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rabbit59
05-25-2020, 03:35 PM
My 2020 Keystone cougar 22rbs has no wheel bearing issues, this is more preventative. I was told bearing buddies help prevent problems. Problem is, my wheels have chrome caps that look to be bolted with wheel. Are these sealed like auto bearings? Or do you grease them inside wheel? Kinda confused with these. Thanks all...

flybouy
05-25-2020, 03:50 PM
You were told wrong info. "Bearing buddies" are for boat trailers that have no breaks. The fresh grease goes in the outside and the water and old grease go out the backside. On a travel trailer it will blow out the back seal, fill the brake drum with grease and ruin your brakes. The only way to grease your axle bearings is to take the hub off and repack the bearings like in a 2 wheel drive, rear wheel drive vehichle.

Terry W.
05-25-2020, 04:49 PM
That's not totally true about boat trailers. Boat trailers do have brakes on the drum or disc. Required by DOT rules.

chuckster57
05-25-2020, 04:57 PM
That's not totally true about boat trailers. Boat trailers do have brakes on the drum or disc. Required by DOT rules.

Yeah, They are just NOT electric. My dads was “surge”.

LewisB
05-25-2020, 05:26 PM
My 2020 Keystone cougar 22rbs has no wheel bearing issues, this is more preventative. I was told bearing buddies help prevent problems. Problem is, my wheels have chrome caps that look to be bolted with wheel. Are these sealed like auto bearings? Or do you grease them inside wheel? Kinda confused with these. Thanks all...

Answer to the OP: Bearing buddies have a zerk fitting on the end of the spindle that allows grease to be pumped into the bearings. The path is through the spindle, out into the bearing area behind (inboard) of the inner bearing/race. The new grease should push the old grease outboard, past the outer bearing and out into the spindle area - at least that's how they are supposed to work. So, If you run wheels with hub caps and you want access to the bearing buddies, you need caps that have a removable center piece that will allow that access. If your center caps do not have an access port, you will need to pull the tire/wheel to get access to the hub. If you need help with this, let us know and we can provide more information. See: 27564

The broader ISSUE: Most of the responses you will get to your OP will immediately jump to the "don't use bearing buddies on your trailer" thread. That seems to be the consensus of users in the group. Most will tell you that the bearing buddy will allow grease to be pumped past the inner grease seal which then gets into the brake system and fouls the entire wheel/brake assembly. That is certainly a possibility; there seems to be a compelling list of users who have personal experience with this problem - or they have listened to or know someone else who claims to have had the problem.

It's interesting to me that Dexter, who is a widely used and highly respected manufacturer continues to offer their axles with bearing buddies. Axles with bearing buddys are designed when immersion in water is possible. For axles without bearing buddys, service is required after any immersion. You will find instructions on the Dexter site for how to properly utilize and service their axles using the bearing buddy system. And even with bearing buddys, there is still a need to conduct regular remove/inspect/repack maintenance service. It is odd that so many knowledgeable forum users are 180 degrees opposed to any use of the bearing buddies in conjunction with other manufacturer's recommendations.

I'm just guessing, but maybe many users never quite get around to doing a proper "remove/inspect/repack" bearing service and for these users, the bearing buddy might be a plus over doing nothing. I subscribe to the annual remove/inspect/repack camp - it is something I can do and it can have significant impact from a preventative maintenance standpoint.

I think you will need to decide for yourself which method is best. I'm sure you will get a lot of other opinions - some likely more valid than mine.

Hope that helps.

flybouy
05-25-2020, 06:19 PM
Let's clarify for those that did not read my post, or did not comprehend it. I stated that bearing buddies are for boat trailers that do not have brakes. I did not say that NO boat trailers have brakes.

Secondly the "bearing Buddy" replaces the original dust cap. It consists of a dust cap, a spring, and a plunger. When grease is pumped in the spring and plunger keep pressure on the grease from the outside in. There is no where for that grease to go but out the inner seal. IF there are breaks there they WILL get grease on them.

Dexter's system is called "EZ Lube". It is completely different. The grease goes thru an orifice that's drilled into the spindel. The grease is then supposed to push out thru the inner bearing and exit out the outer bearing. Deter states that you should never use a pneumatic grease gun AND the wheel should be off the ground and rotated while grease is pumped in by hand. Obviously a lot of people also fail to read or comprehend those instructions. That's how it's "supposed" to work. Ask anyone (including the RV techs here) how it works in reality.

As a note, from what I've read on Dexter's site the EZ Lube system is installed at the RV manufacturers request. IMHO the RV builer's use it as a marketing tool so people will think "gee, now I don't need to do bearing repacks and get my hands dirty".

Steveo57
05-25-2020, 06:51 PM
My 2020 Keystone cougar 22rbs has no wheel bearing issues, this is more preventative. I was told bearing buddies help prevent problems. Problem is, my wheels have chrome caps that look to be bolted with wheel. Are these sealed like auto bearings? Or do you grease them inside wheel? Kinda confused with these. Thanks all...

I've got a 22RBS eastern, the western models might use a different axle. Mine has the Dexter EZ Lube axles. The end of the cap pops off to give you access to the zerk. I've uploaded a few pictures showing the cap on mine. You can see there's a little slot to pop off the cover with a screwdriver.

As others have said you have to follow the Dexter recommendations if you're going to use the EZ Lube.

I've tried it and it works, spin the wheel while slowly pumping in the grease. But I also think your better off pulling the hub and inspecting everything and just repacking the bearings.

LewisB
05-25-2020, 06:58 PM
Marshall,
You are absolutely correct in the differences between "bearing buddies" and the "Dexter EZ-Lube". In the OP, the poster referenced his "bearing buddies" on his new 2020 Keystone Cougar - I think the Dexter EZ-Lube is often referred to as bearing buddies, even though they are different. That's why I provided a copy of the service manual.

You may be right about marketing. In addition, a disreputable RV shop could easily use the EZ-Lube system in lieu of a full inspection/repack for their customers who bring in trailers for annual service? Something to consider...

The whole subject reinforces the need for me to get my hands on my trailer so that I know exactly what is happening regarding preventative maintenance! To that end, I'll do my own bearing clean/inspect/repack. It is especially easy now with our 6 point hydraulic system!

gearhead
05-26-2020, 02:23 AM
That's not totally true about boat trailers. Boat trailers do have brakes on the drum or disc. Required by DOT rules.
If true then I know a lot of folks breaking the law. I have a 21ft fiberglass center console boat on a dual axle trailer. I think the trailer is rated for 4,000 pounds. No brakes.

rabbit59
05-26-2020, 02:38 AM
Steveo57....I have an eastern 22rbs....bought in Harrisburg Pa. I'll look closer at my caps....didnt see a split in cap end, but I'll look closer. How do you know when enough grease goes in? I'll try to find dexter service bulletin....thanks

gearhead
05-26-2020, 02:45 AM
I shouldn't muddy the waters anymore but...
You can use Bearing Buddies on a EZ Lube spindle. I have on a previous boat trailer. All the Bearing Buddies do is pressure up the hub. When you pump grease in them the plunger spring is compressed and excess grease will come out a weep hole that you can see in the Bearing Buddy.
It's been a few years so I don't remember if I removed the grease zerk on the EZ Lube before I installed the Bearing Buddy's. If you do remove the spindle zerk you should be pressuring new grease to the inboard bearing through the drilled passageway in the spindle. Either way you still run the risk of pumping grease out the seal and on the brakes.
The Vault hub is the best in my opinion. Guaranteed no maintenance for 5 years. It's owned by Dexter. Why in the world they don't make them for travel trailers is beyond me.

LewisB
05-26-2020, 04:54 AM
...The Vault hub is the best in my opinion. Guaranteed no maintenance for 5 years. It's owned by Dexter. Why in the world they don't make them for travel trailers is beyond me.

Dexter makes a hub assembly called the "Nev-R-Lub drum/brake assembly". It has a sealed bearing assembly that does not require annual maintenance. On a previous Nash 5er, I upgraded the axles and installed a set of these. They were fairly expensive as I recall. I kept the trailer a couple of years and then sold it, so I can't speak to the longevity of the system. But it is there for anyone that might be interested. I believe the sealed bearing has to be pressed into the hub; also, I was concerned about finding parts for these on the road. So, in the end, the plain old bearings/races we have used successfully for years (provided they are given proper service) makes more sense to me.

See page 57 of:27581

CedarCreekWoody
05-26-2020, 05:30 AM
If true then I know a lot of folks breaking the law. I have a 21ft fiberglass center console boat on a dual axle trailer. I think the trailer is rated for 4,000 pounds. No brakes.

The laws vary by state, and are usually based on GVWR of the trailer. Here in Texas they are required at 4,500 lbs GVWR.

77cruiser
05-26-2020, 08:05 AM
If true then I know a lot of folks breaking the law. I have a 21ft fiberglass center console boat on a dual axle trailer. I think the trailer is rated for 4,000 pounds. No brakes.
Looks like it varies a lot state-state.
https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/trailer-brakes/

Steveo57
05-26-2020, 12:04 PM
Steveo57....I have an eastern 22rbs....bought in Harrisburg Pa. I'll look closer at my caps....didnt see a split in cap end, but I'll look closer. How do you know when enough grease goes in? I'll try to find dexter service bulletin....thanks

The grease will fill in from the inner bearing, through the hub and then come out through the outer bearing. It can take 1/2 to 3/4 of a tube of grease to fill the hub around the spindle before it starts come out.

Here's a video that shows it:

https://youtu.be/XT0RKDGgDm8

gearhead
05-26-2020, 03:49 PM
Dexter makes a hub assembly called the "Nev-R-Lub drum/brake assembly". It has a sealed bearing assembly that does not require annual maintenance. On a previous Nash 5er, I upgraded the axles and installed a set of these. They were fairly expensive as I recall. I kept the trailer a couple of years and then sold it, so I can't speak to the longevity of the system. But it is there for anyone that might be interested. I believe the sealed bearing has to be pressed into the hub; also, I was concerned about finding parts for these on the road. So, in the end, the plain old bearings/races we have used successfully for years (provided they are given proper service) makes more sense to me.

See page 57 of:27581

I didn't look at your links but I am aware of the hub. I was thinking it was back to back angular bearings. I'm not too fond of those. But yeah they're a bit overly complicated for Joes Garage and getting parts.

gearhead
05-26-2020, 03:54 PM
The laws vary by state, and are usually based on GVWR of the trailer. Here in Texas they are required at 4,500 lbs GVWR.
Awww, did you have reply so quick? LOL I was going to let him gnaw on it a while.
Dang it the Trinity River is up and ripping down here. Y'all pinch it off up there or tell Dallas to quit flushing a couple days. I can't remember when I was in Trinity Bay. Probably catching bream and crappie there now.

DavenKC
05-31-2020, 08:51 AM
In the middle of the metal cap on your wheel, there is a plastic cover you can pop off. Underneath that, there is a grease zerk so you can grease your wheel bearings. A couple of pumps from a grease gun filled with a high quality wheel bearing grease and you’re good to go. This is not a bearing buddy set-up. It’s designed by the manufacturer with grease ports that lead from the zerk directly to the inner and outer wheel bearings.

travelin texans
05-31-2020, 09:50 AM
Steveo57....I have an eastern 22rbs....bought in Harrisburg Pa. I'll look closer at my caps....didnt see a split in cap end, but I'll look closer. How do you know when enough grease goes in? I'll try to find dexter service bulletin....thanks

Honestly my answer would be NONE!!
Wouldn't recommend using the the EZ lube feature!! If your bearings need greased hand pack them.
There's no way to tell when pumping into the spindle how much is too much to bypass the seals into the drums without removing the hubs.

tech740
05-31-2020, 10:01 AM
In the middle of the metal cap on your wheel, there is a plastic cover you can pop off. Underneath that, there is a grease zerk so you can grease your wheel bearings. A couple of pumps from a grease gun filled with a high quality wheel bearing grease and you’re good to go. This is not a bearing buddy set-up. It’s designed by the manufacturer with grease ports that lead from the zerk directly to the inner and outer wheel bearings.

A couple pumps is nothing in the EZ lube system. It takes about 1/2 a tube or so to fill the empty cavity between the bearings. If you go this route you are supposed to lift a wheel and spin it while pumping grease until it comes out the front of the spindle area after going through the front bearing. The concept is great in my opinion. The actual use is horrific. There is no way to tell while you pump half of the tube of grease in it it is coming forwards or going out your rear seal and into the brake drum. That coats the brake shoes in grease and they are junk, and you have compromised brakes. I did this and had three seals fail. Cost me 4 backing plates to have brakes again.

DavenKC
05-31-2020, 12:25 PM
A couple pumps is nothing in the EZ lube system. It takes about 1/2 a tube or so to fill the empty cavity between the bearings. If you go this route you are supposed to lift a wheel and spin it while pumping grease until it comes out the front of the spindle area after going through the front bearing. The concept is great in my opinion. The actual use is horrific. There is no way to tell while you pump half of the tube of grease in it it is coming forwards or going out your rear seal and into the brake drum. That coats the brake shoes in grease and they are junk, and you have compromised brakes. I did this and had three seals fail. Cost me 4 backing plates to have brakes again.

Filling the hub defeats the design of the EZ Lube axles. Any excess grease goes into the center of the hub. If you fill it, the grease has no where to go but out the seal.

tech740
05-31-2020, 01:12 PM
Filling the hub defeats the design of the EZ Lube axles. Any excess grease goes into the center of the hub. If you fill it, the grease has no where to go but out the seal.

That's not true. It comes out the front around the nut and washer. Check this video from Dexter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XT0RKDGgDm8

04ctd
05-31-2020, 02:33 PM
i usually have a "maintenance week" during the spring or fall, when its cool.

change oil in the lawnmowers/psi washers, change blades.
grease all hubs, repair trailer lights, generally get filthy & feel manly.
like the above video, i usually push grease thru the zerk till fresh grease comes out the front, but I have never done RV axles.


today. i was setting here ENJOYING my new RV.
now, i am just worried about packing wheel bearings...

can we all ignore our wheel bearings and go back to worrying about corona?

Traveler2017
05-31-2020, 09:23 PM
Just a note before I left Arizona and Southern California for my trip home to Canada in the end of March I followed Dexters plan to grease the bearings on my trailer(This being the Third time I have done this). Following instructions seems to have worked perfectly. I had decided while Boondocking in the Southern California that on my return i would do a complete brake job on the trailer and hence repack the bearings at the same time.
I was half expecting to find a seal or two damage by the Dexter method but no everything was the way it was supposed to be. I was right about the brakes and magnets although probably could have made one more trip.

So as usual there are two sides to every story, I have a mechanical background but if you don't get it professionally done.

Cheers everyone and safe travels as well as stay safe.

Todd Burton
07-29-2020, 07:53 AM
So I'm my 2020 22rbs cougar, when would be the first time to grease the bearings

JRTJH
07-29-2020, 08:01 AM
So I'm my 2020 22rbs cougar, when would be the first time to grease the bearings

If you're "betting your life" on the assumption that the axles/bearings were properly assembled during manufacturing, then I'd say after the first towing season...

On the other hand, there have been numerous "factory recalls" for improperly greased bearings from Dexter, Al-Ko and Lippert, so you may, right now, be "running on ungreased/under greased bearings" and/or leaking rear seals that were improperly installed or torn during assembly....

Essentially, until you (or a competent mechanic) disassembles and checks the components, you are "towing with not much more than faith in the minimum wage employee who put those axles together on an assembly line".... Quite possibly in China.....

If you trust the factory workmanship, do it later, if you're unsure of what's actually "in the axles" do it sooner rather than later.....

travelin texans
07-29-2020, 08:22 AM
If you're "betting your life" on the assumption that the axles/bearings were properly assembled during manufacturing, then I'd say after the first towing season...

On the other hand, there have been numerous "factory recalls" for improperly greased bearings from Dexter, Al-Ko and Lippert, so you may, right now, be "running on ungreased/under greased bearings" and/or leaking rear seals that were improperly installed or torn during assembly....

Essentially, until you (or a competent mechanic) disassembles and checks the components, you are "towing with not much more than faith in the minimum wage employee who put those axles together on an assembly line".... Quite possibly in China.....

If you trust the factory workmanship, do it later, if you're unsure of what's actually "in the axles" do it sooner rather than later.....

DO NOT use the EZ lube system!!!! It's the grease zerks on the ends of the spindles which allow you to pump grease through the bearings.
Remove & HAND PACK only & replace the seals.
Even following the manufacturer recommended procedure you can/will contaminate the brakes when the cheap factory seals bypass filling the drums with grease, greasing brake shoes it not recommended.
There's a handful of folks that swear by the EZ lube system, but there's a truckload of us that have had to replace all 4 brake assemblies that swear at the EZ lube.
If it's a new trailer, or new to you, I'd recommend doing it the 1st chance you have just for piece of mind.

JRTJH
07-29-2020, 08:33 AM
DO NOT use the EZ lube system!!!! It's the grease zerks on the ends of the spindles which allow you to pump grease through the bearings.
Remove & HAND PACK only & replace the seals.
Even following the manufacturer recommended procedure you can/will contaminate the brakes when the cheap factory seals bypass filling the drums with grease, greasing brake shoes it not recommended.
If it's a new trailer, or new to you, I'd recommend doing it the 1st chance you have just for piece of mind.

^^^ Totally agree with this, which is why I stated, "until you (or a competent mechanic) disassembles and checks the components"

The EZ Lube system is a "gimmick to sell axles" and is no substitute for inspecting the components INSIDE the axle that can't be seen or maintained properly with the EZ Lube technique.....