Originally Posted by Donna D.
Check out the posts on FiberglassRV about U-Haul trailers and their sealed bearings. Nope, don't want them. I agree with Alf. Annual checkups are a very good thing.
The U-Haul design used integrated hub/bearing/spindle units, which last for many years and are then replaced by just bolting new ones on, which cost about the same as paying someone else to replace conventional bearings. In my opinion, the only problems with the U-Haul are that these are three decade old trailers for which the parts are no longer readily available, and that electric brakes don't fit on them. U-Haul still uses sealed units on rental trailers, based on their decades of experience with heavily-used rental trailers getting minimal maintenance. This is the design of most modern cars, and although I run my cars into the ground (240,000 to 350,000 km, or 150,000 to 220,000 miles) I've never had to replace a bearing... although I did have to replace the trailer-style bearings in the front of our old junk Chev pickup.
Nev-R-Lube bearings are very different. They are replaced when necessary by themselves - not as a unit with the hubs and spindles. Dexter so rarely changes anything that my guess is that they'll sell the bearings for many years.
Although the Nev-R-Lube bearings are large and centred in the hub, so they require a larger bolt circle (the "655" or 6-bolt on 5.5" pattern common on larger trailer axles), I'm sure Escape could order it this way if you're willing to pay for special handling of this part. Corresponding wheels shoud be no problem - this is a common patern for the 15" tires used by Escape.
Although lots of people have problems with traditional trailer bearings, I suspect that is a combination of overloading, cheap components, and incompetent installation, packing, and adjustment (often following incorrect instructions posted online or suggested by friends, instead of the correct procedure clearly documented by the manufacturer). My first Toyota had this design in the rear, and went to the scrapyard after 353,000 km and 17 years with perfectly good original bearings that had been torn apart and repacked all of twice in that time (at each brake shoe replacement). Toyota uses good parts, and I read the manual to repack and adjust them.
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008
I thought you still had bearings to pack on non 4 wheel cars, such as the rear of fwd and the front of rwd cars? With 4 wheel the 4 bearings are bathed in axle fluid as is the drive wheels of 2wd vehicles?
Although my front-wheel-drive 1984 Tercel had trailer-style bearings in the rear, normal practice has been sealed hub/bearing/spindle units for many years. All of our Hondas (1984 and newer), my 2004 Focus, and our 2004 Sienna have had sealed units in the rear.
Non-driven front wheels were traditional greased systems needing repacking (like our 1980 Chev truck) but now normally have sealed units, and have commonly (but not universally) had them for decades.
The wheel bearings are only lubricated by the axle lube (for the differential gearing) on beam/live axles. Independent suspensions don't have an axle tube carrying the oil, so they don't lube the bearings this way and usually use sealed units. That applies to steered axles ,too, so even the front of a 4X4 one-ton pickup doesn't use the axle oil, and even usually has sealed units. Front axles in front-drive vehicles have various systems (sealed units, permanently installed, pressed-in) but are normally sealed.
Basically, a modern car or light truck has no chassis parts requiring routine greasing.