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A reminder to check those wheel bearings.


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I was doing my walk around the rig checking everything before we head out for the summer. Raised the curb side wheel off the ground, and low land behold the front wheel had about 1/4" movement when is pulled out the top of the wheel. They are Dexter Never Lube bearings on 8000 lb. axles. I called Dexter and was told that with the 17.5 wheels and tires (30" diameter") there can be as much as 1/2 inch of "tilt" when rocking the wheels. Being a nervous nelly and having a spare hub assembly I decided to change the hub and order a replacement bearing. I ordered a new bearing before I changed hubs. I figured better safe than sorry and went about changing out the hub. My surprise came when I removed the old hub and bearing. I was able to simply reach inside and pull the bearing and seal out of the race. The bearing was full of fine power shavings from the bearing failing. Called Dexter again told them what I found and they are reimbursing me for the cost of a new bearing and shipping. I guess the bottom line is trust you gut instinct. I've been around cars and trucks too long to know a wheel shouldn't wobble when you pull on it...

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I second that. It's hard enough for some to remember to check and service standard wheel bearing annually. The NeverLube bearing are a forgotten item after the owner sees that name. They either forget or don't know the only difference is they are a sealed bearing, and must still be checked for wear.

I used to have the EZ-lube hubs/bearings on our 5er. They got removed, cleaned and checked, then repacked by hand annually. There is no substitute for a visual inspection.

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Unfortunately, with the Dexter Never Lube they cant be opened to be repacked and inspected. I just had a conversation with my wife and we have decided that if 2 of 4 bearing fail within 2000 miles of each other, how far behind are the other two from failing? When I receive my new bearings, just to be on the safe side, I'm going to replace the other two bearings. Rather do it here in the yard with my shop than on the road or in a park somewhere.

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Friends had a Lippert axle with Never Lube hubs on a DRV. The bearing failed and the wheel flew off. Ruined the axle, bent a lot of the lower metal, nearly ripped the entire end cap off and punched a fist sized hole in it. They never felt a thing in the truck and it was dark so they didn't see anything. A cop pulled them over about 2 miles after it happened. No lights on the trailer. These bearings were tight when they started about 1000 miles before.

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I might add to make sure the bearings are made in the good old U.S.A. I had mine replaced, and 6mos. later the right front started going bad. I had them pull both and found out they were made in China. I was told this was a recurring problem because of the inferior steel being used.

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We had our Nev-R-Lub's replaced last year and I specified US and NOT China made bearings. It took a few weeks for MOR/ryde to get four but they were Timken and the race was stamped Made in France which I accepted. The originals were working fine but I wanted to be proactive and not have a problem. Greg

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Greg, next fall when we get home for the winter I will probably order new bearings and specify no China bearings. The shop where I have my bearings press out and in said that if I took the bearings to a specialty bearing dealer they could probably actually get me Timkens made in the US. I know there is a large dealer in Las Vegas which is only 90 miles from us, so I'll make a trip up and see what I can find.

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Dick, MOR/ryde supplied the Made in France Timken bearings, did all the work except pressing them in and out. It took 2 orders to get them from Dexter, pretty sure that was their supplier. Tall Texan was going to have them replace his a few weeks later and they could only get two, Apparently there was a delay last year in getting non Chinese bearings. As a side note we were at MOR/ryde today for routine IS and brake service and they checked the bearings and after a year on the new ones all looked well. Greg

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