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Old 07-21-2014, 05:53 PM   #1
lightning79
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Axle maintenance question

Hello friends,

Quick question about axle maintenance. In the middle of each wheel, I have a little rubber seal that says "Dexter EZ Lube" on it, and a small grease fitting underneath. The trailer has about 6000 km on it, and the grease around the fitting smelled like normal grease, and was a charcoal colour, no burnt smell or anything.

How often should I pump some grease into each wheel?

This one may sound dumb: would pumping fresh grease into each wheel fitting be the only thing I should be doing? Or should I have someone take the wheels off anyway, inspect, check, look, etc? I'm also thinking of the brakes.

Thanks!

Kevin

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Old 07-21-2014, 06:25 PM   #2
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I have done my own bearings in the past but I now prefer to have my buddy do it who is a truck mechanic. If you pump too much grease into them apparently you can blow your seals. I would rather have him pull the wheels and manually grease the bearings that way he can see if there is a problem with them and at the same time he can set up the brakes and check out the suspension. You might want to have your shackles and bushings checked as well. Mine is going in to him tomorrow for just that.
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:31 PM   #3
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When you repack the bearings manually:
check for chipped or damaged bearings
check the bearing cages for any issues
check the races for any abnormally
as the bearings are repacked check that each bearing rotates freely
no metal chips of any kind any where

IF you can do that by pumping grease in a fitting you are more intuitive than most, and oh, don't blow the seal and pump grease onto the brakes
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:41 PM   #4
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Hmm, maybe I should have a professional take care of it. I can always book an appointment at an RV dealer at some point and have them do an inspection. Thanks guys!
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:55 PM   #5
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Any decent mechanic should be able to do it. If you have a mechanic you trust, use him.
To visually inspect the bearings the hub will have to be disassembled. Then correctly assembled. If you are not confident doing that, hire it out.
Yes, you can pump an undetermined small amount of grease through the EZLube. The spindle has a grease zerk on the end closest to you. The grease will travel through the horizontally drilled spindle, through a radially drilled hole in to the back side of the inboard bearing between it and the seal, then through the void between the inboard and outboard bearing, then through the outboard bearing where you will see it seep out. The problem is that the brake drum covers the seal. so you can't tell if you have blown the seal out of its' seat until you discover the brakes don't work because they have grease all over them. It's a crap shoot. But, a lot of us will give it 5-10 shots while we turn the wheel.
If you have the bearings disassembled and inspected you should be good for 5 years in my opinion. It's not much different than front wheel bearings on a rear drive car. They usually don't get serviced until a brake job at 50,000+ miles. RV bearings will have more load but usually less miles.
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Old 07-21-2014, 10:04 PM   #6
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Go to the wheel bearing buddies web site they show you how to do it and it isn't brain surgery just follow their info

Lorne m.
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Old 07-22-2014, 03:22 AM   #7
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The easy lube is designed to be greased without pulling the hub. If done correctly you shouldn't have any problems. Keep in mind this is not a substitute for repacking the bearings about every 10-12k miles. The biggest problem people typically run into is from using too much pressure. A pneumatic grease gun should never be used. I recommend using a gun with a hand pump. This allows you to SLOWLY pump new grease in with one hand while rotating the wheel with the other hand. Fill the hub with new grease until ALL of the old grease has come out of the front of the hub. If you go slow and easy you shouldn't have any problems. Additionally, make sure you use the correct type of grease. If you have not repacked the bearings yet, I would do that first so you know what type of grease you have in the bearings. From there you can buy compatible grease for regular maintenance. Dexter has some decent videos as well as recommended grease types on their website. Most important part is going slow and easy, don't put too much pressure on the rear seal by doing fast pumps on the grease gun. I've have used this method for years and have never had a rear seal blow. There are a few youtube videos out there that demonstrate this pretty well, but I prefer the Dexter videos, get the info from the experts, not the backyard mechanic.
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Old 07-22-2014, 06:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsmith0404 View Post
The easy lube is designed to be greased without pulling the hub. If done correctly you shouldn't have any problems. Keep in mind this is not a substitute for repacking the bearings about every 10-12k miles. The biggest problem people typically run into is from using too much pressure. A pneumatic grease gun should never be used. I recommend using a gun with a hand pump. This allows you to SLOWLY pump new grease in with one hand while rotating the wheel with the other hand. Fill the hub with new grease until ALL of the old grease has come out of the front of the hub. If you go slow and easy you shouldn't have any problems. Additionally, make sure you use the correct type of grease. If you have not repacked the bearings yet, I would do that first so you know what type of grease you have in the bearings. From there you can buy compatible grease for regular maintenance. Dexter has some decent videos as well as recommended grease types on their website. Most important part is going slow and easy, don't put too much pressure on the rear seal by doing fast pumps on the grease gun. I've have used this method for years and have never had a rear seal blow. There are a few youtube videos out there that demonstrate this pretty well, but I prefer the Dexter videos, get the info from the experts, not the backyard mechanic.
Good info. I think Dexter lists Mobil1 as an approved grease.
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Old 07-22-2014, 06:54 AM   #9
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I have used Mobil 1 grease in the past and stopped using it because it hardened like peanut butter and wasn't very water resistant. They might have changed the formulation since then, though.

What I currently use for everything needing grease is this:

Texas Refinery Corp #880 C&C NLGI #2 #8456 grease

It is temp stable, water resistant and won't displace. The only drawback for me is that it is hard to find. Do a Google and compare the specs to your current favorite.
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Old 07-22-2014, 07:27 AM   #10
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The only thing I used the Mobil1 on was the previous Cougar. Only then because it is on Dexters list, was readily available, and I was towing soon. There are several others I may use on the Montana. I will look into a red Lucas grease that has a very high drop point.
I would rather use something from anyone than Exxon. Or as some of us Shell employees called them: double-cross. lol
I have used Pennzoil (Shell) Marine grease in boat trailer bearings without issues. But I haven't found it on shelf recently.
I'll Google those you mentioned as well.
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:54 AM   #11
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This is the one I use (NLGI #2 in first column):

http://www.texasrefinery.com/images/...%20Chassis.pdf

Seems to meet Dexter's specs. Put a dab on a piece of steel and hit with a hammer as a comparison with your favorite brand. Maybe not scientific, but an old-school, revealing test.
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Old 07-22-2014, 11:07 AM   #12
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Excellent advice from all, thanks so much! I think I'd have a pro do it the first time, maybe I can observe for the next time.

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Old 03-17-2015, 09:34 AM   #13
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When and how much?

That's my question.

My 2014 Passport 195 tandem axle has approx 3000 miles on it, but that's since July of 2013.
We take a long weekend each month and its a state park her in Florida.
Typically less than 200 miles each way.
I make sure that the tires are properly inflated cold before each trip.
So, how long do I have to wait or how many miles should I wait before I need to be thinking about checking the brakes, greasing the bearings, etc?
Thanks.
Steve.
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:08 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SKSCCI View Post
That's my question.

My 2014 Passport 195 tandem axle has approx 3000 miles on it, but that's since July of 2013.
We take a long weekend each month and its a state park her in Florida.
Typically less than 200 miles each way.
I make sure that the tires are properly inflated cold before each trip.
So, how long do I have to wait or how many miles should I wait before I need to be thinking about checking the brakes, greasing the bearings, etc?
Thanks.
Steve.
Why "wait" ??? If you have never checked the bearings, brake shoes and magnets, and you're concerned about "how long to wait", I'd suggest you reassure yourself by diving in and repacking the bearings and inspecting the brakes/magnets. Then, you'll have a starting point from which to move forward. It seems like, from your question, you're not sure of what condition your axles are in. If that's the case, then you'd "rest easier" by just doing it, getting a starting point for future maintenance and by knowing what's under your rig this summer. As a reference, I check mine and repack the bearing/replace the seals every other year and lube (using the EZ-Lube system) on the "other years. I adjust my brake shoes every spring as part of the "de-winterizing" process.
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Old 03-18-2015, 04:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRTJH View Post
Why "wait" ??? If you have never checked the bearings, brake shoes and magnets, and you're concerned about "how long to wait", I'd suggest you reassure yourself by diving in and repacking the bearings and inspecting the brakes/magnets
I do not believe in unnecessary maintenance.
With only 3000 miles on it in less than 2 years I am not worried in the least.

However, the Boy Scout in me wants to Be Prepared, and I have not been able to find any specs or manufacturer recommendations regarding axle maintenance.

So maybe I asked the wrong question to this group.

What is the manufacturer recommendation for brake and bearing inspection and maintenance on this rig?

Or, lacking any specific manufacturer recommendations, what is a 'rule of thumb' for this maintenance?

Thanks.

Regards,
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Old 03-18-2015, 04:32 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SKSCCI View Post
I do not believe in unnecessary maintenance.
With only 3000 miles on it in less than 2 years I am not worried in the least.

However, the Boy Scout in me wants to Be Prepared, and I have not been able to find any specs or manufacturer recommendations regarding axle maintenance.

So maybe I asked the wrong question to this group.

What is the manufacturer recommendation for brake and bearing inspection and maintenance on this rig?

Or, lacking any specific manufacturer recommendations, what is a 'rule of thumb' for this maintenance?

Thanks.

Regards,
Steve.

You asked the question, "So, how long do I have to wait or how many miles should I wait before I need to be thinking about checking the brakes, greasing the bearings, etc?"

The simple answer is, if you're concerned with "HAVE TO WAIT"...... The answer is, you don't HAVE to wait, just do it. But with your "rephrased question" of "I do not believe in unnecessary maintenance. With only 3000 miles on it in less than 2 years I am not worried in the least." By the book, you've already skipped the inspection/maintenance recommendations at least once, possibly two times. That's why I suggested that "if you're concerned (and it sounds as if you are)," just go ahead and do it now so you have a "starting point" for future maintenance.

I believe that the Dexter maintenance schedule is a "bit over the top" (my opinion, not necessarily shared by all) which is why I told you what I do, based on what's worked for over 40 years without having an axle, brake, hub or bearing failure. Other members will hopefully share their views on axle maintenance, but "by the book" you're already behind in all your maintenance requirements if you've not already had them apart, inspected and serviced. In actual practice, I don't know of many people who follow the Dexter maintenance schedule faithfully, although I would suppose some do inspect/service that frequently.

The Dexter Axle Maintenance Schedule is located here: http://www.dexteraxle.com/i/u/614960...e_Schedule.pdf

Good Luck with keeping up with what they recommend !!!
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Old 03-18-2015, 07:32 PM   #17
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I wouldn't call a first time inspection unnecessary maintenance, you never know the condition until you inspect and maintain it the first time. It's been seen more than once that the bearings come from the factory low on grease. The first time I ever added grease to my trailer it took nearly 20 pumps per wheel, and no I did not over grease and blow the seal.

As for how long can you go, you have dexters recommendation, but it all varies with use, climate, etc..personally I pull and do a complete inspection / grease repack every 3 yrs. But that is based on my use/experexperience and knowledge of where I've been, how I've maintained the unit, and the weather I've been in.
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Old 03-19-2015, 05:47 AM   #18
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Thanks all for your comments.
I did not know about the Dexter schedule, but I will review it.
I agree that an initial inspection is a good idea so that you at least know where you are.
Thanks.

Regards,
Steve.
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