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Old 11-12-2012, 02:00 AM   #1
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Wheel Bearings Showing Heat?

I have a one year old trailer with about 6000 miles on it. I just took apart 2 hubs (different axles) on the same side of the trailer and found that the inner bearings on both axles had grease "cooked on" to the inner side that runs on the spindle. I could not get this off using solvent and a toothbrush. There was also some on the spindle, but very little. Otherwise, everything looked good. No sign of overheating the brake linings or drums. Do I need to replace the bearings and races? What could have caused this? I have weighed the truck and trailer 3 times and never been overweight (well below GVCW, axle weight, etc.). The only weights I don't know for sure are the individual wheel weights.
Thanks for your advice,
Tom
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:12 AM   #2
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Overheated bearings and races generally take on a blue color. It's hard to say if your bearings/races are good without pictures. The way to check them is with a scribe running it lightly up and down the bearings and races.

I would say though that as cheap as it is to replace them especially since you have them apart that replacement would be preferred.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:38 AM   #3
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Are you sure it is 'cooked-on grease' ? Firehoser is correct--overheated bearings/spindles usually have a blueish hue to them. Perhaps there is a coating on the races to prevent rust before installation? Check the other side now--if they are the same look, then you most likely don't have a problem. As he said, bearings are cheap (literally, if chinese) to replace.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:39 AM   #4
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dumb question. don't they run oil for the wheel bearings now? if not, your in canada (cold) could the cold (freezing) cause problems with the grease??
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:47 PM   #5
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You don't get oil-lubed bearings until you get way up in weight, sort of like 1/2 ton trucks and 3/4-1 ton trucks.
In Canada, I would repack with synthetic grease for insurance against cold.
Joe
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:52 PM   #6
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6000 is a lot of miles without any hub maintenance (assuming you didn't do any prior)...I'm with the group, replace bearings/races...
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:35 PM   #7
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Thanks for the Replies

The original warranty is for 12 months or 12000 miles, and the maintenance literature says service annually or 12,000 miles. The 1 year date was May 2012, but the trailer has been parked with the weight taken off the wheels since April. I was repacking the bearings prior to our next trip (snowbirding) when I found this situation. I have contacted Lippert and they are looking at photos I sent and are "considering" covering them.
I will let you know what they have to say.
Thanks for the advice. I am a trailer newby and just want to be safe and do what's right.
Tom
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:00 AM   #8
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I would like to see those pictures. Initially, I'm questioning the quality of grease that was in there originally. The inner races are fixed on the spindle so any grease that ends up there doesn't move much. After a trip the heat can harden grease and when you resume motion, it breaks up on the moving parts but not fixed positions.
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:23 AM   #9
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I had this happen on my light weight pop-up (1,000lbs). My cause was exceeding the trailer speed limit (by 15 MPH while going down a Mesa).
I had the bearings check at a local shop - they were OK - but replaced them and kept the scored ones as spares (all greased up and ready to install if needed).
Loose bearings can cause heat buildup as well. If the trailer has 6,000 miles since new the bearings could have been loose.
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:19 PM   #10
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IMO the sitting parked did what you see. Grease slowly drains out of unused (read -parked without rotating the wheels once a month). Then when you do tow the trailer it takes time for the puddled grease to be re-distributed, sometimes the bearing is ruined first. Dexter axle has a tutorial on the subject. That brownish color is likely rust.
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:09 PM   #11
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look on the side of the bearing The race side. are they timken ?
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:44 PM   #12
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Finally l Heard from Lippert

Hi everyone,
Thanks again for your responses. The material on the inside of the bearings is not rust, but is a hardened on or burnt on grease. All areas inside the hub assembly were well covered with grease that looked to be in good condition. If this was caused by "excessive speed", it must not take much, as I am very careful not to exceed 65 mph and normally travel at about 55 to 60. Maybe on a downhill grade I exceeded for a short time, but not by much and not for long (if any - only leaving room for my human error, as I don't think I did). The "baked on" stuff" comes off, to a certain extent with solvent and a toothbrush, most, but not all of it.
I contacted Lippert (again) and the tech this time stated that Lippert feels that the bearings are fine, and the little bit of burnt on grease is "not a problem". So, I guess I will just repack them with new, high quality lithium complex grease, and adjust the brakes.
Otherwise, it is simpler and cheaper (if using a service tech) to just replace the entire assembly rather than have to deal with removing and installing new races and bearings. The labour is the Killer.
Leaving in a month for southern climes, so hopefully Lippert is correct in this.
Thanks again,
Tom
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:17 PM   #13
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You mentioned brakes. Were they adjusted to tight causing them to drag slightly and overheating the drum/spindle.

Just a question. I've seen the problem before.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:26 PM   #14
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Most grease has a clay base for caking. Over time, the oil will drain out of the grease and leave a hard product that is usually darker than the original grease. Check the bearing and races for heat ans wear signs. If OK, pack the bearings and install new grease seals. If questionable, replace the bearings and races.

I would make sure you use a high temp synthetic grease that meets the manufacturers minimum specs.

Ken
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