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Old 06-07-2020, 03:44 PM   #1
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Do you top off your bearings during long trips?

Bear with me, a couple of years ago I had a nightmare day involving a burned up axle on a Sunday evening in South Carolina returning from a trip in the Smokies. 2 hours at a gas station as some road-side swifty guy "fixed" it. $300 and 100 miles later it burned up again. Now it was dark, side of busy state road and Sunday. Had crawl on the embankment to the exit ahead and sleep in the summer heat in a Walmart parking lot.Then someone from another "establishment" charged $600 to put a new hub on in the parking lot, but wouldn't guarantee I would make it down to Miami because the axle was damaged by the first guy. OK, did it so it got me to a trailer repair shop in Gainesville where I left it for 3 weeks, came back after axles and hubs swapped to pick up to find water damage from heavy summer rains somehow getting in. LOL, It's stressing me just thinking of that costly trip.


So now I'm paranoid about axle grease and bearings and I'm returning mid-July to the Smokies and I'm trying to do everything I can to prevent a scenario like that again. I had the bearings re-packed, new tires and brakes done a month ago and have done one trip since, maybe 1000 miles worth.



My questions are, should I take a mini-grease gun on my trip and top off the Dexter bearings once perhaps I get in the Smokies? Does anybody regularly add grease during or between trips? I know 12k-12 months for repacking is the general rule, but I really want to be sure I'm in the best shape to prevent a repeat performance. And yes, I'm paranoid about it.
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Old 06-21-2020, 08:42 AM   #2
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Curious,could you describe the axle symtpoms before you observed failure, during failure, and after failure?

Sounds, smells, driving performance?
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Old 06-21-2020, 11:39 AM   #3
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My only experience with bearing problems has been on boat trailers and it was simple to add a thing called "bearing buddies" to the axles. It was a basic spring loaded "cup" which you filled with bearing grease and the spring kept pressure on the lube so that backing into the water did not let water into the bearings where it rusted.
Probably over doing it for the normal trailer axle (if available) but then easing the stress is often worth a lot of money.
https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Bea...B1980A-SS.html
Might be worth asking if something of that sort is made for the trailer. Perhaps a quick call to some places like E-trailer would get some suggestions? Other than that it seems getting some quality work done is enough to cover for most folks.
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Old 06-21-2020, 01:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morich View Post
My only experience with bearing problems has been on boat trailers and it was simple to add a thing called "bearing buddies" to the axles. It was a basic spring loaded "cup" which you filled with bearing grease and the spring kept pressure on the lube so that backing into the water did not let water into the bearings where it rusted.
Many of these trailers come with something similar, but different. Similar Zerk fitting, but the grease gets pushed through the bearing back around to the same side as the fitting, and then gets wiped away. In effect a cheap repacking of the bearings, where the bearing buddy would just keep a positive pressure on the grease to keep water out.
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Old 06-21-2020, 02:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McTrailer View Post
Curious,could you describe the axle symtpoms before you observed failure, during failure, and after failure?

Sounds, smells, driving performance?

I had bought the trailer 6 months before from an Airstream dealership in Connecticut. They had claimed they re-packed the bearings prior to it being picked up by a delivery service. I assumed this was true and used it a couple of times prior to this trip.



Every time we stopped for gas I would walk around the trailer touching the bearings. We had been up in the Smokies and had did a lot of downhill, so I assume the braking was heating things up along the way. We had stopped for gas in South Carolina and during my walk around I noticed one of the axle caps was burned away. I was just sick, it was late on Sunday and didn't know what I was going to do. Lady in Pilot gas station gave me a card for a mobile "trailer guy". It turned into a nightmare.



After his "work" was done and back on the road about an hour later I noticed the brake controller blinking like it had no connection. I pulled over on the side of the road and found it had done it again. It was now pitch dark. Such fond memories.
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Old 06-21-2020, 02:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodspike View Post
Many of these trailers come with something similar, but different. Similar Zerk fitting, but the grease gets pushed through the bearing back around to the same side as the fitting, and then gets wiped away. In effect a cheap repacking of the bearings, where the bearing buddy would just keep a positive pressure on the grease to keep water out.



Yes, this is what I have now, the Dexter Bearings that you add grease and it pushed out the old from the back. Pretty easy to do except you are supposed to rotate the tires as you pump in the new grease.



I'm going to pick up a small grease gun and take it with me on my return to the Smokies in July and once there give it a couple of squirts on each axle. Don't think I'll be raiser her up and spinning any tires, but I figure some fresh grease will help.



Just paranoid after my last experience.
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Old 06-21-2020, 04:47 PM   #7
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It sounds like you may be ďboilingĒ the grease out of the hubs. Iíve had this happen on heavy boat trailers with surge brakes. You probably know what follows but just in case you donít...Make sure that you are using tow/haul mode on your tow vehicle if you have it or lower gears. Check your brake controller for proper adjustment so that the trailer is not tugging on the tow vehicle too much. I also donít ride the brakes a lot. Instead, I punch them periodically to slow down. More importantly, periodically pull over and check how hot your wheel drums are and let your brakes cool down if youíre going down long steep downgrades. Now that we have a motorhome towing a car, I still do all the above and especially pull over to let the brakes cool down. I always carried a grease gun and grease tubes with me.
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Old 06-21-2020, 08:24 PM   #8
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I have added a TPMS system to the rig as well so that hopefully should it start to overheat I will get a warning and can pull over.
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