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Suspension and Brakes Maintenance


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Well, I've been working on the Ram TV for a while now, and it's time again to work on the Oliver. Starting with something that appears to have been neglected for some time. There was some new red wheel bearing grease on the axles. I didn't see any of that new grease packed in the bearings! I got one side up on jack stands now.

I usually just take stuff apart and then see what i need (then I read all your forum posts, to read what y'all have known for years). I need new bearings, the China syndrome, and Dexter has the gall to put a Made in USA sticker on the brakes backing plate. Need new shocks.

We have a great trailer shop here, just 20 minutes north in Chino Valley, AZ. They will have all the brake and bearing parts there. I took one side completely down to compare the wear of my brake shoes to a new set. I might just get them to install the new wheel bearing races. That would save some time. More tomorrow.

 

OTT brake.jpg

OTT brake shoes.jpg

Chris & John in Prescott, AZ | 2016 EII #113 | '01 Ram 2500 Cummins!

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Do yourself a big favor and ditch the auto adjust brakes for manual ones. New drums too, or the diameters will not match.

https://olivertraveltrailers.com/forums/topic/2778-brakes-auto-adjust-vs-manual-adjust-what-are-the-differences/

Use Timken bearings and Timken seals too. You may have to supply those to your trailer guy. I doubt that they sell many due to the cost.

Do you intend to detail the springs and parts when the brakes are off? There will never be a better opportunity.

John Davies

Spokane WA

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SOLD 07/23 "Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 32” LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel, Maggiolina Grand Tour 360 Carbon RTT.

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Wow JD, this would be $700-800 in parts for 4x full brake plates and 4x Drums. Not for me this year! I just placed an order for new Timken bearing and seals. Went with eTrailer for $156 after reading your posts on fake bearings. I ordered Toyota parts once on eBay for a timing chain replacement, and they came all in legit Toyota wrap. They were fake, you could tell by the water pump casting, not the packaging that looked correct. Did the eBay return, got money back and purchased parts from Toyota and RockAuto.

Yes, I will manually adjust if necessary. Drum brakes will auto-adjust only when braking in reverse, which is difficult to do in a trailer.

First, I bought an Oliver (June), then the Ram 2500 (July), then suspension rebuild (August another $1200). Just bought Dodge wheels and upgrade parts to install 3rd Gen front disc brakes on my 2nd Gen (just last week, $1000 for both). Got to put my new tires on hold! Will need other Oliver parts soon, like electric water valves, etc. Didn't expect to buy bearings, thought I would merely pack bearings!

So bad news on my favorite local trailer shop. It was called A-County Trailer and now the name has changed. They had 3-4 old-timers as mechanics. Once they adjusted the leaf spring shackles that were binding on a flatbed trailer I have. After 2 guys worked 15 minutes, they said, "You're good now, you can pull out" and no charge! Now just young guys who admitted, "I dunno know." So today was a wash. I placed my eTrailer order when I got home, and the Oliver will be up on jack stands for a while!

Oliver on Jacks.jpg

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Chris & John in Prescott, AZ | 2016 EII #113 | '01 Ram 2500 Cummins!

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There is no reason to buy Dexter branded parts, these all come out of the same factories. You can get the cheaper versions in manual adjust plus new drums for less than  $600 shipped.

John Davies

Spokane WA

SOLD 07/23 "Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 32” LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel, Maggiolina Grand Tour 360 Carbon RTT.

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52 minutes ago, jd1923 said:

Yes, I will manually adjust if necessary. Drum brakes will auto-adjust only when braking in reverse, which is difficult to do in a trailer.

FYI, you can't really manually adjust Dexter auto-adjust brakes if they're too tight. You can back the star wheel off, but it will just go right back to where it was next time the auto-adjuster kicks in. However, you can adjust them with the star wheel if they're too loose. Go figure. (Also, the Dexters auto adjust while moving forward.)  John's right. They're more trouble than they're worth, IMO.

Stephanie and Dudley from CT.  2022 LE2, Hull #1150: Eggcelsior.

Tow vehicle: 2016 GMC Sierra 6.0 gas dually 4x4.

Our Oliver journey: Steph and Dud B's RV Screed

Where we've been RVing since 1999:

ALAZCACOCTDEFLGAIDILINIAKYLAMEMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNMNYNCNDOHOKORPASCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWYmed.jpg.b96241bad6752dec89d25af6ffbc8d99.jpg

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2 hours ago, Steph and Dud B said:

FYI, you can't really manually adjust Dexter auto-adjust brakes if they're too tight. You can back the star wheel off, but it will just go right back to where it was next time the auto-adjuster kicks in. However, you can adjust them with the star wheel if they're too loose. Go figure. (Also, the Dexters auto adjust while moving forward.)  John's right. They're more trouble than they're worth, IMO.

Thanks Steph and Dud, I did not realize trailer brakes adjusted going forward. I guess that makes sense. Either way $600 or $800 ain't happenin' now! Good news for me, is the brakes have performed well so far. When I removed the drums there was just the right amount of pull, telling me they were adjusted properly. The only issue I found was bearing play in the wheel having some up-n-down wobble.

More good news is I found 4 "Amazon Used" Monroe 555001 shocks at only $24 ea. Amazon used usually means damaged packaging and if any are bad, it's just another Amazon return. Mine did not look blown as some forums pics I saw, but internally they were shot. When removing, I pushed them down by hand and they just stayed there! They were the original yellow ones.

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Chris & John in Prescott, AZ | 2016 EII #113 | '01 Ram 2500 Cummins!

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6 hours ago, John E Davies said:

Use Timken bearings and Timken seals too. You may have to supply those to your trailer guy. I doubt that they sell many due to the cost. Do you intend to detail the springs and parts when the brakes are off? There will never be a better opportunity.

LOL yeah, I left the trailer shop after I noticed a large rack of unwrapped bearings (wish I took a pic), all either unmarked or labeled CHINA!

Will pressure-wash the wheel well area tomorrow and then detail with my favorite grime cleaner GoJo. Probably just push a lot of grease through the Zerks to clean inside, unless you might suggest further disassembly. What a lame looking suspension, I must add, and I'm sure you agree. This isn't enough spring for the AZ Washboard Road! Good thing my Rams Cummins is getting a brake upgrade!

My eTrailer order was 4 sets, both inners and outers, Timken bearing/race sets, they sell them together. I found part numbers in two OTT forum posts and verified the measurements in the listed specs to parts pulled. The seals are a house brand I think, which should be fine since eTrailer has always been good (like their videos). If I run into binding brakes, like you did, that will be another day. Perhaps a day for new HD axles, disc brakes and suspension!

Chris & John in Prescott, AZ | 2016 EII #113 | '01 Ram 2500 Cummins!

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5 hours ago, jd1923 said:

Will pressure-wash the wheel well area tomorrow and then detail with my favorite grime cleaner GoJo

Sounds like you’re gonna DIY the bearing overhaul! Did the same last May, went with the Timkens as well, from Summit Racing. The CRC degreaser and brake cleaners I used worked great along with a parts cleaning brush and drip pan.

EB37A292-715E-402D-8655-F3E7915CD98B.thumb.jpeg.6ebfe1e007fc2e91020ff0cbba486116.jpeg

I also ordered a brass drift punch for use in driving out the races and the Red Line CV-2 grease that John E Davies highly recommends.

114EDFFA-C70A-4D85-8D24-E34EB93F5318.thumb.jpeg.87250065e674f12d48f0141470461697.jpeg

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I found placing paper towels under the spindle prior to installing the bearings useful in keeping grease off the underlying brake components.

03A92B1C-8514-4664-B914-4DF52940274B.thumb.jpeg.628176c067579a5c4a50e47f9f53514f.jpeg

Since the wheels are off and grease likely leaked from the rear seals, take time to throughly cleanup residuals and wash the tires. 

F1944BE7-0C83-4667-BF4F-81F73B9733B6.thumb.jpeg.09c0b76068f0f2f63c4f6c042b308afd.jpeg

If you haven’t done so already, now would be a good time the replace the grease zerks with the angled variety. Many install 90°, but I choose 45° from Grainger’s.

8B246A7E-4438-4D81-AACB-21CA1902E365.thumb.jpeg.abe0363c2fa96a5e213526332455b80f.jpeg

Good luck with your endeavor!

 

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2020 OLEll, Twin, 579

2012 Silverado 1500 4x4

No installed solar, Renogy 40A DC-DC charger, 460Ah LFP battery bank/Victron SmartShunt

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7 hours ago, jd1923 said:

Good news for me, is the brakes have performed well so far.

And,

this is the case with thousands of these brakes.  Yes, it is unfortunate when they do not work as designed.  Yes, they are much more complicated as compared to the manual adjusting kind, but, for many people who do not or will not adjust their own brakes, the automatic ones generally do the job.

Bill

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2023 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing, Max Payload, 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Monroe shocks purchased new in the aftermarket (not Oliver OEM installation) have a lifetime warranty to the original buyer. Your used ones won’t have any warranty at all, I suspect. Can you accept that?

John Davies

Spokane WA

SOLD 07/23 "Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 32” LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel, Maggiolina Grand Tour 360 Carbon RTT.

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7 hours ago, jd1923 said:

. What a lame looking suspension, I must add, and I'm sure you agree. This isn't enough spring for the AZ Washboard Road!

Indeed, it is the upward travel that is lacking. Do you plan to carry an air pump? Run your trailer tires at 42-45 psi all the time and lower that number if you have more than say five miles of washboard. Rock hard tires and crappy suspension kill parts and belongings.

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

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SOLD 07/23 "Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 32” LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel, Maggiolina Grand Tour 360 Carbon RTT.

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Ronbrink, you did quite a job! I'll post my pictures soon, the before and after. 

Bill thank you for your note. I'm hoping mine will perform properly. I still cannot get my head around how shoes can get too tight, as they can only go so far. I'll add a little silicone brake grease to the adjuster pistons and where the shoes contact the backing plate.

JD, yep the limited travel is obvious since the leaf springs appear to have minimal arc! They should be longer and taller. It would be nice if OTT would upgrade this and position the wheels a little further from each other. Not worried about warranty on a $24 part. Usually when I replace shocks it's from a used vehicle recently purchased and I buy new shocks for any that test bad. 

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Chris & John in Prescott, AZ | 2016 EII #113 | '01 Ram 2500 Cummins!

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Here's a close-up of JD's favorite part - the self-adjuster! It appears to be a good design (perhaps not). The spring is very straight and evenly stretched. I disassembled one brake assembly completely, lot's of work and some cussing will be involved in getting these back together! Good maintenance would include applying some silicone grease (I use Napa Sil-Glyde) on the shoe contact points and inside the adjuster. This is a good product for all automotive brake systems.

I have a full set of drum brake tools, from back in the day when my '67 Buicks had drums all the way around. A tool to compress the shoe pin springs and another to stretch the springs.

Adjuster.jpg

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Chris & John in Prescott, AZ | 2016 EII #113 | '01 Ram 2500 Cummins!

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17 hours ago, jd1923 said:

Here's a close-up of JD's favorite part - the self-adjuster!

Your pic got me to think’n, mine are different so did some research. I have the Dexter Nev-R-Adjust electric brake setup, 2020 OLEll, 579.

60503BB2-86CE-4E0E-A21C-415793204ACB.thumb.png.9dc599e6014cc8a3c07c10345fa053e0.png

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2020 OLEll, Twin, 579

2012 Silverado 1500 4x4

No installed solar, Renogy 40A DC-DC charger, 460Ah LFP battery bank/Victron SmartShunt

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Got to pressure washing yesterday! It really turned out nice. Had to lay on the ground under the trailer to clean the backside too. I'm not fond of the Brakleen type sprays. First you're wasting a couple cans of this chemical at close to $10 a can and it gets so messy as you can see in Ronbrink's pics above. After pressure washing you just need to pressure-wash your driveway a bit to run the dirt off. On the edge of our driveway, we have a landscaped wash, and the dirt just joins other Arizona dirt downstream! I took the front brake assembly apart and cleaned each part by hand and the pressure washed side looks almost as good. Did the backside of the wheels and tires too. You can also see the wheels before and after below.

Pressure Wash.jpg

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Chris & John in Prescott, AZ | 2016 EII #113 | '01 Ram 2500 Cummins!

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jd1923, CRC non chlorinated brake cleaner is $6 at my NAPA store, on sale now for $5, I buy by the 12 count case when they heavily discount it. You have to be very wary of getting all that nasty dirty oil on a clean driveway, it may not all come out. It is better IMHO to catch it all in a pan using the cleaner, then let the solvent evaporate off for a few days. then wipe your pan with solvent and paper towels and let them flash dry before disposal in the trash.

I have pressure washed AFTER degreasing the nasty bits.

Be very sure to lube all the many moving parts of the brakes after a deep clean, they will not work properly otherwise. Don't forget the adjust linkage and where the shoes rub the plates.

It sure does look pretty tho, I would have guessed that the paint would fly off.

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

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SOLD 07/23 "Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 32” LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel, Maggiolina Grand Tour 360 Carbon RTT.

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The cold water from the pressure washer does something to the grime so it isn't sticky. I didn't mean to write "pressure-wash your driveway." If it sits there it will soil the driveway, but just rinse it away and you're done. 

JD, Ronbrink and you other Oliver/Dexter experts out there, please take a look at this pic. I put these two photos together merely to show a before & after, to show how clean the pressure washer got the rear wheel, but these brake assemblies are different! 

These are two different Dexter assemblies. The rear wheel has the large spring horizontal to the top (Like the picture Ronbrink posted). The front wheel has the two springs in an 'A' shape, connected to the main post (which standard in automotive applications). This can't be normal, can it? Do you think one assembly was replaced? The drums looked different too, even though they have the same part numbers. One looked like a raw casting, the other looked like it was painted black. I'll know more when I finish the streetside and remove the curbside wheels. What do you think?

OTT Brakes before n after.jpg

Chris & John in Prescott, AZ | 2016 EII #113 | '01 Ram 2500 Cummins!

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@jd1923 with that Cummins diesel engine brake, your truck and new trailer brakes should last a long time👍🏻.
I rarely use my truck or trailer brakes on long mountain passes with the engine brake. We are really appreciating the diesel engine brake right now out here in the Colorado Rockies. In my experience, Ford absolutely nailed it on the diesel engine brake in our TV. It works excellent.


Nice job on the rebuild! 👍🏻

Patriot🇺🇸

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2020 OLEII - Hull #634 aka- “Beauty & the Beast” - 2021 F350 6.7 liter Diesel Lariat Ultimate Tremor

 

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4 hours ago, Patriot said:

@jd1923 with that Cummins diesel engine brake, your truck and new trailer brakes should last a long time👍🏻. I rarely use my truck or trailer brakes on long mountain passes with the engine brake. We are really appreciating the diesel engine brake right now out here in the Colorado Rockies. In my experience, Ford absolutely nailed it on the diesel engine brake in our TV. It works excellent.

Thank you Patriot🇺🇸, you have an amazing TV in your "2021 F350 6.7 liter Diesel Lariat..." OMG, wanna trade? LOL! New model Ford F250/350s with the PowerStroke diesel engine, have an exhaust brake accessory. I'm not sure if it is standard, or an option that comes with a special tow package. Perhaps the new Rams also have this, but not us old Ram 5.9 Cummins. :classic_sad:

It's pricy, but the purchase price of my TV was a steal and I planned from the start to put another $10K into parts for it, me being the primary installer! After I complete my build, I will still be at about 33% the cost of a new diesel truck! This is on my build list (watch the product video): 
PacBrake PRXB Exhaust Brake Cummins 24V (dieselpowerproducts.com)

Keep in mind, we all need good brakes in stop-n-go traffic, both truck and trailer, since an exhaust brake cuts out at lower RPMs. The diesel engine brake is a must for frequent mountain driving. One hour from our home, on the way to Phoenix, is a 4000 FT drop in elevation!

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Chris & John in Prescott, AZ | 2016 EII #113 | '01 Ram 2500 Cummins!

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5 hours ago, jd1923 said:

Perhaps the new Rams also have this, but not us old Ram 5.9 Cummins. 

My 2020 Ram 6.7 Diesel has exhaust brake, I think it was standard or maybe it came with the tow package.  Either way, like Patriot and others I use it a lot.  Mike

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Texas Hill Country | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram 2500 6.7L

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14 hours ago, jd1923 said:

These are two different Dexter assemblies.

The brake assembly shown on the right is definitely a ‘left-hand’ Dexter Nev-R-Adjust. It will be interesting to see if the corresponding assembly on the curb side is the same, other than being the ‘right-hand’ equivalent. If so, it is possible you have two different axles. Perhaps one was a replacement as you speculate; hard to believe Oliver would mix-and-match axles. Here’s a pic of my curb side; you can see the adjustment cable to the left of the spindle (right-hand version), whereas yours is to the right (left-hand version).

F501CACC-A52F-4EE5-B1E3-86587A0FF7BD.thumb.png.1b180cd949760ab240d29cea65d8e589.png

You might want to check if your axles still have the manufacturer’s sticker(s). I removed these from one axle for preservation sake. 

59847AFB-CE97-4E96-AECD-904227C0286E.thumb.jpeg.686cbe8d266a8ea193121e17e091e43f.jpeg

As a side note, to quote John E Davies “Be very sure to lube all the many moving parts of the brakes after a deep clean, they will not work properly otherwise.”, this is what I use.

D490D653-257C-42F8-869D-BE09852E4963.thumb.jpeg.79e46042d84c8592a4db179946614e7f.jpeg

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2020 OLEll, Twin, 579

2012 Silverado 1500 4x4

No installed solar, Renogy 40A DC-DC charger, 460Ah LFP battery bank/Victron SmartShunt

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Just for reference adding to the discussion, I replaced all of my brakes and hub/drums three years ago. In the process of pricing out the various components (at that time) Textrail (Sparta, TN) was the least expensive even with shipping. For example the complete brake assemblies were $46.03 each left or right for the self adjusting type. I’ve never had any problems with this type, don’t know just saying. The hub/drum assembly complete with bearings (chinese) and seals were $60.36 each. I also have never had any problems with the factory seals. Maybe because I polished the spindle seal area and pre lube the seals a little at installation. The prices from Textrail that I found at the time were half of my local Dexter supplier/trailer shop. With shipping, taxes, everything from Tennessee to my driveway in Virginia $571.03 I have since replaced the bearings with genuine Timken bearings purchased from an industrial power transmission supplier that I have dealt with for years at work and upgraded the grease to Red Line CV-2 grease. Timken bearings are not inexpensive but are of great quality. Also, Textrail is the axle supplier for Oliver (at least they were three years ago) and have offices all across the country. 

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On the differences between brake assemblies, probably a redesigned version in order to manufacture the assembly more cheaply (inexpensively). Oliver purchases the axle assemblies by the pallet load and just grabs two at a time for each LEII. They don’t disassemble them for inspection other than checking to see that externally they aren’t damaged. As a side note, after pressure washing the brake assemblies I’d recommend removing the adjusting screw assembly and disassembling it and thoroughly cleaning/lubricating them. I’d be willing to bet that water made its way into the threads and will corrode/lock up the adjuster. 

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Rebuilt the front axle brakes and greased all contact points with silicone brake grease. Today I will remove the adjuster spring on the rear and apply grease there, since yes, the pressure wash cleaned it dry.

Installed the new shocks (don't over-tighten the rubber bushing). Amazon used was good for 3 out of 4, one was blown, as you could compress it easily by hand and it would sit there and return very slowly. I submitted a return on that one and ordered another one at the new price of $34. Good practice with new shocks, out of the box, is to fully compress them, and allowing them to expand, 2-3 times.

My Timken seals arrived from eTrailer yesterday, so I will finish up the left side and start the right. They certainly look of better quality, with made in USA printed on both sides. BTW, if you have the original CHINA bearings, and they have been maintained, just clean them well and repack them and you should be fine for some time.

For my Oliver, with dubious maintenance history, thought it was the right time to install new bearings. I like to get my vehicles fully serviced, while I'm still able to do this kind of work. And we're not like some of you who put 10K miles on a year! For us, 3000 miles would be a big year (I like to be home!). Like to plan our RV trips, driving just 2-4 hours a day, boondocking between other stops. 

I do not plan to open these drums, grease the bearings again for a few years, after I get them right. I understand the suggested maintenance schedule, often written by legal departments and not experienced mechanics. Also, not driving through major rainstorms, as JD had mentioned, which is a rare case in the SW. We pull over and wait out such storms!

OTT Brakes Front Axle.jpg

OTT brakes Street Side.jpg

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Chris & John in Prescott, AZ | 2016 EII #113 | '01 Ram 2500 Cummins!

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