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Old 08-03-2021, 11:41 AM   #1
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Nev-R-Lube bearing failure

Had the right rear (curb side) bearing totally fail in route home from a trip. Obvious damage to the drum/hub, brake assembly destroyed and most likely the spindle. Our Airstream is a 2015, with 100,000 miles on it, has the bearings and brakes checked annually at Airstream, more on that later. My question, if the repair would involve replacing the axle, should I just go ahead and replace them both? I was hoping the axle's spindle survived, but attempted to slide a new bearing onto the spindle and there's obviously a high spot that will not allow it to slide entirely on. Second question would be the best and fasted source for new axle(s)? We had left Airstream 7-21-21 after having all the brakes replaced and the bearings checked for excessive run-out. 400 miles later we experienced this. We knew something was going on, the trailer had a slight sway, the temp/pressure on the offending tire/wheel was going up and a good samaritan signaled us we had a problem, luckily we were within sight of a rest area. Infra red gun immediately found the source. We need to get it fixed asap, so any and all help appreciated. By the way, I have been in contact with Airstream and they're going to get back with me. I will follow this up with more details and pictures, but getting back in service is the most pressing thing now
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Old 08-03-2021, 11:48 AM   #2
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Just what we did....

Had the original 3500lb axles replaced with standard 4000lb axles, nothing is for 'never'. (rubber worn out in the axles causing inside edge tire wear)

I'll gladly replace the never with regular inspection & maintenance.
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Old 08-03-2021, 11:52 AM   #3
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Can you get pictures of the bare spindle. Sometimes.....sometimes, they can be cleaned up with Emery cloth and other "subtle" methods, and continue in service.
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Old 08-03-2021, 12:43 PM   #4
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Also interested in pics and follow up from Airstream as it was recently inspected.
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Old 08-03-2021, 01:05 PM   #5
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I’d be interested as well. I’ve been trying to decide whether to try to have the Nev r lubes on our 2014 replaced with the Timkens or to replace the whole kit and kaboodle with serviceable bearings. The replacement option is pricey, but so is a tow . . .
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Old 08-03-2021, 01:06 PM   #6
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Pics

thought I had got pics posted, let's try again.
another area on the spindle that is concerning would be the shoulder that the inside of the bearing lays against, it has some scaring on it as well. When I removed, I'll call it the jam nut, it required an excessive amount of force, way more than the 150 torque lbs recommended. I have two different opinions concerning this, one is that is way excessive and two that the spindle is machined to such close tolerances that the thick washer never actually touches the bearing. I'd be interested to hear opinions from those that have changed out these bearings. Waiting on Airstream as I write this

Also need to clarify the "400 miles", actually traveled 60 miles after leaving Airstream, then 150 mile jaunt, and finally heading for home when tragedy struck at approx. 200 miles. We removed the tire, plotted a thru the country route and limped home on one tire. It could have been a whole lot worse, we are thankful it wasn't
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Old 08-03-2021, 02:06 PM   #7
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rbs,

I've taken a Nev-R-Lube apart and I think I can explain one aspect of the design.

If you completely disassemble a Nev-R-Lube you'll have two seals, two separate cones and one twin cup set. The twin cup makes up the single OD that presses into the hub.

Now take the two cones and slide them on to the axle just like they would be if installed. Put the nut on and tighten away. The nut-cone-cone-shoulder is what gets tightened up. The outer twin cup has the required clearance machined in and it floats with the rollers and cages when installed as a complete bearing. There is only one tightening requirement, get it tight as Dexter says 145-155 lb-ft.

Seeing the innards of the old bearing would be the next interesting point.

IF the bearing was not as tight as designed then it came come apart internally and nothing good is going to happen.

And from my observations this nut must only be tightened with the axle unloaded, never with a tire on the ground and that applies a load to the bearing spreading it apart and then trying to tighten? It's failure time. That's not a conclusion only a don't ever do it that way statement.

This is a pic of a Timken that I removed from a used hub. The holes in the seals are from the bench disassembly.

Gary
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Old 08-04-2021, 05:25 AM   #8
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I collected all of the remaining parts, don't have pictures of all of them, but there is not much to look at. The "red flag" to me is the trouble came after someone one was into it, still waiting on a response from Airstream. The irony of course is that we had all of our brake assemblies replaced by Airstream, and the bearing runout checked. Hindsight would have us replacing both axles with new everything instead of replacing parts, as the cost of Airstream replacing the brakes would have covered most of the cost of replacing the axles.
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Old 08-04-2021, 05:44 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by rbs View Post
I collected all of the remaining parts, don't have pictures of all of them, but there is not much to look at. The "red flag" to me is the trouble came after someone one was into it, still waiting on a response from Airstream. The irony of course is that we had all of our brake assemblies replaced by Airstream, and the bearing runout checked. Hindsight would have us replacing both axles with new everything instead of replacing parts, as the cost of Airstream replacing the brakes would have covered most of the cost of replacing the axles.
I was thinking the same thing that the trouble started right after it was checked! The same thing has happened to me (not bearing or AS related) in that everything was working fine until I had it inspected. Shortly thereafter if failed.

So I think you are on the right track about trying to hold JC accountable to some degree.
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Old 08-04-2021, 05:47 AM   #10
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Do you have the nut? Any chance for a pic of it fairly close up of the surface the back side that contacts the bearing surface?

And pics of any other bearing components?
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Old 08-04-2021, 08:50 AM   #11
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Had the right rear (curb side) bearing totally fail in route home from a trip. Obvious damage to the drum/hub, brake assembly destroyed and most likely the spindle. Our Airstream is a 2015, with 100,000 miles on it, has the bearings and brakes checked annually at Airstream, more on that later. My question, if the repair would involve replacing the axle, should I just go ahead and replace them both? I was hoping the axle's spindle survived, but attempted to slide a new bearing onto the spindle and there's obviously a high spot that will not allow it to slide entirely on. Second question would be the best and fasted source for new axle(s)? We had left Airstream 7-21-21 after having all the brakes replaced and the bearings checked for excessive run-out. 400 miles later we experienced this. We knew something was going on, the trailer had a slight sway, the temp/pressure on the offending tire/wheel was going up and a good samaritan signaled us we had a problem, luckily we were within sight of a rest area. Infra red gun immediately found the source. We need to get it fixed asap, so any and all help appreciated. By the way, I have been in contact with Airstream and they're going to get back with me. I will follow this up with more details and pictures, but getting back in service is the most pressing thing now
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Do you have the nut? Any chance for a pic of it fairly close up of the surface the back side that contacts the bearing surface?

And pics of any other bearing components?

got more pictures. You can see that the nut has welded itself to the washer and I haven't tried to get them apart. The cup that is in one piece is the outside unit, appears that one of more of the bearings welded themselves to it. The inside cup was only removed after taking a Dremel with cutoff blade, scoring it and striking is with large chisel, finally broke allowing it's removal
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Old 08-04-2021, 09:19 AM   #12
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Update!

Just got off the phone with Josh at Airstream and Airstream is going to cover the cost of replacing the rear axle that was damaged. I am going to have the front axle replaced as well. I cannot begin to express how relieved we are and completely assured that Airstream, the company, is committed to their customer's concerns and issues. Thank you Airstream
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Old 08-04-2021, 03:55 PM   #13
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rbs,

Good news, you're getting support from AS. Bad news, see above all the way up.

And everyone this is as much speculation as I care to post. Just based on hands on experience with fixing lots of stuff for many years.

1. The bearing and hub passed initial inspection. They reused it.

2. Failure occurred very soon after service.

3. Seeing the old bearing and comparing it to the rub mark on the axle bearing contact surface looking at dimensions to match up the marks. That would be interesting.

4. You commented on how tight the nut was, seemed excessive. Was the extra torque to remove the bearing related to the heat that welded the thick washer to the nut?

OK those are just comments and observations, now it's time to propose a possible root cause.

The nut was not fully tightened per specs. Yes it required high torque to remove but was that caused by the heat that welded the washer and nut together?

IF the nut was not tight per specs then the bearing is immediately loose and sloppy and destroys itself in very short order. The designed in clearance that Dexter describes and has an inspection criteria for has now been increased by a factor of? No one knows but that bearing must have the design fastening torque of 145-155 lb-ft in order to work correctly and deliver the service life of the design.

And I'm repeating, my root cause is speculation, no hands on observations and inspections although the pics were pretty darn good.

Good luck getting back on the road soon.

Gary
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Old 08-04-2021, 04:32 PM   #14
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rbs,

I re read post 1. Follow up question. Did AS remove each drum as a part of the inspection?

If they didn’t then my previous post with a theory should be completely discarded.

Gary
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Old 08-04-2021, 11:31 PM   #15
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all of the brakes were replaced by Airstream, so they had to remove all of the brake drums/hubs. Airstream has told me they will replace the impacted axle, and I am paying to have the other replaced at the same time. The pain of this also includes spending a lot of money replacing all of the brakes, the new axles include the brake assembly
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Old 09-02-2021, 05:08 PM   #16
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Airstream out of surgery

Happy to report our Airstream is out of surgery, had both axles replaced, released and has the green light to resume normal activities. First, I want to thank Josh, Service Manager at Airstream, for making sure we were taken care of. Second, Four Seasons RV, Maroa IL, for working us in their busy schedule (they are not an Airstream dealer by the way, just good folks). And last, all the help I received on here. I want to come back and post my advice on anyone that might be in the same set of circumstances that we were. Wished we could wind back the clock, but in the end Airstream took care of us, and that ought to be a comfort for all owners, Josh I owe you a beer.
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Old 09-07-2021, 07:59 AM   #17
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Replacing brakes and options

If you have read our story about bearing failure, I just want to offer an option that I hadn't thought of regarding replacing brakes.
We knew our brakes were on their final days, and didn't want to replace them ourselves. I will add that it is not that difficult of job if you have any mechanical abilities. We have a lot of miles on our trailer and in hindsight I would have had both axles replaced at Airstream rather than just the brake assemblies. You would end up paying practically the same amount of money and have everything brand new in the process. You would need to preplan the axle replacement, as they probably do not have them in the parts department and would need to be ordered. 4 hours approximate labor to remove and install.
We ended up with new axles, and couldn't be more satisfied with Airstream's customer service (thanks Josh), but would have rather not experienced the ordeal we went through to get there. Just wanted to share my thoughts, wished I had though about it a little bit more before, but it is what it is.
Be safe and if you see us somewhere, say hi.
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Old 09-08-2021, 04:31 AM   #18
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If you have read our story about bearing failure, I just want to offer an option that I hadn't thought of regarding replacing brakes.
We knew our brakes were on their final days, and didn't want to replace them ourselves. I will add that it is not that difficult of job if you have any mechanical abilities. We have a lot of miles on our trailer and in hindsight I would have had both axles replaced at Airstream rather than just the brake assemblies. You would end up paying practically the same amount of money and have everything brand new in the process. You would need to preplan the axle replacement, as they probably do not have them in the parts department and would need to be ordered. 4 hours approximate labor to remove and install.
We ended up with new axles, and couldn't be more satisfied with Airstream's customer service (thanks Josh), but would have rather not experienced the ordeal we went through to get there. Just wanted to share my thoughts, wished I had though about it a little bit more before, but it is what it is.
Be safe and if you see us somewhere, say hi.
R&J
Thanks for the insight.

You mentioned you have a lot of miles on your AS. Just curious how many miles that is?
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Old 09-08-2021, 08:13 PM   #19
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I'll gladly replace the never with regular inspection & maintenance.
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Absolutely.
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Old 09-09-2021, 04:34 AM   #20
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Thanks for the insight.

You mentioned you have a lot of miles on your AS. Just curious how many miles that is?
100,000 miles on the trailer, and there was nothing wrong with the sealed bearings as all were within specs for runout, the failure was due to not properly installing the drum/hub. I have absolutely no concern about the durability and longevity of the sealed bearings, and we are pro active on making sure everything is right
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