camper trailer bearings

Submitted: Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 12:49
ThreadID: 133543 Views:8101 Replies:14 FollowUps:4
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A friend has a chinese camper trailer that has been Brisbane to Darwin. Got home one bearing clasped and other side grease full of metal but still turning.
The trailer is 1800kg and the outer bearing is a Ford one and inner bearing is 5mm smaller.
My understanding of my research is a Ford bearing has maximum load of 1600kg on 2 wheels. I would guess a smaller bearing would have less load.
Just want to check before we jump up and down to have axle upgraded.

Am I interpeting this information correctly?

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Reply By: Notso - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 13:11

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 13:11
It's unusual to have a smaller bearing on the inside?

I don't know the weight limits of Ford Bearings but I've seen plenty of single axle vans with them.

Probably a comment on the quality of the bearings rather than the size.
AnswerID: 604824

Reply By: ken triton - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 13:37

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 13:37
Hi Neil,
Axle manufactures use different configurations of bearings, sometimes Falcon inners and outers, some holden and sometimes a mixture of both. Generally though the inner bearing is larger than the outer. Sometimes inner and outer bearings are the same. After saying all of this, we have had experiences in our workshop on a number of occasions where brand new caravans and camper trailers have had little to no grease in the bearing and sometimes poor quality grease. We have also found tight wheel bearings. So what I am saying is it may not be the fault of the chinese bearing but maybe the poor installation. Without knowing the part numbers of the inner bearing it is hard to know what the axle load is rated at. I would suggest a little more investigation is needed. Generally specialist bearing suppliers will have better quality bearings available.
Good luck, regards Ken
AnswerID: 604826

Reply By: The Bantam - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 14:20

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 14:20
First and above all ... as mentioned ...... I would not drive any new trailer any significant distance before checking the bearings.
As was said the packing and the quality of the grease may be poor.
It may also be that the bearing cups have not been properly fitted to the hubs or may have been damaged during fitting
Yes there are issues with cheap chineese bearings ...... I would not go any distance on other than a reputable name brand preferably Japanese bearings.
This may help you in identifying your bearings
axle ratings ... not exhaustive.
Holden LM bearings 1000 Kg with 13 or 14 inch wheels
Ford SL bearings 1500Kg with 13 or 14 inch wheels
Paralell bearings 1600KG with 15 or 16 inch weels
got no figures on composites mixed holden and ford .... from memory holden inners and ford outers .......
then ya got 2 tonne and 3 tonne bearings
I would not be running and 1800KG trailer on less than 2 tonne bearings and a 60mm axle, though you can get a 2 tonne rated axle in 50mm
Bearing failures on trailers are all to common.
The trailer manufactures all push their luck on load capacity.
Remember that the cars that these bearings came from never ran their bearings anywhere near maximum capacity most has at least a 30 to 50% safety margin.
AnswerID: 604828

Reply By: Neil & Pauline - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 15:29

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 15:29
thanks for the promp replies.

The inner bearing is bigger than outer but is 5mm smaller than Ford bearing.

I think he is convinced to go a trailer repair specialist and enquire.

AnswerID: 604835

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 18:10

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 18:10
check the against that list I linked.
FollowupID: 874632

Reply By: GarryR - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 16:25

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 16:25
pull the bearings and seals out and obtain the number from each, or take the washed up bearings and seal to a good bearing supplier for them to check the numbers and or measure up should it be necessary. They would be than helpful, and guide you in the right direction. They may be able to advise on a better bearing kit that may be available.
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AnswerID: 604836

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 16:48

Sunday, Oct 02, 2016 at 16:48
Sounds like your axles and bearings are undersized for a 1800kg camper.
My Tvan has bigger bearings than yours (parallel = where both bearings are the bigger Ford bearing) has an ATM of 1250kg and the bearings and axles are rated at 1600kgs.
AnswerID: 604837

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Tuesday, Oct 04, 2016 at 22:43

Tuesday, Oct 04, 2016 at 22:43
Just to add that from what I see when I service these things, the Chinese bearings are rubbish. If I see them, I replace them. Bearings are cheap anyway - just buy the quality Japanese manufactured brands.
FollowupID: 874687

Reply By: Sigmund - Monday, Oct 03, 2016 at 10:39

Monday, Oct 03, 2016 at 10:39
Just as an aside the RV maintenance guy in Exmouth WA refuses to service Chinese bearings. It's replace or nothing.
AnswerID: 604857

Reply By: gbc - Monday, Oct 03, 2016 at 14:56

Monday, Oct 03, 2016 at 14:56
Got a brand of trailer? Brake size?
I'll take a stab since you mentioned ford (inner? L68149, cone L68110)
The old 10" hubs used those - the outer bearing is L44649, cone L44610.
Seals are 473317 or W16823231.
All the newer chinese stuff has gone to parallel in both 10" and 12" hubs and the bearings are doing OK. The original gear was too lightly specced, hence the change.
AnswerID: 604863

Reply By: splits - Monday, Oct 03, 2016 at 21:11

Monday, Oct 03, 2016 at 21:11
This might be faulty bearings but a failed bearing does not automatically mean the bearing is at fault. A Falcon could do that trip fifty times on a mixture of sealed and dirt roads without any bearing problems while a trailer with the same bearings could fail to even get back. The design of the trailer has a lot to do with it.

Has this trailer got shock absorbers and if yes are they mounted on an angle that will actually allow them to work properly? Most are leaning over too far because the builder does not want to put them up through the floor like many car manufacturers do? Inadequate spring dampening, particularly on rebound, can pound bearings to pieces as well as snap the ends off the axle or break the wheel studs.

Has your friend changed the wheels to match the car? If so a different wheel off set or larger diameter wheels will have an effect on the stress and weight distribution on the bearings.

Was the trailer towed through deep water on this trip? If water did get in and someone has used high temperature bearing grease then that could be the problem. It is clay based and does not resist water wash out. Car manufactures usually specify lithium based wheel bearing grease.

These points and a few others may not be the cause in this case but they should be kept in mind if you get a different axle or whatever. You might end up with the same problem further down the track but for a different reason.
AnswerID: 604870

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Oct 04, 2016 at 08:11

Tuesday, Oct 04, 2016 at 08:11
When I took delivery of my new Goldstream camper, I was advised to regrease the bearings within the first 5000 km. A lighter grease is used initially and you need to clean the bearings and regrease with a quality heavy duty high temperature grease.
An easy enough job to do, especially at home.

Maybe a combination of cheap bearings and unsuitable grease was the problem.

Both Holden and Ford Bearing Kits (the two most common kits used on vans and campers) are available from BCF outlets or any trailer retailer or places such as CBC Bearing shops.
It pays to replace the seals (included in the kits) when servicing bearings.


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AnswerID: 604875

Reply By: swampy - Tuesday, Oct 04, 2016 at 18:33

Tuesday, Oct 04, 2016 at 18:33
Yes there needs to be more campers fitted with parallel bearings standard .
And a 2.o ton option .

What many people donot consider is the adjustment nut [castle nut ] in many many cases the thread on the axle is machined by a guy getting paind 2$ a day .
The threads are very very rough .
This does not allow for proper adjustment of the nut .
Thread file for many is a good idea .

AnswerID: 604893

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 15:55

Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 15:55
The other issue is the thread on trailer axles is much coarser than you will find on cars, trucks and busses.

It's pretty much impossible to get most trailer bearings adjusted just right.

this slot in the castleated nut is tool loose the next one is too tight.

Trailers are just crap.

FollowupID: 874754

Reply By: Blown4by - Wednesday, Oct 05, 2016 at 13:25

Wednesday, Oct 05, 2016 at 13:25
Before worrying about the bearing load capacity, first check the axle rated load capacity by measuring its diameter if round or its thickness if a square axle. You can then look up a trailer parts supplier catalogue which will tell you the axle capacity. If using an Australian made axle you won't need to worry about the bearing capacity because the designer will have already sized them the suit the axle load capacity. If the axles were made in China the problem you have with using the comparative sizing from the Australian catalogues is that you don't know the metallurgical make up of the Chinese axle. Also if the running gear was made in China and not fitted in Australia, in addition to checking the axle capacity I would advise checking the load capacities of the suspension, hubs, wheels and tyres. Also from experience of seeing 1000's of these cheap imports I would advise checking the braking capacity too. VSB1 states that trailers over 750kg GTM must have an efficient braking system. An 'efficient braking system' is one considered to be able to brake the rated GTM.
I hate to say it but buying these imports you get what you pay for. If the trailer has leaf springs I would consider changing them as those manufactured in China have a history of snapping leaves. Also check the safety chain(s) which must be marked AS4177-25 (or greater), the tow coupling (refer VSB1) and the lights for ADR compliance insofar as their construction and location. If LPG is fitted and hard plumbed, ensure the correct Notice of Compliance plate has been fitted in Australia. The items listed are the main areas of concern with these imported camper trailers.
AnswerID: 604917

Reply By: dad1340 - Thursday, Oct 06, 2016 at 10:03

Thursday, Oct 06, 2016 at 10:03
I'd ask your friend if he went through water first before thinking upgrades.
I've towed 6m boats, trailers, campers and caravans a bit and the basic rules still apply:
- Tightened the bearing up tight and back off half a turn
- Lubrication is a planned maintenance issue including giving the bearing grease nipple a few pumps after any water immersion.
I'm talking here about those "Bearing Mate" type bearing caps with a grease nipple. I've had them on most of my "Trailers"
This practice dose not preclude taking the bearing out, cleaning, checking and re-grease (maintenance) but does ensure when you go through water that small grease gun you carry makes bearing security much more easy.


AnswerID: 604938

Reply By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Thursday, Oct 06, 2016 at 16:14

Thursday, Oct 06, 2016 at 16:14
You don't need to understand what is being said to get the point....

The difference between Chinese and German bearings
AnswerID: 604947

Follow Up By: Zippo - Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 12:42

Friday, Oct 07, 2016 at 12:42
That "spin test" at ~ 1 minute says it all.
FollowupID: 874747

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