Wheel bearings full of water

bruceb58

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The worst thing you can use is the EZ-Lube systems that Dexter uses. I call it LAZ-Lube. With travel trailers, people seem to think its a good idea to use this system vs taking the hubs off and regreasing by hand. I have EZ-Lube on one of my boat trailers. I never use it and hand pack.

My newer trailer has Vault hubs. Supposedly no maintenance. We will see how that goes.
 

jhande

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Well I can't talk about trailers that constantly see water, but I can talk about wheel bearing in general from my auto tech days.

First things first, clean all old grease and crap from the spindle, bearings, seals, seats and caps. Inspect seal and spindle shoulder for any imperfections. I always hand pack the bearings holding a glob of grease in the palm of my hand and push the grease through the top (wide) of the bearings until clean grease comes out the bottom (small). Then apply a SMALL amount of grease to the outside of the bearings, spindle and seal area. Torque everything back on. Here's the biggy... if the cap is not like new it won't seal so good. It's important that every time it is removed and replaced it goes in straight. I always use a block of wood and tap on that to carefully push it in.

If the rear seal fails you should see some oily/greasy residue on the spindle outside of where the seal makes contact. Obviously if water gets in from there the grease will get out while driving down the road.

If constant replacement of the rear seal and the spindle looks good and the seal is of proper size, that's not the culprit. I would look at the dust cap as they do lose their ability to properly seal after a few times of removing & replacing.
 

JimS123

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The worst thing you can use is the EZ-Lube systems that Dexter uses. I call it LAZ-Lube. With travel trailers, people seem to think its a good idea to use this system vs taking the hubs off and regreasing by hand. I have EZ-Lube on one of my boat trailers. I never use it and hand pack.
Please explain. I never had one until 2017. Lubed it according to directions. After 3 years I pulled it apart to inspect and repack and all looked well. I am in fresh water
..
 

bruceb58

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Please explain. I never had one until 2017. Lubed it according to directions. After 3 years I pulled it apart to inspect and repack and all looked well. I am in fresh water
..
With my travel trailer, I pull the hubs annually to check brakes and bearing condition. I then repack. Dexter maintenance schedule is 12K miles or 1 year, whichever comes first. Some people believe they are actually repacking their bearings using this LAZ-Lube method and never pull their hubs. Many travel trailer people get grease all over their brakes using this method. Another reason why not ti use it.

My pontoon trailer came with these. The trailer was 5 years old and all the bearings were rusty because of water intrusion. This device does nothing to pressurize the hub like a Bearing Buddy does. On my previous owned trailer with Bearing Buddys, I never had an issue of water intrusion.
 

Rabbit929

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Yeah, I never assumed Bearing Buddies had anything to do with getting grease to the bearings; that is done when you service the hub and pack the bearing with grease.

BBs are just supposed to maintain that postive pressure in the hub. If you have to keep adding grease to maintain that pressure, you've probably blown a seal. And that is one of the advantages of BBs: if you find the indicator continually shows the need for more grease, it's time to take the hub apart and get new seals.
Precisely. The benefit for the common man is a little bit of give, as you could pretty much grease them all day and it will keep forcing the excess out, but once a bearing has to "Push" through the grease, it heats up, thermal expansion tightens up the tolerances, grease thins out, further increasing temperature, eventually getting hot enough to melt all the grease out and start to cherry until its shot.
We actually have a few centrifuges that we use air to force grease OUT of the bearing as these machines are very finicky at startup. (we use a relief to protect the seals)

Interesting observations...

When I was a plant engineer we had an enclosed production line with over 600 bearings. Most were subjected to continuous water or chemical spray. Greasing was a PM requirement, but it could only be done when the line was down. Then, with other mechanical priorities, some often got missed. We usually had 3 or 4 failures a week.

I installed an automatic greasing system on all 600. It gave a short squirt every minute and a half. It DID make a sloppy greasy mess, but bearing failure was greatly reduced, savings thousands of $ in downtime.

Other than after buying an old junker trailer, I have never replaced bearings. When I repack I clean and inspect, and if there is no sign of corrosion or wear, the old bearings go back in. Never had a bearing failure on a trailer.

We operate in a very similar way, on our wet side, everything gets greased regularly, but not high speed applications.
On our dry side, we actually have bearings that receive no grease at all, as we've found they last very much longer as long as the seal remains uninterrupted. So we dont grease most of our bearings at all, and its very seldom we change bearings as the seal never sees any pressure, and the initial grease the factory put in is far better than what they let us use.

I know with my trailers i just lift it with a forklift at random and wobble in the wheel, if its tight, maybe 1 shot just for peace of mind, and i will open it up and repack in 2 years just to see how its doing.
 

Searay205

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The advantage of the EZ-Lube is when used in conjuciton with a buddy bearing. You get a 100% grease fill while buddy bearing maintains pressure. Its almost impossible to pack a hub 100%. Usually its 3-4 repps of the buddy bearing over a couple 100 miles before its full.
 

bruceb58

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The advantage of the EZ-Lube is when used in conjuciton with a buddy bearing. You get a 100% grease fill while buddy bearing maintains pressure. Its almost impossible to pack a hub 100%. Usually its 3-4 repps of the buddy bearing over a couple 100 miles before its full.
I would think the zerk would hit the buddy bearing.
 

Searay205

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good point. I drill my zerks in the hub between rear seal and bearing race. You could remove zerk just before installing buddy bearing if on end of spindle. Truth be told I always thought bearing buddies were a farce. I then ensured hub was 100% packed and Buddy spring was always compressed a little. I have gone in excess of 10 years and bearing and grease were PERFECT with 20 launches a year. Incredible, again hub must be 100% full and spring loaded lip seals.
 

bruceb58

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I have never had a problem with Bearing Buddys. Even if there is a pocket of air in the hub, the sole purpose of the bearing buddy is to have positive pressure in the hub so zero need for them to actually be 100% full. Over time, you may need to add more grease if that air pocket seeps out.
 

Searay205

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Air is compressible, grease is not. If you have have air in the hub, depending on amount, you are minimizing if not eliminating ithe bearing buddies ability to develop positive pressure. I towed boat twice to FLA from Texas over the last 10 years, just got back two weeks ago. When I pull off interstate after going 70mph my bearings are ambient temperature. IR gun shows 98F. 10 year old grease, over 200 launches over 6K miles.
 

bruceb58

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Air is compressible, grease is not.
LOL....so what? As long as the piston is not bottomed out and you can rock the piston, there is positive pressure in the hub which is all you want!

You haven't pulled hubs and inspected bearings in 10 years? LOL
 

Rabbit929

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Air is compressible, grease is not. If you have have air in the hub, depending on amount, you are minimizing if not eliminating ithe bearing buddies ability to develop positive pressure. I towed boat twice to FLA from Texas over the last 10 years, just got back two weeks ago. When I pull off interstate after going 70mph my bearings are ambient temperature. IR gun shows 98F. 10 year old grease, over 200 launches over 6K miles.
thisis going to have to be some air space inorder for your bearings to not absolutely detonate. If they were 100% full, the friction from forcing the grease out of the way of the bearing (as we call it "roller push") would causing the bearing to run excessively hot until eventually the excess burns up, seems out, or the bearing cage fails to maintain proper spacings and detonates.
I have proved this many times, can easily be recreated. If its working for you thats great, but the excessive grease is most likely walking into the center of the housing between the two, and at that point doesn't lubricate at all, which is fine, so long as it has somewhere to go. I can post thermal results from the overgreasing discussion i've had with the lubetechs if you guys would like.
 

bruceb58

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thisis going to have to be some air space inorder for your bearings to not absolutely detonate. If they were 100% full, the friction from forcing the grease out of the way of the bearing (as we call it "roller push") would causing the bearing to run excessively hot until eventually the excess burns up, seems out, or the bearing cage fails to maintain proper spacings and detonates.
I have proved this many times, can easily be recreated. If its working for you thats great, but the excessive grease is most likely walking into the center of the housing between the two, and at that point doesn't lubricate at all, which is fine, so long as it has somewhere to go. I can post thermal results from the overgreasing discussion i've had with the lubetechs if you guys would like.
The RPMs of a tapered wheel bearing in a wheel application is a fraction of the percent that they are rated to run at so its not even close to being an issue if the hub is full of grease. The temperature influence of the brakes and just the sun beating on them is WAY more of an effect.

A tapered roller bearing is rated for 45,000 RPM. If you have a 205/75/14 tire and you travel at 60 MPH, that bearing is rotating at 773 RPM.
 
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Rabbit929

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A tapered roller bearing is rated for 45,000 RPM. If you have a 205/75/14 tire and you travel at 60 MPH, that bearing is rotating at 773 RPM.

I could agree to disagree on that one, as wheres this excessive amount of grease going to go under thermal growth? if the cavity was truly 100% full, it would force the seals out. And once the seals are out, you have no choice but to purge-grease.
Any precision engineering professional will let you know the most common cause of bearing failures, is overgreasing. Once a bearing starts having to fight through a pile of grease to make its revolution, the energy transfer generates heat. I've replaced thousands of them and you know which bearings seem to last the longest?
The ones noone knows about.
Its to each their own though, i just put a single pump in once and awhile, and twice a season lift the wheel off the ground and spin it for feel or wobble.
If there is neither, the bearings fine. They dont exactly detonate without having some sign of coming failure. (squeak, wobble, or gritty noise while rotating.) So if you want a full hub and grease all over the inside of the rim, have at 'er! Id just as soon leave it be.
 

bruceb58

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I could agree to disagree on that one, as wheres this excessive amount of grease going to go under thermal growth? if the cavity was truly 100% full, it would force the seals out. And once the seals are out, you have no choice but to purge-grease.
Any precision engineering professional will let you know the most common cause of bearing failures, is overgreasing. Once a bearing starts having to fight through a pile of grease to make its revolution, the energy transfer generates heat. I've replaced thousands of them and you know which bearings seem to last the longest?
The ones noone knows about.
Its to each their own though, i just put a single pump in once and awhile, and twice a season lift the wheel off the ground and spin it for feel or wobble.
If there is neither, the bearings fine. They dont exactly detonate without having some sign of coming failure. (squeak, wobble, or gritty noise while rotating.) So if you want a full hub and grease all over the inside of the rim, have at 'er! Id just as soon leave it be.
You disagree that the spec is 45,000RPM and that a wheel only rotates at 733RPM? The math is pretty simple.

I guess those 100s of thousands of people that use the EZ-Lube and Bearing Buddys that fill their hubs full are littered along the highways!
 

Searay205

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Bearing buddies have a "relief valve". A hole drilled just before the spring is fully compressed in the hub. If to much grease or thermal expansion of grease it burps out the hole.

Why would I check bearings that run at 100F when its 98F outside. I prefer predictive maintenance vs feel good maintenance.

Do it however you little heart desires. I know my system works.....
 

JimS123

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Bearing buddies have a "relief valve". A hole drilled just before the spring is fully compressed in the hub. If to much grease or thermal expansion of grease it burps out the hole.

Why would I check bearings that run at 100F when its 98F outside. I prefer predictive maintenance vs feel good maintenance.

Do it however you little heart desires. I know my system works.....
I am also a believer. Back when I didn't know any better I also left my hubs untouched for 10 years. When I finally opened them up and found no water intrusion and perfectly shiny bearings, I was mad that I wasted the time to repack.

OTOH, I don't think the relief valve hole works. Any time I was too diligent it seemed to burp out the rear seal, not the weep hole.
 

Searay205

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from buddy bearing website:

Grease can be added to the hub through an easily accessible grease fitting located in the center of the piston. Lubricant level (and pressure) can be checked quickly by pressing on the edge of the moveable piston. If you can rock or move the piston, the hub is properly filled. In addition to packing the bearings in the traditional manner, it's best to get as much grease as possible inside the hub cavity between the bearings and then, while the Bearing Buddy® is off, fill it with grease as well from the backside. The air pockets inside the hub cavity and Bearing Buddy® will work their way out past the piston (or blue ring) on the Bearing Buddy®.
You should see the piston extend out or the blue ring past the front of the Bearing Buddy® when it's properly filled. However, as air escapes the piston (or blue ring) is going to collapse inward. This is normal. After driving several miles, check the piston (or blue ring) to see if it has moved inward. If it has, add a little more grease to get the piston to move outward or the blue ring to move about 1/8" past the front of the Bearing Buddy®. You may have to do this a couple of times before all the air pockets are gone and the entire hub cavity is filled with grease.
 
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