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Old 06-04-2023, 08:11 AM   #1
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Wheel Bearings

Why don't trailers have sealed bearings that don't require maintenance?
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Old 06-04-2023, 08:17 AM   #2
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I believe the car industry just found it cheaper when they went to front wheel drive. I wouldn't want them on anything if I had the choice. Expensive to press them off and on. Getting ready to do the tundra next week. Had to buy a special press to make the job easier. Never once had a timken bearing go bad other than one that was toast when I bought the trailer. And on boat trailers you definitely need to service them.
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Old 06-04-2023, 09:40 AM   #3
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May be more expensive to integrate the bearings into electric brake type drums.
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Old 06-04-2023, 04:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
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Why don't trailers have sealed bearings that don't require maintenance?
youre correct about sealed bearings not requiring maintenance, they get replaced.
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Old 06-04-2023, 04:48 PM   #5
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Never Lube , available on some axle brands , but as stated they do fail .

A spare Never Lube bearing is the first thing to carry if your trailer has them; because they are not common and you can wait for days for one to show up.
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Old 06-08-2023, 11:11 PM   #6
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Dexter has discontinued the Never Lube system. Too many problems.

Trailers, especially tandem axles, side load the wheels during turns, especially tight turns, and tapered/opposed roller bearings are more than capable of handling strong side loads, however, sealed bearings, at least what Dexter used, was not.

Sealed bearings would be a no buy for me. I carry a set of bearings and races and seal. they could be changed at the side of the road if necessary with a hammer and a drift. Sealed bearing would be heavier to carry around and possibly more difficult to change, possibly not. You certainly would not want to travel without a spare, as sourcing one would be an issue. Tapered bearings are found many places, easy to source at most auto parts stores.

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Old 06-10-2023, 11:59 AM   #7
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Don't want to be a lecturer here, but a consideration to ponder is that servicing trailer bearings could be looked at as an opportunity to check out the suspension components, brakes, etc. Very easy to overlook maintenance of these components until something fails. Cheers!...
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Old 06-10-2023, 12:23 PM   #8
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Always thought it was strange that trailer wheel bearings are greased every 10,000 miles.
Had my share of older vehicles, greased bearings when you did brakes. Maybe at 30,000 or so. Only had to replace bearings twice. Both were over 15 years old.
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Old 06-10-2023, 02:18 PM   #9
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As a very old time mechanic I donít disagree with you regarding rear wheel drive vehicles. However one could easily detect wheel bearing issues in a car or truck, not so in a tow behind where an issue could go undetected until major damage is caused. In this area maybe extra caution is a good Idea? Cheers!
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Old 06-11-2023, 06:49 AM   #10
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My boat trailer had lifetime oil bath, no maintenance until they failed of which never happened. It was 13 years old when i sold it.
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Old 06-11-2023, 10:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Don't want to be a lecturer here, but a consideration to ponder is that servicing trailer bearings could be looked at as an opportunity to check out the suspension components, brakes, etc. Very easy to overlook maintenance of these components until something fails. Cheers!...
And a money maker for dealers.
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Old 06-12-2023, 05:32 PM   #12
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My brand of trailer was made in 2008 and 2009, both 5th wheels and bumper pulls. Nev-R-Lube bearings were standard equipment on these trailers. We have a dedicated Facebook page of members. I considered replacing my 15 year old bearings and placed a post asking if any members had bearing problems. 55 views, zero bearing failures, 14-15 years of service with zero bearing maintenance on all the rigs; savings of thousands of dollars of maintenance costs to our owners.

Dexter Nev-R-Lube cartridges do have large diameter Timken double row tapered roller bearings. Our trailers have bearings suitable for 8,000# axles installed on our 5,200# axles. The drums have the bearings pressed in and slide onto a cylindrical spindle and are torqued to 150 ft-lbs, the bearings are pre-loaded.

I do carry a spare drum with bearing and can most likely change it out roadside in 20 minutes if one should fail. I wouldn't be covered in grease and wouldn't have to worry about dust contamination. I should also note our axles are Torflex which are also zero maintenance.

I have been extremely happy my Nev-R-Lubes; how could I not be? I have read of people with problems towing heavy on 7-8 thousand pound axles and wouldn't recommend them for that use.
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