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Old 10-03-2012, 04:10 PM   #1
Flashmo OP
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Trailer Bearing Adjustment

Loading my utility trailer to head to the dump tomorrow...I checked the tire pressure and when I was standing up, I grabbed the tire for leverage...it moved.

The bearings had about 1/16" side to side freeplay, and I adjusted the hub nut until it was smooth rolling with no side play. There was no grinding or odd feelings of the bearings when adjusted. 2,000# utility trailer axle.

This trailer sits for about 2 months at a time between dump runs, but will be put to use at least twice a month in the next few months.

Do I need to be watching for premature hub failure? Any indications I can watch for besides excessive hub heat during uses?
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:22 PM   #2
Benesesso
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flashmo View Post
Loading my utility trailer to head to the dump tomorrow...I checked the tire pressure and when I was standing up, I grabbed the tire for leverage...it moved.

The bearings had about 1/16" side to side freeplay, and I adjusted the hub nut until it was smooth rolling with no side play. There was no grinding or odd feelings of the bearings when adjusted. 2,000# utility trailer axle.

This trailer sits for about 2 months at a time between dump runs, but will be put to use at least twice a month in the next few months.

Do I need to be watching for premature hub failure? Any indications I can watch for besides excessive hub heat during uses?
Ball or roller bearings?
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Benesesso View Post
Ball or roller bearings?
Honestly, I don't know, didn't check while I was in there. The entire axle with hubs cost about $120 in 2004 when I built the trailer, so based on price I would assume ball bearings.
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:13 PM   #4
rjsurfer
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Most trailers use roller bearings....

The best way to check bearing operation is to monitor the temps of the hub. Whenever I stop on the highway when pulling my 5th wheel I shoot each hub with an infrared heat gun, I'm looking for one hub hotter then the rest as a good test.

When you get the time you should pull the hubs and bearings and repack them, use Mobil 1 synthetic grease, do it once right and you'll never have to do it again.

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Old 10-03-2012, 05:26 PM   #5
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I know this is not orthodox but my dad always tightened them by hand, we always had utility trailers, boats, campers etc, he packed the bearings each year and tightened the bearings hand tight, fingers only, never ever not once had any problems and would trailer all over camping, fishing.
He did most everything by the book, had shop manuals for everything from Evinrude to VW. Ford, Chevy etc. but when it came to tapered hub bearings he just did it that way, i never ask, his track record was good.
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:04 PM   #6
concours
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tHAT IS EXACTLY HOW i HAVE BEEN RUNNING MY TRAILER WHEEL BEARINGS FOR 35 years, on the loose side. You should be able to feel a slight "clunk" of movement when yanked side to side. The reason is, the hub will expand when warm, reducing bearing clearance. Too little and they will build more heat, more expansion and then failure. Inspected, greased and adjusted a little on the loose side is the way for longevity. Tens of thousands of miles on dozens of different trailers.
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:38 PM   #7
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I've always treated mine the way I grew up packing and setting up automobile roller wheel bearings - clean, repack forcing grease through the rollers and cage, then tightening while spinning the wheel (not just the hub, but with a wheel mounted) until the bearing slowed the wheel to a stop in about one turn of freewheeling. (Think preload). Then back off the spindle nut just until the wheel will spin freely. Usually about 1/8 to 1/4 turn back out. Pick the closest cotter pin hole and secure the nut.

Like mentioned, monitor spindles for heat buildup every trip. Should stay cool to the touch or at the worst still be cool enough to clutch your hand around the spindle and hold onto it.
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:57 PM   #8
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Touch and hold the hubs after about 1/2 hour driving at highway speeds. They should/can be warm but not hot.

Erik
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Old 10-03-2012, 08:16 PM   #9
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1/8" top to bottom movement is fine.

Tighten the nut to 50 lb/ft while rotating the hub to ensure the bearings are seating properly, then loosen the nut off and tighten it hand tight. If the cotter pin won't line up back off to the next hole, don't go tighter
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:28 PM   #10
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i always tightened them snug with a wrench to seat the bearings then backed them off and hand tighten then cotter pin. never had a problem. i always installed bearing buddys to keep the full of grease too.
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:12 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by kubiak View Post
i always tightened them snug with a wrench to seat the bearings then backed them off and hand tighten then cotter pin. Never had a problem. I always installed bearing buddys to keep the full of grease too.
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Old 10-06-2012, 04:28 AM   #12
GH41
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Originally Posted by RVDan View Post
1/8" top to bottom movement is fine.

Tighten the nut to 50 lb/ft while rotating the hub to ensure the bearings are seating properly, then loosen the nut off and tighten it hand tight. If the cotter pin won't line up back off to the next hole, don't go tighter
Same here. Been doing it this way for 40 years. GH
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Old 10-07-2012, 02:30 AM   #13
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Same here. Been doing it this way for 40 years. GH
Yep thats the official Dexter Axle procedure. I have a certificate hanging on the wall that says I'm qualified to service their axles.
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
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.....

Tighten the nut to 50 lb/ft while rotating the hub to ensure the bearings are seating properly, then loosen the nut off and tighten it hand tight. If the cotter pin won't line up back off to the next hole, don't go tighter
This is exactly what I do.
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