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Old 06-06-2013, 02:00 PM   #15
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Back in the 80's I bought a new boat/trailer from the local dealer in Colorado Springs and I had these things put on that always applied a small amount of grease (they were sealed with a spring placing tension on the grease) to the bearings, kept the water out, and never had to worry about it.

This is kind of what they looked like.....

Seachoice 51541 Wheel Bearing Savers - Hubs & Bearings by Discount Marine Supplies

Hope this helps.
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Old 06-06-2013, 02:18 PM   #16
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I have never owned a TT, but I have owned and worked on many boats. The setup you describe appears to be a typical "bearing buddy" arrangement. Here is what has served me well: On every unit I have worked on, the zerk you reference sits atop a disk which is spring loaded. A couple times per season I take a manual grease gun and insert grease just until the disk begins to move outward, no more. This is usually only a couple pumps. This ensures the cavity has grease in it and that it is not being forced out the rear seal. I do believe you can force the grease out the rear seal if not careful.

Another practice I have is that each time I stop I quickly put a finger on the hub of each wheel to observe its temperature. If one is significantly hotter than the others, I grease it when I get home. If that does not solve the problem, I pull it and repack manually.
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Old 06-06-2013, 02:30 PM   #17
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Bearing Buddy and Dexter EzLube are 2 entirly differant products with differant processes. Follow the manual.
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:32 PM   #18
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Thx, Franka548 for the info.

I happened to be at a frame shop today and asked the owner about greaseable axles. He said you are better off to repack them annually. His reason was that all bearings nowadays (SKF, Timken, etc.) are made in China. He showed me a used bearing he has on display on his counter. The case hardening on one of the rollers had failed. He said if you repack them annually then you can inspect the bearings for condition.
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Old 06-07-2013, 06:55 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by myredracer View Post
Thx, Franka548 for the info.

I happened to be at a frame shop today and asked the owner about greaseable axles. He said you are better off to repack them annually. His reason was that all bearings nowadays (SKF, Timken, etc.) are made in China. He showed me a used bearing he has on display on his counter. The case hardening on one of the rollers had failed. He said if you repack them annually then you can inspect the bearings for condition.
Any shop will tell you to remove and repack once a year because it makes business. Dexter will tell you the same for legal reasons.

We never check or repack truck front bearings anymore, the grease quality is excelent. Our motors lasted years before bearing failures while running 24/7.
I see no need to pull the hubs off unless doing brake maintenance. My previous trailer after the initial check was done, and after 10 years while doing brake maintenance and replacced all seals. Its recomended to change seals at every wheel pull off.
My present unit after 1000 miles required bearing maintenance due to failed seals that allowed grease on the brake magnets and I could not adust the brake intensity without draging the wheels. It happend on our 1st trip with new trailer. Previuosly the manufacture or dealer did not grease the hubs properly and pushed the seals out, allowing grease to flow by.
I cleaned everything and installed new seals and proceded to grease the hubs using the zerks. While not turning the wheel I noticed that the pressure on the gun was increasing so took my time and turned the wheel while pressure was releaved. It was my first time servicing zerk style bearings on a trailer. Then it came to me what a bearing representative had told me. A bearing is designed to pump its own grease and lubricating while turning is best way to flush out old grease out. That's why bearing housings have been designed for years with vent option.
This was done 4 years ago and I have not put anymore grease in the hubs or checked the brakes due no need for adjustments yet.
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Old 06-07-2013, 08:37 AM   #20
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Cassiel,
You are the first to agree with my thoughts and practices in the last three years of trying to explain "good bearing maintenance" to guys on these forums. Lawyers and covering their a$$'$ is what's it all about.

A few more points. Synthetic grease, either Amzoil Series 2,000 racing grease or Mobil 1 is my choice for bearing lubrication. It costs about $10 a tube but outlasts standard lub 10-1. Here's a true story. A Amzoil rep had a friend who raced and had to pack wheel bearing after every race. If he didn't he'd loose a bearing on the next race. For several years he tried to talk him into using Series 2,000 grease. He finally gave him a tube. He packed the bearings once at the beginning of the season and that was it.

If you have re-packable front wheel bearings on your current vehicle, and most don't because of FWD, 1. You won't find a grease fitting to add grease every few months. 2. You are not expected to re-pack every year. 3. Most of those bearing ar re-packed when the fronts needed new pads, usually 35-K to 45-K miles. Why are TT brakes different?? Probablt cheap undersized bearings.

When I replace wheel bearings, since even Timken is made over seas I use ToYo. They are Japanese but of good quality. Think about this, Which country makes more motorcycles than anybody else?? Japan does make some good bearings.

What about rear sealed hub bearings on FWD vehicles?? They last 70-K 90-K miles. They require no annual lubrication (sealed) and use synthetic lubrication as well.

Packing a hub full of grease reduces the ability to dissipate the bearing heat. A 1/4" layer to prevent moisture build up is sufficient, Any more and you are wasting grease and that grease will never touch your bearings.

When you do repack always inspect the grease and look for sparkles present in the grease. That is the case hardening that has been ruined and has begum flaking off. If you see it present replace the bearings and races. Early bearing failure is difficult to see but the shiny sparkles are very easy to see.
HAPPY TROUBLE FREE TRAVELING !!!!
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Old 06-07-2013, 03:22 PM   #21
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I tell people to pull, clean and repack because I've never seen clear drums and hubs to let you see your brakes . . .
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Old 06-07-2013, 09:00 PM   #22
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Visit this Dexter video webpage and watch the E-Z lube video. It plainly shows this Dexter axle is designed primarily for marine trailer use. A few replies have good, accurate information, some not so good.
The wheels must be removed each year to inspect the brakes, this is a good time to hand-pack the bearings, which is what ALL axle manufacturers recommend (except for the nevr-lube sealed bearings).
I've experienced a failed wheel bearing a few times, nearly lost my boat too. Losing the entire wheel is much worse than blowing a tire IMO. It usually ruins the axle spindle, which is not replaceable, meaning the entire axle must be replaced. You feel quite helpless sitting along a busy highway with a ruined axle under a loaded trailer. No way to put the spare tire on, remember the spindle is ruined.
Read the Dexter and Alco/Kober websites for how to care for wheel bearings. If you are are one to believe this is to just make more money, run a search for wheel bearing maintenance and do your own research.
Do not use chassis grease, it does not have the composition to withstand the heat generated in the hub by the brakes.
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Old 06-10-2013, 07:36 PM   #23
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Ray,IN, thanks for the Dexter video link. I think is answers the original question as well as puts to rest the idea that hand packing is necessary. That's good, because there are fewer pro mechanics who actually know how to pack a bearing!
It's also nice to know that the EZ Lubes are OK if they get submerged.

Things to note, as Franka548 mentioned, are to pump gently and spin the wheel. The fear of blowing out the rear seal should be laid to rest if you use a hand pump.
And, as TeJay mentioned, watch the grease that comes out for sparkles which is probably failing case hardening. Smell it, too.

Opening the bearings for a manual repack gives more chance to introduce road debris etc into the bearings when you do the repack - do you have a perfectly dust-free environment for repacking, after you have thoroughly cleaned your drums, seals and cap mating surfaces and more?
I am a real "clean freak" when it comes to bearings. I actually use nitrile finger cots to cover my grease gun tips between uses!

For me, the EZ Lubes do a better job of purging and inspecting the old grease and avoiding contamination. I just wish I didn't need to raise a wheel.
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Old 06-11-2013, 07:27 PM   #24
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I tell people to pull, clean and repack because I've never seen clear drums and hubs to let you see your brakes . . .
You also can't hear the telltale whirring bearing on a travel trailer. Truck bearings you can hear making noise long before they fail to the point of being dangerous.
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Old 06-16-2013, 12:01 PM   #25
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Great info. here!

I went to the largest local RV dealer and they had no grease for bearings and had no idea what to use. Hard to believe. Is there a more comprehensive list here with full description of what to ask for? Is there only one type of Mobil 1 for RV bearings? A local auto parts store I went to had Pennzoil but there was no data on the tube. I recall reading on another forum that melting point is one important criteria?

I just want to get the correct thing and probably a higher quality one.

Where would you get ToYo bearings from? Readily available and how would I know what to purchase? I like the idea of changing over to ToYo.

I do like the idea of repacking annually and inspecting the bearings at the same time. If you spend tens of thousands on your trailer or 5th wheel, what's $200 or so to do some good/preventative maintenance? I just have to ask whether I would want our dealer to do this or an independent shop?
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Old 06-16-2013, 07:22 PM   #26
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Just looked in our Alko user manual. We have Alko axles and are supposed to have Alko self-adjusting brakes. We got offshore Axletek brakes instead (yet to be worked out with dealer) and not sure what that means for whose bearings are in there. We are supposed to have Alko Ultrulube axles and they are greaseable so am assuming they are.

The manual makes reference to Perma-Lube "maintenance-free cartridge bearings". I have not read any discussions about these before. Any comments on these. I have no idea if we actually have these or not.

Our Alko manual says "There is no need to lift the trailer before greasing axles equipped with Ultrulube." Can this really be the case? It really does make sense to rotate the wheels.

The manual says "pump until new grease begins to appear". This seems as if it could end up causing trouble? I understand that it should only take 5-10 hand pumps until you see grease. Could it cause damage in some cases if you just pump away until you see grease? There is nothing in the manual saying how often you should pump grease in. I think their website has more information?

In regards to grease, it says "use a high temperature, automotive type wheel bearing grease produced by a reputable manufacturer. The soap type should be lithium complex or equivalent. Use NLGI grade 2 with a minimum dropping point of 440 degrees F." I know nothing about this stuff. Can anyone list a few brand names and types that I can go shopping for? Made by a reputable manufacturer of course...

Thanks!
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Old 06-16-2013, 08:56 PM   #27
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myredracer,
If you go to the Dexter axle site and look at their instructions for the ezlube axles, it says to rotate the wheels while greasing. I would trust Dexter over Alko. The reason for jacking up, is the same reason you jack up a vehicle before you grease the ball joints, it allows the grease to go everywhere , with the weight of the vehicle sitting on the part, the grese doesn't get to the pressure points.

Go to your local NAPA store and they can help you with the correct grease for wheel bearings, the information that you posted is on the label of the tube or can of grease.

Frequency of lubrication is as I have stated before, every year, or 10 to 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. My personal opinion would be to pull apart and hand pack every other time. This is mainly to check condition of drums and brakes, along with bearings.

Although I dislike Chinese anything manufactured, I wouldn't change the bearings until they start showing any signs of wear. As long as they are properly lubricated, they will suffice for a while. I have ez lube axles on my 5er and disk brakes. I hand pack mine yearly, or 12,000 miles. But would consider using the grease gun method, if I am rushed for time, much better than not doing anything.

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Old 06-17-2013, 12:38 AM   #28
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The manual says "pump until new grease begins to appear".

You should start seeing grease appear with the first pump, because the system should be full.
But it will take several pumps to see "new grease." If it takes a while for you to see any grease, that's not a good thing.

The soap type should be lithium complex or equivalent. Use NLGI grade 2 with a minimum dropping point of 440 degrees F.

NGLI 2 is the operative spec here. I make assumption that the manufacturer started with that spec lube, because some specs aren't compatible. Search for "NGLI 2 compatibility" if you want something else to worry about!

Thanks!
The problem here is that I like to carry the 3 0z tubes and anymore lots of them don't have the specs printed on the tube.
I suppose if you couldn't find the spec on the tube, but you went with "Marine Grade" the odds of your getting NGLI 2 are better. There is also the additional spec of NLGI GC/LB, which is also disappearing from labels.

As far as spinning the wheel, it's certainly the best way, but I think it's better to lube when it's time to lube, even if you don't have time for the ritual of lifting the wheels.
That's what I have decided to do because I have a dangerous back condition and it's difficult even to get down to check my tire pressures.

P.S. I mentioned earlier to smell the old grease for burnt smell and look for shiny bits. Also rub it between your clean fingers to check for any gritty feel.
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