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Old 01-06-2016, 10:15 PM   #1
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Front Hubs with Oil can you change to Grease

Hi guys,
I've got an 88 Monaco Crown Royale on a Roadmaster R3100 Chassis.

Checking my Brake adjustment on one of my Front Wheels last week I noticed the back of the brake drum and backing plate were wet with what seemed to be Oil. I immediately made the assumption that the bearings had become extremely hot and melted the Grease in the Hub.

When I removed the wheel, there was a clear window cap on the end of the Hub where the Grease Cap would normally be. This window also showed markings for the Oil Level so I knew it was an Oil filled hub.

Anyway, the Seal at the back of the Hub was obviously leaking and luckily, here in Australia, I was surprised to find a replacement seal in stock at the first Bearing outlet I went to.

I have been advised to use Grease instead of Oil. This would obviously make the bearing seal not as crucial as it is when using Oil, basically turning it into a dust seal. We're leaving on a Trip through Central Australia in a few Months and I'd hate to think what would happen if the Hub is still using Oil and the Seal fails, considering there are zero services available in Outback Australia.

Sorry for the long winded story but in essence my question is: is the practice of changing an Oil Filled Hub to Grease normal and acceptable?
I've heard certain theories that Oil is used as Grease can freeze in cold climates. We obviously don't have below freezing temperatures here so that issue wouldn't be a problem.

Appreciate any advice.
Regards
Rod
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Old 01-06-2016, 10:27 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod33 View Post
Hi guys,
I've got an 88 Monaco Crown Royale on a Roadmaster R3100 Chassis.

Checking my Brake adjustment on one of my Front Wheels last week I noticed the back of the brake drum and backing plate were wet with what seemed to be Oil. I immediately made the assumption that the bearings had become extremely hot and melted the Grease in the Hub.

When I removed the wheel, there was a clear window cap on the end of the Hub where the Grease Cap would normally be. This window also showed markings for the Oil Level so I knew it was an Oil filled hub.

Anyway, the Seal at the back of the Hub was obviously leaking and luckily, here in Australia, I was surprised to find a replacement seal in stock at the first Bearing outlet I went to.

I have been advised to use Grease instead of Oil. This would obviously make the bearing seal not as crucial as it is when using Oil, basically turning it into a dust seal. We're leaving on a Trip through Central Australia in a few Months and I'd hate to think what would happen if the Hub is still using Oil and the Seal fails, considering there are zero services available in Outback Australia.

Sorry for the long winded story but in essence my question is: is the practice of changing an Oil Filled Hub to Grease normal and acceptable?
I've heard certain theories that Oil is used as Grease can freeze in cold climates. We obviously don't have below freezing temperatures here so that issue wouldn't be a problem.

Appreciate any advice.
Regards
Rod
I would definitely pack the bearings with a good synthetic grease, if the bearings are tapered roller bearings. I don't think grease would freeze, will become thicker but, I'm sure truckers are going fine in Alaska
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Old 01-06-2016, 10:51 PM   #3
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Thanks Deano.
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Old 01-06-2016, 10:57 PM   #4
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We've had three MH's with the oil filled hubs. Will never go back to greasing them. In fact more people go to oil than change back to grease.
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Old 01-06-2016, 11:09 PM   #5
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We've had three MH's with the oil filled hubs. Will never go back to greasing them. In fact more people go to oil than change back to grease.
Thanks Mr D,
my question then is 'Why'?
I certainly understand that it is easy to check the Oil Level through the sight glass but my concern is if the Seal goes again. How much Oil needs or can be lost through the Seal before Bearing damage occurs?

If a Seal goes in the middle of nowhere, I'm in more sh1t than the early settlers.
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Old 01-06-2016, 11:13 PM   #6
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Just had my front wheel bearings/grease inspected and repacked at 97,000 miles.

They were fine. I know this was the first repack in at least 71,000 miles and 14 years.

Yes, I believe you can change to grease.
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Old 01-06-2016, 11:38 PM   #7
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Thanks Mr D,
my question then is 'Why'?
I certainly understand that it is easy to check the Oil Level through the sight glass but my concern is if the Seal goes again. How much Oil needs or can be lost through the Seal before Bearing damage occurs?

If a Seal goes in the middle of nowhere, I'm in more sh1t than the early settlers.
As you found, it was easy to get parts to fix yours, grease will leak just as easily as gear oil and I can change the oil in just minutes with a suction gun and add new oil through the port. Have had three MH's with the oil bearings and have not had one leak.
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Old 01-06-2016, 11:59 PM   #8
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As you found, it was easy to get parts to fix yours, grease will leak just as easily as gear oil and I can change the oil in just minutes with a suction gun and add new oil through the port. Have had three MH's with the oil bearings and have not had one leak.
Understand. As a matter of interest, what Oil is used in the Hubs?
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Old 01-07-2016, 02:40 AM   #9
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Hi Roddy as opposed to the USA where many also do not carry spare tyres there is always someone available to come out and repair. In outback Australia being the same size as North America you have a snow balls chance in hell of getting any parts or oil seals to suit without having them flown in to an outback air strip !! Go to grease not oil.
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Old 01-07-2016, 07:40 AM   #10
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There must be a reason that the bearings are oil filled. Why not just buy a couple of extra seals? If changing to grease was such a great idea, then why do all the big trucks have oil bath seals? I drove a couple million miles when I had my rigs and had seals go but never a failure, but have seen grease packed bearings fail with not so good results! Check them a shorter intervals, after all your unit is a 88, how many seals have failed in 28 years on your Monaco??? If you check the oil level you can see if they are leaking without getting under it and here a quart of 90wt gear oil is about $10 bucks, if bearings are properly packed grease would probably work , but if not losing a spindle in the outback would be problematic! It always looks like a big mess with a weeping seal, and with oil it will warn you when one fails it will smell like crap when it gets on the brakes and give you the chance to refill it and go many miles before failure as you can "keep an eye" on the level till you repair it. Grease bearings will score and fail sooner with little warning! Bobby
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Old 01-07-2016, 09:12 AM   #11
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I'm sure oil is the best but, you aren't running a machining center with that tight of tolerances. As far as "why they did it that particular way", who knows and doesn't mean much now unless those bearing must have an oil bath. Maybe you need to contact the maker of the bearings, if possible. Many companies do things differently to say mine is better
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Old 01-07-2016, 09:18 AM   #12
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I just read the reply before mine, i can see why a semi would have oil bearing since they drive lots of miles and there loads are heavy, so I'm going to say check with Monaco first, they will be ones to have a accurate answer, who knows, they might say go grease
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Old 01-07-2016, 09:46 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Mr_D View Post
We've had three MH's with the oil filled hubs. Will never go back to greasing them. In fact more people go to oil than change back to grease.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rod33 View Post
Thanks Mr D,
my question then is 'Why'?
I certainly understand that it is easy to check the Oil Level through the sight glass but my concern is if the Seal goes again. How much Oil needs or can be lost through the Seal before Bearing damage occurs?
If a Seal goes in the middle of nowhere, I'm in more sh1t than the early settlers.
Rod33
Because the required maintenance of oil bath hubs is a simple DIY job I agree with Mr_D.
BTW the "oil bath hub seals" on my 145k mile coach have never leaked.
Mel
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Old 01-07-2016, 04:12 PM   #14
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Hi Guys,
thanks for all the replies. Really appreciate the input.

I did email Monaco Tech Support ealier this week but no repsonse as yet.

I've also emailed the previous owner of my 88 back in the US for his advice and history regarding longevity of the previous seals. He was also a Diesel mechanic and performed all the maintenance on the RV.

Reg Dixon: thanks for your input mate. Reg is actually travelling with us this year on our Outback trip with his 89 Country Coach so probably has a vested interest that both Motorhomes travel reliably.

I certainly understand the ease of checking and topping up the Oil Bath Hubs and it seems like a great solution. My only concern is a seal failure.
With this failure, there was no smell or other indication of a seal failure except when I got underneath and saw the wet appearance on the back of the drum and backing plate.

As I've found, seals seem to be readily available here so carrying a couple of spares onboard is not going to be a problem.

Is the Oil just a 75-90 Gear Oil?
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