rvupgradestore.com Composet Products Fridge Defend
RV Life Magazine RV Park Reviews RV Trip Wizard

Author Topic: "Never lube" Dexter axles  (Read 702 times)

Frank B

  • ---
  • Posts: 1045
"Never lube" Dexter axles
« on: May 17, 2018, 09:12:33 PM »
Our 2010 Arctic Fox 30U came with 'Nev-R-Lube' Dexter axles.  There is no such thing as a moving part that lasts forever.  Anyone know what the typical service life of those axles are, and what they will need eventually?  The manual says simply "No further lubrication is ever needed" 


These are axles rated for 5200 lbs.  The manual does not give a part or model number that I can see.  The trailer may have over 60,000 km on it.  We bought it used and have put close to 50k on it ourselves.


Frank.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

Debra17

  • ---
  • Posts: 184
  • Fulltimer
Re: "Never lube" Dexter axles
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2018, 09:19:27 PM »
I have those kind of axles on my Nash as well. Have been wondering the same thing.
Debra & Misty, the cat
2017 Northwood Nash 17K
2015 Ford F250 Lariat
http://www.debsrvtravels.com

kdbgoat

  • ---
  • Posts: 5579
Re: "Never lube" Dexter axles
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2018, 06:05:39 AM »
I hadn't heard of the never lube axles. Here's what I found:

https://www.etrailer.com/question-233887.html

https://www.dexteraxle.com/docs/default-source/dexteraxle/product-documentation/flyers/nev-r-lube.pdf?sfvrsn=8

A discussion on the Airstream Forum:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f465/dexter-never-r-lube-inspection-and-maintenance-161834.html

I think they are essentially the same idea as what auto manufacturers have used for years. Pretty much what is in the front of the 2001 Ram 1500 4wd I gave our middle son. Those have lasted over 130,000 miles, and just got replaced because of doing the u-joints  in the front axle. Even with that many miles, they appeared to be okay after being abused getting the axles out. They were replaced mainly from having to pull the axle assembly apart again. Just better off doing the bearings and u-joints at the same time.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said,
But I am not sure you realize what you heard is not what I meant


2016 Leprechaun 319DS

lynnmor

  • ---
  • Posts: 850
Re: "Never lube" Dexter axles
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2018, 07:58:13 AM »
Google: "nev r lube bearing failure" and you will see that they have a significant failure rate.  In my opinion, the bearings being right next to each other is a problem, just think of picking up a barbell with your hands together as opposed to being far apart.  You cannot compare a properly engineered spindle to such a poor design.

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 64380
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: "Never lube" Dexter axles
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2018, 08:37:23 AM »
The ZF front axle on my coach had sealed bearings that "never" needed lubing and they were still fine at 80k miles and 14 years.   I take "never" to mean an service life long enough that an owner need not worry about it.

I think the tech guy at etrailer gave a sound answer, i.e. a "typical" owner need never perform routine maintenance (bearing re-pack), but it's still wise to check for damage every year or two.

Note that Dexter doesn't say the bearings never wear out, and specifically exempts extreme operating conditions, e.g. submerging in water. The bearings will still require replacement at some point, but hopefully several years or more down the road.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2018, 08:40:27 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

packnrat

  • ---
  • Posts: 5
Re: "Never lube" Dexter axles
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2018, 11:59:26 AM »
never lube is a lie.
if your were to open up most sealed bearing assembly's from china, japan, or any other country you would find them lacking in grease. and yes i am talking new out of the box.
best to run normal bearings and grease them every year.
the best assambly's are the heaver axles that run in a bowl of heavy oil. they get lub, and some cooling at the same time.

BruceinFL

  • ---
  • Posts: 3028
Re: "Never lube" Dexter axles
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2018, 07:20:35 PM »
I have never lube axles on my 2004 fifth wheel and have been running them since new with no problems whatsoever. Per the Dexter manual, I have them inspected annually. No maintenance has ever been needed. Love them.
Bruce A.
2004 Alpenlite Valhalla 29RK 5W
2005 Ford F-350 SRW 6.0L

Rene T

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 12046
  • Every day is payday and every payday I have off
Re: "Never lube" Dexter axles
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2018, 07:31:47 AM »
I have never lube axles on my 2004 fifth wheel and have been running them since new with no problems whatsoever. Per the Dexter manual, I have them inspected annually. No maintenance has ever been needed. Love them.

What do they do do inspect them?
Rene, Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

lynnmor

  • ---
  • Posts: 850
Re: "Never lube" Dexter axles
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2018, 07:53:10 AM »
What do they do do inspect them?

All that can be done is jack up the wheel and give it a shake.  If it moves much, disaster is in the near future.

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 64380
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: "Never lube" Dexter axles
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2018, 08:19:21 AM »
I think lynnmor's method is probably as good as any, but the official Dexter Maintenance and Service Manual says to support  the axle so the wheel is off the ground and:

Quote
2.Check for excessive wheel end clearance by pulling the tire
assembly towards you and by pushing the assembly away
from you. Slight end play is acceptable.

3.Rotate tire slowly forwards and backwards. The wheel
assembly should turn freely and smoothly.


4.Excessive wheel end play, restriction to rotation, noise,
or “bumpy” rotation should be remedied by replacing the
bearing unit.

5.Bearing units should be inspected every year or 12,000 miles whichever comes first.

Note:   A slight amount of grease weeping from the seal area is normal. Excessiveleakage may indicate abnormal bearing operation.
http://www.dexteraxle.com/docs/default-source/dexteraxle/product-documentation/manuals/600-8k_complete_service_manual.pdf?sfvrsn=38
« Last Edit: May 19, 2018, 08:21:46 AM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Frank B

  • ---
  • Posts: 1045
Re: "Never lube" Dexter axles
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2018, 08:36:35 PM »
Tks, all. When we get home I'll check for both end play and wobble.


Frank
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

Frank B

  • ---
  • Posts: 1045
Re: "Never lube" Dexter axles
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2018, 08:38:29 PM »
Google: "nev r lube bearing failure" and you will see that they have a significant failure rate.  In my opinion, the bearings being right next to each other is a problem, just think of picking up a barbell with your hands together as opposed to being far apart.  You cannot compare a properly engineered spindle to such a poor design.


Probably why they insist on zero offset wheels.
Linux:  Free, open, elegant.
06 GMC 3500 Duramax crew/long pulling 2010 Arctic Fox 30U with 1700 lb Reese Titan Class 5.
1.2 kw solar

lynnmor

  • ---
  • Posts: 850
Re: "Never lube" Dexter axles
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2018, 07:29:01 AM »

Probably why they insist on zero offset wheels.

Of course they should also insist on perfectly flat, level and straight roads.  There are all kinds of side loads presented to the bearings.

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 64380
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: "Never lube" Dexter axles
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2018, 08:08:48 AM »
My, I would not have thought this subject would stir such emotional responses!

I personally feel that sealed, aka Nev R Lube, bearings are a great boon to RVers.  Those who do annual bearing & hub maintenance may have no need of them, but the majority of RVers are of the "drive 'em and forget 'em" mentality, so they routinely have bearing problems regardless. The ridiculous prices that RV dealers charge for routine maintenance is another inhibitor, as is the lengthy time to get service.   So, a bearing designed sealed with "permanent lube" is going to be superior to one that requires annual lube but doesn't get it.  I'll leave it for the gear heads here to worry about whether they are better or worse than the ones that receive annual care.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

lynnmor

  • ---
  • Posts: 850
Re: "Never lube" Dexter axles
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2018, 09:55:47 AM »
Gary, I believe that the sealed bearings would be a great idea if only it was done right.  With a history of failures and manufactures discontinuing use, you would do well to research the problems.  In my opinion, the design with opposing bearings right next to each other is something that is asking for failure.  You might want to Google and see the many reports of these failures.  Here is a good thread that covers much of the problem: http://rv-dreams.activeboard.com/t61075254/sealed-bearing-failure-preventative-actions/

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 64380
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: "Never lube" Dexter axles
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2018, 02:31:34 PM »
I have read some failure reports, but see nothing that points to an inherent design problem.

However, I will agree that there is a tendency for owners to interpret "Nev-R-Lube' as "Nev R FAIL".  Dexter and others who use those sealed bearings ought to make it more lear that the bearings still wear and that they are susceptible to harsh conditions. Of course, nobody in the RV industry ever mentions anything like that.  They want all prospective buyers to be blissfully ignorant of maintenance needs or limits of prudent operation. At least until they make their purchase.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL