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Old 09-22-2017, 05:27 PM   #1
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Wheel Bearings...what to do?

OK....let me explain my situation. We bought this trailer used. We are not experienced with travel trailers or hitches. We drove it from Pennsylvania without a Brake Controller (we didn't know any better)...we did have a hitch with weight distribution bars and a sway bar (provided by seller), although uncertain as to whether or not it was correctly fitted to our truck (as I am finding as I read more on this forum). I am thinking we took a big risk. We have not had it out yet as we want to make sure we can do it in the correct way. We have had a couple of small van campers and one larger C Class and many tent excursions over the last 20 years.

Now....we are thinking we may want to have the wheel bearings replaced. I say this since the TT needed to have tires replaced as they had dry rotted. The seller did this before we picked it up...this makes me wonder though that replacing the wheel bearings (an any other related suggestions) before our outing, would be a good idea.

Leos RV said they could not fit us in until the end of November...I have read, many times, that it is pretty easy to do at home....remove tire, remove cap, remove nut, remove washer and there is the wheel bearing. My fear is that something more (that needs attention), that I do not recognize, is in there that I may miss. I found an auto repair shop, in Maryland, that said they could change and pack the bearings, if I got the parts first....and I see the only way to tell is, again, by taking the tire off etc. etc. to get to the bearing to see the part #. sigh. Plus how many parts are needed in the replacement. Cotter pins...Bearings...and what else?

Anyway...if anyone can tell me how to find the parts #s without removing the tire of a 2003 T1950. Please let me know

Good day! Karen

Thank you in advance!
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Old 09-23-2017, 08:54 AM   #2
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Not sure what your towing with but a brake controller should probably be at the top of your list.
These are not too expensive and often a harnesses can be purchased so the unit plugs right in.
Most likely greasing the bearings is all thats needed, if something needs more attention a shop should notice it during that service.
My 2cents, but refer to the more experienced members
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Old 09-23-2017, 09:13 AM   #3
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At the least the wheel bearings will need to be greased they seldom go bad on campers more due to the fact they don't go very far. They are not like a modern sealed bearing that is sealed and never greased they have to be repacked. They are also a pretty common bearing and most auto parts stores will have them often as kits with seals bearings and pins.
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Old 09-23-2017, 10:31 AM   #4
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Do you have a local trailer sales/service company? That would be the way to go if you don't want to do it yourself and they would supply any parts needed (if any).

I had a local trailer shop install the brake controller on my truck but do my own wheel bearings as it's not difficult.
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Old 09-23-2017, 12:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enormiss View Post
Not sure what your towing with but a brake controller should probably be at the top of your list.
Yes....completely agreed! Just blessed that nothing unexpected happened on way back from PA. The seller texted us the next day, as it occurred to him that he forgot to ask/tell us about a brake controller. Luckily our truck is wired for one, so we only needed the controller and harness. A friend is coming over on Monday to help us to understand its use, better and to program it for the weight of our trailer (or something like that

Thanks!
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Old 09-23-2017, 12:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by johnnybgood View Post
Do you have a local trailer sales/service company? That would be the way to go if you don't want to do it yourself and they would supply any parts needed (if any).

I had a local trailer shop install the brake controller on my truck but do my own wheel bearings as it's not difficult.
We are not sure if us doing it is the right thing, so we may have to wait until the end of November to let Leo's RV do the inspection and possible replacement. Maybe if I watched it done the first time, I would be confident to do it at a later (if necessary) time.

I appreciate the input!
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Old 09-23-2017, 12:26 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mainah View Post
At the least the wheel bearings will need to be greased they seldom go bad on campers more due to the fact they don't go very far. They are not like a modern sealed bearing that is sealed and never greased they have to be repacked. They are also a pretty common bearing and most auto parts stores will have them often as kits with seals bearings and pins.
Thanks Mainah! I am just not sure if the bearings have ever been changed....I could have sworn I heard a sound coming from the trailer when my husband was driving. I thought it was the hitch....the ball wasn't greased (I learned that later) but we have haven't towed it again since the inspection. Maybe being repacked is all it will need, but once the wheel is off, maybe changing the bearings would be the way to go. We still have to take off a tire to get the part number. I was hoping someone had the same 2003 1950 might have it.
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Old 09-25-2017, 02:58 PM   #8
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I agree with Mainah, it's unlikely you'll need new bearings. I've never replaced bearings even towing 2 trailers thousands of miles. What you will need, for anyone to even pack the bearings, is 4 grease seals of appropriate size, 1 for each wheel.

When new, axles have a paper ID sticker. The odds of finding that after 15 years are slim, but worth a look. If you know what the axle capacity is, the bearings and seals will most likely be a standard size and you can ask for them for a 3500 lb. axle, for example. If you ask for a Sunline, their eyes will glaze over and you might as well leave. Any RV dealer will be able to supply a bearing and seal--though you probably only need the seal--if it's for a 3500 lb. Dexter axle.

Unfortunately I don't know which axle you have. The 2003 has a GVWR of 5000 lb. so two 3500 lb. axles would be overkill... but... sometimes the difference between a 2500 lb. and 3500 lb. axle is just in the springs. If you have 15" wheels you most likely have 3500 lb.

Between 2003 and 2005, Sunline made some spec changes and the 2005 1950 is 5500 lb. and almost certainly has 3500 lb. axles. Perhaps someone with a 2003 or older can provide additional info.

Repacking bearings is not difficult, but a bit intimidating the first time. There are dozens of You Tube videos that will give an idea of whether you have the mechanical aptitude for this task.

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Old 09-25-2017, 06:42 PM   #9
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My guess you'll have 1" axles meaning the bearings are 1". bearings are supplied by size the bearing and the race match so measuring the axle will give you the proper bearing size they are also marked (some times very hard to see). Any good supply co. can measure them for you and come up with a bearing.
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Old 09-27-2017, 07:50 PM   #10
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Hi Karen,

It sounds like your friend may have helped you with a brake controller, is this taken care of? If not, we can help on recommending one for your truck. Just tell us the truck make, year and model.

On the camper, I have a 2004 T-1950 and I know exactly what axle size it has and parts, but...Sunline did do a GVWR upgrade from 2003 to 2004 on the T-1950. The GVWR went from 5,000# to 5,500 and they up'ed the tire size. I do not know if they change the physical brake axle.

HenryJ was talking about the axle tag, if by pure good fortune that still exists on your axle, that would confirm it and we can then easily back into the parts. There is another possibility, do you by chance still have the original Sunline manual? If so look for the inspection sheets. They often times list the axle numbers there.

Also look in the manual for either a Dexter or Alko operation and maintenance axle manual. Sunline put the correct manual for the brand you have. Tell us which brand it is.

And last but not least, if we can confirm that you have 10" x 2 1/4" wide brakes (most likely) or 10" x 1 1/2" brakes, (maybe) then we can help look up the correct bearings and seals. Those 2 brake sizes use different bearings. If it comes to this, let me know I can measure the brake drum on mine and we can compare to what you have to confirm you have the 2 1/4" wide 10" brakes.

To you doing this yourself, I agree with the others, odds are high you just need to clean up the old bearings, check them for damage and repack them with grease. New grease seals is a high need. While you have the brake drum off, the brakes themselves need to be checked, cleaned up, make sure the brake adjuster is not frozen up and all the parts are still in OK order. If someone in your family will be doing this and they have done car drum brakes before, we can help explain to them the small differences. If one of the brakes is grease soaked, they brake shoes at a minimum will need to be replaced. You really will not know this until the brake drum is pulled off.

This post below is from doing my 2004 T-2499 brakes. These most likely are the same brakes and brake drums you have. Even if you have the next size smaller, the parts and the procedure is not that different. This can help show you what is involved. And if this looks like too much for you and you do not have the tools for it, then you can at least learn the process to know more about your axles and brakes. The brakes need to be adjusted every 3,000 miles as they are not self adjusting.

I never made it yet to posting this here on SOC, so it is on another camper forum but I linked it here. Annual Brake Inspection and Axle Re - Lube (Pic's)

Hope this helps and let us know if you need more.

Thanks

John
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Old 09-28-2017, 05:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henryj View Post
I agree with Mainah, it's unlikely you'll need new bearings.

When new, axles have a paper ID sticker. The odds of finding that after 15 years are slim, but worth a look. If you know what the axle capacity is, the bearings and seals will most likely be a standard size and you can ask for them for a 3500 lb. axle, for example. If you ask for a Sunline, their eyes will glaze over and you might as well leave. Any RV dealer will be able to supply a bearing and seal--though you probably only need the seal--if it's for a 3500 lb. Dexter axle.

Unfortunately I don't know which axle you have. The 2003 has a GVWR of 5000 lb. so two 3500 lb. axles would be overkill... but... sometimes the difference between a 2500 lb. and 3500 lb. axle is just in the springs. If you have 15" wheels you most likely have 3500 lb.



Henry
Thank you Henry.....my tires are st205/75R14 s. I am not sure how that affects things. I am not sure what axle it is...never thought about it. I feel as though I am learning a new language, though..... one thing that is not sinking in one day, make perfect sense and is easier the next. Should there be identifying labels on the axle?

I did find a cargo trailer shop that will take a look, not to far from my home.

At first I was having a little buyers remorse, thinking I took on more than I was prepared for, but now I am feeling good about all of the great help I have gotten here and looking forward to our first outing, in a couple of weeks.

Thank you for your help!
Karen
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Old 09-28-2017, 06:17 PM   #12
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Hi Karen,



HenryJ was talking about the axle tag, if by pure good fortune that still exists on your axle, that would confirm it and we can then easily back into the parts. There is another possibility, do you by chance still have the original Sunline manual? If so look for the inspection sheets. They often times list the axle numbers there.

Also look in the manual for either a Dexter or Alko operation and maintenance axle manual. Sunline put the correct manual for the brand you have. Tell us which brand it is.

And last but not least, if we can confirm that you have 10" x 2 1/4" wide brakes (most likely) or 10" x 1 1/2" brakes, (maybe) then we can help look up the correct bearings and seals.
John

Well that completely answers my question to Henry! wow.
I will have a look to see if there are any identifying labels on the axle. And, as a matter of fact, I do have some manuals that came with the Sunline. Maybe I was looking in the wrong place, or it was not the manual I needed. I will look again with a new perspective.

I have gotten the brake controller installed and I am going to get out on the road and give it a go! I have watched youtube videos to help it sink in. The same with the weight distribution hitch.

I have had so many great guidelines from you and, and everyone here. The positive input has been a blessing.

Also, John, thanks for the tips on resealing with Dicor. The dish soapy water made it sooooo much easier. Not finished yet but doing it carefully...,my plan is to be done by the end of the weekend.

Will let you know what I find about the axle

Have a good night!
Karen

Have a
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Old 09-28-2017, 06:34 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by mainah View Post
My guess you'll have 1" axles meaning the bearings are 1". bearings are supplied by size the bearing and the race match so measuring the axle will give you the proper bearing size they are also marked (some times very hard to see). Any good supply co. can measure them for you and come up with a bearing.
My friend did come over to take a look to see if he could see the parts #s....He even took the bearing out and still nothing. I was not home, at that time, but my husband was. I am trying to get ready for a trip in two weeks so I am hoping to have this taken care of way before then. Tomorrow I should have an answer. I will keep the parts #s for future reference, and at least have everything inspected and feel safe. I have encouraged my mother in law to go with us and I want to make sure she has a fun time on the road

Thank you for your help! Karen
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