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Old 01-23-2021, 05:34 PM   #1
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Repack the Bearings myself -or- leave it to a Pro?

Hi, I would greatly appreciate the advice and experience of the veterans and/or mechanically talented members on this issue:

We bought a Jayco 212QBW TT this past August in Bozeman, MT and towed it back to New Jersey to get acquainted with it. It's now stored for the winter, and we will be towing it out west this summer (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington and maybe into British Columbia if the border opens up).

The trailer has Dexter NEV-R-Adjust electric brakes and E-Z LUBE bearing system. The manual says to repack the bearings about every 2,000 miles. That is just about the distance from Bozeman to NJ.

SO, should a reasonably intelligent guy like me, who is kind of handy, but never a car mechanic (OK, my dad did teach me to replace the spark plugs on my first car back in the 1970's) try to repack the bearings myself? Buy an electric grease gun, repack all four wheels before leaving NJ for Montana, and then again when we get out there, and then again after driving around half the summer, and then again before storing it (OUT WEST this time)?

Or should I just pay someone to do the job as needed? I saw a warning that the overflow could get on the brakes with obviously bad results, but I don't think that applies to the EZ Lube system - I've seen on YouTube that the overflow is designed to come out the front.

Thanks in advance for any advice!
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Old 01-23-2021, 05:47 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterk56 View Post
Hi, I would greatly appreciate the advice and experience of the veterans and/or mechanically talented members on this issue:
The trailer has Dexter NEV-R-Adjust electric brakes and E-Z LUBE bearing system. The manual says to repack the bearings about every 2,000 miles. That is just about the distance from Bozeman to NJ.
Check that mileage again, I have always heard once a year or 12,000 miles. The 2,000 miles seem to be low. I do our bearings once a year or about 12,000 miles.
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Old 01-23-2021, 06:09 PM   #3
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Check that mileage again, I have always heard once a year or 12,000 miles. The 2,000 miles seem to be low. I do our bearings once a year or about 12,000 miles.
Thanks, I'll check it. Seemed a bit low to me too! I'll ask the dealer in Bozeman also.
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Old 01-23-2021, 06:33 PM   #4
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It's not a hard job. If you can safely jack up the camper and remove a wheel, do it yourself. Don't jack up your camper on it's axles, use the frame. Using a rubber mallet, knock the dust cover/EZ lube caps off. Remove the keeper and nut. There are a couple different types of these but they are self explanatory.

Clean the bearings with brake cleaner or I use a gas. If you blow them dry with a compressor, resist the urge to spin them. Look them over for pits.
Clean and wipe out the wheel drum and inspect everything including the inner seal. Replace the seal if needed. A seal puller works good for this but you can knock it out with a wooden dowel. A block of wood and hammer works good to put them back in.

On reassembly, I'd use synthetic moly grease to repack them. They sell a bearing packer at the parts stores but you can use your palm as a cup and pack them just fine. Push grease into the bearings until you see it come through to the inside. I put a little grease on the races and the seal then reassemble.

Note: Don't over tighten the hub/drum nut. Lightly snug it to seat the bearings then back it off enough to where the wheel turns easily by hand with no side to side play and the lock or cotter pin lines up.

Put the wheel and cap back on and I give them a couple of pumps from the grease gun. They are not designed to be pumped full. Grease is sticky and will do its job. The seal is made to keep road grime and water out, not to hold grease in. People think more is better. Not so with wheel bearings. Too much and you'll push it past the seal into your brakes.

Tons of YouTube videos. Also, the tools you'll need you can rent at the parts stores.

Take this with a grain of salt... 2000 miles between repacking is over kill in my opinion. With synthetic moly grease, I go 10K between repacks.
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Old 01-23-2021, 06:51 PM   #5
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Easy to do.

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Old 01-23-2021, 06:56 PM   #6
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For me it usually comes down to time and math.

How much is someone else going to charge you to do it? How much would it cost you for the supplies? How long will it take you?

Which makes more sense to you? The time it will take you + the cost of supplies vs the price someone else will charge?
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Old 01-23-2021, 07:06 PM   #7
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Kinda handy, got some tools, can jack up a trailer, got the time and inclination. All yes, you can do it.
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Old 01-23-2021, 07:17 PM   #8
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Freshly packed wheel bearings will go many many miles. How often do you repack the bearings on your truck?

That said, trailer bearings are stressed closer to their limit, so maybe 25,000 miles with a little shot every 5,000 miles will be fine.

Just put your hand on the hubs after you stop every day to get an idea of what temp they normally run at. Then if you find one getting warmer than usual, take a look at it.

You can pick up a thermal temp gun pretty reasonably, and keep your fingers clean if you like. They are handy for other things like checking tire temps also.
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Old 01-24-2021, 12:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterk56 View Post
Hi, I would greatly appreciate the advice and experience of the veterans and/or mechanically talented members on this issue:

We bought a Jayco 212QBW TT this past August in Bozeman, MT and towed it back to New Jersey to get acquainted with it. It's now stored for the winter, and we will be towing it out west this summer (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington and maybe into British Columbia if the border opens up).

The trailer has Dexter NEV-R-Adjust electric brakes and E-Z LUBE bearing system. The manual says to repack the bearings about every 2,000 miles. That is just about the distance from Bozeman to NJ.

SO, should a reasonably intelligent guy like me, who is kind of handy, but never a car mechanic (OK, my dad did teach me to replace the spark plugs on my first car back in the 1970's) try to repack the bearings myself? Buy an electric grease gun, repack all four wheels before leaving NJ for Montana, and then again when we get out there, and then again after driving around half the summer, and then again before storing it (OUT WEST this time)?

Or should I just pay someone to do the job as needed? I saw a warning that the overflow could get on the brakes with obviously bad results, but I don't think that applies to the EZ Lube system - I've seen on YouTube that the overflow is designed to come out the front.

Thanks in advance for any advice!
Do not use an electric grease gun on the EZ Lube system. You want to use a manual grease gun and spin the hub while slowly pumping in the grease. Too much pressure will force the grease out the rear seal and into the drum. There are good videos on how to use the EZ Lube, if you choose to use it. That is a whole other topic for debate, much like Ford vs RAM v Chevy or Tastes Great/Less Filling...

Unless you know for sure what kind of grease was used the last time the bearings were done you will want to pull them, clean/inspect them and pack them by hand as it's not recommended to mix grease types. If you think you will be using the EZ Lube going forward pump a few squirts with the hub off to clear out any of the old grease that would still be in the supply line. That way it won't get mixed in with the new grease later on. Also, I believe Dexter recommends using a spring-loaded double lip seal on the EZ Lube hubs as a way to help reduce the risk of blowing the seal and getting grease on the brakes.

As far as frequency of repacking - every Dexter manual I've read indicates 12 months or 12K miles. Like others have stated, I do mine once a year in early spring at the beginning of the season.
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Old 01-24-2021, 05:22 AM   #10
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Being a new 2021 trailer, you shouldn't have to worry about repacking the bearings for a lot more than 2,000 miles. Most trailers probably never see a bearing repack. However, after a few hundred miles, you may wish to check the bearings to be sure they are properly tightened, and maybe give them a squirt or two of grease. Just do whatever your gut tells you to do with your RV.
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Old 01-24-2021, 06:00 AM   #11
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The ezlube hubs don't seem to grease the inner bearing very well, best to do a teardown and do by hand and replace inner seal.
when adjusting bearings loose is 100x better than tight, when I replace I take the trailer for a ride and check play after to make sure not loose or tight.
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Old 01-24-2021, 08:08 AM   #12
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To actually repack the bearings this could be a quite a job for the first timer especially with four wheels to do.
Your also going to need a jack and know where to to place it.

With the Easy Lube system I would call it lubricating not repacking.

Like others said you do not need to worry about it for many miles.
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Old 01-24-2021, 11:37 AM   #13
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The ezlube hubs don't seem to grease the inner bearing very well, best to do a teardown and do by hand and replace inner seal.
Checking your bearings manually is the way to go. I tried my 'easy lube' system once and it failed me! All four of my brakes were completely contaminated. So I had to tear EVERYTHING down and replace. Never mind the safety of not knowing what's going on when your hauling down the road. Wondered why my brakes weren't working very well on my new trailer. Long story short, do it yourself. You will only know when you try it. Try taking drums off on one side have a look. Feel confident, pop 'just one' of the brakes off and see what you're capable of. You always have the other brake set up to look at for comparison. Have to try something and learn, if you have the desire. It's relatively simple if you don't mind getting your hands dirty. Otherwise, leave for the professionals. My two bits. Good luck Peterk56.
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Old 01-24-2021, 12:19 PM   #14
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Dexter axles should be inspected and repacked every 12,000 miles or 12 months which ever comes first. I make it a spring task.

If you do not pull the wheel and hub you do not know what the condition of the bearings are. A visual inspection is the only way to be sure. When reassembling I always use new inner seals. They are cheap enough. Dexter publishes a list of approved wheel bearing greases on their web site.

As for the job itself, I do pretty much like others as said above. I like to use two saw horses placed close enough that the hub rests on the two boards. Makes working on it easier for me. I would advise to NEVER use compressed air to blow out you bearings. Brake cleaner works well to remove old grease and the can's spray pressure will remove grease between the bearing rollers. Then just air dry a few minutes before repacking the bearing. I use the old grease in the hand method. Except I wear nitrile gloves. By changing gloves a few times in the process I can keep grease off places were it does not belong. With disk brakes the job is a little harder than drum brakes because you have to remove the calipers to pull the hub.

Besides having four new inner seals I also always have at least one full set of inner and outer bearings plus their raceways on hand in case I find a worn bearing in the process. Being the DIYer type I also carry a spare pair of bearing and inner seal at all times with all the tools to do a bearing job on the side of the road if I have to. Never have needed to, so far.

With disk brakes I also bleed the brake fluid at this time. It's easy enough since everything is already opened up.

With drum brakes you should be able to leave the wheel bolted on to the hub and pull the entire wheel and hub assembly at once. Depends on the weight and your strength. If you do remove the wheel from the hub first make sure you follow the manufacture's recommended process to re-torque your wheel nuts. On our 5th wheeler any time a wheel has been pulled I recheck the torque for the lug nuts after the first 5, 50 and 100 miles. Not uncommon to see a little nut movement after the 5 and 50 mile check. Another little task is when I have the wheel off I check the torque for all suspension related bolts and nuts, spring hangers and u-bolts, etc.

When we bought this trailer used the previous owner had just had a "profession" trailer shop replace the springs. While doing some service work under the trailer I found almost half of the spring's u-bolts to be only hand tight! I know there are many good RV shops out there, I trust my own work better.
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