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Old 03-25-2008, 10:35 PM   #1
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So have not used the fifth wheel since 2006 and I jacked it up to at least rotate the tires to a different pressure point and the bearings appear kind of loose and the drums seem to make a loud noise that makes me think maybe inside is all rusted up or at least the surface of the drums are rusted.
I keep it on pavement, but we get a lot or rain, anybody else run into this and should I pull the wheels apart, or just plan on letting it burn off when driving?
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Old 03-25-2008, 10:35 PM   #2
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So have not used the fifth wheel since 2006 and I jacked it up to at least rotate the tires to a different pressure point and the bearings appear kind of loose and the drums seem to make a loud noise that makes me think maybe inside is all rusted up or at least the surface of the drums are rusted.
I keep it on pavement, but we get a lot or rain, anybody else run into this and should I pull the wheels apart, or just plan on letting it burn off when driving?
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Old 03-26-2008, 05:18 AM   #3
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I think I would want to see what is making the noise before taking off down the road. It may be the bearings that are rusted. If so things will probably just get worse. Some fresh grease and properly adjusted won't hurt either. If the drums are rusted, they will polish up pretty quick but do you want all that dust grinding at the shoes and drums?
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Old 03-26-2008, 05:29 AM   #4
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The conservative approach after the 5th wheel has sat unused that long would, of course, be to pull all the wheels, clean the surface rust off the drums, check the brake shoes for freedom of movement, the magnet surfaces and the mating area of the drums for corrosion, inspect and repack the bearings, replace the grease seals, etc. Having said that, if it were me, at a minimum I'd at least pull one wheel and see what I'm dealing with. If the drums just have surface rust and the bearings are OK, then a few stops would clean everything up.

If you follow Dexter's instructions, the wheel bearings always seem "a little loose" to me. This is because, unlike automotive applications where the wheel bearings have a light preload, Dexter recommends that the nut be snugged up until there's no play, then backed off until the first keyway lines up. This ensures that the bearings don't have any preload - another way of saying that they'll have free play in them.

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Old 03-26-2008, 06:13 AM   #5
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thanks for the replies, I should have added I bought it used in 2005 and did a complete repack of all bearings, and did replace one cup and cone on one wheel, and have only used it three times since, both times for about two weeks each trip taking about 8 hours travel each way.
So bearings should still have plenty of grease in them.
But I do recall the utility trailer I did also ended up with loose bearings that a buddy noticed when he looked at it on a trip, so I may not be getting the bearings quite right.
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Old 03-26-2008, 09:00 AM   #6
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Sitting unused for that length will bring the possibility of rusted bearings, which, if not inspected, may invite considerable damage a few miles into a trip.
You will find specific instructions for re-packing and inspecting wheel bearings by a quick internet search such as rvbasics.
Brakes should be fine after a few applications to scrub off the surface rust, but should be visually checked for broken or damaged parts before-hand.
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Old 03-26-2008, 10:14 AM   #7
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If it were mine, I'd absolutely pull them down to inspect and clean up the brakes, and inspect, clean and repack the bearings, replace the grease seal, and adjust the brakes and set the axle nuts properly...

Sitting that long condensation could form in the hubs and/or grease can seperate or break down.

It is far easier to service wheel bearings and brakes at your house than it is to be on the side of the road dealing with one that spun on the spindle...
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Old 04-01-2008, 12:26 AM   #8
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Dexter suggests that the bearings be tightened to 50 foot pounds, then back off the nut without turning the wheel, then tighten by hand, and inserting the cotter pin. I always used to turn the wheel which assures a loose fit.
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Old 04-01-2008, 05:56 AM   #9
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That is interesting, I always do it automotive style, the way we do it on cars and trucks.

Will have to look at the Dexter site, as with the switch over to new computers at work I lost all the sites and info I did have on trailers.

Thanks for the replies everyone.

I guess I also should have mentioned that it is a Fleetwood built 1989 18.5'Tandem axle Prowler Fifth wheel.
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