When you forget to grease your bearings, you will find that the smooth operation of your RV or travel trailer does not take place. Keep a maintenance schedule so you can check the grease levels regularly and add grease when you need to.
For travel trailers about once a year is enough to keep those bearings nice and lubricated. The problem will come in when the manufacturer does not do a good job of greasing the wheels before they are shipped out to customers and outlets.
To learn more about this topic, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can keep your axles working as they should. Take a few minutes to see how this information helps you protect your axle’s bearings.
According to the Dexter website, you should grease your trailer’s bearings every 12 months or every 12,000 miles. Which one you choose is up to you and how many miles you put on your trailer every trip.
As we mentioned, if you keep a maintenance schedule, you will be able to spot when your trailer’s bearings need greasing. However, what you may not realize is that from time to time the manufacturer may not grease those bearings very well when they are made.
This can cause a lot of problems including breakdowns before 2000 miles are up. That means you should not assume that the manufacturer greased every axle properly and that you should check them before you take a long trip.
Dexter did replace one set of axles under warranty when it did happen to one owner. For other owners, they took a short 2500-mile trip and when they returned, they found out they lost all their grease at some point.
If you are not sure about the condition of those bearings, check the grease to see if you need to add some before you hitch up your trailer. You never know how the employees will assemble these important parts.
Dexter Axle has been in the trailer axle making business for over 50 years. They know a thing or two about how axles and bearings and how they should work. But it took them till 2015 to develop their own grease.
The best grease to use on a Dexter axle will be the Genuine Dexter Grease. This product is formulated to be compatible with the grease the company uses when it makes its axles.
According to one of their Vice-Presidents, “Dexter Grease is a lithium complex with NLGI No 2 consistency and has additives for corrosion and oxidation inhibitors."To assist in easier identification of our grease, we use a red lithium grease to stand out from other products that has superior corrosion protection and good resistance to water," (See the announcement here).
The words in bold tell you it is the same type of grease that many axle repairmen and installers use when they are working on Dexter and other axles.
So you may be able to use a red lithium grease made by another company if this branded version is too expensive for your budget. Do some comparison shopping to get the right product for your Dexter axles.
1. Do not use a power grease gun or even a battery-operated device. These tools may be quicker and easier to use but they can also blow out your seals due to the high pressure. Use a manual grease gun to protect those seals
2. Always add grease slowly. This is not a race and you should not rush the job. It will only take about 10 minutes per side approx., so do not be in a hurry. Do the job right and look at the condition of the grease as it comes out.
3. Make sure to use wheel chocks. This will help keep the trailer from moving on you as you jack it up. You will just need those chocks on one side.
4. Only jack the wheel high enough so that it will spin freely. You do not need to go too high when you are doing this task. Just make sure you have enough room to maneuver as well.
5. As you pump in the grease, do not forget to spin the wheel. This will help spread out the grease and get it to its intended destination.
6. Make sure to keep inserting grease until it starts to come out of the zerk. Then remove the grease gun and wipe away any excess grease.
When you do this task, do one side first, then lower the wheel and repeat the process on the other side.
The first step is to make sure you buy the right grease. Dexter Axles need red lithium grease and you can buy their special brand or use a competitor’s red lithium grease products.
The next step will be to use a manual grease gun as you have more control over the installation of the grease than you would with a powered option. The key is to move the wheel as you pump in the grease and add the grease slowly.
Also, use the same grease that is already in the bearings. Do not mix grease types as that may cause you some problems down the road. Use red lithium grease when red lithium grease was used originally.
Also, make sure you have the right jack to work with. You want one that will hold between 4 and 8 tons of weight. These jacks should be hydraulic. Once you have the jack, make sure to have some wood blocks as a foundation under those jacks.
Some people will tell you to add the grease the old-fashioned way. That way is to remove the drum and repack the bearings by hand. This is not the best method to use.
It was suggested as one owner felt that the grease seals would be pushed out if you used the zerks. That should not happen unless you use a powered grease gun and lots of pressure.
The instructions are not too far off from the ones we have already given earlier. The first step is to remove the rubber plug at the end of the grease cap. This plug keeps the grease inside as you drive.
The next step is to attach the gun hose end to the zerk at the end of the spindle and pump grease inside. Dexter does warn against using a powered grease gun as they are aware of the damage those tools can cause to the seals.
Spin the wheel and keep pumping till the new grease starts to come out. Don’t stop when you see the old grease but keep going. The old grease will give you an idea of the condition of the bearings, etc., are in.
If you see metal shavings in the grease, you may need new bearings or spindles. When you see the new grease coming out, wipe away the excess and put the rubber cap back on.
That is for the EZ lube feature. This design is made to be immersed in water. However, if you do not have EZ lube axles, and your axles get immersed in water, you will have to repack the bearings after every time the axle was immersed.
Be careful with the seals. They are designed to keep the grease off the brake linings. You should know what will happen if the grease reaches that point. Make sure your seals are in good condition and have no leaks.
They still make their own product and sell them in their online store. You just have to use the link above and look for the shop now area in the top right-hand corner of the website.
Navigate to the Dexter Grease web page and make your purchase. The company is selling 10 14-ounce tubes for $172.58. That should be enough to last you a lifetime if you stick to the schedule.
You can find this product cheaper at other locations. PJ Parts.com has it on sale for $11 per 14-ounce tube which turns out to be a $62 savings if you buy 10 of them.
Do some checking around to see if you can beat both those prices at other stores.
Even with regular maintenance checks, you should only have to grease your Dexter axle once a year. Unless you do a lot of driving each year. Make sure to use red lithium grease so that those Dexter Axles continue to perform up to your expectations.
Also, do not go for more power. Use a manual grease gun to grease your bearings correctly. You need to protect those seals and power just won’t do that task.