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Old 10-26-2016, 07:34 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by lynnmor View Post

It depends on where a castellated spindle nut cotter pin slot sits vs a hole in a spindle after tightening or in the case of the Dexter sheet metal retainer, how it fits vs the flat on the spindle and a nut flat. That's real life, not what's written as a guideline which doesn't always work. And yes, I have a copy of that Dexter book and know what it says
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Old 10-26-2016, 08:02 AM   #16
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Yep. Don't ask how I know...changing a bearing in the campground Sunday afternoon in 100deg heat is not fun.

I saw a pitted bearing last time I did bearings and didn't know how bad "bad" was...now I know. If any have a pitted surface then use new bearings.

TIP: Buy extra bearings and seals and keep them on board. If one goes out while you are on a trip there are lots of resources to help you change a bearing but limited supply of parts. At least where we tend to find ourselves traveling.
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Old 10-26-2016, 08:29 AM   #17
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This has always been something I wanted to tackle on my own, but never knew how to determine what parts I needed (bearings, seals, etc..). Are the part numbers listed somewhere??
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Old 10-26-2016, 08:51 AM   #18
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This has always been something I wanted to tackle on my own, but never knew how to determine what parts I needed (bearings, seals, etc..). Are the part numbers listed somewhere??
The part numbers are based on axle manufacturer and weight rating, usually 3500, 5200, 6000 or 7000 pound capacity on the most common towables. Dexter, owns AL-KO and both now owned by Lippert. The parts are generally all the same, but there is always that chance that you might have an oddball axle. Find out who made the axle - usually pulling a wheel will give you a name cast on the brake drum. Dexter also stamps a part number on the back side of their axles and in the middle. The weight rating should be on the sticker on the LHS of the unit. I strongly recommend, if needed, Timken bearings. Seals are relatively inexpensive if sourced from Etrailer though the Dexter/NAPA/National etc. are outrageously priced. I've measured some and the Dexter's and etrailer seals are identical in every way but the stamped part number. Grease has a Dexter spec - I've been using Mystik JT-6 Hi-Temp Grease #2 for the last 10 years with good results. There are others - see the Dexter IB ref above in lynnmor's post.

Find the info above and we'll get you going with a seal number and at least a spare set of bearing part numbers
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Old 10-26-2016, 09:42 AM   #19
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Re-packing is also a good time to adjust the brakes as well.
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Old 10-26-2016, 10:25 AM   #20
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Re: finding PN's for seals and bearings.

My experience has been the docs are not always accurate. Can't tell you how many times I bought seals only to find they don't fit when I have stuff pulled apart.

My recommendation is to pull the wheel/ hub for exploratory purposes. Determine what parts you need based on the pns on the parts or measurements (ID, OD, qty lips). Get the parts. Then plan to pull it apart and do the job at some point in the future.
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Old 10-26-2016, 10:41 AM   #21
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Regarding the knowledge required to the job, I looked at several etrailer videos then gathered all the tools and parts, went to storage and did the job.

Afterwards i take a long drive and check with a IR pyrometer to ensure there are no anomalies across the 4 wheels.
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Old 10-26-2016, 05:08 PM   #22
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Also if you are replacing a roller bearing for any reason, a new race bearing should also be installed. The race will also wear and it will groove and score if the roller bearing lets go. Installing new bearings in old races will work but is asking for potential trouble down the road.
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Old 10-27-2016, 06:16 AM   #23
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This is a very basic easy job to perform with the right tools and grease. If you've never done this before then by all means get a buddy who has. If you do one successfully you can call yourself an expert. You do NOT have to remove or replace the grease seal to pack the inner bearing. You can squish/move grease into the inner bearing by forcing the grease in with one finger. In addition ... the two finger roll will tell you if it's "rough" or bad.

Where the skill set is ... "reading" the condition of the bearings. Outer is easy... it's in your hand. Shinny, no blue color, no pitting... clean it-grease it-reuse it. Look at the outer race... shinny with even surface, wipe it off and your good. Generally if a bearing fails it's the outer one. I have never seen an inner bearing fail by itself. So if your outer is good there's a 99% likely hood the inner is good. Why? 'cause it's bigger and has less dynamic energy applied because of the relation to the center of gravity due to wheel offset.

With the drum removed and looking at the inner seal and bearing... place two fingers inside the bearing and roll it. Your fingers are becoming the spindle. If you feel some roughness or snags, you'll need to replace it. If you need to replace one bearing then by all means replace the other in the same hub... including the seal. Why? 'cause the material from the bearing is now suspended in the grease and will cause premature wear.

Couple of notes;
Remove dust cover without bending or denting it. Channels locks work best.
Adjust brakes after greasing the bearings... makes it easier to remove and replace the brake drum.
Cotter pins are cheap... replace it if it's damaged.
Cotter pins should be flat against the nut so not to hit the dust cover after you put it back on. Remember.... anything on the spindle is static but the drum and dust cover turn along with the wheel.
The inside of the drum doesn't have to be "sterile". If the seal is sound and the bearings haven't failed, a little of the old grease won't hurt a thing.

Put everything back like you found it. Assuming you didn't not remove the inner wheel bearing and seal cover the spindle with a liberal amount of grease... put the drum back on. Get a double dip of grease and put it in the open end of the drum and put the outer bearing on the spindle, then the flat washer, then the castle nut. Tighten to "snug" back off... tighten again to snug... then back off. The drum should be hard to turn snug and easy to turn backed off, with just a "slight" bit of play. Install the cotter pin. If the hole does not align, back off just a bit more until you can insert the cotter pin. Do not tighten more to align the hole. Loose is vastly better then to tight. Put a but of grease in the dust cover... and put it back on. DO NOT fill the space/void inside the hub with grease. Why? 'cause the grease will not be able to "melt" and enter the bearing and the bearing will eventually over heat. That's right... the grease needs to become a viscous liquid to work. Sounds counter intuitive right? You EZ luber's usually kill your bearing by thinking more is better.

Adjust the brake. Rinse - lather - repeat. Drive the unit and check the temperature of the drum/wheel. I like to see temperatures under 120F on an average day without a lot of braking... hot day maybe 150F. Disc brakes will be a lot higher.

If none of this makes sense... then bring it somewhere.


NLGL #2 grease
latex gloves
cotter pins
Channel locks
brake spoon
small hammer

PS... they make tools to pack the inner bearings with a grease gun. If you have EZ lube axles, then your golden.
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Old 10-27-2016, 08:36 AM   #24
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Thank you for all the feedback everyone. I am going to check and see who makes my axle. I know it is a 3500lb axle, just not sure on the make.
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Old 10-27-2016, 11:28 AM   #25
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Easy job, or not. I have 40 years actual experience as a truck/automotive mechanic. I can't get my front axial bearings right. This is the second time i have replaced them this year. Part of the problem is the quality of parts available. Seems every thing is China. I have found some replacements now from Mexico. If you look at the bearings there should be a part number, on the inner and outer race. The seal will have a number also. If you are lucky, they can still be read.
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Old 10-27-2016, 12:24 PM   #26
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Easy job, or not. I have 40 years actual experience as a truck/automotive mechanic. I can't get my front axial bearings right. This is the second time i have replaced them this year. Part of the problem is the quality of parts available. Seems every thing is China. I have found some replacements now from Mexico. If you look at the bearings there should be a part number, on the inner and outer race. The seal will have a number also. If you are lucky, they can still be read.
National bearing are warrantied for at least a year... some have limited 3 yr. Number one failure mode of bearings is "over greasing". Number 2 is no grease. I'll assume #2 isn't an issue. Tires can cause bearing failure if way out of balance.

I'd check the run out on the spindle if you continue to have failures. What temperature are your hubs running? and is only the outer failing? or both?
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Old 10-27-2016, 12:27 PM   #27
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Easy job, or not. I have 40 years actual experience as a truck/automotive mechanic. I can't get my front axial bearings right. This is the second time i have replaced them this year. Part of the problem is the quality of parts available. Seems every thing is China. I have found some replacements now from Mexico. If you look at the bearings there should be a part number, on the inner and outer race. The seal will have a number also. If you are lucky, they can still be read.

Bearings, USA made Timken's, are available at either AMAZON or Rock Auto Parts. You can order them often as a set, cup and cone, or each piece individually. RV supply places like etrailer can't sell the Timken's at their lower prices. You will have to do some homework to find the set number though. I just ordered a full set of bearings, cones only, no cup, from AMAZON, all are US made as I looked when they arrived yesterday since Timken's factories at last look are in 27 different countries. My cost was about $90 for two 6000 pound axles. Rock Auto would have been a little less but they do have a shipping cost vs AMAZON Prime. Seals, double lip, from etrailer have been fine with no measured difference vs Dexter, etc.
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Old 10-27-2016, 12:34 PM   #28
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........ Number one failure mode of bearings is "over greasing"........
Wow - someone never heard of a Dexter E-Z Lube axle when they dreamed up that failure mode out of thin air. Those axles, if done according to Dexter's chart are stuffed full of grease (about one full tube's worth) until it drools out of the spindle nut end, or, unfortunately, past the seal
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