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Old 07-05-2016, 08:51 AM   #1
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Repack the bearings??

I have a 32BHDS that is less than a year old. The past couple of trips I have noticed that the passenger side hubs are hot to the touch while the driver side are only warm to the touch. The family and I are going on a 500 mile trip in about 2 weeks and the last thing I want is bearing troubles. My guess is they need to be repacked. Is this something covered by the dealer or am I on my own? Suggestions are greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-05-2016, 09:39 AM   #2
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I have a 32BHDS that is less than a year old. The past couple of trips I have noticed that the passenger side hubs are hot to the touch while the driver side are only warm to the touch. The family and I are going on a 500 mile trip in about 2 weeks and the last thing I want is bearing troubles. My guess is they need to be repacked. Is this something covered by the dealer or am I on my own? Suggestions are greatly appreciated.
AFAIK, this will not be "covered" by the dealer, assuming you are asking if a bearing repack would be covered under warranty.
If the hubs are noticeably hotter I would pull the wheels and check things out. As you said, the last thing you want is a to have a bearing to out while on the road.
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Old 07-05-2016, 09:52 AM   #3
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Agree, not a warranty item but I would definitely have it checked out if you can't do it yourself.
Don't take a chance on letting it ruin a trip.
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Old 07-05-2016, 09:58 AM   #4
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If you have any mechanical skills a bearing repack is nothing. You may even have EZ lube axles. If you have the EZ lube axles just pull the rubber dust cap off the outer hub seal and right in the center is the zerk (grease) fitting. I would just add a couple of shots of grease. Keep an eye on the back of the hub where the rear seal is. If you see any grease seeping out of this seal stop adding grease.

If it is a newer trailer it is possible a tech could have missed greasing that side. They definitely need to be checked. Always use the back of your hand to touch a hub or tire to check for heat. There are much less nerves and tender in case object is scalding hot or hot enough to burn you.

The hubs will get warm or hot but they should all be about the same temp and not scalding hot, if they are that hot there is a problem.

You can check my post Jayfeather 29N Lift and I have pictures of the Dexter EZ lube axles and hubs.

If you don't have the EZ lube axle the wheel hub will have to be removed to grease the bearings. It is not hard but is messy, if you don't like getting dirty or greasy then take it to RV service tech.

Most EZ lube axles have a wheel center cap that has a removable plug. You have to get something such as a screwdriver and gently pry the plastic cover out. Start at one side and gently work around the cap prying it off. If you pry too hard on one side it might bind and break off a plastic tab. If you do no problem these caps can be purchased new. The outer hub seal is recessed a couple of inches back from the center cap edge. If it is too difficult to reach the rubber hub seal, properly jack up the trailer and remove the wheel.

If you need to remove the hub there will be some type of axle nut retainer. In my case it was a cage type that is slotted to prevent the axle nut from loosening and coming of. Gently pry this cage off of the axle nut, you will need to reuse it or buy new ones. After the axle nut retainer is removed you can remove the axle nut. The hub should then come off, the hub is most likely a brake drum and hub combo so it will have some weight to it. If it does not come off easily gently tap it on the rear edges with a deadblow hammer.

There will be a thrust washer behind the axle nut, it must go back the same way it came out. The front (outer) bearing will fall out in your hand. It should be greasy and intact if the bearing cage is cracked it must be replaced. The rear bearing (inner) is held in place by the rear axle seal. If you need to remove the rear bearing you will need new seals. They are usually destroyed in removal. Some folks use screwdrivers to pry the seal out, I use a seal puller it is much faster, 9.9 times out of 10 the seal is destroyed removing it. I always replace my seals with new ones and reccomend every one do the same.

If there is little to no grease on the bearing that is not a good sign. The bearing rollers, cage, and inner race should all be one piece with no cracks in the cage. The rollers should be shiny with no discoloration no bluish or blackish color, signs of overheating. No pits, scratches, or gouges in the rollers the inner race and the outer race, (the race still in the hub).

If the bearings show signs of overheating or have a crack in the cage they must be replaced. This means the outer race that is still in the hub will need to be replaced also. Do not mix old bearing races with new bearings.

The outer races are driven into the hub. You can get an old screwdriver or punch and knock them out from the backside. It is easier to get one edge started then work around the race tapping a little as you go. You don't want to get one side too far down past the other, it will bind up. Evenly tap around the race to knock it out. I like to use a brass drift or punch to remove and install races.

Installing a new bearing race can be tricky sometimes. They do make bearing install tools that do a wonderful job installing races without damaging them. You have to install them without damaging them i.e. scratching the inner bearing surface or bending the race. One trick I use on races that seem to be really tight is I place them in a refrigerator for an hour or two. This usually contracts the metal enough the race will tap in easily. Once they warm up to ambient temps they lock themselves in place.

The new bearing can be hand packed with grease or packed with grease using a bearing packer. I hand pack mine. After installing a new outer race in the rear of the hub you will have to drive in a new seal, that bearing race install tool is nice here. I usually use a hard rubber mallet or deadblow hammer and a small piece of soft wood. I'll gently tap the edges of the seal into place, make sure it is going in straight, then place the block of soft wood across the seal and drive it the rest of the way down.

It is not a hard job just a little labor dirt and grease. Dirt is the enemy you want to clean all the dirt off of the drum / hub by whatever means needed. Keep all dirt and contaminants out of your bearings at all times!

Happy wrenching, a busted knuckle only bleeds a little while!
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Old 07-05-2016, 03:21 PM   #5
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Bearings

Recommend a infra-ray temp gun from Amazon (less than $15.00). Just last month took a 1.5k plus round trip with my 2009 32BHDS. Passenger side temp was 115 degrees after 20 miles and the driver side was 110 as I recall. Had the bearings repacked in 2012 and just added a couple of hits of grease on my last trip (June). My passenger side is always hotter as that side of my unit is heavier due to refrig, panty, stove, double bunks, etc.. Being a 2015 if it has less than 10 to 12k miles I wouldn't worry about the bearings as long as they aren't slinging grease. I do however, recommend the infra temp gun so you can measure more accurately.
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Old 07-05-2016, 03:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doboy Dawg View Post
If you have any mechanical skills a bearing repack is nothing. You may even have EZ lube axles. If you have the EZ lube axles just pull the rubber dust cap off the outer hub seal and right in the center is the zerk (grease) fitting. I would just add a couple of shots of grease. Keep an eye on the back of the hub where the rear seal is. If you see any grease seeping out of this seal stop adding grease.

If it is a newer trailer it is possible a tech could have missed greasing that side. They definitely need to be checked. Always use the back of your hand to touch a hub or tire to check for heat. There are much less nerves and tender in case object is scalding hot or hot enough to burn you.

The hubs will get warm or hot but they should all be about the same temp and not scalding hot, if they are that hot there is a problem.

You can check my post Jayfeather 29N Lift and I have pictures of the Dexter EZ lube axles and hubs.

If you don't have the EZ lube axle the wheel hub will have to be removed to grease the bearings. It is not hard but is messy, if you don't like getting dirty or greasy then take it to RV service tech.

Most EZ lube axles have a wheel center cap that has a removable plug. You have to get something such as a screwdriver and gently pry the plastic cover out. Start at one side and gently work around the cap prying it off. If you pry too hard on one side it might bind and break off a plastic tab. If you do no problem these caps can be purchased new. The outer hub seal is recessed a couple of inches back from the center cap edge. If it is too difficult to reach the rubber hub seal, properly jack up the trailer and remove the wheel.

If you need to remove the hub there will be some type of axle nut retainer. In my case it was a cage type that is slotted to prevent the axle nut from loosening and coming of. Gently pry this cage off of the axle nut, you will need to reuse it or buy new ones. After the axle nut retainer is removed you can remove the axle nut. The hub should then come off, the hub is most likely a brake drum and hub combo so it will have some weight to it. If it does not come off easily gently tap it on the rear edges with a deadblow hammer.

There will be a thrust washer behind the axle nut, it must go back the same way it came out. The front (outer) bearing will fall out in your hand. It should be greasy and intact if the bearing cage is cracked it must be replaced. The rear bearing (inner) is held in place by the rear axle seal. If you need to remove the rear bearing you will need new seals. They are usually destroyed in removal. Some folks use screwdrivers to pry the seal out, I use a seal puller it is much faster, 9.9 times out of 10 the seal is destroyed removing it. I always replace my seals with new ones and reccomend every one do the same.

If there is little to no grease on the bearing that is not a good sign. The bearing rollers, cage, and inner race should all be one piece with no cracks in the cage. The rollers should be shiny with no discoloration no bluish or blackish color, signs of overheating. No pits, scratches, or gouges in the rollers the inner race and the outer race, (the race still in the hub).

If the bearings show signs of overheating or have a crack in the cage they must be replaced. This means the outer race that is still in the hub will need to be replaced also. Do not mix old bearing races with new bearings.

The outer races are driven into the hub. You can get an old screwdriver or punch and knock them out from the backside. It is easier to get one edge started then work around the race tapping a little as you go. You don't want to get one side too far down past the other, it will bind up. Evenly tap around the race to knock it out. I like to use a brass drift or punch to remove and install races.

Installing a new bearing race can be tricky sometimes. They do make bearing install tools that do a wonderful job installing races without damaging them. You have to install them without damaging them i.e. scratching the inner bearing surface or bending the race. One trick I use on races that seem to be really tight is I place them in a refrigerator for an hour or two. This usually contracts the metal enough the race will tap in easily. Once they warm up to ambient temps they lock themselves in place.

The new bearing can be hand packed with grease or packed with grease using a bearing packer. I hand pack mine. After installing a new outer race in the rear of the hub you will have to drive in a new seal, that bearing race install tool is nice here. I usually use a hard rubber mallet or deadblow hammer and a small piece of soft wood. I'll gently tap the edges of the seal into place, make sure it is going in straight, then place the block of soft wood across the seal and drive it the rest of the way down.

It is not a hard job just a little labor dirt and grease. Dirt is the enemy you want to clean all the dirt off of the drum / hub by whatever means needed. Keep all dirt and contaminants out of your bearings at all times!

Happy wrenching, a busted knuckle only bleeds a little while!
Some good info here, but also some misinformation. There's no way to look at the backside of the wheel to see if grease is leaking from the inner seal. The seal is inside the drum and not visible from the outside. The drum has to be removed in order to see if the seal is leaking. Also, there's no outer seal, other than than the rubber plug. Each hub has only one seal. And the outer plug is pliable rubber, not hard plastic.

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Old 07-06-2016, 09:09 AM   #7
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Remember too, that bearings on axles with brakes will run slightly warmer than the free axle. Personally, I don't mind packing bearings. It's a cheap, easy task and a satisfying way spend an afternoon. I do travel trailer bearings every other year, and my boat trailer every year (repeated dunking in water). I also make sure I have the tools/parts to replace a failed bearing on the side of the road. Pre-greased assemblies are available and a relatively minor investment.
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Old 07-06-2016, 09:48 AM   #8
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Remember too, that bearings on axles with brakes will run slightly warmer than the free axle. Personally, I don't mind packing bearings. It's a cheap, easy task and a satisfying way spend an afternoon. I do travel trailer bearings every other year, and my boat trailer every year (repeated dunking in water). I also make sure I have the tools/parts to replace a failed bearing on the side of the road. Pre-greased assemblies are available and a relatively minor investment.
This is great advice and one of the things I overlooked as a new RV'er. Thank you!
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:40 AM   #9
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FYI -- the rear seal on 3 or 4 wheel bearings was fouled from the factory. I know I'm not alone as others have shared similar reports. Because of this I would NOT use the EZ Lube zerks.

If you don't want to do a DIY re-pack, tire shops will do it pretty cheap. In my case it was ~$100 for replacement seals and re-packing all 4 wheels. They also had to clean grease off the breaks. For me it was worth paying for the service.
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Old 07-06-2016, 12:18 PM   #10
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My dealer charges $60 an axle. It's not worth my time to jack it up for $120.00.
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