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Old 05-26-2022, 08:42 PM   #1
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Wheel Bearings - First Service

I've never serviced brakes and bearings before so I thought I'd give it a try since our 5.0 is a couple of years old and has a couple thousand miles on it. I'd welcome any comments and suggestions since there's always something else to learn.

After chocking the wheels on the other side of the 5.0 I pulled off the plastic hub covers and loosened the lug nuts on the front wheel about half a turn so they'd be easier to remove when the wheels are raised off the ground.
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I have a couple of these combination hydraulic jack/jack stands and put one under the mounting bracket for the front wheel on the driver's side. I've learned to be careful not to jack on the axle or torque assembly so this seemed to be the right place. Interestingly, I only needed this one jack to lift both wheels off the ground.
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Before I tool the front wheel off, I wiggled it to see if the bearings might be a bit loose; it seemed real solid. So I decided against removing the drum to physically examine the bearings. And then, after taking the wheel off and spinning the hub, I heard the brake pads rubbing slightly on the drum. Hearing that, I figured I didn't need to adjust the brakes either.

I pried off the dust cap on the end of the hub, attached my grease gun, and pumped in Red and Tacky while spinning the hub until grease came out the hub.
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After cleaning up the grease and reinstalling the dust cap, I put the wheel back on and tighten the lug nuts. I then went to the back wheel, wiggled it back and forth to see the bearings were tight, spun the wheel and heard the brake pads slightly rubbing, and pumped in grease while spinning the wheel.

I lowered the wheels down, torqued the front wheel lug nuts to 60, 80 and 95 foot-pounds and reinstalled the plastic hubs. It then started raining so I'll do the other side tomorrow.

Any comments or suggestions?
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Old 05-27-2022, 06:40 AM   #2
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Did you stop pumping new grease as soon as grease first appeared at the hub? The grease that comes out is the old grease, and it takes a good bit of pumping to replace all the old grease - it comes out the hub and has to be scraped off from time to time. The old grease will be dark and cloudy, and when it has all been replaced you will see new clean grease beginning to come out the hub. It usually takes at least half a tube of grease on each wheel to replace all the old grease.
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Old 05-27-2022, 07:37 AM   #3
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Since you didn't pull the drum, how were you able to tell if the bearing rear seals are not leaking?

It's best (especially for the first bearing greasing) to hand pack the bearings. That gives you the opportunity to check for bearing pits, rear seal leakage, and to insure that the bearings have a good packing of grease.
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Old 05-27-2022, 08:23 AM   #4
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Since you didn't pull the drum, how were you able to tell if the bearing rear seals are not leaking?
If the bearing seals are leaking, wouldn't the new grease just go into the brake drum area and not push out the old grease? I suppose it depends on how bad the rear bearing seals are leaking since the new grease will take the path of least resistance.
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Old 05-27-2022, 09:14 AM   #5
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Wheel bearings are like a box of chocolates, you never know until you open them up. I have seen brand new axles with little or no grease and have heard of premature bearing failure due to no grease. I have also repacked 40 year old hubs that were in great shape. On my latest new to me 10 year old trailer I decided to repack the bearings. I pulled the hubs on one side, new grease and everything looked great. The next day I opened up the other side and pulled the grease caps and everything looked good. It was hot and I was tired and started to just let them go but after a break I decided to press on. On the last hub I found an extremely pitted bearing and race. I have repacked well over 200 hubs, with the exception of boat trailers I would say the issue rate is less then 5%. Packing your bearings is good insurance against replacing an axle due to a ruined spindle, or worse loosing a wheel while towing.(Lost two wheels while driving a wrecker.) The first thing I do with a new trailer is pull the hubs, clean repack the bearings with a known good grease to get a good baseline. You also know your seals are good and your brakes are adjusted properly. Just what I do YMMV.
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Old 05-27-2022, 10:45 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Hawkeye Ed View Post
Any comments or suggestions?
That's the way I do mine, except I do mine yearly.

Dexter states that the EZ-Lube hubs do a 'complete bearing repack' without having to remove the hub. So, I believe them.

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Old 05-27-2022, 10:56 AM   #7
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Not trying to be snarky here, I am just curious. Why are trailer bearings and brakes so damn "fussy"?

When I buy a new or slightly used car, the last thing I would consider necessary is checking out and repacking the wheel bearings or adjusting brakes (every one year or 12,000 miles according to Dexter). Is it because of the fact that trailers have electric drum brakes, manufacturer cost cutting, poor quality control or something else?

Is there a relatively maintenance free, long lasting camping trailer bearing / brake combo?
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Old 05-27-2022, 11:34 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by huskersteffy View Post
Not trying to be snarky here, I am just curious. Why are trailer bearings and brakes so damn "fussy"?

When I buy a new or slightly used car, the last thing I would consider necessary is checking out and repacking the wheel bearings or adjusting brakes (every one year or 12,000 miles according to Dexter). Is it because of the fact that trailers have electric drum brakes, manufacturer cost cutting, poor quality control or something else?

Is there a relatively maintenance free, long lasting camping trailer bearing / brake combo?

Escape is now equipping their trailers with self-adjusting brakes. Which takes care of half of that issue. As far as repacking the bearings using the EZ-Lube system, it isn't that big a deal to me.
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Old 05-27-2022, 03:57 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=elongest;421403]Wheel bearings are like a box of chocolates, you never know until you open them up. I have seen brand new axles with little or no grease and have heard of premature bearing failure due to no grease. Packing your bearings is good insurance against replacing an axle due to a ruined spinfle[/QUOT

Agreed; had a bad bearing and blown inner seal after maiden trip home. And- yes a bad spindle means new axle.
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Old 05-27-2022, 07:26 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Hawkeye Ed View Post
After chocking the wheels on the other side of the 5.0 I pulled off the plastic hub covers and loosened the lug nuts on the front wheel about half a turn so they'd be easier to remove when the wheels are raised off the ground.
That works for removal, but for putting the wheel back on...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkeye Ed View Post
After cleaning up the grease and reinstalling the dust cap, I put the wheel back on and tighten the lug nuts.
...
I lowered the wheels down, torqued the front wheel lug nuts to 60, 80 and 95 foot-pounds and reinstalled the plastic hubs. It then started raining so I'll do the other side tomorrow.
Just make sure that the nuts are completely seated without any load on the wheel and tire, to ensure that the wheel is centred on the hub and that the nuts won't loosen in use.
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Old 05-27-2022, 07:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkeye Ed View Post
I have a couple of these combination hydraulic jack/jack stands and put one under the mounting bracket for the front wheel on the driver's side. I've learned to be careful not to jack on the axle or torque assembly so this seemed to be the right place. Interestingly, I only needed this one jack to lift both wheels off the ground.
That's the right place, and this is great use for that style of combination jack and stand.

Trailer suspensions don't have much travel, so getting both tires off the ground without lifting the frame very much is normal.

After I added a competition roll cage to our Honda, which stiffened the structure, I could lift (with the regular scissors jack that came with the car) at the point behind one front tire and both front and rear tires would come off the ground. Handy for seasonal tire changes.
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Old 05-27-2022, 11:52 PM   #12
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Today I greased the passenger side hubs. I forgot to mention that I also tested the brake actuation when the wheels were jacked up by pulling the breakaway switch and trying to turn each wheel. Wouldn't you know it, the brakes for last one I tested, the rear passenger wheel, don't seem to engage. We're leaving tomorrow for a short trip to the county so I'll have to figure out how to deal with that when I get home in a couple of days. Grrrr! Probably a wiring fault somewhere near the wheel. Not much clearance under the water tank back there and I'm just not as limber crawling around like I used to be. Hope I can find the problem without having to remove the hub.
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Old 05-28-2022, 07:20 AM   #13
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Check the ground wire connection to the frame.
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Old 05-28-2022, 08:54 AM   #14
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And peel back the plastic wire protector the covers the 2 wire pigtail as it leave the back of the backing plate about a foot up the pigtail the connection to the trailer wiring is made. Closely examine the crimps first tug on each wire to make sure they are tight in the butt connector and second look closely for corrosion at the strip back point if there is exposed copper. On some trailers the builder “missed the crimp” And the wire is not secure in the connector. (My experience on our 19) a few years ago.
Also, might be good to check the shoe to drum adjustment.
Best of Luck
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