Repacking bearings annually for occasional camper?

Discussion in 'Tires / Brakes / Bearings / Axles' started by TeamECKO, Mar 26, 2018.

Should I keep doing annual bearing repacking?

  1. Yes, mileage doesn’t matter

  2. No, every other year is fine for your short trips

  1. TeamECKO

    TeamECKO Member

    Aug 6, 2016
    WA State
    Hi everyone,

    I had a question about how often to pack my bearings. I see frequently that annual repacking is recommended. Due to my hectic work schedule I am only able to get a way for three, maybe four trips a year with the camper. All of our trips are within 250 miles round trip (some are closer to the 150 round trip mark). One of our annual trips does involve going through a mountain pass.

    Is it still worth repacking my bearings every year? Does grease have a useful time limit (ie will it break down just sitting there), or is it based of mileage? Since I am doing less than 1,000 miles a year, and I wasting time/money repacking every year? Maybe start an every other year thing?

    If it makes a difference, my PUP is a 2001 Coleman Santa Fe with 13” tires.
  2. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2017
    Maplewood, MN
    I would say no, but you still need to CHECK them on a regular basis throughout the season and also check them during transport (for excessive heat).
  3. Wrenchgear

    Wrenchgear Near Elmira, Southern Ontario

    Aug 5, 2010
    5 Star Eagle Camper
    As for how often to re-pack them, that obviously will vary depending on your situation. Climate temps, rain puddle water intrusion, mud and sand of gravel roads, etc. I'm not sure of your age, or if you ever owned a full size, rear wheel drive car from the 60, 70, 80's. If not, ask your Dad how often he had the front bearings done on those cars. Yeah, those bearings were a little bit beefier than whats on your trailer, but they used to only ever get repacked at brake job time. Baring a seized caliper or something like that, brakes were only done every 35-45,000 miles. Thats when the bearings would get done. As you said, you're only going about 1000 miles a year. So, most people say once a year is good practice for your Pup bearings, and I won't deny that, but if you have to pay someone to do it for you, you are probably wasting your money. I do all my trailers (ATV, utility, Pup) every 3-4 summers and never had a problem yet, (famous last words). Utility trailer gets tons of miles, Pup not so many, (maybe 2500 kms, thats about 1500 miles), but thats what I do. My boat trailer gets done every year because it goes in the water.

    I also carry a spare set of bearings in the Pup tool box. They're all greased and ready to put in just in case of an emergency.
  4. MNTCamper

    MNTCamper Active Member

    Jun 14, 2014
    It's not necessary, I only repack mine about every 4-5 years and I am taking trips that are 5-8K miles / year. When I repack them, they look fine. I use a high drop point WB grease and it doesn't go anywhere.
    xxxapache and f5moab like this.
  5. Adam H

    Adam H Active Member

    Aug 22, 2015
    This ^^^^^^^^^
    I repack mine when I replace tires, about every 5-6 years. Check the brakes at the same time too. I do adjust the brakes yearly though. When I jack it up to adjust the brakes I give the wheels a shake and spin to make sure the bearings aren't loose.
    I also feel the hubs after a freeway drive to make sure 1 isn't abnormally hot.
    xxxapache likes this.
  6. f5moab

    f5moab Retired from the Federal Government

    May 7, 2013
    Somewhere in Idaho
    Agree with the pack every 5 years. However, I do pump in some grease via the Ultra-Lube system on the AL-KO axle (identical to the EZ lube).
  7. Fbird

    Fbird Active Member

    Sep 10, 2017
    Ferndale MI
    no need to repack every year. I pull mine 10,000 to 15,000 miles a year. I repack mine every other year when I pack the bearings on the front of my truck. i'd rather pack them more than needed than wondering when did I pack them last sitting on the shoulder.
  8. TeamECKO

    TeamECKO Member

    Aug 6, 2016
    WA State
    I’m sure a newbie question, how do you check them throughout the season? The dust cover touch test for heat, or are you actually removing the dust cover and doing a visual check?
  9. Arruba

    Arruba Active Member

    Nov 28, 2014
    Central Oregon
    1: Look at the back of the tire/hub for excessive grease getting past the seal

    2: Look at the tires for odd or uneven wear, or the tires at an odd angle

    3: Periodically feel the hubs for excessive heat when underway as you mentioned.

    Good Luck....
  10. TeamECKO

    TeamECKO Member

    Aug 6, 2016
    WA State
    Thanks for the info, I will add these to my checks throughout the season.

    Thanks to everyone for your help, just another example of how great of a resource this group is for newbies like me
    MaeKay likes this.
  11. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

    Jul 30, 2008
    I use a digital non contact pocket thermometer to check hub and tire temps at gas stops....About 10 bucks at Harbor Freight.
    MaeKay likes this.
  12. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

    You can also check for play in wheel when you have it jacked up for anything.

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