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Old 11-30-2018, 08:39 AM   #21
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In my past I was an axle technician for a major automaker. My take on this discussion would mention several points:

1- Easy-Greasy wheel-bearing schemes give a false impression that bearings never need inspection until they fail. This is the wrong attitude if you believe in preventive maintenance. Bearings should either be cleaned/inspected regularly or they should have published life-limits for specified replacement.

2- So-called "Bearing Buddies" do not "blow" seals when used in conjunction with hand-grease-guns. The Bearing Buddy product consists of a grease/zerk-fitted inverse-cup which is spring-loaded to keep grease lightly pressurized against the bearing/seal assembly. Excess grease applied merely escapes back around the inverse-cup/spring assy, quite visibly to the person doing the greasing. The excess grease ends up falling into your hand or on the ground and the grease-seal is uninjured. (Think about it...that grease seal is constantly under spring-pressure anyway. Excess grease pressure expandes the inverse-cup... it doesn't destroy a healthy seal. If the seal leaks...it is worn out and needs replacement anyway... a task easily noticed and accomplished with ordinary bearings which are serviced regularly...but a serious failure-mode with the "easy-greasy" types of bearing assys.)

3- "Modern" vehicles in recent years utilize synthetic greases and bearings with published/finite service-replacement schedules (which are typically ignored by owners because they sell the vehicle every 3 years or are surprised and complain when it fails because the failure was due to THEIR ignorance of the schedule.) It is common that those types involve CV-joint/designs which require specialized tooling the average owner does not have available and usually also require axle realignment that I'll bet NO private owner has. The Owners Manuals I've seen recently specify 100K miles for bearing inspection/replacements for such axles.

I prefer U.S. bearings made by Timken or Torrington and specify such when I don't do the work myself. SKF bearings (Sweden) are also good. NTN, NSK, THK are all Japanese companies and make quality bearings. Anyone else I'd avoid completely.

One more point on grease: Many folks do not realize that grease is as complex as it is. Grease is a form of OIL which is held in suspension within a metallic salt, most commonly LITHIUM but sometimes Calcium, Aluminum, and other "clay" type metals. They are NOT INTERCHANGEABLE. They don't get along with each other. The person who just grabs a grease gun (and this can be your most-trusted yet ignorant mechanic) and pumps some different grease into your existing grease just set you up for a failure while ON the ROAD when that bearing overheats and disintegrates at 65 mph and shreds your tire with a locked-up wheel that also takes out your Airstreams wheel well and side-panels.
KNOW what kind/type of grease is being applied... and KNOW that your old grease is completely cleaned out before changing grease types.
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Old 11-30-2018, 09:06 AM   #22
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Boxite,

Interesting comments. Thanks.

Gary
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Old 11-30-2018, 09:26 AM   #23
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I appreciate the discussion my inquiry has generated. Especially the remarks on the complexity of GREASE. Who knew?? I'm glad someone did. I often see and am confused by the term "Lifetime lubrication". Is that my lifetime, your lifetime or the lifetime of the applied lubrication ???? Try to find a grease fitting on any recent automobile ???? My old Jeep truck had so many I probably never found them all. Anything and everything that moved had one. My '06 Dodge had one and that was on the front driveshaft. Good luck trying to get any grease into it even with the special tool required. My '15 Ford has none. At least none that I can find. So thank you all for your comments especially those that were instructional. I like to learn new stuff.

So to the original inquiry here ----- When the time comes I'll lean towards the traditional cup & cone bearings. At least this will force me to pull the hubs periodically allowing a full brake inspection and refresh that old and tired grease.

ThanX all and Merry Christmas to one and all !!!!
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Old 11-30-2018, 12:30 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by polarlyse View Post
. ...So thank you all for your comments especially those that were instructional. I like to learn new stuff. ,,,!!
For good info on installation, and diagnosis of bearing maintenance issues, In particular ...see the DAMAGE instructional links at: https://www.timken.com/automotive-te...ing-resources/
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Old 11-30-2018, 12:57 PM   #25
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Looks like enough reading material to keep my going for awhile. A few years ago I sourced new bearings for my Airstream. I searched and found Timken ones. It bothered me that Airstream used a china made set. I kept the china ones as spares and of course carry the tools to replace if necessary. Fortunately I haven't used them. I wonder if / when I decide to replace the axles is it possible to specify the bearings manufacturer or origin at the time of the order ????

Thank you for your input Boxite
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Old 11-30-2018, 01:29 PM   #26
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One question to a supplier that they should answer correctly is to request the country of origin. Pretty sure thatís a requirement from Uncle Sam.

Both Timken as Boxite posted and Dexter have extensive tech libraries including videos. Timken has a good one on adjustments for tapered bearings.

If watching a video look at who published the video and click on that. Itís under the title above the description. If it shows videos from topics not related to your video. Find genuine videos from mfgr instead.
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Old 12-05-2018, 09:16 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Silverpuller View Post
Thanks for including the Dexter link. Unfortunately the link tells me what Never-lube bearings can do, but not how they do it.

In my lifeís work, I spent decades working as a mechanic and machinist. That experience included repacking many, many bearings, of all types. In every case the old grease was dirty with wear product. This ďcrud,Ē if allowed to build-up, can become quite abrasive to the bearing. If the old, dirty, lubricant isnít periodically replaced with clean lubricant, the bearing will eventually fail. My experience is that all bearings, sleeve, ball, or roller, eventually produce an abrasive wear product. Lubricants like oil, water, grease, etc., not only cool the bearing, but also carry away the damaging wear products.

So in a Never-lube bearing, what happens to the inevitable wear product? What keeps the bearing cool?

Iím asking rhetorically, and suspect that only a Dexter mechanical engineer could answer.
Most all auto and pickups are running neverlube bearings...no grease u joints..it is like magic, It is 2018
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Old 12-05-2018, 09:24 AM   #28
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If I had take the trailer in and pay to get the wheels greased every year I would certainly go with the sealed bearings instead.
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Old 12-05-2018, 10:07 AM   #29
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I just use a premium grease and don't worry about them until next brake job time.
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:10 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Bill M. View Post
If I had take the trailer in and pay to get the wheels greased every year I would certainly go with the sealed bearings instead.


Bill

To change to never lube you have to replace the axles. Spindles are different.

Itís not a conversion option on your old axle.

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Old 12-05-2018, 11:26 AM   #31
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My 2016 AS has the Never-lube bearings and I have the centramatics. Why is is not recommended to run centramatics with Never-lube? Your comment has me somewhat concerned with my setup.
I would not be at all concerned with your setup. I cannot imagine that the very thin mounting flange of the Centramatics would have any material impact on the effective wheel offset.

On the contrary, I would think that the inherent wheel balance provided by the Centramatics would reduce stress on the wheel bearings and likely extend their service life.

My personal experience with Never-Lube bearings and Centramatics on a 2015 30' AS has been nothing but smooth sailing!
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:50 AM   #32
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Bearing buddy.......had 'em on my other trailer. Had a leaky seal on the right rear. Brake didn't work and it slung a lot of grease. Had a zerk clog up on another one. I'll keep them on the boat trailers but not the travel trailers.
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Old 12-05-2018, 12:11 PM   #33
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Never lube should rebrand as "rarely lube"

I replaced both axles on our 25' trailer in 2014, and then took trailer across US to Alumapalooza in summer of 2017... On trip home, the front never-lube axle bearing (Dexter axles...) on curb side failed in spectacular manner, sending wheel, tire and portion of brake drum out across the Wyoming countryside at 65 mph... Tore up side and rear of trailer, bent spindle and did almost $12K of damage at Airstream factory service center pricing... (towing charges from Wyoming to Jackson Center and back to Calif extra...)

Whether you choose NeverLube or traditional bearings, don't assume they are actually not in need of service and lubrication...

John
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Old 12-05-2018, 12:59 PM   #34
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I also wonder about filling the cap with grease on the easy lub bearings, but has anyone had a problem with overheating, grease breakdown, failed bearings? Some perceived
problems don’t happen and common sense isn’t always sensible. I recall recommendations not to mix greases when repacking bearings, but with easy lub, how would you know what brand was used when they were packed? The factory probably buys whatever brands is cheapest and can’t tell you which one they used.

I’ve never had a modern bearing fail on a car or truck and I’ve driven some 145,000 miles. Of course all the really high mileage ones were Japanese, so I guess they make better bearings than the US. Why RV owners get the cheap old style ones, or the better, but not completely modern, easy lub, only tells us RV manufacturers cut corners wherever they can.

I have had a trailer with easy lub (I can’t be bothered looking up the right spelling) for about 5 or 6,000 miles and haven’t regreased, so I don’t know the answer, but it would seem the dust cover can be removed and the excess grease removed too. Since I haven’t done anything but glance at the instructions, perhaps they explain that. I guess next spring will be the time to find out.
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:05 PM   #35
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My 2 cents worth - if I had a choice, I would go with conventional, traditional bearings. I had EZ Lube hubs, and discovered that getting fresh grease pumped in (hand grease gun with a young son spinning the tires for me) required about a tube and a third of grease. When I pulled the drums to inspect the brakes, I simply had a mess to clean up.

After the first time, I re-packed every other year in the traditional manner. A lot less grease, a lot less trouble, and the brakes were inspected too. Also, I don't like or trust the EZ Lube "keepers". Cotter pins look a lot more secure to me.
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Old 12-06-2018, 06:25 PM   #36
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My 2 cents worth - if I had a choice, I would go with conventional, traditional bearings. I had EZ Lube hubs, and discovered that getting fresh grease pumped in (hand grease gun with a young son spinning the tires for me) required about a tube and a third of grease. When I pulled the drums to inspect the brakes, I simply had a mess to clean up.

After the first time, I re-packed every other year in the traditional manner. A lot less grease, a lot less trouble, and the brakes were inspected too. Also, I don't like or trust the EZ Lube "keepers". Cotter pins look a lot more secure to me.
^
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Anything that provides a false sense security and prevents regular inspection can't be all that good...🥴

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Old 12-06-2018, 09:41 PM   #37
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I just wish we had better seals.... every time I've replaced bearings on our Airstream, they've failed from water intrusion & then rust. I've been tempted to add bearing buddies, since boat trailers seem to avoid this problem, and I'm not worried about bearing grease reaching the disk brakes.


The local trailer folks recommend greasing and repacking every other year to keep the water out. Sure glad I don't need to do this on cars or trucks - I wonder why .


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Old 12-07-2018, 12:36 AM   #38
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I also wonder about filling the cap with grease on the easy lub bearings, but has anyone had a problem with overheating, grease breakdown, failed bearings? Some perceived
problems donít happen and common sense isnít always sensible. I recall recommendations not to mix greases when repacking bearings, but with easy lub, how would you know what brand was used when they were packed? The factory probably buys whatever brands is cheapest and canít tell you which one they used.

Iíve never had a modern bearing fail on a car or truck and Iíve driven some 145,000 miles. Of course all the really high mileage ones were Japanese, so I guess they make better bearings than the US. Why RV owners get the cheap old style ones, or the better, but not completely modern, easy lub, only tells us RV manufacturers cut corners wherever they can.

I have had a trailer with easy lub (I canít be bothered looking up the right spelling) for about 5 or 6,000 miles and havenít regreased, so I donít know the answer, but it would seem the dust cover can be removed and the excess grease removed too. Since I havenít done anything but glance at the instructions, perhaps they explain that. I guess next spring will be the time to find out.


The factory wheel bearings on GM full size 1/2 pickup trucks and SUVs will typically last between about 180K and 210K.

They will subtly tell you when theyíre getting near the end of their life if you listen to them.
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Old 12-07-2018, 05:19 AM   #39
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I just wish we had better seals.... every time I've replaced bearings on our Airstream, they've failed from water intrusion & then rust. I've been tempted to add bearing buddies, since boat trailers seem to avoid this problem, and I'm not worried about bearing grease reaching the disk brakes.


The local trailer folks recommend greasing and repacking every other year to keep the water out. Sure glad I don't need to do this on cars or trucks - I wonder why

Something else to consider.
Long AS trip...👍😎
...BB grease is under pressure, the wheel assembly gets hot, high ambient, even hotter, more pressure, thiner grease...ooze?



- Bart
When needed I make sure to use a double lip seal...👍

Bearing Buddies are real good at keeping water out of the boat trailer axles...when was the last time your AS axles were under water?🥴

Something else to consider.
Long AS trip...👍😎
...BB grease is always under pressure, the wheel assembly gets hot, high ambient, even hotter, more pressure, thiner grease...ooze?


Bob
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Old 12-07-2018, 07:55 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by barts View Post
I just wish we had better seals.... every time I've replaced bearings on our Airstream, they've failed from water intrusion & then rust. I've been tempted to add bearing buddies, since boat trailers seem to avoid this problem, and I'm not worried about bearing grease reaching the disk brakes.


The local trailer folks recommend greasing and repacking every other year to keep the water out. Sure glad I don't need to do this on cars or trucks - I wonder why .


- Bart
Sealed bearings......not made for under water thou
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