Wheel bearings

Discussion in 'Tires / Brakes / Bearings / Axles' started by dadbrewer1@gmail.com, Feb 19, 2017.

  1. dadbrewer1@gmail.com

    dadbrewer1@gmail.com New Member

    Aug 15, 2016
    How often should I repack my pup wheel bearings?
  2. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

    Jul 19, 2007
    At minimum the start of each season... If you lucky to never have an end to your season then once per year. ..
  3. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

    Jul 30, 2008
    Many people feel annually. I repacked my TT when I got it 2 years ago. I don't plan on repacking this year. Maybe, next year. I am making my accessment based on the fact that I have only pulled it about 1500 miles.

    Someone will come along and say Bearing Buddies are for boat trailers....Anyway, I have a utility/motorcycle trailer I packed the bearings on in 1993, put on BB's and have not repacked since. I give it a squirt of grease every now and then. I my Apache for 8 years. I repacked the bearings the first year I had it. I put on Bearing Buddies and didn't repack again. I have a boat trailer with BB's on it that I put on on 1996 and haven't repacked.

    I would not use Bearing Buddies on a trailer with brakes, though. Grease can get forced by the rear seal and contaminate brakes.
  4. ny_rocking_chairs

    ny_rocking_chairs Member

    Jul 17, 2016
    Webster, NY
    Part of our annual spring check-out. Since it sat in the garage for 7-8 months, pull everything apart and check for rodent nests, damage, make sure everything is tight, etc. While in there not that big a deal to pull the bearing cover and add some grease.
  5. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Active Member

    Jun 14, 2014
    I repack mine each time I change tires, which is about every 5-6 years. Unless your are submerging the axles, why do they need repacking if you are using a high drop point grease? We don't repack the non drive axles on our cars every year. Properly cleaned and repacked axles can easily last multiple years with the proper bearing seals and so forth. There is no where for the grease to go and modern grease doesn't just wear out in a year given the low miles put on the vast majority of campers. Modern lubricants are a thing of beauty, just like modern engine oils.
  6. jmcclung11

    jmcclung11 Active Member

    Aug 10, 2008
    Fishersville, VA
    Re: Wheel bearings

    This topic has been asked numerous times in here. You will get a lot of different opinions.

    The difference in auto and trailers is that most of the time, trailers sit for months without being used. Autos are driven frequently.

    I would do mine once a year. That gives you peace of mind that the bearings are still good. I would hate to be broken down on the side of the road because I pushed them too far.

    Tip: Get a spare assembly in case you do break down...that way you can install the spare and be back on the road.

    I bought my camper used. Therefore, I put brand new bearings on and kept both old ones for spares in zip lock bags in case they were needed.

    Sent from my LGG4.
  7. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

    Jul 30, 2008
    I can think of lots of people with seasonal pleasure vehicles. None that I know have every complained of bearing failure from the cars sitting around alot....I have 5 seasonal vehicles and never had a bearing issue.

    Anyway, back to trailers....Carry a spare set of bearings and you will never have trouble. This theory has worked for me for decades... [:D]
  8. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

    Re: Wheel bearings

    [:O] [:O] This may make perfect sense. I know absolutely zero about what bearings even do. All I know is that I've been told to repack them every year, so I do. It's easy, and I can do it myself. The only time I've ever seen nearly dry ones is when we've bought NTU campers.

    This is a really good idea.

    As I mentioned, I have no clue what bearings actually do.

    1) What would happen if they fail?

    2) How would you know it's the bearings?

    3) Is it possible for them to fail when they are fulling packed with grease? They look very sturdy and life-time-ish to me. But once again, I don't understand their function.

    Thanks in advance for the answers.
  9. yetavon

    yetavon everything is better around a campfire.

    Mar 11, 2010
    Re: Wheel bearings

    Imagine a board, on marbles, on a concrete floor....
    now imagine trying to stand on that board...
    The board is your tire,
    marbles the bearings,
    concrete the road,
    and your the camper.
  10. ny_rocking_chairs

    ny_rocking_chairs Member

    Jul 17, 2016
    Webster, NY
    Bearings don't necessarily have a catastrophic failure, at least never heard of one (but there's a lot I've never heard of).

    Typically as they wear or get scored there is excess friction, which generates heat, which can lead to further damage (warping, etc.).

    Usually takes an inspection of the bearings or if it's really bad, when you jack up the trailer and spin the tire you can feel a grinding going on instead of a nice, smooth roll. Be careful it's not the brakes though.

    Also, when starting on a journey we almost always stop somewhere in the first 50 miles, do a quick walk-around, make sure everything is still tight, put your hand on the bearing hubs, should not be hot. Excess heat there would be an obvious indicator of something amiss.
  11. Snow

    Snow Well-Known Member

    Jul 19, 2007
    To go along with what NY_R_C said, I carry one of those hand held laser thermometers and use it when we stop.. Point it at the hub and compare the temps from all four trailer tires... Yes most of the heat is from the brakes, but I know that 1) - I have a brake that isn't working to good since that temp never gets over 80 degrees and 2) - The other three wheels have good bearings since they are all within 2-5 degrees of each other at 110 ...

    Yes plan to address the brake issue in the spring...
  12. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

    Oct 10, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    If barrings run out of grease it could really heat things up and could cause damage to the breaks which could cause the break to seeze or fail. It could also damage other nearby parts. At they very worst could damage the axle. Every time you stop it is best to check the temperature on the hub.
  13. Stephen Brower

    Stephen Brower 'I'd rather be camping'

    Aug 26, 2014
    Northeast Illinois
    I do as Snow does every time I stop, the temperature will let you know if something is going bad. Write down the temps so you have some way to remember a safe zone. I will pull my every two years unless their is over 2,500 miles of use on it. I keep a log of the estimated mileage for each trip.
  14. f5moab

    f5moab Retired from the Federal Government

    May 7, 2013
    Eastern Idaho
    For me, I add grease via the Ultra-lube system yearly and do the complete pull and repack with new seals every three years. Never had a problem.
  15. mrjam2jab

    mrjam2jab Member

    May 29, 2014
    When we got our pup, it had sat outside, uncovered, unused for about 6 yrs. I asked a mechanic friend to check the hubs for me. He said it all (bearings and grease) looked brand new and was good to roll. That was 4 years ago. We only use it twice a year.
  16. mickaqua

    mickaqua Member

    Aug 3, 2012
    I'm from the same class as annual is good, although I think it is also a good idea to check wheel bearing temps
    at the end of a trip occasionally.

    You can do that by putting your hand on the "wheel hubcap" at the end of a trip.
    If it is too hot to handle, then it needs attention.

    And, if you can feel more than minimal play in the wheel when it is raised, right, it needs attention.
  17. mandinga

    mandinga Member

    Mar 4, 2014
    Ottawa, ontario
    My trailer has EZ-lube axles. I repacked the bearings when I got the trailer since I didn't know when they had been done prior. It looks like the bearings had been replaced at one point. Typically, once a year, I will pump new grease in until all the old grease comes out. I will re-pack every 3 or 4 seasons. I have a friend who does roofing. None of his dump trailers have ever had the bearings checked, and they are 15+ years old and get overloaded constantly. So far he has only had 1 fail out of 12.
  18. 94-D2

    94-D2 Happy Campin'

    May 21, 2010
    Sutter Creek CA
    This scenario is just as critical, if not more, as one that gets used all the time. Idle beings are subject to moisture from the environment and hence rust because the grease settles and the hubs do not turn enough to disribute it. Therefore, more maintenance could be in order. Your inspection and result was a lucky one.

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