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Continuous Trailer Bearing Failures On Single Wheel

Question:

In July 2018 I bought a fifth wheel trailer. In the short amount of time that Ive had this trailer Ive had two major wheel bearing failures on the same wheel. My wife and I are planning a 5000 mile trip this spring and, frankly, I dont trust the wheel bearings. I am not an engineer and dont understand how the engineers felt the component weight ratings were adequate for the unit. According to the Weight Sticker: GVWR: 9995 lb GAWR each axle: 4400 lb. UVW: 8614 lb. Max Cargo 1321 lb. Hitch weight 1516 lb. From RVUSA.com So if my figures are correct: 1516 lb. Goes on the hitch and 8479 lb 9995 - 1516goes on the wheels. So if I had two 4400 lb axles, they would be adequate for the maximum weight. Except Ive always heard that the maximum weight was always limited by the strength of the weakest component. My hub and thus the bearings seem to be rated at 3500 lb. Hub part number: RVD-H 65535 Now I read this, from what I have found on the internet, as 6 6 bolt 55 5.5” inches between bolts 35 3500 lb So how can my axles be rated at 4400 lb when my bearings are rated at 3500 lb? And if my wheels have to support 8479 lb and the bearings are rated at 7000 lb. 3500 X 2 isnt the unit 1479 lb. overweight on the bearings? I am sure that I am wrong on my figures and dont understand how the engineers came up with the components they did, but at the same time, after having two catastrophic failures and seeing that they didnt engineer any or much leeway into the suspension, I want a change. That was my problem, heres my solution, I hope. I want to replace my entire axle with the next size up, that being a 5200 lb. Axle. My current problem axle has the following information on its sticker: LCI35-SB-86.5-68.5-NOSP-OS-L-655-7278-30PT-3”-GAWR 4400# If correct, I read this as 86.5” Hub Face and a 68.5” Spring Center with a 3” Tube. I have not verified the figures by actual measurements. I will do so before ordering, if I can dig it out of the snow. It looks to me like I could piece together a similar axle by buying: 1 Dexter Trailer Axle Beam with E-Z Lube Spindles - 86-1/2inch Long - 5,200 lbs Item # 8327816 Has an 86.5” hub face but a 71.5” spring center so I would have to buy two 2 Spring Seats for Typical 5,200-lb to 7,200-lb, Round Trailer Axles with 3inch Diameter Item # TRSS300 and have the old spring seats cut off and the new spring seats welded on. 3 It then appears that I can add two brake assemblies: AKEBRK-7L-SA and AKEBRK-7R-SA 4 And two hubs: 8-201-9UC3-EZ Concerns: It looks to me like this would work but you guys are the experts. Tell me if something doesnt look right. I would keep the front axle as is. I know I would have to buy dissimilar parts since I would have a 10” brake in front and a 12” brake in the rear, with different bearings, but Ive already spent $1700 to get the unit home and Im tired of spending money on the wheel bearings. Would the two different size brakes cause problems with the brake controller? Thanks for your help.

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Expert Reply:

I am sorry to hear about all the issues you are having with your trailer. Based on what you described, I would lean towards an issue with the spindle rather than the weight capacity of the hubs. The reason being that if your hubs were truly underrated, you would most likely have issues with all of them not just the same spindle. The damage to your spindle is likely not noticeable however, it only takes a small degree off center to cause problems. If the angle at which the spindle lies in relation to the axle tube is different than that of the others, the spindle will most likely have more pressure or weight placed on it which could then very well cause the bearings to wear faster.

In order to fix the issue you are having with your spindle you will need to replace the entire axle. However, we do not carry 4,400 lb axles therefore the only option we have can offer you is the Dexter Trailer Axle Beam part # 8327816 which is rated at 5,200 lbs. You would then need to move the spring seats to match your trailer with part # TRSS300. With that being said, I absolutely do not advise just replacing one axle. If you were going to do one then you would need to do both as well but this is really the only solution to fix the issues you are having with your trailer.

In order to save some cash, you can purchase our house brand for the braking assemblies and hubs/drums. For this, you will need the Electric Trailer Brake Kit part # AKEBRK-6 and the Trailer Hub and Drum Assembly part # AKHD-655-6-EZ-K. I wish I had better, more cost effective news for you.

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Conner L

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