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Old 02-11-2011, 09:47 AM   #1
Alpine Dave's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 88
How to replace hubs, calipers, rotors, bearings, & seals

Disclaimer: I am not a professional mechanic or mechanical engineer. The following information is accurate to the best of my knowledge, but no guarantees of accuracy are expressed or should be assumed.

As documented in other threads (http://www.irv2.com/forums/f104/1999-alpine-coach-brake-failure-80199.html , http://www.irv2.com/forums/f104/warning-older-alpine-coach-brake-pad-corrosion-83901.html , http://www.irv2.com/forums/f104/rear-and-front-hub-disassembly-and-assembly-81090.html ) I needed some major repairs to my 1999 Alpine Coach brake system. I decided to tackle the job myself, but I was unable to find a comprehensive document (shop manual or similar) to guide me through the process. After much research on the internet and with the help of other contributors to this forum, I was able to complete the repair myself. This post is to document what I learned and hopefully help others who are considering similar repairs. If others find errors, better ways to do any of this, or any other pertinent information, please add to this thread.

Special Home-Made Tools
I have considerable experience building things out of wood and steel, so I build many special tools when needed and when I feel it is within my capabilities. This takes time, but saves money and, for me, is the fun part of the job. I would rather design and build a tool then run all over town trying to beg, borrow or buy one. I built several tools for this project, which I will describe and show in this post.

The first thing I did for this project is to break the wheel lug nut loose. I built a special lug nut wrench for a previous motor home. I bought a cheep 1 5/16" x 3/4" drive impact socket for under $10 (at Harbor Freight Tools I think). I bought 48" & 24" pieces of 1" threaded pipe and a 1" tee from Home depot. Cut the 24" piece into a 16" piece and a 3" piece, welded the pipes together, welded a 3/4" square piece of scrap steel on one end of the 16" pipe and assembled the wrench as shown. I cut holes in a 2 by 6 to match the various heights to support the wrench on the other end and added a foot to support that.

With my 180 lbs standing at the end of the wrench I produce 720 ft-lbs of torque, which I found more than enough to loosen any lug nut. I can use the same wrench to torque the lug nuts to 450 ft-lbs by standing at a point 2.5 ft from the pivot point. (You will need to compensate a bit if the long arm of the wrench is not close to being parallel to the floor.)

The next job is to raise the MH off the floor. I start by blocking the wheels with 4 wheel blocks that I constructed out of scrap pieces of particle board and plywood.

Each piece is glued and nailed to the piece below it.

I also built 4 blocks that I use under the MH jacks. Each of the blocks is 12” x 12” in cross section, 8” tall and constructed in a manner similar to the wheel blocks.

The process I use to raise the MH is:
-Make sure the air bags are fully inflated
-Block the wheels and place the 8” tall blocks under the MH jack pads
- Extend the jacks until the tires are just about to leave the ground
-Place 4 bottle jacks under the axels behind each wheel
-Dump the air from the air bags and raise each wheel off the ground a few inches using the bottle jacks (since most of the coach’s weight is supported by the MH jacks, it is relatively easy to rise and lower the wheels/axles to the desired height while the coach stays in a fixed position.)
-If I need to do any work under the coach, I also place (4) 12 ton jack stands under the chassis for safety. (I lower the jacks just enough so that both the jack stands and the jacks are supporting the weight of the coach)

I also built a dolly to make it a lot easier to remove the wheels and hubs.

Here I am using the dolly to remove/replace a front wheel. The dolly is made of 4 caster type wheels, some 2 x4s and scraps of particle board and strand board. Simply raise/lower the axle and rotate the hub until everything is aligned.

I cut a 2x6 to fit across the vertical 2x4s, drilled holes and cut a semi-circular notch so that the 2x6 bolts easily to the hub.

The dolly can then be used to remove and install the hub without putting stress on the inboard oil-bath seal.

I also built a shelf to support the weight of the rotor. This probably was not necessary, but it made the process of removing the old rotor from the hub and replacing the new rotor a lot easier.

The front and rear hubs are secured by 2 large nuts. The inside nut is locked in position by a dowel washer, followed by a tang washer and the jam nut. The 2 nuts on the rear axle housing both require a 3 ½” socket. The inside nut on the front axle requires a 2 ¼” socket, and the jam nut requires a 2 5/8” socket. I called a few local tool stores, but none had anything even close to a 3 ½” socket. A quick search on the internet found a few sites that sold sockets this large, but I would end up spending several hundred bucks and have to wait a week. So, I decided to fabricate my own.

As you can see, I welded these together using pieces of ¼” and 1/8” steel I had in my scrap box and some large nuts on the back side to drive them. But, they worked great.

The jam nuts require 200 to 300 ft-lbs of torque, so I used my lug wrench with some barbell weights on the end to obtain the required torque. (I actually do own a torque wrench. But, it only goes to 200 ft-lbs.)

Another tool I fabricated was to loosen the brake line nut from the calipers. My 4 sided open end wrenches probably would have done the job.

But just to make sure I didn’t round off the nuts, I used this tool, which worked like a charm.

The last tool I made was to drive in the new oil-bath seals.

As it turns out, the seals go in without a much force, so a chunk of 4”x4” probably would have done the job just as well.

Parts List
I found the parts list PDF at http://alpinecoachassociation.com/chassis/Brake%20Rotor%20&%20Bearing%20Part%20Numbers.pdf very helpful. My 1999 coach has different calipers and pads (which are listed below), but the other part numbers seem to be the same as on my coach.

Removing the Calipers
The calipers on my 1999 coach are Bendix 55250 parts. All 4 calipers are exactly the same. First remove the brake line. Since I wanted to flush the brake fluid, I just let it drain into a large plastic container. Otherwise, plug the brake line to minimize fluid loss. Next remove the retaining screw with an allen wrench, and slide the keeper inward until it comes off. I used a large screw driver and a small hammer to tap the keeper until it came off. Then simply pull the calipers and pads off the rotor.

I ordered new calipers, pads and keeper hardware from: (Thanks for the info from Member Algoma)

Removing the Hubs
On the front, first remove the plastic hub cap. On the rear, remove the 12 axle nuts and then carefully pull out the axle shaft. The remaining procedures are very similar for both the front and rear. Bend back the tang washer until it is clear of the jam nut. Remove the jam nut (it should require 200 to 300 ft-lbs of torque to break loose). Then carefully remove the tang washer and dowel washer without moving the bearing nut. I then marked the position of this nut with a prick punch relative to the key slot in the axle. (I used these marks to compare the position of the nut after reinstalling the hubs using the process I will describe later in this post.)

Next, slide the hub off the axle. The only resistance is caused by the inboard oil-bath seal. I used a small crowbar between the rotor and the caliper bracket to apply the small amount of force required to break the seal loose. The dolly made this process much easier (see photos above).

Removing the Rotor
I used an air impact wrench to break the rotor bolts loose. Before I did that I marked the position of several bolts relative to the rotor. I then retightened these bolts with a torque wrench to see how much torque was required to put them back to their original position. The force ranged from 175 to 200 ft-lbs. (Since I was not able to find a torque spec for these bolts, I used 200 ft-lbs when I installed the new rotors.)

Removing the oil-bath Seals
The oil-bath seals consist of 2 pieces that rotate relative to each other. The OD part of the seal is seated into the hub and the ID part of the seal attaches itself to the shoulder of the axle housing. The seal comes off with the hub. In order to inspect and clean the inboard bearing and hub, the seal must be removed. I used a large crow bar and 5 lb hammer to pry the seal out of the hub. First I wrapped the end of the crowbar with some soft copper and placed a piece of soft aluminum between the crowbar and the hub to protect the hub from damage as I whacked away at the seal. Three of the seals came out without much trouble, but one of them required many strong blows of the hammer.

I then cleaned up the hub with mineral spirits and used emery cloth to remove some small burrs from the seal housing.

Removing the Gaskets
Remove the front hubcap gasket being careful not to damage the plastic. Removing the gasket from the rear axle shaft required a lot more effort. I used a sharp wood chisel to peal the gasket off in small pieces. I then used emery cloth and mineral spirits to clean it up and remove all remnants of the gasket.

Cleaning and lubing the Bearings
I cleaned the bearings by swishing them around in mineral spirits and then blowing them dry with compressed air. I also cleaned the washers, nuts and shafts with rags wetted with mineral spirits and dried them with compressed air. I then pre-lubed the bearings with gear oil and wrapped them in plastic wrap until I was ready to re-install them.

Installing new oil-bath Seals
The oil-bath seal part numbers are National 380001A (front) and National 380023A (rear). The front seals I ordered on-line from Ryder Fleet Products and the rears from Amazon.com.

I placed the inboard bearing back into the hub, coated the OD of the oil-bath seal and hub with gear oil, and tapped the seal into the hub using my home-made tool. Make sure the seal goes in straight and completely bottoms out. Also be careful not to get oil on the ID of the seal, since you want that to grab onto the axle housing and not slip as the hub rotates.

Installing the Rotors
The rotors are Gunite part number D6176M. I ordered them from http://www.finditparts.com/products/gunite-d6176m .
Ryder Fleet Products had a better price on a Euclid rotor that claims to be a cross match to the Gunite OEM part, but I decided to stay with the OEM part.

I sealed the hubs temporarily with packing tape to keep dirt out. I then mounted the hubs to my dolly and bolted on the new rotors. I torqued the bolts to 200 ft-lbs as discussed above.

Installing the Hubs
I rolled the dolly to the axle, adjusted the height of the axle to dead center, and then slipped the hub onto the axel housing until the inboard bearing and seal were fully seated. I then installed the outboard bearing and the nut. I then followed the procedure described here on page 3 of this PDF document http://www.meritorhvs.com/MeritorHVS_Documents/UD69.pdf to adjust the hub nuts and washers. I then checked the position of the inside nuts to where they were when I removed them and they were all 2-3 notches tighter, which seemed reasonable to me. After following this procedure I would describe the rear nuts as “finger tight” and the front nuts as “finger loose”.

The gaskets I got locally from NAPA (NAPA part numbers 5547 (rear) and 453795 (front)). I coated the gaskets lightly with gear oil. I installed the rear gasket and inserted the rear axle shaft. It takes some effort to get the spline to mesh so the axle goes in all the way. I torqued the rear axle nuts to 80 ft-lbs, which is where they were when I removed them. I also came back several days later and re-torqued the nuts since they always loosen up as the new gasket compresses. I installed the front gasket and hubcap and torque the bolts to 16 ft-lbs, which is marked on the hubcap. I also went back and re-torqued those bolts a few days later.

Filling the oil-bath Reservoirs
Fill the front reservoirs via the screw cap on the hubcap. I found I had to keep adding oil for several days until the level remained above the line on the hubcap. (The weather was cold and it took a while for the oil to flow to everywhere it had to go, I guess.)

The process to fill the rear reservoirs is to level the rear axle, fill the differential to correct level, lower the rear hub on one side 6”, wait for a while (I waited overnight since it was cold), re-level the axle, fill the differential again, lower the other hub 6”, wait again, level the rear axle, wait again, and finally fill the differential one last time.

Installing the new Pads and Calipers
First put a thin coat of hi-temp brake lube on all surfaces where there is metal to metal contact (pad backs, caliper pistons, caliper bracket slides, keeper, etc.) Install the outboard pad in the caliper, slip the inboard pad into the slots on the caliper bracket (I found I had to file some paint off of the new pad steel back to get it to fit properly into the slots on the caliper bracket), slide the caliper onto the rotor, slide the keeper between the caliper and the bracket and tap it outward until the indent lines up with the retaining screw, and finally replace and tighten the retaining screw.

Installing and bleeding the Brake Lines
Since I wanted to completely flush the system and switch to Dot-4 brake fluid, I filled the fluid reservoirs and let the lines drain overnight before I connected them to the calipers. The next day I connected the lines, installed the bleeder valves and bled the brakes. I won’t go through the full procedure here since it is well documented in other parts of this forum. I will just say that I went through almost 6 quarts of fluid until I got the air completely out of the system.

Installing Wheels and Test Drive
I installed the wheels using my dolly and the procedures I described near the beginning of this post. I have not taken a trip yet, but I did take a short test drive that included some panic type stops. I am happy to report that the brakes now have a very solid feel and the coach seemed to stop very well.

Dave Morgan

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Old 02-11-2011, 10:06 AM   #2
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Very good wright up Dave. I really like some of your home made tools.

Wayne & Kathy
05 Alpine 40FDQS #75330 Towing 24' car hauler, 2012 Spyder, 2003 Harley FatBoy
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Old 02-12-2011, 04:15 PM   #3
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Wow! I am impressed. (I'm also overwhelmed at what I don't know/can't do on my MH). Thank god for Cummins Care Center.
Jaime & Dave (and our 3 cocker spaniels)
2005 Alpine Coach 36FDTS w/ 2009 Honda CR-V, Doran TPMS, Roadmaster Towbar, US Gear Braking
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Old 02-12-2011, 08:59 PM   #4
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Alpine Dave:
1) You are an animal.
2) Outstanding documentation.
3) If you'd like this posted in the ACA Tech Library (and I think it should be), pop it into a Word doc, and email it to me at Mike at Fleming dot cc (not dot com).
Thanks for expanding our minds!
Baja-tested '08 2-slide 36'
Alpine: The Ultimate DIY'er Project
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Old 02-13-2011, 10:04 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Dave and Jaime
Wow! I am impressed. (I'm also overwhelmed at what I don't know/can't do on my MH). Thank god for Cummins Care Center.
Tom, Patty, Hannah "The Big Dog" and Abby Kat, Indianapolis, Indiana 2000 36' FDS 72232 Our Photos
"We live out in our old van. Travel all across this land. Drive until the city lights dissolve into a country sky, just me and you - hand in hand." Zac Brown Band
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Old 02-19-2011, 06:44 PM   #6
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Great Write-up. Think I could do this if I had a place to work on the coach. Doing it at the storage facility would not work and neither would the driveway at home. But, as Mike Suggested, I am going to copy the information into a word.doc and keep it in my Alpine Forum so if I every need to do it I can. Thank you for the information.
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Old 02-19-2011, 06:59 PM   #7
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I use a $79 Sears motorcycle jack to pull my hubs. It cradles it and you can jack it up or down and has casters to roll it off.
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Old 02-19-2011, 07:03 PM   #8
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Great job!

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bearings, calipers, hubs, rotors, seals

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