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Old 07-22-2019, 07:35 AM   #1
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Red face Dumb ?? by newbies re wheel bearings

WE will be transitioning to our new E-21 next spring. Our present TT is a Casita 17', single axle type. Our rig had new HD wheel bearings installed last summer w a recommendation to get the bearings packed yearly. ..it is in the shop now for that purpose b4 its last trip (for us) next week b4 it goes on the market.

What I wonder is: with twin axles, do you still recommend cleaning and repacking bearings yearly, every 2 years, etc etc?? Or do you just "top off" the grease by a "few pumps" on a greae gun ? Dumb ?? I know. Thanks..Fred
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Old 07-22-2019, 07:45 AM   #2
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You will be getting an instruction book with your new axles, I believe they ae e-z-lube type. But most recommend the 2 year inspect and repack manually procedure.
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Old 07-22-2019, 07:49 AM   #3
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You'll get various answers on this one. I quit doing my own bearings years ago, not because I can't, but because I'm lazy.

Any new camper we get immediately goes in and has the bearings checked for slop and proper packing. I don't trust the manufacturers/previous owners and it's a cheap $150 to avoid problems.

After that bearings are repacked/brakes inspected every 10,000 miles or two years whatever comes first. If bearings are properly packed there is no reason to pump a couple of pumps of grease. I know of too many horror stories of brakes not working because of Dexter's poor system allowing grease to enter the brake area. TETO

Do what you believe and what works for you. Others have different ideas.

Enjoy,

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Old 07-22-2019, 08:19 AM   #4
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Reading the Dexter manual they suggested a fairly low mileage check of the bearings and brakes, think it was less than 1000 miles. We have had our bearings repacked and brakes adjusted every 5000 miles, or 3 times in our 8 months of ownership, 15000 miles. I think if you read Larry's post from Little House of Customs about bearings on the Casita forum. He repacked often and replaces frequently. The Dexter axle on the Casita 17' is the same as the 2 axles on the Escape 19 and 21.
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Old 07-22-2019, 08:32 AM   #5
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Dexter wheel bearing maintenance instructions are 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever is first. Unlike brakes or wheel lugs there is no shorter interval initially when new.
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Old 07-22-2019, 09:29 AM   #6
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Dexter wheel bearing maintenance instructions are 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever is first. Unlike brakes or wheel lugs there is no shorter interval initially when new.
Yup, anything beyond this becomes like asking when you change your oil.

If you are using the Ez Lube, it is my understanding that you should be slowly turning the wheel as you are pumping to reduce the chance of blowing a seal.
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Old 07-22-2019, 09:50 AM   #7
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Yup, anything beyond this becomes like asking when you change your oil.

If you are using the Ez Lube, it is my understanding that you should be slowly turning the wheel as you are pumping to reduce the chance of blowing a seal.

Sounds like EZ Lube is a misnomer.
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Old 07-22-2019, 10:30 AM   #8
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Sounds like EZ Lube is a misnomer.
Ha, maybe. I'm no expert or even knowledgable so I can't defend it. With today's greases it seems like if it needs to be changed the bearings should probably be examined too. Course, fresh grease isn't a bad thing for bearing wear either and EZ Lube seems relatively easy to me...as long as the process doesn't introduce other problems.
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Old 07-22-2019, 01:16 PM   #9
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The tandem axles don't change the maintenance requirements, other than that there are twice as many bearings.

The E-Z Lube feature exists so that boat owners can flush out contaminated grease after backing their trailer into water. I suppose that would be handy if your trailer is in a flood, but otherwise seems pointless to me for a travel trailer. Even if E-Z Lube is considered appropriate to use, topping off is not proper use of this feature; the hub is not a reservoir which runs low, and whenever you pump new grease into the E-Z Lube fitting there should be old grease coming out around the end of the spindle.
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Old 07-22-2019, 01:19 PM   #10
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Sounds like EZ Lube is a misnomer.
It doesn't even require removal of the wheel, and is much easier than a full disassembly and repack, which would otherwise be the only way to replace the contaminated grease in a boat trailer.
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Old 07-22-2019, 01:24 PM   #11
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If you are using the Ez Lube, it is my understanding that you should be slowly turning the wheel as you are pumping to reduce the chance of blowing a seal.
Yes, that's part of the procedure published by Dexter Axle.
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Old 07-22-2019, 01:27 PM   #12
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I used to have Bearing Buddies on my tent trailer. The grease gun took two hands to operate. How does one turn the wheel?
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Old 07-22-2019, 01:42 PM   #13
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I used to have Bearing Buddies on my tent trailer. The grease gun took two hands to operate. How does one turn the wheel?
Get a better grease gun? Unlike a Bearing Buddy, E-Z Lube doesn't keep the grease in the hub under pressure. It shouldn't be too difficult to hold the grease gun on the nipple while pumping it against the low pressure required to slowly flush grease through the bearings; if it is, that's the first hint that something is wrong. There are also grease guns which lock onto the nipple, but I doubt that's required.
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Old 07-22-2019, 02:24 PM   #14
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The E-Z Lube feature exists so that boat owners can flush out contaminated grease after backing their trailer into water.

If that's the case, which I don't doubt, do folks with boats regrease after every dunking? From what I've seen at the nearby boat ramp, everyone backs in to the point where the axles are in the water.
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Old 07-22-2019, 09:52 PM   #15
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If that's the case, which I don't doubt, do folks with boats regrease after every dunking? From what I've seen at the nearby boat ramp, everyone backs in to the point where the axles are in the water.
if the boat is on rollers, I suppose it could be rolled off and back on, but it is normal to float the boat off the trailer, and to get the hull in the water there's no way around submerging the axles.

I doubt they do it after every dunking, but I think that's the intention. It would be a lot of grease, and there would be a lot of people working grease guns around boat launch ramps.

Fortunately, a grease flush after every travel trailer submersion is no big deal.
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Old 07-22-2019, 10:11 PM   #16
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I don't ever recall pumping grease into my boat trailer, but knowing nothing, I pumped several cartridges into the bearing buddies on the tent trailer. Took about a hundred kilometres on Highway #1 for the cap to blow off and the hot grease to cover the tires like a Spirograph.

We made it to southern Alberta and back, so must have been OK maintenance.
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Old 07-22-2019, 11:43 PM   #17
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Don't do what I do...

I am generally pretty good about maintenance with my vehicles but I never looked at the bearings on my 19' since I bought it back in 2012, 7 years, until last month when I did a complete brake conversion to self-adjusting brakes. When I pulled the original brake drums off and looked at the bearings and seals they all looked great, even after all that time with no additional lubrication or attention at all.

Now, I'm not advocating that anyone take the "don't-do-recommended-maintenance" approach that I did, but in my opinion this is a testimonial to potential longevity of these bearing systems. Mine were very well sealed so moisture stayed out and the lubricant stayed in. I saw no scorch marks on the bearing races associated with "skating" due to insufficient lube and the seals were all in great shape. I really could have repacked the bearings, replaced the seals and put it back together if I wasn't replacing the fundamental brake systems.

My guess is that I put an average of 8,000+ miles per year on the trailer so that works out to around 60,000 miles. Based on what I saw, I am sure that annual maintenance is more than sufficient for these bearing, even if you are full-timing in your trailer.
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Old 07-23-2019, 08:08 AM   #18
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Three years ago after reading similar alert threads (on this forum) I drove the trailer over to my nearest RV maintenance garage. It was at 16K miles. Feeling stampeded into having my wheel bearings checked. When the guy there said it would cost $400 for the job (repacking the bearings) I balked. So he dropped his offer down a hundred-plus bucks.

I left, found a different garage, which did the repacking for $139 and told me all was fine in there. I haven't given them bearings a thought since then, until now, at 37K miles, with this new thread.

So it's time to get stampeded again. My bearings guy was happy to see me after 3 years, we chatted about the old days, how his business has expanded, and made an appointment for my bearings and brakes. He's raised his prices a tad since then. I'll find out how much in two weeks, the earliest when he can fit me in.
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Old 07-23-2019, 09:08 AM   #19
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until last month when I did a complete brake conversion to self-adjusting brakes.
TETO!

When the warranty expires on our Dexter axles I'll be taking it to my trailer guy and have the self-adjusting brakes removed and the manual adjusters installed. Too often one or more brakes don't adjust with the others and you're braking with 2 or 3 wheels. My trailer guy has seen this on too many trailers, including those with Dexter axles.

Again, YMMV.

Enjoy,

Perry
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Old 07-23-2019, 09:24 AM   #20
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I've never delved into brake adjustments, but with our new 5.0TA I certainly will. Doesn't sound all that tough, and the peace of mind of knowing that they're all set will be worth it.

On our old trailer I repacked the wheel bearings annually the first few years - trying to follow the recommendations - and then that interval grew into several years. They always looked fine when I repacked them so I am not too concerned with that being an annual process.
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