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Old 06-28-2018, 07:09 AM   #1
JandS
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Bearings and Axle issues

Anyone have issues with their bearings breaking? We have a 2014 5th Wheel, Cougar326SRX toy hauler. We got stranded out of state when our wheel flew off! The mechanic said the bearing broke. As a result, they have to do a full axle replacement. Any thoughts, input?
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Old 06-28-2018, 07:24 AM   #2
travelin texans
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Your rv is 4+ years old, when were the bearings inspected/packed last? Not grease added thru the zerks on the spindle ends if equipped, never consider that being repacked. The OEM bearings & seals are Chinese made so far from top quality & an annual inspection is almost mandatory.
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Old 06-28-2018, 07:34 AM   #3
JRTJH
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First, welcome to the forum.

I'd ask, is there a history of inspection/maintenance on the axles? When were the bearings last cleaned, inspected and re-lubricated and what was their condition at that time (I'm not asking when was grease last injected via the zerk fitting), but when were they actually removed, cleaned, inspected and re-lubricated?

When they failed, what happened, what, if anything, led up to the failure and what actual damage was incurred?

Lastly, do you know why the mechanic that inspected the axles after the damage made his conclusion that the "bearing broke" and did he show/explain, just what "broke" on the bearing?
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:17 AM   #4
JandS
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We had them inspected and checked, etc. before we left on our trip 3 weeks ago. We were traveling down the highway at approx 65 miles an hour. We had 2 mechanics examine the damage. The 2nd mechanic showed us the broken bearing.
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:53 AM   #5
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I'm not challenging the need to inspect & pack TT wheel bearings, just wondering why we can go 100,000+ miles in cars/trucks and not worry about those bearings. Are all trailer bearings cheap junk and should be changed out? If bearings have been properly packed with grease then corrosion from sitting idle (compared to cars/trucks used almost daily) shouldn't be an issue. Just wondering.
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Old 06-28-2018, 09:44 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JandS View Post
We had them inspected and checked, etc. before we left on our trip 3 weeks ago. We were traveling down the highway at approx 65 miles an hour. We had 2 mechanics examine the damage. The 2nd mechanic showed us the broken bearing.
The timing makes me suspicious of the preload not being set correctly on reassemble after inspection or grease compatibility issues.

When shown the "broken" bearings, was it the rollers, cages or races that were broken? Or where they just a mangled mess? Knowing which component failed and how can help guide you to the cause.

Here is some insights:

http://donoupoglou.gr/wp/wp-content/.../catb3001e.pdf

https://www.timken.com/pdf/5892_Bear...20Brochure.pdf
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Old 06-28-2018, 09:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Number 4 View Post
I'm not challenging the need to inspect & pack TT wheel bearings, just wondering why we can go 100,000+ miles in cars/trucks and not worry about those bearings. Are all trailer bearings cheap junk and should be changed out? If bearings have been properly packed with grease then corrosion from sitting idle (compared to cars/trucks used almost daily) shouldn't be an issue. Just wondering.
Car & trucks use newer technology bearings that are self contained, lubricated and not nearly as dependent on reassembly technique (preload) as tapered bearings used on TTs. I am old enough to remember the same issues with tapered bearings once used on cars and trucks when I was teen.
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Old 06-28-2018, 11:26 AM   #8
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The timing makes me suspicious of the preload not being set correctly on reassemble after inspection or grease compatibility issues.

DITTO on this! The thrust/side load on the bearings when turning and backing is much more severe than on older cars and trucks that used tapered roller bearings. You will almost always "scrub" one or more of the trailer tires on the inside of a tight turn. If the proper preload, too loose, is not applied to the bearing that can actually fracture the cage and cause the bearing to fail in very short order. If preload is too tight the bearing will overheat boiling the lubrication away causing the bearing to seize and fail.
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Old 06-28-2018, 03:30 PM   #9
JRTJH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Number 4 View Post
I'm not challenging the need to inspect & pack TT wheel bearings, just wondering why we can go 100,000+ miles in cars/trucks and not worry about those bearings. Are all trailer bearings cheap junk and should be changed out? If bearings have been properly packed with grease then corrosion from sitting idle (compared to cars/trucks used almost daily) shouldn't be an issue. Just wondering.
As technology in automobiles has advanced, so has the maintenance requirements for components. Wheel bearings on most cars/trucks these days are sealed bearings, typically "ignored" until they give problems. Those few vehicles with "non-sealed bearings" (Fords) require repacking every 60K miles.

Trailers do not share this "advanced technology" and are "old school roller/taper bearings" They require much more frequent maintenance. If you go to this website, you can view a 1960 Ford Falcon Owner's Manual: https://www.manualslib.com/manual/10...page=46#manual On page 46 is a "maintenance requirement" to clean, repack and adjust the front wheel bearings every 12,000 miles. Trailers, for the most part, use the same type bearings that were on 1960 Falcons and require essentially the same maintenance requirements. Good, bad or ugly, that's just the way trailers roll..................
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Old 06-28-2018, 03:40 PM   #10
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I agree with previous posters. The timing of the failure (shortly after inspection, regreasing and reinstallation/adjustment) would cause me to suspect that the bearings were not reinstalled correctly (preload adjustment and/or incorrect bearing set placed in a hub where it was not installed in the same race from which it was removed) or incorrect grease was used without completely removing all the "old grease" from the hub.

It may be a simple component failure, but that soon after maintenance was performed on the axle, I'd consider that maintenance the cause until it was proven otherwise.....

The dilemma? How do you "prove" the previous mechanic didn't reinstall them correctly???? I don't think you can..... All the more reason that I do my own maintenance: If it breaks, it's my fault.....
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