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Old 07-25-2015, 05:21 PM   #1
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EZ lube axle concern . . .

Recently replaced the axle on my utility trailer and it is equiped with the EZ lube spindles with zerks. Jusat this past week I noticed a light tilt to the tire on the passenger side, and when I pushed/pulled on the tire, it "wiggled. Obviously the outer bearing had come loose. I'm not sure how many miles had been put on in that condition.
So . . . I removed nut retainer (painted yellow), tightened the nut/bearing while spinning the tire, until the nut would not tighten any more. However . . . the tire would still spin. Is this normal? Or a sign of something bad? Can that nut retainer "loosen" with time or was it not tightened properly from the factory? And lastly . . . what, if any, damage might have been done to the bearing/spindle? It rode home just fine. Looked right and was the same temerature as the other hub.
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Old 07-25-2015, 06:32 PM   #2
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When you tighten the nut under the retainer , it should not be much more then finger tight. (finger tight plus 1/4 turn more) If you tighten it to much, you put undue load on the bearings which will cause bearing failure. The retainers that I have been familiar with have a cotter pin that goes thru the retainer and the end of the axle. There is another type of retainer that has a sleeve that prevents the retainer from moving. Either you have a bad bearing at present which is unlikely because you surely would have felt the roughness when you spun the tire or the retainer didn't have a lock in place and backed off as you towed it. Either way safety would dictate removing the bearings and washing them for inspection before repacking them.
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Old 07-25-2015, 06:44 PM   #3
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That is one of the mysteries . . . the tire kept turning even though the nut was TIGHT. I fully expected the tire to stop rotating, back the nut off 1/4 turn or so, then put retainer on. Not what happened. I've never seena nut retainer like this and know nothing of their efficientcies or liklyhood to back off on ther own.Name:  retainer.jpg
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:00 PM   #4
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It is pretty easy to over load a bearing. The tire will continue to turn freely way past the correct tightness point. Is there a dog or finger on the inside portion of that retainer?? It looks from the pic that there is something at 5 o'clock. Could be an allusion There has to be something that holds the retainer in place beyond just friction.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:02 PM   #5
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I would inspect the end portion of the axle for a hole that could hold that retainer in place.
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Old 07-25-2015, 07:28 PM   #6
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I have taken many a bearing nut off with my fingers(no socket). They are not suppose to be tight. All you can turn with your fingers and a 1/4 turn more. Thats all!!!! Pull the bearing cap off the other side to see what holds that retainer in place. There has got to be something more then that retainer. I would still suspect a cotter pin is missing.
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Old 07-25-2015, 08:10 PM   #7
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The spindle has a flat spot (in the threaded portion) that matches up with the "5 o'clock" portion of retainer.
So how do I properly adjust this nut?
Finger tight then back off so that retainer fits?
And what if there is wiggle in the tire?
Weird . . . On other bearings I have adjusted over the years, the tire stops turning when overtightened. This one didn't!
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Old 07-25-2015, 09:17 PM   #8
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There should be a flat washer in behind the nut with that same flat spot made in it. That is made that way to keep the rotation of the bearings and hub from moving the washer and nut. You don't put the retainer on until after you tighten the bearing nut. Spin the wheel as you turn the nut to tighten the bearing. When you can no longer tighten the nut with your fingers, move the tire back and forth to check for bearing play. If you can get any appreciative movement from rocking the tire from top to bottom, then the bearings are not tight enough. If there is no noticeable play in the wheel its close. Now tighten the nut 1/4 turn and put the retainer on. That dog or finger that I mentioned on the inner side of the retainer lays on that flat spot of the spindle. Again, pull the other bearing end cap to see if there is something that keeps the retainer in place like a clip or cotter pin. It is hard to believe that there isn't something to hold that retainer in place. If there is no pin or clip, take a set of pliers and pinch the retainer gently so that the inner dog and outer portion of the retainer grip the nut and flat spot on the spindle.
If there is ANY roughness or noise in that wheel when you spin it, it needs to come part and have the bearings and races inspected. Something is most likely damaged and needs to be addressed immediately.
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Old 07-25-2015, 11:56 PM   #9
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There is no cotter pin used with that type of retainer. It simply clips on once you line up the flat spots. And yes the wheel will continue to spin unless the bearings are severely overtightened.
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Old 07-26-2015, 09:03 AM   #10
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Thanks all . . . I'll add more info tomorrow . . .
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