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Packing Wheel Bearings, DIY?


angler
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One year plus in our Oliver and going great. Very few problems and none of major consequence. We've put about 6,000 miles on so far and will be headed out on a 2,500 -3,000 miles trip in two weeks. We're headed into fairly rough terrain, lots of gravel roads and possibly pretty wet too. Oliver recommends repacking wheel bearings every 6K. Any one done this themselves - how bad a job is it? How do you get the dust cover off? Or do you advise finding a local brake shop that can do it?

 

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We have a good friend who has a general mechanic's shop... and is also familiar with trailers and electric brakes. We take ours there. Not something beyond Paul's skills, but he's right around the corner, and takes care of several of our vehicles. Honest and good, he's a rare guy.

 

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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If you've got the Freedom Axle, you can get directions on repacking at http://www.freedomaxle.com/downloadFiles/operationmanual.pdf. It doesn't require removing the dust cap or the hub and makes repacking a real no-brainer (which for me is a good thing). :)

Aubrey and the two wingmen, Woodstock & Rascal


Oliver #032, "El Huevito"


Ford F-150 4x4


El Juevito's Travels
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  • 4 weeks later...
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In a current thread over on the Casita Club Forums is this video link to give a look at the general procedure before tackling the project, The axle bearings are lubricated through the center of the axle like our Oliver's are:

http://www.etrailer.com/tv-repack_trailer_hub_bearings.aspx

There is a simple quick check that I do just before each trip. Here is a video look at my simple check:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7hOfOQUOIg

Please note the date this video was posted. The Oliver factory has since upgraded the axle, tires and wheels. Our Ollie, being one of the older ones out on the highways, had the origonal 3500 LB rated axle with the five hole chrome plated steel wheels. The upgraded axle, wheels and tires gave us a couple of more inches of ground clearance, which we really appreciate since we tow with a Jeep and drive a lot of Jeep Trails.

I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)

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Mountainborn and JuniorBirdMan,

 

Thanks for the information on the Oliver's wheel bearings, particularly the part about the bearings being lubricated through the center of the spindle. Do you know for sure, though, that the Oliver's upgraded axle uses this easier lubrication method? In the Freedom Axle Operations Maintenance Manual, it seems to indicated that Freedom Axle offers both a standard axle with bearings that need to be repacked in the traditional way and an optional "Free Lube" system mentioned on page 18 that allows relubing without removing the hubs from the axle. This option is also mentioned on page 9, but here it is refered to as the "New-Name option." So my question is whether anyone has actually repacked his or her Oliver's axle/bearings, and if so, did you find that your axle allowed the use of a grease gun to simply pump the grease through the axle and bearings without the need to remove the hubs?

 

Thankss,

Steve

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  • 4 weeks later...

Has anyone double-checked whether the newest Oliver's have this simpler system? It has been around 6000 miles since we had our defective axel replaced over the summer, and I am wondering whether packing / lubing the wheel bearings is something I can handle myself.

 

Thoughts?

 

- Chris

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Chris,

 

You'll need to take a wheel off to be sure, but I'm betting you've got the newer system. If the hub has a rubber plug with a grease fitting behind it then you're in business. I've been repacking mine every 4-5 thousand miles 'cause it's so easy to do. (Yeah, I'm a bit paranoid about axle bearings, but on my last trip I saw a guy along the interstate with a fire extinguisher trying to put out the wheel fire on his trailer!)

 

FYI: It takes just about a full tube of grease to do both wheels if you pump until you see new grease coming out through the bearings.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Aubrey

Aubrey and the two wingmen, Woodstock & Rascal


Oliver #032, "El Huevito"


Ford F-150 4x4


El Juevito's Travels
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Update on our axle status. We now have the 5200 pound rated axle and are doing our bearing and brake checks now, just before starting another year of travels. We check our bearings "slack" without removing the wheel or tire, on a regular basis. We also add grease on or about the regularly reccommended check period of time. Thus forcing the old grease out where we can check it for magnetic particulants,and grease discoloration, a good barometer of bearing wear and heat build up.

Using this system we have handily exceded the reccommended check up times. We are "opening up" this axle's hubs for the first time to take a look. Since this is the third axle under our Ollie ( all upgrades, no malfunction ), and I havn't kept any kind of records, I arrive at miles towed by aproximate mileage of the various trips added togather. Which were:

1 x Tn to Ar 800

2 X Ar to AZ= 4,000

1 X Ar to Co= 1800

1 x Ar to ND= 2,300

1 x Ar to Mx= 1,600

3 x home to lake 360

------------------------------

Total 10 ,860

Here is a link to photos & videos:

http://mountainborn.blogspot.com/2010/03/bearings.html

>

100_1562.jpg

Is this a system I would reccommend to someone else ? Works for me, you will have to decide if it's for you.

I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)

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Let us know how things look in there. I've got just under 20,000 miles on my Ollie (plus whatever miles were on it when it was a 'demo unit'). I repack the bearings every 5000 miles or so but am wondering if it's time to change the bearings due to age. They still run cool when I check them at every fuel stop, but as I've said before I'm a bit paranoid about trailer bearings.

 

Looking forward to Jugfest!

Aubrey and the two wingmen, Woodstock & Rascal


Oliver #032, "El Huevito"


Ford F-150 4x4


El Juevito's Travels
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Aubrey said:

Looking forward to Jugfest!

Very cool ! We are going to have some fun on the Lake ! We look forward to seeing you and the boys.

With one side done so far, it is going very well. After cleaning, inspecting and repacking, I went back togather. I noted no excessive wear or scoring, but the castle nut did tighten one notch further, I think.

I'll have pix soon.

I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth 08' Oliver Legacy Elite HULL NUMBER 0003(sold)

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Just remember.... DO NOT CHECK your wheel bearing as I once did....with the palm of your hand....the PACER brand has worn off my hand from the bad bearing we had....

Bugeyedriver has the neatest little heat gun reader.....

Larry, ya'll need a seperate post to START the infamous FEST!!!

Chuck n Geri n still got our Oliver

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  • 2 months later...
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I just learned a very valuable lesson about wheel bearings. While going down Route 66, a fellow traveler called me and said my right trailer wheel appeared to be smoking. :o

 

I pulled off the road, grabbed the fire extinguisher and found a few wisps of smoke coming from the wheel and a hub temp of, get this, 258 degrees! (I had become complacent and was too busy savoring the Route 66 and failed to check the hub temp at gas stops - - - dumb)

 

Well . . . bearings were gone, brake drum damaged, yadayadayada. Fortunately I was close to a great trailer shop that allowed me to camp out overnight as the event occurred after hours. (Trailer Supply Center, El Reno, OK)

 

I have the Easy Lube Spindle with a grease fitting on the end for squirting grease in and I thought this was sufficient. The technicians at the repair shop said the Buddy Bearing or Easy Lube Spindle systems were no substitute for good old fashioned manual repack of the bearings. Simply squirting through the easy fittings does not do the job at best and if done excessively, can result in grease coming into contact with the brakes leading to brake failure. The tech showed me where some of the excess grease was lying around the inside of the brake housing.

 

While the situation was bad, it could have been a whole lot worse. (Thanks for the smoking tire call, Rich) I may have lost a bit of money, but there was no wheel separation leading to a major catastrophe, which easily could have occurred.

 

Well, I had the technician manually repack the street side bearing while he was at it and have rejoined my fellow Route 66 travelers. Lesson learned . . . don't let this easily avoidable event slow down your travel plans.

Pete & "Bosker".    TV -  '18 F150 Super-cab Fx4; RV  - "The Wonder Egg";   '08 Elite, Hull Number 014.


Travel blog of 1st 10 years' wanderings - http://www.peteandthewonderegg.blogspot.com


ABBCMBNBNLNSONPEQCSKYTALAKAZARCACOCTFLGAHIIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNJNMNYNCNDOHOKORPAPRSCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYsm.jpg

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:o Oscar, Iffen Pete can't take better care of you, than you can come live with us! Scotty n Doogie

 

Glad all is well and good info from that mechanic. From hauling horse trailers so much, I always had mine manually packed and brakes checked each time. Old fasioned way but..... :?

Chuck n Geri

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I have what I think to be a really stupid question. I was greasing the bearings yesterday in preperation for a trip when I noticed something clinking around in the brake drum when spinning the wheel. I removed the drum to find a single nut that seems to have served no purpose. Couldn't find anything missing a nut, so I just thought it may have fallen in their from the manufacture. Went to the other wheel and found the same thing, a loose nut that appeared to belong to nothing inside the brake drum. I would give this up as chance, but as some of you may know, this is our second axle on our Oliver. I was recalling the removal of the orginal axle when I remembered having the same thing occur with both wheels on that axle. The nut is the same size nut that holds the back of the brake mounting assembly to the axle ends. I carefully checked the entire assembly and found nothing missing a nut.

 

Now the dumb question. Am I incredibly lucky to have an extra nut left in four diffent wheels or is this loose nut serving some kind of mistic purpose I am not aware of?

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  • 2 years later...

Before we headed out on our current adventure I did a quick check to make sure lights and brakes were working. Found the brakes to be working poorly even with full voltage. Long story short, I got into the drums and found oily residue on the surface of the drum where the brake magneto contacts it. I believe this residue was not allowing the magneto to fully engage the brake shoes. Cleaning the residue from both drums and brake pads remedied the problem. Repacked the bearings too. Now what caused the oily residue in the first place? The bearing grease itself of course , but why? First, thing I found out is that using two different kinds of grease can cuase them to dilute each other. The recommendation is that if you didn't originally put the grease there or know what was used, you should remove all the old grease and pack everything with new. I don't think this was the problem, since I repacked the bearings a couple of times now. Nor was it the type of grease used an issue.

 

Talking to a friend about this I told him I often add some grease through the fitting on the axle with the grease gun. Actually only started doing this about a year ago. He said he doesn't do that since the grease can get forced past the inner seal resulting in the problem I encountered. He said the grease fitting is there for use in situations where the grease can get washed away, like with boat trailers. Kind of makes sense to me, especially since I haven't had this issue until I started using the grease fittings more.

 

Either way, you may want to be cautious about putting too much bread through the fitting.

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We found the same issue with our brakes. After the first year of use, I pumped a few shots of grease into each wheel hub grease fitting. The brake performance deteriorated, so we disassembled and found the inner seals had leaked grease past them onto the brake pads. Ever since then I've avoided the grease fittings and just disassembled the wheels to grease them.

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Well now darn, wish I had read this earlier. I went out the other day and replaced all the grease in both hubs with freshly baked bread, thinking that it would prevent future problems. I guess I should have just had a sandwich instead. :o:D;)

Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge)

2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #026 | 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, Hull #050 | 2022 Silverado High Country 3500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

             801469912_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-I.jpg.26814499292ab76ee55b889b69ad3ef0.jpg1226003278_StatesVisitedTaliandSteve08-23-2021-H.jpg.dc46129cb4967a7fd2531b16699e9e45.jpg

 

 

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