Wheel Bearings

HI all,
I'm looking for info/directions on replacing the wheel bearings. I didn't see anything listed...I may have missed it if it's there.
Any info would be appreciated!
Thanx!
Julz

Comments

  • VernaVerna Administrator Posts: 6,051
    A search (upper right hand corner) of “wheel bearing maintenance” gives this discussion as one of many:  

    https://tab-rv.vanillacommunity.com/discussion/comment/100091#Comment_100091

    And it really does depend on what year and model your [email protected] is.  A Dutchman [email protected] is different than a 2014 Pleasant Valley [email protected] which is different than the current nüCamp [email protected] 


    Verna, Columbus, IN, waiting for birth date on 10/06/2020..... , towed by a white 2019 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercab, 3.5L V6 Ecoboost; [email protected] Administrator
  • tabiphiletabiphile Member Posts: 221
    Replacing the bearings is a bit more involved than squeezing grease into the bearings. The process includes removal of the hub, the same process you would use if you hand pack the bearings. This is the time when you should also service the brakes since you will have them entirely exposed when you do this service. Have lots of paper towels, brake cleaner and rubber gloves handy for this job. To replace the bearings you will need to start by removing the wheel. Do one side at a time. Be sure that you have properly supported the trailer/axle before you start. Once the wheel is removed you will next remove your wheel hub. To do this you will need to back off the brakes to makes sure they will allow the hub to slide off. Remove the grease cap. Then remove the cotter pin locking the castellated nut. Removing the pin will allow you to thread the nut off. Once the nut is removed you can pull the hub loose. Clean the spindle and look for wear or any damage. Take the removed hub and remove the seals. With the seals out of the way, the bearings can be removed. With bearings out of the way the inner races can be carefully drifted loose. There are specific tools for this purpose but most folks do this job with a hammer and brass drift. Carefully clean the inside hub and look for wear or damage. Assuming that all is well, start to replace the bearings by carefully tapping the new inner races in place. They must completely seat. Once these are in place you may install the thoroughly packed bearings. After the bearings are installed the seals are replaced. Be generous with grease and be meticulously clean. With the seals installed you are ready to put the hub back on the spindle. Again, grease everything as you go taking care to avoid getting grease on the inside braking surface of the hub or the brakes. With the hub in place you will slip the D washer onto the spindle followed by the castellated nut. Tighten and turn, tighten and turn until the hub begins to stick. Back the nut off enough to install the cotter pin and Bobs your uncle. Bang the grease cap back on and finish up by adjusting your brakes. 

    Keep track of what kind of grease you use when you do this. Use same brand/blend whenever you service the hubs.
  • ChanWChanW Member Posts: 2,708
    Very thorough description!
    Chan  -  Buffalo NY (Beau Fleuve)
    2014 S Maxx - 2011 Tacoma 4cyl
     
     [email protected]'ll_Do_Ya
  • TampakayakerTampakayaker Member Posts: 202
    tabiphile said:
    Replacing the bearings is a bit more involved than squeezing grease into the bearings. The process includes removal of the hub, the same process you would use if you hand pack the bearings. This is the time when you should also service the brakes since you will have them entirely exposed when you do this service. Have lots of paper towels, brake cleaner and rubber gloves handy for this job. To replace the bearings you will need to start by removing the wheel. Do one side at a time. Be sure that you have properly supported the trailer/axle before you start. Once the wheel is removed you will next remove your wheel hub. To do this you will need to back off the brakes to makes sure they will allow the hub to slide off. Remove the grease cap. Then remove the cotter pin locking the castellated nut. Removing the pin will allow you to thread the nut off. Once the nut is removed you can pull the hub loose. Clean the spindle and look for wear or any damage. Take the removed hub and remove the seals. With the seals out of the way, the bearings can be removed. With bearings out of the way the inner races can be carefully drifted loose. There are specific tools for this purpose but most folks do this job with a hammer and brass drift. Carefully clean the inside hub and look for wear or damage. Assuming that all is well, start to replace the bearings by carefully tapping the new inner races in place. They must completely seat. Once these are in place you may install the thoroughly packed bearings. After the bearings are installed the seals are replaced. Be generous with grease and be meticulously clean. With the seals installed you are ready to put the hub back on the spindle. Again, grease everything as you go taking care to avoid getting grease on the inside braking surface of the hub or the brakes. With the hub in place you will slip the D washer onto the spindle followed by the castellated nut. Tighten and turn, tighten and turn until the hub begins to stick. Back the nut off enough to install the cotter pin and Bobs your uncle. Bang the grease cap back on and finish up by adjusting your brakes. 

    Keep track of what kind of grease you use when you do this. Use same brand/blend whenever you service the hubs.
    Are you replacing the inner races just to be on the safe side?  I've never replaced them unless the bearing had gone bad and scarred them.  Maybe I was doing bearing replacements wrong.  Also couldn't you just repack the bearings if after they were cleaned out of all the old grease, they still spun smooth and didn't show any signs of damage?

    2006 RAM 1500 4 door, 2016 [email protected] 320 MAX S 
    Tampa FL
  • N7SHG_HamN7SHG_Ham Member Posts: 939
    I always replace both races and bearings if replacement is required. Not needed with every inspection, cleaning and repack necessarily.

    Bearings aren't that expensive and other than driving the races out/in require no more effort during service.
    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
  • tabiphiletabiphile Member Posts: 221
    @N7SHG_Ham has it right...if you are replacing one do both. The parts cost is minimal and the relative effort is also. 
    If the bearings are running smoothly, if the grease looks good, if there are no signs of failure, sure, clean and repack. But don't try to make a bearing last forever. They will fail. If you have never seen a wheel drop off an axle just wait...it's ugly. The Dexter EZ lube can give a false sense of security. At some point a proper hubs off service should be done along with a proper inspection of the hubs, bearings, races, spindles etc. Brakes should be done at the same time.
    One thing that was neglected previously is that you should always use a torque wrench on the wheel lugs when you replace them. Guessing tightness is a gift that some mechanics possess. The rest of us should measure it.
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 1,523
    Most recommendations I have seen, say two years between cleaning, inspection, and repacking hubs/bearings with a lightly used trailer, and annually on one that sees a fair amount of use.
    cheers
    2018 TaB400, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast
  • N7SHG_HamN7SHG_Ham Member Posts: 939
    The Dexter service manual is the authority, inspection of entire axle end 12k/12mo, no shortcuts for pumping grease in as an alternate service and no exception for low miles, the 12mo seems to come every year whether you have towed or not.

    https://www.dexteraxle.com/resources/manuals
    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 1,523
    Good to know, must be a Dexter axle requirement, due to their design and application.  My TaB400 went two years, towed 1500 miles by previous owner without a cleans and refuge, and when I had the cleans and inspection done last month, everything was fine.

    Some modern synthetic bearing labs have a longer service interval, but oil based luges, need a more frequent renewal.
    cheers
    2018 TaB400, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast
  • qhumberdqhumberd Member Posts: 56
    So I was looking for a consensus on this. We are picking up a 2019 TAB 400 Boondock lite with the pitched axle that was driven about 3700 miles in the last 12 months and was then winterized and stored covered. I will drive it home about 500 miles. I am not sure I am comfortable with the bearing service myself so ....

    1. Would most of you service the bearings now at the 12 month point as Dexter recc despite low mileage?

    2. If you do not do the work can an auto service place do this or is a trailer repair place preferred? We do not live near a dealer.

    2019  [email protected] Boondock Lite

    2016 Toyota Tundra 5.7 Crew Cab
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Moderator Posts: 6,078
    A utility trailer company would do the work.  I would also ask your local auto mechanic.  Just make sure they know where to place the jacks so you don’t crush the axle tube.
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • tabiphiletabiphile Member Posts: 221
    @qhumberd...welcome to the forum. Congratulations on the new rig! 
    There are a few ways you can play this. Are you a risk taker? If yes, pump some grease into the Alemite fittings and haul it home. Stop a few times and check the hubs and wheels to see if they are heating up. A hot bearing will announce it's presence (usually) before it fails. When you get home, take your [email protected] to a local trailer service shop and have them do a complete service on it. 

    Or...if you don't know for certain if the bearings were properly greased before those 3,700 miles and you want to play it safe, take it to a trailer or RV service center and get it taken care of before you go. Better safe than sorry. Still stop every now and then to check to see if things are getting hot. That's a good habit to get into when you tow.

    One way or the other the service should be done....
    Most auto shops don't like to deal with trailers. The mechanics are capable and qualified but it's not a job that's normally in their wheelhouse.
  • MuttonChopsMuttonChops Member Posts: 819
    qhumberd said:
    . . .   I am not sure I am comfortable with the bearing service myself so ....

    1. Would most of you service the bearings now at the 12 month point as Dexter recc despite low mileage?

    2. If you do not do the work can an auto service place do this or is a trailer repair place preferred? We do not live near a dealer.
    = 1 =  I'd do a bearing service if it was my 'new to me' trailer.  Then you know the status.

    = 2 =   No on using an' auto shop'.  Find a general trailer repair shop, one that does fishing boat trailer service for example.

    That said;  it is an easy DIY project.  Just a little messy wiping up the old grease.
    '18 320 Spitched axle, 3020HE; PNW based
    TV: '17 Colorado V6 Z71 4x4, Tow Package, GM Brake Controller
    Adventures:  30   Nights:  174 
  • qhumberdqhumberd Member Posts: 56
    Many thanks. The seller is very trustworthy and has kept meticulous records. Only six trips towing since he purchased new in early 2019. He mentioned checking the wheels himself for heating on all his trips. I have done a trailer bearing service in the remote past and recall how messy, but you also know it is done correctly. I was impressed at the instructions and videos Dexter provides. Thanks all!

    2019  [email protected] Boondock Lite

    2016 Toyota Tundra 5.7 Crew Cab
  • GrandmasKidGrandmasKid Member Posts: 119
    I'd like a little help please. We have a 2017 Little Guy Tab Outback and just had the wheel bearings maintenance service and brake inspection at a cost of $150. I'm confused about how often this needs to be done. My original manual, written in 2016 says every 6K miles or six months, lubricate. It does not say how often to remove, clean, inspect, repack, and replace, which is what we payed the $150 for. I notice the NuCamp [email protected] manual, written in 2017, says to repack yearly. We are averaging about 8K miles per year and took one extended trip doing 7K miles in five weeks. We're considering going from Georgia to Alaska and hopefully back. I don't like the idea of having to mess with wheel bearings on a trip but will do what I have to do. I'd love to have sealed bearings that I wouldn't have to worry about. Is it possible to purchase sealed bearings without having to replace the axel? Any advice would be appreciated.
    2017 MaxS Outback Towed with 2010 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Ltd.
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Moderator Posts: 6,078
    NuCamp recommends bearing maintenance annually or every 12,000 miles - whichever comes first.  The confusion is the ability to use the zerk fitting to add lube.  I know members quote Dexter as requiring a full repack annually, but what is the purpose of the easy lube system?  For low annual mileage use, can you get away with every other year repack alternated with use of the zerk and careful monitoring?
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • WilliamAWilliamA Member Posts: 122
    Pumping grease into the hub to service bearings is like brushing your teeth with your mouth closed. If you scrub away at your lips long enough, a little toothpaste is bound to squeeze in, but it does nothing to rid your teeth of the stuff you need to get rid of. The only proper way is to pull the bearings, clean out the hub and repack. The zerk is nice for a mid-trip top off, but to get the gack and contaminated grease out ya gotta get dirty...
    JMHO
    WilliamA
    2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
    What remains of a 2017 [email protected] XL
    Can generally be found around west-central Wisconsin.  Otherwise, out looking for smallmouth bass, questing for the elusive 25+" monster....
  • GrandmasKidGrandmasKid Member Posts: 119
    edited May 16
    I only started using a trailer in late 2017. Before that the only time I thought about wheel bearings was when, as a kid in the early 70s I messed around with old VWs. I owned three of them and they took up too much of my time. Does anyone know why our [email protected] trailers don't have sealed bearings? Is it possible to convert to sealed bearings without replacing the whole axle?
    2017 MaxS Outback Towed with 2010 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Ltd.
  • tabiphiletabiphile Member Posts: 221
    Does anyone know why our [email protected] trailers don't have sealed bearings? Is it possible to convert to sealed bearings without replacing the whole axle?
    Sealed bearings are not well suited for TT apps. TT's (unlike wheel bearings on a front wheel drive car as an example) do not have CV joints to help manage the loading stress. Loading stress? Think about low pressure in a tire and the swaying while towing. Cost is also a consideration. Wheel bearings are generally very cheaply made poor tolerance assemblies, a reason why the TT industry demands that they are serviced so often. Sealed bearings are not adjustable. You get what you get...the typical roller bearings used in TT's are adjusted by you when you install them...that's the turn the wheel back and forth thing you are doing while you tighten the nut. There have been sealed bearing used in the TT industry, and many of them have failed. 
    Can you install sealed bearings without an axle change? No. The sealed bearing axle is part of the tolerance stack that makes them work. The axle needs to be designed to accept the sealed bearing.

    Sealed bearings are not a panacea...anyone who has owned an all wheel drive performance vehicle has experience the whoop whoop whoop of a failing wheel bearing and the horrifying price tag that comes from replacing them....60 to 100,000 miles is about when they make their presence known. always just out of warranty.
  • VernaVerna Administrator Posts: 6,051
    @GrandmasKid, I always take my [email protected] to a utility trailer business once a year or 12,000 miles (last year it was serviced twice) for them to service the bearings. It is so much easier for me. I hate getting greasy and this solution works well for me. He also checks and adjusts my brakes at the same time. Around $100 is a price I’m very willing to pay. 
    Verna, Columbus, IN, waiting for birth date on 10/06/2020..... , towed by a white 2019 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercab, 3.5L V6 Ecoboost; [email protected] Administrator
  • GrandmasKidGrandmasKid Member Posts: 119
    tabiphile said:
    Does anyone know why our [email protected] trailers don't have sealed bearings? Is it possible to convert to sealed bearings without replacing the whole axle?
    Sealed bearings are not well suited for TT apps. TT's (unlike wheel bearings on a front wheel drive car as an example) do not have CV joints to help manage the loading stress. Loading stress? Think about low pressure in a tire and the swaying while towing. Cost is also a consideration. Wheel bearings are generally very cheaply made poor tolerance assemblies, a reason why the TT industry demands that they are serviced so often. Sealed bearings are not adjustable. You get what you get...the typical roller bearings used in TT's are adjusted by you when you install them...that's the turn the wheel back and forth thing you are doing while you tighten the nut. There have been sealed bearing used in the TT industry, and many of them have failed. 
    Can you install sealed bearings without an axle change? No. The sealed bearing axle is part of the tolerance stack that makes them work. The axle needs to be designed to accept the sealed bearing.

    Sealed bearings are not a panacea...anyone who has owned an all wheel drive performance vehicle has experience the whoop whoop whoop of a failing wheel bearing and the horrifying price tag that comes from replacing them....60 to 100,000 miles is about when they make their presence known. always just out of warranty.
    Thanks for the detailed explanation. It's nice to understand something that was bothering me. Looks like wheel bearing maintenance is just part of owning our [email protected] and important.
    2017 MaxS Outback Towed with 2010 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Ltd.
  • WilliamAWilliamA Member Posts: 122
    tabiphile said:
    Does anyone know why our [email protected] trailers don't have sealed bearings? Is it possible to convert to sealed bearings without replacing the whole axle?
    Sealed bearings are not well suited for TT apps. TT's (unlike wheel bearings on a front wheel drive car as an example) do not have CV joints to help manage the loading stress. Loading stress? Think about low pressure in a tire and the swaying while towing. Cost is also a consideration. Wheel bearings are generally very cheaply made poor tolerance assemblies, a reason why the TT industry demands that they are serviced so often. Sealed bearings are not adjustable. You get what you get...the typical roller bearings used in TT's are adjusted by you when you install them...that's the turn the wheel back and forth thing you are doing while you tighten the nut. There have been sealed bearing used in the TT industry, and many of them have failed. 
    Can you install sealed bearings without an axle change? No. The sealed bearing axle is part of the tolerance stack that makes them work. The axle needs to be designed to accept the sealed bearing.

    Sealed bearings are not a panacea...anyone who has owned an all wheel drive performance vehicle has experience the whoop whoop whoop of a failing wheel bearing and the horrifying price tag that comes from replacing them....60 to 100,000 miles is about when they make their presence known. always just out of warranty.
    Tapered bearings also have a much higher load bearing surface relative to their size, hence larger capacity. Autos use sealed ball bearings because of their lower friction coefficient. They are okay, but for self servicing and longevity, nothing yet beats a tapered bearing.
    WilliamA
    2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
    What remains of a 2017 [email protected] XL
    Can generally be found around west-central Wisconsin.  Otherwise, out looking for smallmouth bass, questing for the elusive 25+" monster....
  • N7SHG_HamN7SHG_Ham Member Posts: 939
    It is more than the grease as to why an annual or 12k interval for an actual pull about and look see. Seals, brakes and so on can be inspected, the brakes adjusted and the bearing pre load adjusted.

    IMO, careful and regular hub assembly maintenance as recommend by Dexter will go a long ways toward not leaving you with a mechanical failure beside the road. That and tire maintenance are the two most important pieces to safe towing, everything else is pretty much cosmetic.

    Don't skip on the important stuff.
    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
  • jkjennjkjenn Member Posts: 6,122
    N7SHG_Ham said:
    It is more than the grease as to why an annual or 12k interval for an actual pull about and look see. Seals, brakes and so on can be inspected, the brakes adjusted and the bearing pre load adjusted.

    IMO, careful and regular hub assembly maintenance as recommend by Dexter will go a long ways toward not leaving you with a mechanical failure beside the road. That and tire maintenance are the two most important pieces to safe towing, everything else is pretty much cosmetic.

    Don't skip on the important stuff.
    Wholeheartedly agree! Take care if yoyr bearings and thry will take care of you!

    2021 [email protected] 320 Boondock "Mattie Ross" | 2021 [email protected] Nights: 33 | Total nights in a [email protected] 243 | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk | [email protected] owner since 2014

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