Pull seals or clean and use zirk?

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Pull seals or clean and use zirk?

Postby QueticoBill » Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:11 pm

In midst of repacking brand new Ironton wheel bearings. A couple of YouTube's suggest instead of pulling seals, if there is a zirk fitting (there is on current Ironton), just clean and pump it in. I'll hand pack front bearing regardless but if I don't have to disturb seal, why?

Mineral spirits or should I get brake cleaner? Something else?

Started Saturday, modifying frame and assembling. Probably not going to get finished today but close. Waiting for paint to dry on tongue extension.
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Re: Pull seals or clean and use zirk?

Postby les45 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 3:05 pm

I always thought that pumping grease into the entire cavity with a Zirk fitting was a waste of good grease (unless you have a boat trailer that gets immersed in water). The only grease that the bearing is using is what is in direct contact with it so I make sure there is plenty all around the bearing and race. Also, if you aren't careful you can blow out a seal if you pump too much. Seals are cheap and I always remove and replace the seals and pack the bearings the old fashioned way by hand. I use mineral spirits to clean everything. Always repack the bearings on a new Chinese trailer with good grease since the stuff that comes with it is mainly a rust inhibitor and not true bearing grease.
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Re: Pull seals or clean and use zirk?

Postby QueticoBill » Sun Jul 09, 2017 3:56 pm

Well, not unexpected, just struggling with trying to remove seal. I probably should ignore the auto parts store manager who said they are press for seals, and i would have to have new ones pressed in. He said its usually $40. Are there such things?

I have all the parts - caps, cotter pins, washer, nuts, bearings, hubs - sitting in purple whatever overnight and will blow them out tomorow. In the mean time, I'll research these "pressed in" seals. Will try to post a picture from my phone. It is true the seal doesn't look like the ones on the many trailer wheel you tubes.
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Re: Pull seals or clean and use zirk?

Postby QueticoBill » Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:21 pm

bearing.jpg
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Re: Pull seals or clean and use zirk?

Postby les45 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:23 pm

If you have an Ironton trailer then it should have standard bearings and seals. I've never heard of "press fitting" the seals on that type of axle. After you clean and pack the bearings, you simply lay the seal flat over the hole and pound it in with a large piece of wood and a hammer. I've done that every time I've re-packed my bearings and I've never had a problem. Check this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akh0WhkudrM It's an older axle and the guy isn't too sanitary but the concept is the same.
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Re: Pull seals or clean and use zirk?

Postby QueticoBill » Sun Jul 09, 2017 5:47 pm

I look for the right dowel or piece of plastic. Hopefully I won't need to replace brand new seals but prepared for that.

The stuff in the bearings as they arrived looks like Vaseline. I got the LMX Red to pack them with.

Thanks!
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Re: Pull seals or clean and use zirk?

Postby TimC » Sun Jul 09, 2017 7:21 pm

Q-Bill... As you mentioned a hardwood dowel is a good tool for driving the inner bearing and seal out. Those are different looking seals, nothing like my NT Ironton I purchased last fall. My dowel is a piece of red oak that I turned on my lathe. It is softwood, but, if you buy a foot of closet rod at the big box it should last a few beatings.

Sounds like you are already in the process of cleaning and repacking the "correct" way. IMO filling the entire cavity with grease and hoping it penetrates the bearing fully is wasteful and gives a false sense of security. Hand packing gives me the chance to inspect the bearing to be sure it is packed. I knew a guy who insisted that Bearing Buddies were the answer to trouble free boat trailer wheel bearings. He didn't heed the warnings that he should still clean and repack the bearings once a year (boat trailer wheels dunked in the lake repeatedly). Well, after multiple winters of freeze/thaw cycles his bearings became pitted and he also ruined a set of bearing races. Lucky he didn't have further hub problems.
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Re: Pull seals or clean and use zirk?

Postby Redneck Packrat » Sun Jul 09, 2017 7:53 pm

I'm sure this isn't the "approved" method, but it's worked for me, and Dad before me, since we made the conversion from mules to tractors. Big serious screwdriver to pry the old seal out, ball peen hammer to gently tap the new one in. Same hammer works well to remove the outer races if necessary when used with a lineup punch. I've only one time ever had to replace an outer race though, on a trailer hub and that was because I had to keep going on a 2-lane no-shoulder bridge that was >2 miles long and I lost a bearing just as I got on the bridge. Kinda ate that race up a little bit :lol:
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Re: Pull seals or clean and use zirk?

Postby rkanz » Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:15 pm

The best way to remove seals is with a seal puller. These are cheap at Harbor Freight. Pounding the bearings to remove the seals is a bad idea. I always replace the seals when repacking.


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Re: Pull seals or clean and use zirk?

Postby swoody126 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:01 am

you say there is a ZIRK fitting

is it in the tip of the axle?

if so AND this is a new unit it is a simple operation to insure your bearings are packed and will provide you MANY MILES OF SMILES

i just went thru this w/ a new axle on a trailer

i removed the dust cap by GENTLY tapping the outer edge to dislodge it and grabbed it w/ channel lock pliers to pull it off

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/c5y-z ... 80-h640-no

once removed I plugged in the grease gun and started pumping

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/RqgKq ... 80-h640-no

the factory grease is always questionable in my book and i replace it w/ OFF ROAD/WATERPROOF grease from TRACTOR SUPPLY which i use for all my greasing needs(farm tractor & implements, boat trailers & outboard fittings, motorcycle needs, RV wheel bearings, utility trailer bearings, trailer tongue jacks...) and is bluish/green

in this case the factory grease was red

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/JNXkn ... 80-h640-no

and it pumped out easily until what i was seeing was all the new/known stuff

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/ee2_W ... 80-h640-no

once the factory grease was replaced the wheel was spun vigorously and i listened for any rough/grinding noises

when i confirmed no bad noises i replaced the factory dust cap w/ one thet has a rubber insert in the center which can simply be popped out for future lubing

similar to these

https://www.amazon.com/Redline-Lube-Gre ... r+dust+cap

since i started following this procedure(in the 1970's) i haven't had a roadside bearing failure over MANY MANY thousands of towing miles :)

if you jack the wheel off the ground at the beginning of each season and spin it listening for the above mentioned noises and lube the bearings you will be just fine (for utility & RV trailers)

if noises are heard i pull the hub and remove ALL bearing components, grease and the seal w/ new parts and re-fill with new grease

ANY time a seal is removed it gets replaced w/ a new one PERIOD

some say it is an expensive waste of grease to fill the cavity in this manner butt you only fill it once

further lubes only utilize enough grease to top it off which is just a couple squirts/service

the above procedure used less than 1 tube of grease

btw, the axle i replaced was over 25 years old and the bearings were still sound, it was the axle tube that was in question w/ heavy rust from frequent dunkings in salt water :o

this is just the way this old man cares for his trailers and their bearing needs

sw
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Re: Pull seals or clean and use zirk?

Postby QueticoBill » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:09 am

"you say there is a ZIRK fitting

is it in the tip of the axle?"

No - on side of hub - visible in photo above. All I've read here suggests it's useless.

How "universal" are the seals? You can see what I see in photo. Is installing them much more than pushing them in? Maybe with a mallet and board?

PS: so many of the videos and pictures seem to show there is a metal component to the inner seal and I swear, there is no metal ring on this one. Its just rubber pressed into the cast orn hub.
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Re: Pull seals or clean and use zirk?

Postby QueticoBill » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:49 am

Any differences in brands of these seals that are worth noting? I fine Uxcell on Amazon prime ($6.65) each; a ten pack of APG for around $22.50 - $2.25 each; I can get 2 from AVX for $9.78; and 2 Viton for $18.50.

Ebay has two for $4.50 - all in - no manufacturer named.
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Re: Pull seals or clean and use zirk?

Postby swoody126 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:41 pm

i have never seen a seal w/o a metal seal

BUTT that doesn't mean there aren't any

here is a pic of what i am accustomed to

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/gYMts ... 60-h323-no

there are some who re-use seals butt they are cheap in the overall scheme of things TRAILER and i choose to install a new one each time one comes out

NOW...

if that zirk on your hub is between the inner bearing and the inner seal it might just work like the one i linked you to earlier

you can find out by simply removing the hub and giving it a squirt whild watching where it enters the hub cavity

either way...

GOOD LUCK

sw
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Re: Pull seals or clean and use zirk?

Postby Dale M. » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:53 am

If the little brass thingie in pic is zerk fitting they are a joke... The tip of grease gun will not lock on to it... You have to have good alignment and hold pressure on grease gun to stay "connected"... If you have flex line on grease gun, you have to replace it with rigid tube to make it work.... As for full grease in hub VW advocate the concept 40 years ago, not a new concept and as for cost of grease its cheap insurance, bearing stays greased and keeps moisture out.... My 7,000lb capacity car carrier has zerk fittings in axle and I love it... As long as when I jack it up spin wheel it's smooth and bearing play seems correct, a couple of hit with grease gun and away I go...

Hub in picture appears to have zerk as to where grease enters hub between inside bearing and seal....As it should be...

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Re: Pull seals or clean and use zirk?

Postby QueticoBill » Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:42 pm

Zerk is between bearings.

hub zirk.jpg
hub zirk.jpg (146.68 KiB) Viewed 356 times


And I cut a piece of closet rod and with a lot of whacks with a mallet - the seal and bearing dropped out. It's like the seal was cast in the hub but looks reuseable (it never has been used after all) if i can figure out how to reinstall. Wood block and mallet?

seal.jpg
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