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Bearings- Grease or Oil Bath


Alie&Jim's Carrilite

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As the title says, what is your preference?

I have had both on different trailers, different set-ups, different purposes. Some folks are having issue with the current run of IS suspensions with the covers breaking and letting grease fly out. I also know that MorRyde and Dexter both had issues with leaking oil seals.

I also have had issue with the NeverLube, had to replace 1 bearing unit after 20k of miles.

Is one actually any better than the other?

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Jim,

 

Funny you post this. Just for grins, couple of months ago, I researched pros and cons of NeverLubes, EZlubes, regular bearings, oil bath, disk vs. drum brakes etc. on the internet. Opinions were everywhere and pretty evenly divided. Apparently the Neverlubes had some problems couple of years ago especially the Timken Chinese manufactured replacements. That seems to have been corrected, but "seems" is a big word. My personal preference is the NeverLubes since it is one less yearly chore repacking bearings and I do the Dexter check yearly. I would prefer disk brakes on my trailer but have drums. If properly maintained and adjusted don't know which is better.

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If I had my choice, I would spec Neverlubes too since I despise packing wheel bearings. I would have a spare hub bearing or two on hand since it seems like not everyone got up to speed and stocks them. Maybe even just an idler hub with a bearing pressed in so you could continue on your way in the case you were on the side of the road with a warm bearing after a quick roadside check.

 

That said, I have been thinking of swapping the current rig over to oilbath next service. Next best thing since we already have the packable bearings on the current rig. Beware NAPA really sticks it to you for the 7/8K oil bath wheel seal.....like $50 ea. The trailer suppliers are half the price and the seal is actually the same Chinese manufacturer! Surprise there.....

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9 years on our Nev-R-Lube bearings. We stop at MOR/ryde every once in a while for a checkup (look for axial play).

 

Only issue I ever heard of was Nev-R-Lubes in offset hub wheel on light trailers. The manufactures like the offset to get more space between the wheels. The Nev-R-Lubes bearing are for 0 offset wheels.

 

Those Nev-R-Lube bearings are the same kind used in railroad axles. Talk about a long useful, non-maintenance life.

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I prefer greased bearings and just do the yearly maintenance on them while cleaning and lubing the brake caliper slides, I usually check everything during our annual maintenance including shocks, tires, light lenses, etc. I don't like Nev-R-Lube bearings for two reasons, they can'r be inspected to see if a bearing surface is starting to gall and they are impossible to put in sitting on the side of the road.

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I have not packed my bearings in at least 3 years. I figure I did it so I know they were clean, adjusted properly, I used an Amsoil synthetic grease, and have self adjusting brakes. At the RV dealer, how do you know if the grease they used was compatible with what was last used? Not everyone cleans everything out in a jet washer or solvent tank.......

 

Before every major trip, about twice a year, I jack up each wheel, check for play, and spin the wheel to listen for roughness. I can also see the brake linings from the rear.

 

Having oil in the hub gives you another possible indicator that something isn't right if it's discolored or has metal in it.

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The oil bath is very easy, and I think if you are on the road a lot, they work great, but if your trailer sets around the seals seem to leak. I have some farm trailers that leak often, but they might set for several months at a time. I have the packable bearings on my trailer, but I never wash them. I have a bearing packer that, using a grease gun, pushes the old grease out, while packing the new grease in. Never had a bearing failure, but came close with my resent axel upgrade because of brake pad heat, and China bearings. That happened at about 16K miles. Hard to find good USA bearings. I watch the front wheel bearings on the Volvo close, as they are oil bath. Dick T

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