Replacing RV Axle Hubs And Maintaining Your RV Wheel Bearings
Many RV parts and accessories or components require routine inspections or RV care servicing before embarking on a great vacation adventure. A wheel bearing failure is one of the leading causes of RV roadside repairs. Not only it is an inconvenience but it can cause a very serious situation that can cause an accident, serious injury or even death. To determine if there are compatible axle hubs and bearings to replace your current hubs to a more standard size, you will have to take several precise measurements on the spindle of your axle. Experts suggest to use a set of dial calipers to obtain these measurements. When you're purchasing a trailer hub assembly on a trailer supply or trailer parts superstore, there are some important information to know in order to make the correct selection. Wheel hubs vary in dimensions based on the size of the trailer wheels and the bearing load. As for wheel bearings, you just simply replace them if they are in bad shape.
Before you buy in a RV parts store, you should:
- Find out how many stud holes should be in your hub. Hub assemblies usually comes with either 4 or 5 holes around the circumference.
- Most wheel hubs have bolt hole diameters between 4 and 6 inches, divided into half-inch increments. To obtain that figure, measure from the center of that large bolt hole to the center of a stud hole, and divide that number by two.
- Know the inner and outer bearing size. Most of these bearings have a reference number engraved on them that indicates their diameter or part number. The dealer you buy the hub from should have that chart available, or you can find it in any RV supply store or ordering RV parts online.
Once you have your wheel hub assembly with the correct specifications, it's time to install or have a pro install your bearings. You will need to measure the seal, inner bearing, and outer bearing. When repacking bearings, they should always be cleaned with a proper bearing cleaner and wiped dry, then thoroughly inspected by looking for rough spots or pitting on the surfaces and for signs of overheating and wear. When cleaned, they should spin freely and have no rough spots. In most cases, an RV or motorhome is parked in the off-season. Without proper scheduled RV maintenance, condensation can be a factor. Rust can form inside the bearing assembly, and when travelling the rust will start to scratch the bearing roller surface, which will cause excess friction and heat.
This will eventually lead to fatigue, disintegration of the wheel bearing and welding of the center of the bearing to the spindle. The axle and brake assembly also will be destroyed in many cases. Even if you are not a pro doing this kind of stuff, a great tip is to always carry a complete wheel bearing kit or spare with all the parts and tools required to do a roadside repair. That way you have the parts readily available for a qualified technician anytime and anywhere to get you safely back on the road. And if you are confident, you can do the wheel bearing repack yourself.