Wheel Bearing / Brake Maintenance

Submitted: Friday, Mar 26, 2010 at 20:01
ThreadID: 126476 Views:35379 Replies:8 FollowUps:12
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Good Morning All

Before heading off on our next adventure, this time into more remote country, I thought I had better learn to perform maintenance on the brakes & wheel bearings.

I have previously changed wheel bearings on boat trailers with disc brakes without problems. However when I tried to remove the brake drum it would not budge.

Q.1 - Are there any instructions on wheel bearing maintenance, specifically removing the brake drum ?

Q.2 - I live in Brisbane and was wondering if anyone could recommend a mobile mechanic who operates in the eastern suburbs/southside area ? I was thinking that I could get them to show me how to do one wheel (Brake adjustment/maintenance & wheel bearings) so that I could do the rest.

We have only travelled about 20,000 k's and the brakes seem to be working well. I checked these by jacking up each wheel, spun the wheel, then initially applied the foot brake and separately the brake controller and each time the brakes worked as I expected. However, until I remove the bearings & brake drum I cannot see whether any internal parts are worn &/or need replacement.

Q.3 - As part of the brake maintenance process, is there a list of parts that should be replaced periodically or which can be upgraded to improve performance/longevity ? e.g. I have read somewhere that brake magnets should be upgraded for offroad use.

Any help/advice would be appreciated.

Hope everyone is having a great day.
Regards
Greg
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Reply By: Turist - Friday, Mar 26, 2010 at 20:35

Friday, Mar 26, 2010 at 20:35
Q #1
The brake drum and hub are removed as a unit.
Gently pry off the dust cap, remove split pin, remove castellated nut and backing washer.
Pull assembly off stub axle.

Servicing the bearings will be along the same lines as you have used when servicing the boat trailer.

You will need new grease seals.
Buy these from Hauffe & Co, they are a steel cased bearing.
The rubber ones from bearing supply companies are not suitable.
I would also buy replacement bearing from Hauffe, better priced than the bearing stores and you will need them one day.

Check the wear on the brake actuating lever at the magnet end in particular.

You can not fit the off road (read corrugation vibration resistant) magnets without replacing the assembly, back plate shoes etc.
They are an Al-Ko product.
Simplicity suspension can be ordered with Al-Ko or Dexter assemblies, BT fit Dexter.
Leave it to you to get a sensible explanation from STG as to why he fits highway brakes to a van designed to travel on dirt.

Regards
Bob
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AnswerID: 580155

Follow Up By:- Friday, Mar 26, 2010 at 22:31

Friday, Mar 26, 2010 at 22:31
Thanks Bob

As suggested, I too thought that the brake drum & hub would simply slide off after removing the split pin, nut & washer. I have only tried one brake drum (Rear passenger side with hand brake system) so far and it appears to be stuck on. It spins freely on the axle so I assume this means that the brake shoes are not holding it. I shall give it a harder tap from behind to see if this will loosen it.

Regards
Greg
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Follow Up By: Turist - Friday, Mar 26, 2010 at 22:45

Friday, Mar 26, 2010 at 22:45
Is the outer bearing cone loose?
It will normally slide free once the nut has been removed.

If the outer bearing cone has been moving on the axle it can form a miniscule shoulder on the stub making it difficult to remove.
I severe cases you will need to rent/buy/borrow a puller.

Try with 2 large screwdrivers or similar levers to get between the rollers on the bearing and lever against the drum housing.
Use care not to damage the cage.

Let me know how you go.

Bob
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Follow Up By: 2 Jays - Tuesday, Mar 30, 2010 at 01:37

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2010 at 01:37
My experience with drum brakes is that you usually have to put some clearance in the system by backing off the adjuster before removing the drum.
Give that a try and I think you'll find that the drum slips off without the use of a large "Persuader".

Jeff
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Reply By: galacticbob - Saturday, Mar 27, 2010 at 06:12

Saturday, Mar 27, 2010 at 06:12
Following on from the other posts.

This time last year I went through and serviced brakes, bearings and undercarriage in our pre loved BT.
I found that I had to replace a couple of worn bolts (one bolt nearly broken through) and another centre spring bolt was quite loose.

I have just completed the service again and found loose pivot and centre bolts.
Both times bolts were tightened to 150 lbf (pivot) and centre bolt 74 lbf... on both occassions.

This year one new magnet and arm had to be replaced. Also, each time I have done this service I have found that the spring in the rear seals are damaged. Not sure if this is normal.

What I found interesting was the wear on the magnets and arms in just one trip of only 15000 kms on gravel roads with low tyre pressure, very low speeds, not over weight and no tight schedules.

I would be interested in hearing if others have had similar experiences.

Bob




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Follow Up By: Turist - Saturday, Mar 27, 2010 at 06:30

Saturday, Mar 27, 2010 at 06:30
Some previous discussion on brakes and bearings Here

Bob
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Follow Up By: galacticbob - Saturday, Mar 27, 2010 at 06:48

Saturday, Mar 27, 2010 at 06:48
Bob

Thanks

Bob
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Follow Up By: Motherhen & Rooster - Saturday, Mar 27, 2010 at 11:25

Saturday, Mar 27, 2010 at 11:25
Hi Bob

Brakes again caused us trouble last year. After our breakaway pin came out while travelling, we got the brakes checked at Mt Isa. They were badly worn after only 10,000 kms. Two magnets had been replaced when brakes were re-wired and serviced before leaving. One of these now also needed the backing plate replaced - this was nothing to do with the breakaway pin incident, because it was on the one wheel that the brakes were not working (cable yet again). We had the parts sent to Longreach, where we found a truck mechanical workshop willing to do the job. The fittings seemed unduly 'slack' but Richard at NP Hauffe and Co assured us that was normal. After that we had periodic embarrassing squeals and skids when one wheel would lock up spasmodically. Further down the track at Gloucester we found a very helpful mechanic who spent some time re-adjusting the brakes and we had not further problems after that.

Motherhen
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Follow Up By: Turist - Saturday, Mar 27, 2010 at 18:11

Saturday, Mar 27, 2010 at 18:11
Maybe at this years Muster we could have a Brakes & Bearings Workshop.

I will put it on the agenda.

Bob
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Reply By: Turist - Saturday, Mar 27, 2010 at 06:46

Saturday, Mar 27, 2010 at 06:46
Some members may not be aware of our search facility.

The little panel above the "Members" tab at the top of the page.
Input the appropriate word, in this case brakes or bearings and it will search the entire site, both forums and other areas.

Surprising the amount of information you can find this way.

Bob
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Reply By: Deleted User - Saturday, Mar 27, 2010 at 13:34

Saturday, Mar 27, 2010 at 13:34
Recently had a conversation with a RACQ technical person re electric trailer brakes.
He reported recently they conducted a worshop on trailer brakes and the response on all those involved is they could not believe that such a crude system as we have on our caravans can still be approved for legal use.

I have to agree the system is very crude and with off road trailers they are a very high maintenence item at the penalty of low reliability. Anyone who has experienced trailer brake failure in a critical situation will appreciate the importance of reliabilty.

When you consider the complexity of an automotive braking system regulations and the electric system it is chalk and cheese stuff.......and they are equally important.

There are more inherantly reliable systems like electric over hyrdaulic discs but with the penalty of much more expense.

Do not assume your brakes are in good order. This can only be done after an inspection and that involves dismantling the revolving bits.


AnswerID: 580158

Reply By: Freewheelers - Saturday, Mar 27, 2010 at 19:56

Saturday, Mar 27, 2010 at 19:56
hi may i suggest that you all check your brake away switch on the draw bar ours was rusted (yes rusted ) out after 4 years cost $58 dollars for the part in alice springs easy fit but you need to cut the wires
to test just pull the switch out if ok just push it back in
if you want to teat if the brackes are working connect van to car pull out switch & try to drive off
cheers
Stephen & Deborah

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Follow Up By: galacticbob - Sunday, Mar 28, 2010 at 06:10

Sunday, Mar 28, 2010 at 06:10
Stephen & Deborah

Thanks for your posting, very timely

Bob
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Follow Up By: Motherhen & Rooster - Sunday, Mar 28, 2010 at 09:04

Sunday, Mar 28, 2010 at 09:04
When we had a tow hitch failure, the cable broke, and the pin was not pulled. The cable had developed a weak point. Luckily the chains held, although after the very short drag on the road under the a-frame they were rather worn and had to be replaced.

Like many, we run our breakaway cable through the chains and attach it with the d-clamps. This would be useless if the whole tow bar assembly came free (it has happened but not to us), but to attach it to a different point on the vehicle would leave the cable more exposed with a greater chance of accidental pin pulling whilst driving. "Between the devil and the deep blue sea".

You will also know if the breakaway is operating when the pin is pulled by watching the battery levels plummet. Jacking up and trying to spin the wheels is a more certain way to test.

Motherhen
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Follow Up By: galacticbob - Saturday, Apr 03, 2010 at 02:59

Saturday, Apr 03, 2010 at 02:59
Thanks to Freewheelers and Motherhen.

Breakaway switch checked and found not to be working.
Traced the problem further down the line to a broken join.

BT Forum worth every cent!!!!

Bob
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Follow Up By: Motherhen & Rooster - Saturday, Apr 03, 2010 at 04:15

Saturday, Apr 03, 2010 at 04:15
Hi Bob & Wendy

Certainly worth every cent to us too. Like when a couple of years ago we were at Alice Springs and were loosing power. Panic set in, as we seemed to have a short somewhere and could not find it. The battery charger at full power coud not keep pace with the loss, and the only two 12 volt power businesses were working out of town for a couple of weeks. A quick question on the BOG members forum, and within five minutes, Noosa Fox gave us the answer. The breakaway pin had been knocked out accidentally (while my husband was replacing the D clamps on the safety chains). We well may have thought of it eventually but as we were in panic mode, neither of us thought of it in the hours we had been working on the problem. Now how much was that worth?

Motherhen

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Reply By: Pam and Les - Monday, Mar 29, 2010 at 04:54

Monday, Mar 29, 2010 at 04:54
Third trip out in our 2nd hand van some 3 months ago, got 10k’s up the road and noticed the brakes on the van didn’t seem to be working too good. Got out and noticed the driver’s side rear hub very hot. Luckily got to a mechanic who serviced all brakes/bearings. Next time out was only three days into the trip and same thing again, same wheel. This time I was in the middle of no where so under the van I went and backed off the brake, adjusted it to just touching when spinning. All good since but I must say I’m thinking it will happen again. Any ideas?
Cheers Les
AnswerID: 580160

Reply By: Pixellator - Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 00:05

Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 00:05
Greg
I'm happy to recommend

John Jamieson
Mobile Trailer Repairs phone 0431 109 175

He's based at Alexandra Hills in Brisbane, but will travel anywhere that's within reasonable distance.

He worked previously at Vehicle Components, so has an intimate knowledge of all their products. This was a great help to me- my 2005 BT has Air Cruisemaster suspension which is a VC product.

He's well set up and charges reasonable rates. He's just been back today to check my bearings and bushes as a 1000km post service follow-up. Asw well, he's a keen 4WDer and fisherman. All good!

Cheers
BobH
AnswerID: 580161

Reply By: 11-UPS - Sunday, Apr 04, 2010 at 01:42

Sunday, Apr 04, 2010 at 01:42
Most people that do wheel bearings don't use the correct grease therefore suffer the concequences of their actions. Have been 4wding most of my life and always use a Super Premium High Temperature Waterproof Grease put out by Morey's, never had a problem in the BT, trailers or boat trailers and only ever do them every 12 months. It's a lot cheaper to buy your bearings from CBC Bearings (inner Nachi H 2788R, Outer NSK LM 67048) and the grease seals (steel) from VC. I have '05 19' van with 4000kg suspension.

Darrell
AnswerID: 580162

Follow Up By:- Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 00:40

Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 00:40
Hi All

Thanks for all the great advice & recommendations. I am now a little wiser and better equipped. Bob's idea of using two screwdrivers to encourage the outer wheel bearing to remove itself from the hub worked really well. This has only been a problem with one wheel so far. The outer bearing on the other wheel that I removed simply came off (As they should & would normally do) as I pulled the hub off by hand.

Some of the difficulty of removing the hub/bearing was likely due to my slack maintenance schedule. The grease was also dirty in the inner parts of the hub/bearings. Obviously removing the dust cap, seeing as new grease on the outer bearing & assuming all is the same inside does not always work. In future I shall do an overhaul/check every 12 to 18 months or 15,000 k's. Regardless of the mileage, I always do a 12 month service on my boat trailers and have never had a problem.

Some years ago I purchased a Timken product, Part No FT 001, which is a 'Wheel Bearing Fitting Tool' for pressing tapered roller bearing cups into wheel hubs. Unfortunately these only suit the smaller cups, so in the case of our 19' BT with HD suspension, is useful only for the smaller outer 'cup'. For the larger inner 'cup' I went to an engineering works and had a similar tool made to suit. Turning an old 'cup' down to use as a bedding/pressing tool also sounds like a good idea.

Our BT brakes seem to be in good working order with plenty of wear left in the brake shoes so I shall leave them alone for now and replace them with the ALCO offroad style when required. From all reports, this seems to be the way to go.

Thanks again for all the advice.
Regards
Greg
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