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Old 04-06-2018, 07:13 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New Adventures View Post
There are many posts here from folks (perhaps retired mechanics, etc. based on their posts) who imply that the easy lube feature is a non-functional gimmick that should never be used. Perhaps the "old fashioned way" is by far the best way but as someone with no knowledge on the matter I have to wonder if this really is an all or nothing matter. If the easy lube feature is useless I have to wonder why ETI (and other manufacturers) would install it and send new owners on their way telling them to just squirt some grease in each year. Also, if the feature is useless and fraught with safety risk, why do US and Canadian authorities allow it to be installed? Thousands of trailers are sold each year with some sort of easy lube feature - are the owners who use them experiencing failure at epidemic proportions? If the easy lube feature is a useless gimmick or creates safety concerns why aren't consumer advocacy groups filing lawsuits against the manufacturers of the products? Is doing it the "old fashioned way" more the peace of mind of knowing (by physically seeing) rather than presuming that the easy lube feature is doing its job. I have always been a maintenance overachiever and am inclined to learn to manually repack bearings (or hire someone to do it) but I am struggling to really understand why so many assert that there is no benefit to the easy lube feature that ETI elects to include on its trailers. Could it be that there is some benefit for the mechanically challenged that is good enough while being not good enough for the backyard mechanic? There is a lot of discussion about manually repacking bearings but not much much detail on the "why" the easy lube feature is or is not useful. I look forward to learning from those with more experience. Thanks.
I think the best data I've see on this is from Larry Gamble of Little House Customs. Here is a copy of his posting in the Casita Forum (which use the same Dexter axils the Escapes use):

"If done correctly it's OK, but we see dozens every year that failed. The trailer comes in for wheel bearing service, and to us that means new bearings, races and seals. The seal is blown out, grease is all over the brake shoes and you never replace shoes without replacing the drums. So the price of wheel bearing service just tripled....to a price point that is a bit over 50% of the price of a new axle complete with a fresh non sagging suspension, new brakes, drums and 10 shiny lug nuts. Parts and labor combined.

The seals wear and of course the spring inside compensates for this but only to a point. After x number of miles it's time for new seals and how do you know without dismantling?

To us the EZLube is a shortcut that doesn't address important things like bearing adjustment. When we're not looking at blown seals, (or sometimes then too) we see way too loose bearings and a groove has begun to wear in the bottom of the spindle. As microscopic metal particles find their way under the seal it begins to wear a groove in the spindle where the seal rotates as well. A new seal with a clean coating of grease might be in order on something of a regular basis.

Since we see and service so many (around 150 a year) we get a good picture of an average. Ok, so if you're Mr. or Mrs. Maintenance you are probably beating our average, but from what we see, every 12,000 miles put in new bearings, seals and races. Adjust them correctly and check that adjustment after 1000 miles. In addition to the volume, we also get repeats. There are Casita's with 140 thousand miles on them that we have serviced since they were new. Since we see those trailers every 12,000 miles or so, we get a good perspective on what's beginning to wear at that point.

So, I might be preaching to the choir here, but our scrap metal trailer currently has 9 axles on it now and we haul it twice a year. A few were old worn out welded on axles but most are 5 or 6 year old bolt on axles with extreme wear on the spindles or grease all over the inside of the drum. In those cases the customer elected a new axle. .

So if you're going to use the EZ Lube, do it right. But it's no substitute for an inspection. In our experience it just buys you some time.

To be fair, we've serviced plenty of Casita's with 30 or 40 thousand miles on the bearings with nothing done other than the EZ Lube process. But those cases are very much at the bottom of our average. And to be even more fair, folks who properly care for their bearings themselves, using either method, don't usually bring them to us so we don't see them distorting the average of what we see."
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Old 04-06-2018, 07:49 AM   #42
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Ok, so if you're Mr. or Mrs. Maintenance you are probably beating our average, but from what we see, every 12,000 miles put in new bearings, seals and races.
I agree with pretty much everything Larry wrote here but this. With proper inspection, cleaning and repacking, there is no need to replace these parts every time you do the bearings. I just did the bearings on a 15 year old dump trailer for about the 4th or 5th time (granted it does not get near the same mileage), and it still has the original bearings that carry way more weight than our travel trailers do. I have replaced the seals a couple times though.

This reminds me, my 3 year old cargo trailer with EZ Lube axles needs a bearing job. All I have added is one pump of grease every year as recommended by the dealer.
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Old 04-06-2018, 08:03 AM   #43
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I agree with pretty much everything Larry wrote here but this. With proper inspection, cleaning and repacking, there is no need to replace these parts every time you do the bearings. I just did the bearings on a 15 year old dump trailer for about the 4th or 5th time (granted it does not get near the same mileage), and it still has the original bearings that carry way more weight than our travel trailers do. I have replaced the seals a couple times though.

This reminds me, my 3 year old cargo trailer with EZ Lube axles needs a bearing job. All I have added is one pump of grease every year as recommended by the dealer.
I agree with you, Jim. I reuse my bearings unless I find a problem with them. I think part of Larry's thinking is that the cost to the customer for LHC to clean, inspect and repack the bearings is about the same as replacing them.
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Old 04-06-2018, 08:57 AM   #44
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As I’ve posted, I’m on the do it myself side. I have a good place to work, adequate tools and knowledge and being retired, time. Other folks may lack any or all of these “benefits”. I completely understand sending things to the shop to get done and it the case where an owner does that, that side of the coin includes, more money, time out of a busy schedule to find a shop, deliver the trailer or meet the technician and finally, as was posted, making sure the spindle nut and lug nuts are properly tightened after a run in period. Whether this is to be done by the owner or is a pre agreed return to the servicing agency with no additional cost, is up to the owner or a benefit offered by the service company as a part of the original service. My experience is to see a few trailers a year setting along the road with obvious axle or bearing failure, usually an older boat on a trailer or a utility trailer.
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Old 04-06-2018, 09:12 AM   #45
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i think i'll make my regular routine be to visit Dave with lots of his favorite of my home-brews - Belgian White in the tow - and just happen to bring along some new bearings and seals. Too many years with my hands always smelling of grease has turned me into a lazy old EX-mechanic.

The older I get, the more I tend to adopt my friend's saying about hiring someone to do work: "everybody needs jobs".
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Old 04-06-2018, 10:32 AM   #46
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i think i'll make my regular routine be to visit Dave with lots of his favorite of my home-brews - Belgian White in the tow - and just happen to bring along some new bearings and seals. Too many years with my hands always smelling of grease has turned me into a lazy old EX-mechanic.

The older I get, the more I tend to adopt my friend's saying about hiring someone to do work: "everybody needs jobs".
Hi Eric,
Even if you don’t have the parts, we can go get genuine Dexter approved fusion seals and American made Timken bearings at Midwest Wheel, and stop off at my brother’s place on the way back. We will put Blue II I the barn if it’s raining along side old “Escape the Heat”.
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Old 04-06-2018, 10:33 AM   #47
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At risk of this being a dumb question, where can one find a good how-to, start to finish guide for complete axle maintenance for someone with just enough mechanical inclination to be dangerous?
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Old 04-06-2018, 10:56 AM   #48
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At risk of this being a dumb question, where can one find a good how-to, start to finish guide for complete axle maintenance for someone with just enough mechanical inclination to be dangerous?
I recommend the Dexter manual and "Wheel bearing maintenance" thread which is a sticky at the top of this section.
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Old 04-06-2018, 11:34 AM   #49
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Quote:
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My experience is to see a few trailers a year setting along the road with obvious axle or bearing failure, usually an older boat on a trailer or a utility trailer.
Iowa Dave
But not nearly as many now as there used to be when tent trailers first became really popular. Those tiny wheels just spun their hearts out. Never went anywhere on the highway without seeing one at the edge of the road with a wheel off.

I never used to replace seals but the newer ones that kind of glue themselves in are hard to remove without damage so I always replace them now. Bearings, mostly never. Just haven't had one damaged enough to replace. I wash them in solvent, blow them clean and inspect them. Just lucky I guess.

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Old 04-06-2018, 01:15 PM   #50
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I remember when on a Saturday, maybe 40 years ago, pulling in each vehicle, raising the front on ramps and changing the oil and filter, and then pumping grease where needed (years ago you had to lubricate your vehicle as well as your trailer). Then remove the car and pull in my other vehicle and repeat. Remove and repeat a third time. This would take most of the morning, then after lunch I'd bring the CubCadet up and change it's fluids and then cut the grass the rest of the afternoon. I had several containers of new and used oil which I had to properly dispose of.
Today, I purchase maintenance agreements on my vehicles and take them to the dealer, I'm retired now and everyday is Saturday.
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Old 04-06-2018, 03:44 PM   #51
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Hi Eric,
Even if you don’t have the parts, we can go get genuine Dexter approved fusion seals and American made Timken bearings at Midwest Wheel, and stop off at my brother’s place on the way back. We will put Blue II I the barn if it’s raining along side old “Escape the Heat”.
Iowa Dave
I’ve a question for the experienced Escape pullers.
How often do you check/adjust your electric brakes?
or
Are the Escape brakes self adjusters?
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Old 04-06-2018, 03:54 PM   #52
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Escape does not offer Nev-R-Adjust brakes. Personally i would prefer that over the EZ-Lube axles they made standard around 2105.

Dexter says to adjust after firat 200 miles then every 3,000 or as "use and performance requires".

They also say you should burnish in the brakes first by going from 40 mph to 20 mph 20-30 times and letting the brakes cool each time. Who does that?
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Old 04-06-2018, 04:35 PM   #53
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Escape does not offer Nev-R-Adjust brakes. Personally i would prefer that over the EZ-Lube axles they made standard around 2105.
So would I, since I don't use the EZ-Lube feature and see no point in having it.
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They also say you should burnish in the brakes first by going from 40 mph to 20 mph 20-30 times and letting the brakes cool each time. Who does that?
Not me. I just pull it.
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Old 04-06-2018, 04:36 PM   #54
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Rossue, we actually did that with our new brakes last year. Luckily we live rurally , it takes quite a bit of time to accomplish
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Old 04-06-2018, 04:57 PM   #55
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Escape does not offer Nev-R-Adjust brakes. Personally i would prefer that over the EZ-Lube axles they made standard around 2105.

Dexter says to adjust after firat 200 miles then every 3,000 or as "use and performance requires".

They also say you should burnish in the brakes first by going from 40 mph to 20 mph 20-30 times and letting the brakes cool each time. Who does that?
Great, then most trailer pullers are jacking up and blocking their units
Opening the adjuster slots and spinning up the star wheel till the drum drags-backing off till there’s a small amount of drag on the drum then hitching up going out for a test pull?
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Old 04-06-2018, 04:59 PM   #56
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Check and adjust

Quote:
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I’ve a question for the experienced Escape pullers.
How often do you check/adjust your electric brakes?
or
Are the Escape brakes self adjusters?
I usually check the brakes for how much lining I have left and make sure I don’t have a badly grooved drum each spring. Then I adjust them at the same time. The first time I looked at the 19 I did not know how thick the linings were to start. At my brake dealer they have a demonstration setup by the brake parts, so since I was doing the bearings too I looked the demonarea over and then knew my shoes had a good amount of lining left. 25,000
Miles later they were further down and I replaced the entire assy. in the spring of 2017. Then we got the 21 and I looked those over when I got it home from Tucson. Then we pulled it about 15,000 miles from July through October after I adjusted them. They actually were very close to adjusted out properly so I wouldn’t had to have done that, but I did find a leaky rear wheel seal so it was good I did. I’ll be looking at and servicing things soon. When I did put whole new brake sets in the 19’ I adjusted them and said Baby, let’s go for a ride. On county blacktops I pulled the Escape about 25 miles, burnished them in as advised and returned home. Checked adjustment, it was still very close. It only took about an hour, there’s not much traffic out here in the country so no other motorists were impacted. I remember the first time my Dad tuned up a big old Buick V-8. He said “let’s take her out to the airport (7 miles) and see if she’ll turn the ton.” Which was his permission to go 100 miles an hour. I thought I was Parnelli Jones after that but he always called me Barney Oldfield.
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Old 04-06-2018, 05:13 PM   #57
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Rossue, we actually did that with our new brakes last year. Luckily we live rurally , it takes quite a bit of time to accomplish
I’m sure it does, but like most things gain requires pain.
I belong to a group of motorcycle enthusiasts and we do maintenance workshops as well as advanced rider training together in groups.

Now, with this group of owners living all over the country something like a workshop would be very beneficial but a PITA to organize and facilitate.

Just saying👍
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Old 04-07-2018, 02:09 AM   #58
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Brake thoughts

I check the brake adjustment every 3000 miles. With the trailer hitched up, I find an empty parking lot and use the Trailer Aid tire changing ramp to lift each wheel off the ground. I also rotate my tires every 6,000 miles and repack the wheel bearings every 12,000 miles (which I haven't done yet on the Escape 21).

I didn't burnish the brakes when I first bought the trailer, but I should have. They grabbed badly when braking at a very slow speed. This is far less now than when new, probably because the brakes are finally wearing in.

I have a Tundra with a built-in brake controller. Initially I was unable to adjust the controller to noticeably brake the trailer. During the truck servicing I asked to have the software upgrade installed. They did and now the controller works "ok" when set at 9 of 10.
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Old 04-07-2018, 06:32 AM   #59
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I didn't burnish the brakes when I first bought the trailer, but I should have. They grabbed badly when braking at a very slow speed. This is far less now than when new, probably because the brakes are finally wearing in.

I have a Tundra with a built-in brake controller. Initially I was unable to adjust the controller to noticeably brake the trailer. During the truck servicing I asked to have the software upgrade installed. They did and now the controller works "ok" when set at 9 of 10.
______

Checked adjustment, it was still very close. It only took about an hour, there’s not much traffic out here in the country so no other motorists were impacted. I remember the first time my Dad tuned up a big old Buick V-8. He said “let’s take her out to the airport (7 miles) and see if she’ll turn the ton.” Which was his permission to go 100 miles an hour. I thought I was Parnelli Jones after that but he always called me Barney Oldfield.

Iowa Dave

Both of you fellas have great responses/experiences for this discussion.

However, I'm a little partial to Iowa Dave's Buick story, gotta love the old days.
Trying to get that big 'straight 8'- I believe it was- wound up to 100. Did it have the automatic with reverse selected by pulling the shift leaver down to the bottom??

I grew up on the prairies learning to drive with my older brother in my dad's '36 Ford Pick-up
with a flat head '8'. That old truck had mechanical (cable) linkage brakes, I believe, before Ford had moved to hydraulic braking systems. That was a long time ago and I was just a pup when I learned. That old truck never stopped where you wanted it to and it was constantly over heating.
Now, I've really digressed off topic...sorry!
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Old 04-07-2018, 11:35 AM   #60
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Thanks to all for their experiences and words of wisdom. I have learned a lot.
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