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Dexter Nev-R-Lube™ verses Dexter EZ Lube axles - discussion pro/con?

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  • Dexter Nev-R-Lube™ verses Dexter EZ Lube axles - discussion pro/con?

    I thought I would start a separate discussion on this as Hub choice is a separate issue when doing axle replacement.. As I am going to 6 K axles (7k to 8k tube rating) I have hub options. Dexter Nev-R-Lube™ or Dexter EZ Lube hubs. Each is axle specific and you cant change for one to the other, without changing the whole axle. I have not gotten a price on the Never Lube hubs with the axles yet, but the hubs cost about $300 more separately with bearings over the full cost of a complete EZ-Lube hub..
    The bearing cartridges are replaceable (5 year 100K miles warranty). they run from $45 https://www.summitracing.com/parts/t...CABEgLaNfD_BwE to $182 at http://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Bear...e/31-73-3.html and higher if you go to Dexter. Timken appear to be the only manufacturer which is a plus to me. There is no annul service (except en plan check) and no seals to replace for brake work. Everyone is probably aware of the EZ-Lube withe annual or by annul repack and seal issues and you must replace the seal when checking brakes.

    I have zero offset wheels so the offset issues with the never- lube should not be an issue

    Does anyone have first hand experience with the Dexter Nev-R-Lube™? I know a few manufacturers us them as standard.

    Thanks for any input

    Keith

    On edit I am aware of the recent Airstream recall on this axles to replace washers, but otherwise the axles are good.
    Last edited by Yoda; 09-17-2022, 05:05 PM.
    2018 Reflection 150 Series 220RK 5th wheel, SteadyFast system, Star White 2022 F350 King Ranch CC Long bed (HAL), B&W 25K OEM Companion

  • #2
    I was wondering if sealed hubs would make their way into the RV world.
    A friend of mine that runs a family owned shop doing frame and chassis work for everything from class 8 trucks, all trailer types and passenger cars expressed to me that they favored standard hubs over sealed hubs because he felt they were pretty equal in durability and life but that the standard hub was repairable. Strictly anecdotal and each type has their plusses.
    As far as Timken, I wrote them off when the new hub on my previous 2500HD only made it 20k miles. Of course the warranty was no help, It got replaced with an SKF
    2021 Reflection 337RLS, 2021 Silverado 3500HD 6.6 gas. Nellie the wonder boxer

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    • #3
      Non-serviceable wheel bearings can be found on the front wheels on all our modern trucks. While the trucks have a better suspension with damping, their endurance could still be used as a comparator in using a sealed bearing for our trailers. Autos...not so much.

      And it would be easy to keep a spare set of bearings for any issues that may occur. No mess as well.

      I would be tempted in going this route if I were faced with an axle swap.

      Jim
      2017 Imagine 2600RB
      2015 GMC Sierra 4x4

      Comment


      • #4
        It's tempting to think the sealed unit is a "fix all". However, seals still can fail leading to bearing issues. Let's not forget the sealed unit has a defined life of 5 years or 100K. Non sealed traditional bearings have a defined life of 1 removal for the seal, but the bearing may make it 10k or 1,000k miles.

        I also think it would be much easier to replace a traditional bearing / seal while on the road. The never lube is driven into place which looks to be a long drive with the possibility of damage to the edge you are driving from.
        Joseph
        Tow
        Vehicle: 2018 GMC K2500 Denali Diesel
        Coach: 303RLS Delivered March 5, 2021
        South of Houston Texas

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        • #5
          If the Dexter permanent Nev-R-Lube bearing has a warranty of 5 years or 100K miles, this is where I would set the replacement interval. Far better than the recommended annual service interval of our current bearings and seals. Brakes would be different and depending on miles, may need an inspection sooner than 5 years. But can be done quickly and without a mess with a permanent bearing.

          Jim
          2017 Imagine 2600RB
          2015 GMC Sierra 4x4

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks Folks
            Still researching. What does a normal bearing repack run you folks $100 to 150 and axle. Lets say you get a deal at $200 for 4 bearing repacks. That's $500 to $1000 over 5 years. Now if you DIY maybe $50 total for seals and grease per maintenance so over 5 years say $100 to $200. This does not count the time and mess.

            Now lets say I find replacement bearing cartridges for $50 to $100 up to $400 for parts (genuine Timken) plus say $100 for a shop to press them in.and I just do it every 5 years So I am at $500 every 5 years. Complete hub assemblies run about $570 with bearing installed https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hub...388-80UC3.html . If I go this route I plan to carry a spare hub and a separate bearing assembly

            Now down side - If I have a bearing failure and don't catch it and damage a spindle it a complete axle replacement. I have not seen where anyone has machined and sleeved a spindle yet. The same could be said for an EZ-Lube spindle too if not caught in time, but they are normally available. However as I am going with a custom HD tube I am in the same boat either way. Worst case I just go with whatever 6K axle is available and have it shimmed if necessary to make the heights equal to get buy.

            One upside it is easy to inspect and work on brakes without having to mess with seals. Also I never need worry about greased brakes.

            Lots to consider

            Keith
            2018 Reflection 150 Series 220RK 5th wheel, SteadyFast system, Star White 2022 F350 King Ranch CC Long bed (HAL), B&W 25K OEM Companion

            Comment


            • #7
              Great thoughts.

              The cost of these Nev-R-Lube bearings are up there but to compare with service fees, the permanent bearing looks attractive. Also spindles can be damaged with current serviceable bearings too.

              If cost is not a factor for the do it yourself individual, these bearings could be quickly replaced. And they would be new versus greasing used bearings.

              https://www.etrailer.com/s.aspx?qry=...ps-sf-Bearings

              https://www.etrailer.com/bearing-202...ifth+Wheel.htm


              Jim
              Last edited by MidwestCamper; 09-18-2022, 11:47 AM.
              2017 Imagine 2600RB
              2015 GMC Sierra 4x4

              Comment


              • #8
                Keith - Another factor to weigh. I'm not sure why the axle and bearing manufacturers have a time frame on inspection and maintenance. For example, the 5 year/100K recommendation. Why five years?? Why wouldn't maintenance be based solely on mileage? For example, cone bearings recommend service every 12 months or 12,000 miles. Why? If I purchase a unit and park it at a permanent spot, what magically happens at one year? Do the bearings rust, melt, or disintegrate just sitting there? That would be highly unlikely.

                Just some other thoughts to add to your selection process.

                Jim
                GDRV Forum Moderator
                GDRV SW USA Rally Support Coordinator

                Jim and Ginnie
                2017 Reflection 297RSTS

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                • #9
                  I would be inclined to think that the 12 month service interval is more to ensure the seals do not fail. Back in the old days (like pre 1990's model cars with tapered bearings) those would go YEARS without service. Why, usage would be my guess. The more you use a set of bearings, the more likely they are to function properly without corrosion and possibly pitting issues. Good quality grease does help this. However non vented drums help to hold heat keeping grease more fluid to allow it to run off the bearings.

                  Vented disk brakes are probably a much better option for bearing life.
                  Joseph
                  Tow
                  Vehicle: 2018 GMC K2500 Denali Diesel
                  Coach: 303RLS Delivered March 5, 2021
                  South of Houston Texas

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    For the sealed bearings, they have a 5 year/100K mile warranty. Dexter must have a high level of confidence they will hold up for that period without knowing how many miles are really on them. Folks could go further with regular inspection via spinning the wheel and checking runout I suppose.

                    Yoda Keith does Dexter have a recommended inspection ​​​interval?

                    Jim
                    2017 Imagine 2600RB
                    2015 GMC Sierra 4x4

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The people here that think the nev'r'lube may be a good option...never had them on a trailer. I did. They are the absolute worst.
                      My 2006 Titanium 5'er had them. People could not change them out fast enough. Once their weaknesses were clear, no one wanted that bearing arrangement on their trailer. I swapped out mine for EZ lube axles. I figured an afternoon spent swapping out the axles was easier than dealing with the nev'r'lube assemblies.
                      There is no fix it on the side of the road with a mobile mechanic. You need a bearing assy pressed in. Those of us with Titanium 5th wheels carried assemblies with the bearing assy already pressed in. In the brake drum.
                      2018 Dodge 3500 6.7 Cummins w Aisin and 9 cup holders
                      2021 Reflection 303RLS, Haloview RD7, Strong-arms, Micro-Air364

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hmmm well there is a data point. Can you elaborate on estimated usage in miles or years? The failure?

                        From a bearing perspective, there is no difference since these bearings are double row tapered bearings.

                        etrailer claims they can be driven in with a dowel though I would make up an driver to install them.

                        https://www.etrailer.com/question-379147.html

                        https://www.etrailer.com/question-359071.html

                        It also looks like some axles do need a press.

                        https://www.etrailer.com/question-534237.html

                        I'll add that if there is a brake issue that results in overheating, the bearing should probably be replaced. Any brake issues?

                        Jim
                        Last edited by MidwestCamper; 09-18-2022, 06:40 PM.
                        2017 Imagine 2600RB
                        2015 GMC Sierra 4x4

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I believe Tucson Jim originally asked about inspection. This is from Dexter.

                          The Dexter Nev-R-Lube bearings are a sealed bearing cartridge that never requires repacking with grease. However, they still need to be inspected every 12 months or 12,000 miles and can be done during your normal brake maintenance inspection process.

                          Jim
                          2017 Imagine 2600RB
                          2015 GMC Sierra 4x4

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MidwestCamper View Post
                            I believe Tucson Jim originally asked about inspection. This is from Dexter.

                            The Dexter Nev-R-Lube bearings are a sealed bearing cartridge that never requires repacking with grease. However, they still need to be inspected every 12 months or 12,000 miles and can be done during your normal brake maintenance inspection process.

                            Jim
                            Well, it's a sealed bearing cartridge. How do you inspect? You can't.
                            Other than moving your tire like checking for a bad ball joint. If the play seems too much. Buy a new assy/cartridge. Get a shop to press in the new bearing. Good luck doing it with a wooden dowel.
                            Or, check for grease seeping out. If it is, the cartridge is toast. Same as above..Buy a new assy/cartridge. Get a shop to press in the new bearing.

                            From a bearing perspective there is a HUGE difference to the EZ lube arrangement. It's the spacing apart. Nev'r'lubes have the inner and outer bearings touching each other which is why zero offset wheels MUST be used. Otherwise, your bearings fail quickly. EZ lube, like other standard arrangement bearings have two or three inches between the bearings giving it some stability, rather than the knife edge of the nev'r'lubes. On Titanium fifth wheels over 9500 pounds, the nev'r'lube bearings failed at an alarming rate. So much so that Dexter sold us EZ lube axles to replace them at a discount rate.
                            I'll finish up saying the nev'r'lubes are the weakest bearing assy out there. Why put it under your trailer? Talk to any Titanium owner from the mid 2000's. It's like owning an Edsel. Can you keep it running? Sure! But be prepared to work on it constantly.

                            2018 Dodge 3500 6.7 Cummins w Aisin and 9 cup holders
                            2021 Reflection 303RLS, Haloview RD7, Strong-arms, Micro-Air364

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MidwestCamper View Post
                              Hmmm well there is a data point. Can you elaborate on estimated usage in miles or years? The failure?

                              Jim
                              The failure is seizing. Non greasable..
                              Usage? Non zero offset wheels or over 9500 pounds...lhmmm. two years..maybe three. I had the 8800 pound 25E30, they lasted three years. Then replaced the axles to eliminate the stress of never knowing when your bearings were going to seize...because inspection is not possible. They are a run to fail item. Most conscientious owners started carrying assembled hub bearing assemblies because getting nev'r'lube cartridges on the road is virtually impossible. People don't stock them.
                              There is a reason they are not on heavy fivers anymore. They might be ok on a snowmobile trailer...maybe.

                              Edit..they lasted four years. Found the Dexter axle bill. Year 2010.
                              Last edited by Scott'n'Wendy; 09-19-2022, 05:34 AM.
                              2018 Dodge 3500 6.7 Cummins w Aisin and 9 cup holders
                              2021 Reflection 303RLS, Haloview RD7, Strong-arms, Micro-Air364

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