Regreasing a brand new axle?

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Regreasing a brand new axle?

Postby nelsonrx » Wed Sep 21, 2016 10:25 am

Figured I'd check with all the axle gurus out there. I could have SWORN that I saw somewhere that you should always repack brand new spindles when you first receive them. I 'm finishing up my Widget build and just added on a new Flexiride axle. It came greased up really well. I know this probably sounds like a dumb question, but I don't need to regrease this sucker, right?
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Re: Regreasing a brand new axle?

Postby Redneck Teepee » Wed Sep 21, 2016 12:25 pm

Always check and repack the bearings on any axle that's new, just to be double damn sure.
Could have been greased/packed on Friday just before the whistle.....Just my 2 cents worth. :D
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Re: Regreasing a brand new axle?

Postby Dale M. » Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:56 pm

An hour of time and $1 worth of grease is real piece of mind...

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Re: Regreasing a brand new axle?

Postby KCStudly » Wed Sep 21, 2016 2:00 pm

I believe that precaution only applies to the kit type trailers coming in from southeast Asia. The story goes that they ship with an inferior moisture repellent grease that doesn't hold up as a high speed wheel bearing grease. Apparently it says right in the literature that the bearings need to be cleaned and properly greased prior to being placed into service. (To me this makes no sense whatsoever that they assemble the hubs with the seals, only to turn around and give instructions for the customer to disassemble them, which 9 times out of 10 means you need to put new seals in!)

On your Flexride I would not worry about it. For peace of mind, if you pull a dust cover off and can see grease, you are almost assuredly okay. If you are unfamiliar with the process, you could do more harm than good. Just saying.

If you do decide to repack, it is always a good idea to put new seals in; they can be damaged, regardless of the tricks used to pull them, so have a set on hand before starting.

Some people like to put more grease in than the typical production line pack, others feel that just enough is just right. The key thing is not to over or under tighten the castle nut. You want it to be snugged up to the point where there is no "wink" (i.e. no clack, lost motion or free play when you push straight/pull straight/try to cock the hub) but not over tightened. There are a lot of different versions of how to achieve this, but what I generally do is push the hub on all the way by hand; push the outer bearing up firm into the cup, making sure that it hasn't slid down; put the washer on and spin the nut on by hand firmly; give it one or two wrench flats of a turn with a wrench (more if the hub was not really seated onto the bearing and you still feel wink), just to the point that all wink has been removed but not to the point that you feel any binding while rotating the hub; and then back off that same one or two wrench flats to get alignment of the cotter pin (or tab washer). Only back off the nut enough to engage the pin. A very small perception of wink in the final setting (I'm talking the merest perception) is okay, but you don't want slop; no clunking, but a little tick if any. This is a good reference point for small trailer axles and your typical passenger car.

By comparison, on the 7klb axles we are putting under our new punkin chunkin trailer I had to pull a hub to confirm which was the leading brake shoe. The factory nut setting on that was just a little snugger than finger tight, so when I reinstalled it I went right back to the same spot on the castle nut. There was not a lot of excess grease in the outer bearing, but it was well packed with good quality grease, so I didn't bother repacking.

The Timken technical 'white paper' report on bearing setting techniques can be found here (linky). It basically says the same thing for hand setting, but hymns and haws a bunch about all of the factors that make doing this by feel an inexact method.
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Re: Regreasing a brand new axle?

Postby yrock87 » Wed Sep 21, 2016 2:07 pm

KCStudly wrote:I believe that precaution only applies to the kit type trailers coming in from southeast Asia. The story goes that they ship with an inferior moisture repellent grease that doesn't hold up as a high speed wheel bearing grease. Apparently it says right in the literature that the bearings need to be cleaned and properly greased prior to being placed into service. (To me this makes no sense whatsoever that they assemble the hubs with the seals, only to turn around and give instructions for the customer to disassemble them, which 9 times out of 10 means you need to put new seals in!)

On your Flexride I would not worry about it. For peace of mind, if you pull a dust cover off and can see grease, you are almost assuredly okay. If you are unfamiliar with the process, you could do more harm than good. Just saying.

If you do decide to repack, it is always a good idea to put new seals in; they can be damaged, regardless of the tricks used to pull them, so have a set on hand before starting.

Some people like to put more grease in than the typical production line pack, others feel that just enough is just right. The key thing is not to over or under tighten the castle nut. You want it to be snugged up to the point where there is no "wink" (i.e. no clack, lost motion or free play when you push straight/pull straight/try to cock the hub) but not over tightened. There are a lot of different versions of how to achieve this, but what I generally do is push the hub on all the way by hand; push the outer bearing up firm into the cup, making sure that it hasn't slid down; put the washer on and spin the nut on by hand firmly; give it one or two wrench flats of a turn with a wrench (more if the hub was not really seated onto the bearing and you still feel wink), just to the point that all wink has been removed but not to the point that you feel any binding while rotating the hub; and then back off that same one or two wrench flats to get alignment of the cotter pin (or tab washer). Only back off the nut enough to engage the pin. A very small perception of wink in the final setting (I'm talking the merest perception) is okay, but you don't want slop; no clunking, but a little tick if any. This is a good reference point for small trailer axles and your typical passenger car.

By comparison, on the 7klb axles we are putting under our new punkin chunkin trailer I had to pull a hub to confirm which was the leading brake shoe. The factory nut setting on that was just a little snugger than finger tight, so when I reinstalled it I went right back to the same spot on the castle nut. There was not a lot of excess grease in the outer bearing, but it was well packed with good quality grease, so I didn't bother repacking.

The Timken technical 'white paper' report on bearing setting techniques can be found here (linky). It basically says the same thing for hand setting, but hymns and haws a bunch about all of the factors that make doing this by feel an inexact method.


seconded. cheap stuff ships with cheap (sometimes not road grade) grease. I never had to worry about this as I assembled my axle assembly from parts. I KNOW it was greased property.

on another note, if you buy a used trailer, repack the bearings unless you know and trust they were done property recently. It is a few dollars and an hour of leisurely work. Totally worth doing it yourself if you are at all unsure of the present grease quality/age.
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Re: Regreasing a brand new axle?

Postby dmdc411 » Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:10 pm

I purchased a trailer at Northern Tool. It was towed 25 miles home. Hubs stayed cool. Pulled each one to look at the grease. They were fine, but they will be getting cleaned and repacked with marine grade grease. My book, that's the only way to go!
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Re: Regreasing a brand new axle?

Postby nelsonrx » Wed Sep 21, 2016 7:52 pm

Okay, that's what I was thinking. I pulled both grease caps off and they looked well greased, but I wasn't 100 % sure since I could have sworn I saw a post on here somewhere saying to regrease it. I'm sure it wouldn't hurt, but I think I'm feeling confident in Southwest trailers work. We'll see...maybe I'll get ambitious and try it anyway. I repacked the bearings on the original axle I had on my widget and it worked just fine.

This axle has the the EZ lube grease zirk on it too. Not a big fan of those since it seems it would be easy to overgrease. Any $0.02 on those?
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Re: Regreasing a brand new axle?

Postby swoody126 » Wed Sep 21, 2016 9:07 pm

nelsonrx wrote:Okay, that's what I was thinking. I pulled both grease caps off and they looked well greased, but I wasn't 100 % sure since I could have sworn I saw a post on here somewhere saying to regrease it. I'm sure it wouldn't hurt, but I think I'm feeling confident in Southwest trailers work. We'll see...maybe I'll get ambitious and try it anyway. I repacked the bearings on the original axle I had on my widget and it worked just fine.

This axle has the the EZ lube grease zirk on it too. Not a big fan of those since it seems it would be easy to overgrease. Any $0.02 on those?



it is never wrong to re-grease axles/bearings

the only down side would be an hour of your time & $1 worth of grease

EZ-LUBE axles force grease thru the center of the spindle to a point in the rear portion of the hub where it then makes it's way thru the rear bearings outward thru the outer bearings and into the dust cap which has a rubber center plug

when you have filled the hub cavity grease will ooze out of the hole that the rubber cap covers and both bearings will be properly lubed while there is no room in the hub cavity for foreign material(dirt or water)

e-z-lube.jpg
e-z-lube.jpg (106.52 KiB) Viewed 269 times


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Re: Regreasing a brand new axle?

Postby dmdc411 » Thu Sep 22, 2016 4:02 pm

The problem I experienced with easy lube axels, when you grease them you lose the space for heat expansion. Then you have grease going all over. So, I greased my hubs until clean grease came out. Removed the cap first, cleaned all the excess I could. Installed cap, went for a 5 mile drive. Removed the cap again, cleaned excess, reinstalled the cap. No more mess!!
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Re: Regreasing a brand new axle?

Postby yrock87 » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:24 pm

dmdc411 wrote:The problem I experienced with easy lube axels, when you grease them you lose the space for heat expansion. Then you have grease going all over. So, I greased my hubs until clean grease came out. Removed the cap first, cleaned all the excess I could. Installed cap, went for a 5 mile drive. Removed the cap again, cleaned excess, reinstalled the cap. No more mess!!



good idea. I didn't account for the expansion and had a bit of a mess after a 2000 mile cannonball run pace of trip. stopped to check for wear and heat, but not to clean stuff up. It is amazing how grease can spread and splat and coat EVERYTHING on a spinning wheel.
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Re: Regreasing a brand new axle?

Postby swoody126 » Thu Sep 22, 2016 6:41 pm

dmdc411 wrote:The problem I experienced with easy lube axels, when you grease them you lose the space for heat expansion. Then you have grease going all over. So, I greased my hubs until clean grease came out. Removed the cap first, cleaned all the excess I could. Installed cap, went for a 5 mile drive. Removed the cap again, cleaned excess, reinstalled the cap. No more mess!!


me thinks you don't understand why the hub cavities are supposed to be kept full :thinking:

keeping the hub full prevents water intrusion

water & bearings are not friends

if you are worried about the mess just wipe the excess off every now n then :thumbsup:

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