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Bearings On Steer Axle, Roadmaster Chassis

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I have a little seaplane, a jet ski with wings. A homebuilt aircraft. In our fleet, a dozen or so planes were built north of the border, in Canada. There, the Canadian Ministry of Transport dictated that (a) fuel boost pumps were not permitted inside the fuselage; and, ( B) inline fuel filters also constituted an unacceptable hazard. As a result, our small 400-plane fleet lost two of its dozen or so Canadian-certified aircraft, killing one of the pilots. Oddly, neither accident would have occurred, had the planes been certified to the more lenient US standards.

My Beaver Patriot Thunder was also subject to the additional constraints of our northern friends, who I generally regard with admiration and profound respect. In the case of the Beaver, the front axle hubs were not allowed to have oil bath bearings, like American models. The logic: a leak might compromise braking.

So, apparently, Beaver owners are afflicted with the same requirement of some older American models: periodic bearing repacking is needed.

I've a few question for those who have to repack their steering axles:

  • How often do you re-pack the bearings? Is the interval one of miles or years?
  • What shop time is involved?
  • How much have you spent in the past to have bearings repacked?
  • Have you transitioned from packed to dry hubs? If so, what is required?

Thanks for helping me get my bearings on... well, bearings :)

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Hi Andy,

You know that you asked a loaded question for sure!

I enjoyed your thoughts regarding fuel pump locations and filters. We always felt filters where ones best friend and inline pumps just made sense. The real fun was when we needed to install the extended range tanks to ferry planes across the big pond to Europe.
I have wet bearings on the current coach and packed bearings on its predecessor.

I packed the bearings with a mil. grade grease. They where always washed and hand packed, placing grease in the palm of one hand and using a twisting and rolling action to squeeze the grease into the bearings.

Being a nut regarding maintenance, I always cleaned and repacked them at 25 K under general road conditions, but when the coach was driven under dusty or sandy conditions the self imposed limit was 12 K.
Replacing all the bearing seals every time the bearings where packed.

Not a complete answer to you question. Never knew how much to charge myself for labor.


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Since we are on the topic of wet wheel bearings, what is the change interval for wet bearings? When I used to run heavy trucks, we never serviced wet bearings unless they leaked or became contaminated with water. When water got inside they turned milky colors.

Usually when bearings were inspected 80-100k miles, generally all bearings, races, and seals are replaced, hand packed and filled with synthetic lube.

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Andy, I have seen 3 year 36000 miles but have heard yearly. That seems a little often. You might call and see what the factory recommends.

Did you know they sell conversion kits to go to oil bath?


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I was a professional pilot for 35 years and know all about the insanities of the regulations regardless of the country.

I had a 2011 RR8R chassis. It came with the packed front wheel bearings. (It was a Knight) The owner’s manual called for repacking the bearings on a mileage basis (I can’t remember what, but it was a lot more miles than I would ever put on in reasonable period of time, or on an annual basis) this seemed excessive and was. The first few times I had it done they looked new and unused, both the grease and the bearings but because I had an extended service contract I complied with all of the maintenance intervals.

The third time I had them converted to oil bath bearings so as not to have to bother with them again soon. It cost around 800 USD to have that done. Supposedly then they would only have to have the level’s checked and overall general inspection for leakage on an annual basis and oil changed with a more detailed inspection every 100k miles.

Of course I sold the coach the next year…

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Here we are again...  Time flies when we're all having fun, eh? 

 I'm sitting here on a Tokyo layover, getting my ducks in a row for a second repack.

 After posting this original thread, I took the rig to a Weatherford, Texas truck repair shop and basically paid two hours of shop time for them to get up to speed. Accurate records of what they did weren't kept; so, now I intend to do the homework ahead of time and possibly farm out the work to a local family-owned RV repair shop that is trying to get started in the business.  

 In the interim, we've put nearly 20,000 miles on the RV.  Two years have now passed, and I'm sensing the need for a repack albeit one to be done at my leisure. One caveat: other lubrication requirements for the Roadmaster chassis have not been overly conservative. Just the other day, I laid underneath and pumped endlessly to fill the drive shaft slip joint (I jammed a right-angle pick with a conspicuous yellow handle into the vent hole, a huge convenience) before fresh grease finally blossomed from the front seal. Similarly, the kingpin lube points seemed in need of grease; sobering, since I greased it six months and 5,000 miles before that. I did a friend's Essex and found that his slip joint was dry and caked to the point that we never got grease to push out of it, even after dumping an entire cartridge into the void. Word to the wise.

Speaking of wisdom, at sixty, I'm convinced that I now have a choice between a battery-powered grease gun -- my Campbell Hausfield air gun has never worked -- and rotator cuff surgery! Lever-guns are for kids and maybe trophy wives with their own coveralls. :P 

  Beaver owners might better describe themselves as orphans. 

  Yes, our parents sadly persished in the proverbial shipwreck, and now our well-intentioned stepmother at REV Group is trying to get their affairs in order. Try as she may, it is not the same as having a rig whose original support network remains intact.

  When I called them about my bearing specs, they referred me to Dana Spicer, the axle manufacturer. At Dana, one knowledgeable tech guy revealed that the model, part and serial numbers of my axle identifies it as a beam sold to Beaver for installation on its Patriot line. One of three companies had then sold wheel-ends to Beaver for use on the beam, he added. Several hours of detective work later, I'd found Mr. Dallas Garrison at Webb, manufacturer of such hubs. Using pictures I supplied, he identified the hub as a 2574 model, and gave me numbers for the cups, cones and seals.

  Just so this precious information is safeguarded, and in case a fellow Patriot owner finds him or herself in a similar bind, here they are.

  • Inner Cup HM212011
  • Inner Cone HM212049
  • Outer Cup 3720
  • Outer Cone 3782
  • Seal # Stemco 383-0136

   I have the 500 lb torque wrench and dial indicator needed to do this in my own garage; am wondering if anyone else has done the task at home. 

  Ideally, we have some heavy truck mechanics here that can weigh in on change interval, shop procedures, etc.  All the earlier responses to this query are deeply appreciated. Without you all, I'd be lost and probably more than a little dangerous.


Photo: If you're not wearing, tasting the grease, you're probably not doing it right. Right?



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Andy, I applaud you for the work performed, nothing like jumping in with both feet! When our coach was due for a repack (also a Roadmaster chassis)  I pulled the hubs, bearings, races and seals, went to my local NAPA, they had it all in stock, came home and switched them to oil bath instead of grease pack. Also changed the bearing caps to the type below since they are now oil filled. I pull my hub cap off before each trip and take a peek at the oil level, snap the dome back on.


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