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Old 07-04-2007, 04:40 AM   #1
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I just drained and replaced the oil in my front bearing hubs. I had it done "professionally" last time and didn't get a chance to watch the process. At $400 for the service, I decided to take over doing it myself.

The passenger side fluid looked normal. The driver's side, however, appeared to have some black material in it that I judged to be dirt. I was surprised at the amount of it.

We are planning a long 3K+ mile trip at the end of August and I sure don't want any wheel bearing problems then so here is my plan:
1. We are going to be driving the RV around town for the next few weeks, getting DW used to driving it again. She has done it in the past and we want to share driving on our trip but she would like some wheel time in the parking lot before she does.
2. After a couple of weeks, I'm going to drain and examine the oil in the driver's side bearing again. If I find any trace of the black deposit again, I'll take it in for professional service.

Am I just being a nervous nellie or is there cause for concern? I readily admit that the dirt may have simply gotten past the plastic cap. It is also possible that the service that I paid for two years ago wasn't done on that side - which is another reason that I'm doing my own now.

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Charlie
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Old 07-04-2007, 04:40 AM   #2
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I just drained and replaced the oil in my front bearing hubs. I had it done "professionally" last time and didn't get a chance to watch the process. At $400 for the service, I decided to take over doing it myself.

The passenger side fluid looked normal. The driver's side, however, appeared to have some black material in it that I judged to be dirt. I was surprised at the amount of it.

We are planning a long 3K+ mile trip at the end of August and I sure don't want any wheel bearing problems then so here is my plan:
1. We are going to be driving the RV around town for the next few weeks, getting DW used to driving it again. She has done it in the past and we want to share driving on our trip but she would like some wheel time in the parking lot before she does.
2. After a couple of weeks, I'm going to drain and examine the oil in the driver's side bearing again. If I find any trace of the black deposit again, I'll take it in for professional service.

Am I just being a nervous nellie or is there cause for concern? I readily admit that the dirt may have simply gotten past the plastic cap. It is also possible that the service that I paid for two years ago wasn't done on that side - which is another reason that I'm doing my own now.

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Charlie
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Old 07-05-2007, 04:35 AM   #3
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Charlie - I'm amazed at $400 for what looks like a 10 minute job! Now that you've done it, is there more to it than I think?

I think you have a good plan of action as long as you don't go back to the same shop.

I can see a bit of the fluid in the hub reservoir (greenish as I remember). Could you see any discoloration before you started the job?
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Old 07-05-2007, 11:23 AM   #4
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Hi y'all,I recently changed the oil in the front hubs of my 05 KSDP,FL XC. One wheel had the drain plug at the bottom. (6'O clock)Using a funnel and a drain pan,I let the oil run out for about 20min,then slooo...wly filled Mobil-1 synthetic 75W-90 via the sight-glass plug,it took about 8oz. each wheel.All together it took about 1 hour and $5.00 for the oil.Now I am looking for the $395 that I saved.
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Old 07-05-2007, 03:19 PM   #5
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Tom, in answer to your question, " is there more to it?" I can answer "maybe".

To really examine the health of the bearings, the wheel and hub should probably be pulled off so that the bearings are visible. Additionally, the seals, especially the inner one should be examined to make sure that they are still tight and have not turned brittle. Perhaps, that was done by the professional shop that I took my coach to the last time. There is clearly a lot more labor to do all of that than if the hub reservoirs are simply drained and refilled as I did. I would have expected to have been charged for new seals for the bearing hub if the wheels were removed but there were no parts on my bill. If I ever take my coach in again for service, I'm going to stay and wait on it. The last two times that I've left it, I've had big bills for what I think is little service.

Regarding the discoloration, the new oil is clear. The stuff that I found in the driver's side bearing was no consistently through the old oil but was in little pockets at the oil drained out. I've seen failed passenger car and trailer bearings and the discoloration from the RV's hub was not that same rusty brown color that I'm used to. This stuff was black. I would have expected the greenish tinge that you are seeing through the sight glass.

I called Freightliner Custom Chassis about an engine hose today and while I had them on the phone, I asked about the bear fluid discoloration. The technician confirmed the plan of action in my original post. He suggested driving several thousand more miles and then examining the oil again. I doubt that I can get that many miles on the RV before my next big trip so I'll be checking it in just a few hundred miles and reacting accordingly. My approach is than any discoloration that short of a period of time is bad and will need to be handled immediately.

siggyd, I was getting ready to do an oil engine oil change, too, so I started the engine to warm it up for that and backed each wheel until I had the drain at 6 o'clock. After about 5 minutes, there was only a drip coming out but the outside temperature has a lot to do with that. I remember trying to fill my differential in the winter time and thinking that the darn stuff would never run out of my fill can.
I think it would be nice if you split your savings with me so when you do find it, be sure to send half of it my way.
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Old 07-05-2007, 05:17 PM   #6
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Charles: I think your plan to test run the oil is a good one. The only thing I could find in the Meritor manuals was to change the hub oil if the wheel end is worked on or the oil is contaminated. Is it possible the black is from the rubber plug deteriorating? Hopefully it's all out of there and you are back to normal....
New SubJ:I did find that our rear axle (RS-15-120) can go 3 years between oil changes with approved synthetic oil.
Approved Axle Oils

Anyway, keep us posted on how this turns out..
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Old 07-05-2007, 06:00 PM   #7
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Hooligan, I can see no difference between the rubber plugs on the two sides. I inspected both carefully, more to see if there was a way that dirt could get past them than for any deterioration. Both seem solid and flexible.

I appreciate the information on the synthetic axle oil. I guess that I'm conflicted in my approach to things. I went to the trouble and expense of changing over to Transynd in the transmission but have stayed with the conventional differential fluid. Your post has got me re-thinking that. Part of the decision will likely be based on availability. I find it harder to obtain the special clay based grease for the air brake slack adjusters, having to order it from Foretravel directly. I don't want to go through a similar routine on the sythentic differential oil. That sure is a long list of acceptable synthetic brands but I've been through most of my local supply shops and don't remember seeing anything that looks like any of them. Maybe NAPA will be a source. I'll sure check around now.

I'll definitely keep this thread running as I have new information.

Charlie
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