal tab washer" that is placed between the outer bearing and the slotted nut on the spindle. On my 2001 Bambi with a 4300lb Henschen axle, this is a simple flat washer with a single small tab that engages the slot milled along the length of the threaded end of the spindle, and prevents potential rotation of the bearing from torquing the slotted nut. It is not intended to stop rotation of the slotted nut- that is done by the cotterpin.

Interestingly, my parts manual and the Airstream online manuals show this washer and the nut, but do not describe the parts in the parts list nor give part numbers. I am waiting to hear from Airstream customer service on this. One solution could be from Redneck Trailer: http://www.redneck-trailer.com/2006/B/B2-B5.pdf , and see part RG05-020 on the bottom of page B-4. Note that they call this part a "tongue washer."
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Old 09-10-2008, 12:08 PM   #30
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Question How often to repack bearings?

Are the bearings on my Safari different than the bearings on my Ford pickup? Never have to repack the Ford bearings except when the drum is removed.

If they are different and require periodic repacking how often should it be done?

Thanks for any information.

Pops
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Old 09-10-2008, 12:19 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pops View Post
Are the bearings on my Safari different than the bearings on my Ford pickup? Never have to repack the Ford bearings except when the drum is removed.

If they are different and require periodic repacking how often should it be done?

Thanks for any information.

Pops
Do not relate passenger vehicles bearings or their care with your Airstream.

Why?

You use you vehicle, frequently. Water that collects in the bearings is removed by the heat from the bearings.

Your trailer is used far less frequent. Therefore the water that collects in the bearings, stays there until the next trip, which could be months.

Trailer bearings "AND" brakes must be serviced every 10,000 miles, or once a year, which ever is first. Part of your brakes need replacement every 20,000 miles, or there abouts.

The grease seals should be replaced every 10,000 miles.

These are standards in the RV industry, especially with Airstream, to assure long life for those components, other than brake magnets, which last usually 20,000 miles, or brake shoes, which last about 50,000 miles.

If you chose to ignore that care, you, your pocketbook, and your Airstream, will pay penalties.

Andy
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Old 09-15-2008, 08:12 AM   #32
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The real difference between your Airstream wheel assy. and your car is the use of electric brakes. Electric brakes seem to need a lot closer observation and maintenance that modern brakes found on cars. In order to check the brakes on your Airstream you need to take the drum off, if you are using the normal drum brakes. While you are at it, you might as well check the bearings. The majority of Airstream and other wheel bearing failures are usually the result of the improper maintenance by the last person who serviced the brakes. The usual problem is the person used inadequete amounts of grease, contamenated the grease, used the wrong grease, mixed greases, or improperly adjusted the end play on the bearings. Here are some links to infro on doing it right. Bearings

A Grease Adventure - Repacking Trailer Bearings

Installing Tapered Wheel Bearings

Even some less experienced Airstream dealer technicians have been known to cause problems, so it might serve you to watch what goes on or use a very good experienced dealer.
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Old 09-15-2008, 10:18 AM   #33
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this was an excellent thread
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Old 09-15-2008, 10:27 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightdi View Post

Even some less experienced Airstream dealer technicians have been known to cause problems, so it might serve you to watch what goes on or use a very good experienced dealer.
A very large reason bearings fail, is because they run "OUT" of grease.

How can that happen?

Very easy.

Just reuse the grease seals, and watch what can and will happen.

Grease seals are very cheap, and certainly far cheaper than the cost of an axle and hubs and drums.

Not even to say, what the cost of being inconvenienced might be, when your stranded away from home.

Yes, some people reuse them and get away with it, just like people that smoke cigarettes. But that "day" of "I wish I had replaced the grease seals" will happen.

Owning a travel trailer, carrys with it certain requirements.

Repacking bearings "PROPERLY" and brake service, is a must every 10,000 miles, or once a year, which ever is first.

Andy
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Old 09-15-2008, 11:50 AM   #35
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The bearings on your TV usually give you a warning that something is going amiss. Crunching sound, an occassional wobble, a rumble on a smooth roadway are examples. No such warnings can be transfered through the hitch will give warning to a TV driver....until it is too late. I inspect frequently even close visual, sniff and touch inspections at each stop on the road. This is a great thread.
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