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Old 05-04-2005, 10:07 PM   #1
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Repacking Wheel Bearings

Kimber and I put together some info on our web site on repacking wheel bearings. We took pictures of the process we went through and posted that to the web.

http://overlander.archnevada.com/index.php?repack

What I would like is for people to take a look and offer suggestions as to what should be included. The next time we go to repack we will incorporate whatever suggestions we can. Also, whatever suggestions we can publish immediately we will.

Our goal is to help make this an easy process for other first timers like we were at this on this try.

Thanks for helping!!!

K & T
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Old 05-04-2005, 11:30 PM   #2
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What I would like is for people to take a look and offer suggestions as to what should be included.

OK; I wouldn't be in a hurry to get Buttercup on the road. Your packing method looks like it might not get the job done. There are a lot of finer points you miss, and I would not want others to follow these directions and believe they are doing the job. My advice, see the site http://users.westco.net/~tandjlm/berring.htm
for the best overall description of the procedure I've come across.
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Old 05-05-2005, 12:40 AM   #3
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Aaaaa,

Thanks for the prompt - albeit somewhat harsh reply. I took a look at the link you suggested and glanced at the information.
What I found lacking is pictures. For the first timer - pictures speak a thousand words. The link you suggested had no pictures at all. Yet the information was basically the same as I presented.

Secondly I never suggest that what I did would be the best way. But it may interest you to know that Buttercup sat 13 years without moving and the grease was hardened in the rotors. In fact what is not displayed is the hardened grease on the spindles and bearings that had to be scraped off with softer metal tools that would do no damage to the spindle, etc...

I cleaned and repacked all 4 wheels BEFORE hauling her home. That trip was 70 miles on mountain roads and back highways. We stopped several times during the trip to check things out and at every stop the wheels were as cool as could be expected - less than 10 degrees over ambient by my estimate - so I stand by my repacking job.

I would also ad that for many vintage AS owners we are not alone when we get our trailer for the first time. We are getting a unit that sat for a long time with little or no maintenance and was stored in the worse of conditions. Not ideal circumstances but one that many of us have discovered. The job has to be done to get the unit road ready for the trip home in a short amount of time. That is also what we did. But I will still stand behind my repacking job even if it was done for the coming year.

Your rig (if I have read some of your other posts correctly) is not vintage unit but rather probably a 2004 Bambi - so, I am guessing, you have not experienced the difficulties of dealing with a unit that has had no maintenance for a sustained period of time. Also, judging by your past bad bearing experiences with your hubs and a lockup (who repacked that for you) I can understand your trepidation to others presenting a simple tutorial for other to familiarize themselves with the process.


The process of repacking is simple and there is no reason anybody can't do it.

And what we were looking for was constructive criticism.

Tim
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Old 05-05-2005, 05:08 AM   #4
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Talking Grease out / Grease in

Nice job on the bearings (good comeback too) Love your pictorial too. Your right nothing like a visual display for those that are hesitant to tackle a project! Looking forward to future endeavors! Keep up the good work
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Old 05-05-2005, 06:18 AM   #5
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Great web display ...

Buttercup,

Impressive photo documentation of the process. Nice job ... I'm sure this will help guide the intended audience.

Since others have provided comments relative to the 'packing' process, I offer ancillary comments.

When the wheels are off, it is an excellent time to closely inspect the brake wires, insuring adequate connection. If twist connectors are used, I seal the open end with a caulking compound.

Further, personally I spray a compatible thread lubricant on my shock mount and axle mount fasterners. Some day I may have to dissemble these components and intend to shorten the battle.

Since we are all 'stuck' with the 'castle nuts' that retain the bearings, I feel a bit more attention should be provided to the specific tightening procedure. Further, I highly recommend that ALL cotter pins be renewed and the used ones discarded.

Thanks for taking the time to upload the process. It is informative.
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Old 05-05-2005, 08:07 AM   #6
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For only a few bucks, any auto parts store should be able to sell you a pressure bearing packer that will guarantee an air free, solid pack. Much easier and simpler than hand packing.
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Old 05-05-2005, 08:32 AM   #7
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I agree with 65GT...they don't look properly packed. That may work for a short haul but could quickly be an expensive problem. I've seen inexpensive bearing packers that may help get the bearings packed better. I might also add that wearing latex gloves will help reduce the nasty mess on your hands. Dirty bearing grease is especially difficult to clean up.

also... after replacing the hub (or rotor) and castle nut, I was taught that it's a good idea to give the hub about 10 turns to make sure it gets properly seated and then recheck the castle nut.

I agree that photos speak a thousand words. Nice Tutorial.
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Old 05-05-2005, 09:06 AM   #8
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I really like the bearing packer that T Man shows. I tried the one with two cones that screw together-it was more trouble than it was worth.

Great pictorial. Here's another that is very similar but goes into a little more detail on the packing. http://sierranevadaairstreams.org/ow...s/gallery.html
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Old 05-05-2005, 09:45 AM   #9
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Nice and informative instructions "ButterCup" everything looks good and the pictures will be a great help for many who may not be as familiar. I must agree that the segment of actually grase packing the bearing does need some attention. 65GT's description is as good as I could have put into words.

Good description on the packing technique 65GT(Leo). I have seen a "mechanic" smear grease all around a bearing before and claimed that was the right way to do it. The idea is to pack or pump the bearing full of grease. I would like to add an additional item to your description for those learning the technique of packing a bearing. If you are re-packing an existing bearing, be sure to "Purge" all the old grease. Begin packing the bearing in one place, soon you will see the old grease begin to purge out. Don't stop, continue packing and you will soon see the purged grease begin to change from the old grease to the new grease. Begin to rotate the bearing slowly while packing until all the old grease has been purged and replaced with the new grease.

Have a wonderful day All!!
I always hand pack my bearings and prefer to do it as you described. I have used the pressurized cone setup and have concluded that I made more of a mess with it than the old way and that I am going to have a greasy mess one way or the other. Besides, that is why I keep a tub of Go-Jo around.
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Old 05-05-2005, 11:03 AM   #10
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Buttercup; stay cool. You're right; and I guess its because of the fact that a new TT can have such problems with bearings causes me to believe its not all as simple as we may think. At least, I've learned to be very thorough in doing the packing - a process I am still learning and certainly not an expert. From what I've come across, I think its important to describe the inspection process, especially paying attention to the races and spindle as well as bearings; and the right type and amount of grease. The the tensioning of the bearings and tightness of the nut are also important (on the hub that failed on our unit, this nut was as tight as you could get it and may have contributed to failure). Good luck with your photos, having a visual would certainly help many of us.
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Old 05-05-2005, 11:52 AM   #11
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Thanks to all for the bearing posts

As an inherently non-mechanical type I really appreciate this forum. On the few times I have sought help on projects for a vintage trailer from trailer repair shops, the experience was scary and typically negative. I have used advice and instructions from this forum on projects I never would have attempted without it.

Thanks Buttercup for the original post with pics and thanks to others for the replies. I will be replacing the tires and will re-pack or replace the bearings while I'm there.

Ken
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Old 05-05-2005, 12:30 PM   #12
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Thank all of you who have responded so far. I have come away with one impression I need more information on the process I used.

One thing that is key is that I did inspect everything as thoroughly as I could. With this unit sitting so long I wanted to make sure there was no rust on any surface.

Secondly I took a long time to clean everything! There was a lot of dried on grease in the hubs.

Third (and I am taking note of what you said 65GT) that packing grease means just that pack grease into the bearings. What I didn't describe is that I did spend lots of time packing it into the bearing by working it into both cracks and turning the bearing frequently to help work it in. In addition I did put plenty of grease on the surfaces of the rotor and spindle to be sure that they were lubricated. I don't have an automotive background but I did spend 6 years in the NAVY working in the boiler room (when they used to have boiler room) and I have rebuilt my share of equipment so I feel that probably did an adequate job but like I said I will reinspect.





Actually this might be an opportunity to use a bearing packer to demonstrate what that process is like. I did see the cone packer at the parts store and elected not to get that because it just seemed to be more hassle than it was worth. The one suggested looks interesting so I will take a closer look.

On the subject of gloves I did wear them for the remaining wheels but not the first only because I wanted people to get the sense that you could do this and it is not necessarily the DIRTIEST job you can do to your TT. I wanted people to get the idea that they didn't have to be afraid of the grease.

Based on the suggestions I have gotten so far and will perhaps keep getting I will add more info to the web along with links to the forum for more in depth learning from threads like this one.
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Old 05-05-2005, 12:39 PM   #13
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Regarding the bearing packer, if you're only doing a single bearing, it's a hassle. If you're doing the inside AND outside bearings on four or more wheels, they save a TON of time and mess (IMHO). Frankly, last time I had the Behemoth done, I took it to my neighborhood mechanic who did all SIX sets. I think he charged me a whole $60 and I didn't have to get my hands dirty, R&R wheels, lug the wheels around, torque lug nuts, or clean up afterwards! It was worth every penny, and I have enough confidence in his work to know he did it right.

Roger
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Old 05-05-2005, 02:21 PM   #14
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Bearing packer photo's are very good. Your trailer is to new for me. Your trailer had a lot of surface rust. When I did my brakes I cleaned and painted the frame and wheel wells. Since my trailer was 29 years old I replaced all the bearings,races,and seals with new. I used hi-temp grease the red stuff and boy is it sticky. Bearing packer makes the job easier. I do like to do it the old way hand packing. Removed the inner cup with a brass drift and hammer. To replace the race I used a bearing and seal driver. I also have a extra set for the road but hope I never have to use them.
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Old 05-05-2005, 02:56 PM   #15
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Cleaning w/mineral spirits or gas

I am not a mechanic but am starting to dabble to save $$. I had my A/S 4 wheels done the first time 2 yrs ago and plan to do it myself next. I have done bearings on my smaller leaf and boat trailers.

To clean, I usually soak & agitate the old grease out with a solvent. From the description from DBM04 and others about 'purge' old grease out, it sounds like some are skipping the solvent step. I personally feel the solvent gets all the dirt out.

Of course I let it dry completely before repacking (evaporates fairly quickly).

For doing several at a time, the Lisle packer is something I should invest in.

Thanks for all who are sharing.

Again - Great Forum!!

Steve
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Old 05-05-2005, 03:00 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sav'h Steve
To clean, I usually soak & agitate the old grease out with a solvent. From the description from DBM04 and others about 'purge' old grease out, it sounds like some are skipping the solvent step. I personally feel the solvent gets all the dirt out.

Steve
On top of that, how do you inspect the bearings for galling if you don't clean them?
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Old 05-05-2005, 04:47 PM   #17
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For General maintenance: If the seal and dust cap are still in place and in good shape without any sign of dust and dirt getting past either, I will initially wipe the inner race, bearing surfaces and cage and inspect for any trace of overheating or chattering. If this looks good, they get repacked and installed without any residual cleaner to break down the new grease along with new seals. If the seal or dust cap has been bypassed by dust or dirt or the seal lip has been torn then I will automatically replace the bearings without question as the intrusion of dirt has damaged the bearing whether I can visually see it or not even if the bearing has been cleaned. The cost of replacing a questionable set of bearings and seal that has heat cycled numerous times and has traveled loaded at highway speeds across potholes, expansion cracks, etc. is negligable compared to what can happen with a failure on the road. This was the way I was taught to do it and how to look at it.

At work we analyze bearings to the nth degree. If we stretch the life a bit too far the machine will break down and we will repair it. If the bearings fail while I am on the road because I have tried to overextend there life then I will have a lot more damage to deal with ... which would hopefully be mechanical instead of someones injury due to a failed bearing.

But that said, this post is interesting in the fact that I am interested in what is the most reliable and safest way to inspect, repack, and torgue these bearings. I have stated basically the way I was taught and have been doing it. But, that doesn't mean that there is not a newer, better way to inspect, repack, and torgue the bearings that I can learn from someone today. "The old way may not always be the best way"
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Old 05-05-2005, 06:47 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 65GT
...When in doubt, take your CLEAN bearings to an auto parts store and ask their opinion. Unless you get Oscar the Grouch, anyone in an auto parts store would be happy to look at the bearings for you.
Do not attempt this unless you are going to an established, local parts house & not a chain store. Somber looking individuals sitting on stools smoking cigarettes watching you come in are a good indicator that you are in the right place. These folks want a given machine to operate the right way.

My experience has been that the folks manning the counter at chain stores depend on whatever the computer tells them. The computer can not look at your bearings.

If the chain store parts person is smart, he/she will tell you to replace the bearings regardless of how they look (liability issue). If you decide to take their advice, make sure you buy Timken brand bearings - I have yet to have a problem with that brand.

FWIW,
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Old 05-05-2005, 07:03 PM   #19
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Updated Info

I updated some on the info on the web to include seating the bearings and also Leo's info on packing the bearings by hand. Thanks Leo for letting me use that.

The seating information is not definitive to say the least but should be close enough for getting the job done. I found info ON THE WEB that stated you have to torque to xyz specs then back off to some other setting and blah, blah, blah. What I added is less specific but illustrates the point of seating the bearings in a way that does not seem unsafe to me.
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Old 05-05-2005, 07:05 PM   #20
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The picture of your brake pad looks like it is wearing at an angle, top looks thicker than the bottom? If so they should be replaced, the caliper is binding when the brakes are applied. You should clean the pins and grease them, also the holes they mount thru in the caliper.
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