Checking Dexter Axle Cartridge Bearing Run-out and Longevity


Staff member
I check the run-out of the wheel bearings on my Dexter axles per Dexter's recommendation of every 12,000 miles. They are cartridge type bearings, like the wheel bearings on the front of a car. They have been perfect so far, but I'm afraid of them ever going out on the road. It's a real production to find a new bearing and a press is an absolute requirement to get the old bearing out of the hub and the new bearing back in. They are supposed to last a couple hundred thousand miles, but I stick with Dexter's suggested inspection schedule. I didn't know cartridge bearings are used in RVs. Have you had any experience with cartridge bearings? How long would you expect them to last? Do you think it would be prudent to proactively replace them at X miles?
Those cartridge-type are not the prominent style, but they are not unheard of either.

Would it be prudent to proactively replace them? Yes I would think so. At X miles? That's hard to know what that value of "X" is.

You can at least alleviate some of the concern by perhaps buying a spare bearing and taking it along on trips. Then as long as you can find a brake/repair shop, they'll have a press to do the job.
I plan on checking run-out and bearing smoothness every season. Much can be learned by listening to a bearing. When they start to make the slightest rolling noise, they are near the end. The hubs are so easy to removed (after I figured out how, see video) it would be foolish not to inspect them yearly. I also agree, there will come a point that they should all just be replaced. My guess is I will find a bearing with the tell-tale signs of end of life and I'll just replace all four. Given the overall poor quality of cartridge type bearings and the fairly heavy loading of these bearings, my bet is I will find that first rough bearing at around 50,000 miles. Just a guess, but I'll bet I'm not that far off.