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Old 01-07-2013, 12:40 PM   #1
rjsurfer OP
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Grease contaminating brake lining (trailer)

I have been fighting a leaking grease seal on one wheel of my 5th wheel camper for awhile now, I have changed the grease seal a number of times and I still wind up with that one wheel leaking grease on the linings and eventually that one wheel starts to squeal when braking and ultimately starts to lock up during low speed braking. I clean the linings each time with brake cleaner each time I have swapped seals

The axle spindle where the seal touches looks fine no burrs or scratches. The only thing that's the least bit off on that wheel is the tire does show more wear on the inside, which probably means the spindle or axle might be bent?

Could that be the issue?

Ron W.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:01 PM   #2
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If the fit of the seal and bearings is good, I'd look for a pin-hole in the hub.
Just a wild guess but it could happen with a cast iron hub.
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:26 PM   #3
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:40 PM   #4
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What kind of axle are we talking here? 7000lb or so? The spindle could be bent, but you should be able to tell with your eye. What seal are you using and how are you installing it?

I would replace the shoes, they arent expensive and you will never get all the grease out of them with solvent..
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:58 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by dave186 View Post
What kind of axle are we talking here? 7000lb or so? The spindle could be bent, but you should be able to tell with your eye. What seal are you using and how are you installing it?

I would replace the shoes, they arent expensive and you will never get all the grease out of them with solvent..
I'm using the grease seal from Etrailer catalog. it's an exact fit for 6,000lb axle.

You might be right on just going ahead on swapping the linings out, maybe after being soaked with grease a few times it will be impossible to get it all out.Even using Gumout and brake cleaner I noticed it difficult to clean out on the hub and other metal parts.

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Old 01-08-2013, 04:28 AM   #6
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Had

Had a ole time, long time mechanic, show me once if ya dont replace the pads then clean em best you can with Brake cleaner, then let em dry, then he would take his cutting torch and pass it back and forth over the pads (this was on a 2 ton truck brakes) this cooked or burnt out any crap down in the cracks of the pads. After they cool off clean em again with Brake cleaner. Worked a like a champ.

As for the continued leaking, Assuming the fit of the seal in the hub is good, no knicks or gouges in the mating surfaces there and the same is true for the spindle side surfaces. Then I would ask how full are you filling the spindle/hub with grease? I assume you are just packing the bearings themselves and not packing the whole hub full of grease? If you pack the whole hub full then when it gets hot going down the road the grease will expand and it will come out past the seals or any other fault.
I dont care how good your seals are.

The above is one reason I dont use Bearing Buddies, like most boat trailers have on them. The Boy Scout gear trailer I inherited when I became scoutmaster has them (but no brakes) and they are just mess makers.

Check the wear patern the seal makes on the spindle, is it even?
As mentioned above a pit in the spindle casting is possible, I personally have never seen one.

You may certainly have a bent axle but I bet its not bent where it makes a difference in how the bearings, hub, spindle and seal is related to each other. Might be bent between the outboard side of the seal and the spring hanger or could be slipped in the spring clamps, referencing your tire wear.

Good luck

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Old 01-08-2013, 08:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jailor8 View Post
Had a ole time, long time mechanic, show me once if ya dont replace the pads then clean em best you can with Brake cleaner, then let em dry, then he would take his cutting torch and pass it back and forth over the pads (this was on a 2 ton truck brakes) this cooked or burnt out any crap down in the cracks of the pads. After they cool off clean em again with Brake cleaner. Worked a like a champ.

As for the continued leaking, Assuming the fit of the seal in the hub is good, no knicks or gouges in the mating surfaces there and the same is true for the spindle side surfaces. Then I would ask how full are you filling the spindle/hub with grease? I assume you are just packing the bearings themselves and not packing the whole hub full of grease? If you pack the whole hub full then when it gets hot going down the road the grease will expand and it will come out past the seals or any other fault.
I dont care how good your seals are.

The above is one reason I dont use Bearing Buddies, like most boat trailers have on them. The Boy Scout gear trailer I inherited when I became scoutmaster has them (but no brakes) and they are just mess makers.

Check the wear patern the seal makes on the spindle, is it even?
As mentioned above a pit in the spindle casting is possible, I personally have never seen one.

You may certainly have a bent axle but I bet its not bent where it makes a difference in how the bearings, hub, spindle and seal is related to each other. Might be bent between the outboard side of the seal and the spring hanger or could be slipped in the spring clamps, referencing your tire wear.

Good luck

jailor8
I was going to suggest the torch trick also. I too learned it from an old timer I used to work with.

I agree with everything else also, bearing buddies suck and never pack the whole hub with grease.

I dunno what kind of seal your getting from e trailer but I have had good luck using CR/SKF seals. If its what I think it is, try a CR 22558. Its a double lip version.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:39 PM   #8
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Does that seal ever look overheated? Is it possible the brakes are overheating on that wheel, causing the grease to cook and the seal to melt? You mentioned that tire is wearing more than the other, so it may be possible that wheel is braking more than the rest and overheating.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:39 AM   #9
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I'm packing the bearings by hand and not filling up all the free space with grease and I'm not using the grease fitting to top it off. I agree it's too easy to over fill with grease and blow out the seal.

I'm sort of leaning towards the linings just being soaked with grease and the brake cleaner and Gumout just isn't doing the trick in cleaning them up.

The old seals where worn pretty even and showed no signs of deterioration.

Will try the torch trick next after this vacation is over. If I get a nice tax refund I'll just swap them out for disc brakes there are plenty of kits out there for around $1,200, the ultimate solution.

Thanks for the help.

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