We pulled the tent trailer over to neighbor Steve's place yesterday to pull the drums off and take a look at the conditions of the wheel bearings and pack them with fresh grease if needed.
Steve gets busy on the weekends, so I actually had to wait a while before pulling my rig into his driveway. But when we did, the trailer went up, jackstands went under, and the wheels and drums came off quickly.
My hesitation about doing this myself had to do with removing the castle nut that holds the drum on. Not really sure how torqued it is. Then removing the inner bearing usually means having to press it out, or pressing the grease seal out. So I wanted a bit of guidance to see how it is done for next time. Turns out that the main castle nut is not really torqued at all. Just a good sized set of channel locks is all that's needed.
The bearings were in good shape, but they were geting a bit dry, so it was a good thing we did this. Steve pressed out the grease seal but the small spring got damaged. On both sides. So I took the seal over to Kragens to get a new one.
It was getting late in the afternoon on a Sunday to start a parts trek like this, so I was nervous. Once I got to the parts store, the guys behind the counter had to hunt around, opening all the boxes of seals since a) there was no number printed on the seal to match against, and b) I was working on a trailer, not a car, which is not what they are used to,
After some hunting around, they finally came up with two different seals that were close in diameter, both inside and outside diameter. The only major difference was that the thickness of the seal was greater. But most of the extra thickness was in the form of a rubber sheild that surrounded one side of the seal, so it was a bit compressable. I took two, one for each side, and raced back to Steve's. He examined them and declared that we could use them as-is, in their entirety, rather than just stealing the springs from them.
Oh, BTW, the box those seals came in said something about a Japanese application, Mazda. But hey, they fit.
Steve also noticed a broken clip that retains the electromagnet for the brakes. He dug around his small parts bin and found a bicycle skewer spring to replace the small spring that was damaged, and he tweaked the clip so it held again.
It was fun playing around with this stuff, and I feel better we were able to get some grease on those bearings. if I am able tomorrow, I will start work on the charge line from the tow vehicle to the trailer battery. Wiring is always a lot of fun.
It's something that almost never gets done, something that seems to keep working so why fix it. But if you think about it, it's really, really important so that you don't plow through the cars ahead of you.
The truck now has new brake fluid in its hydraulic veins, thanks to neighbor-auto-technician Steve. He's a firm believer in swapping out the fluid on schedule as recommended by the manufacturer, which is a whole lot more often than one would think. The old fluid that came out wasn't too bad, wasn't too dark with a bunch of sediment, though there was a sprinkle here or there. We also removed all four tires and examined the brakes themselves, looking for potential signs of failure. There were none. Front pads have plenty of meat, and the rear shoes look like they have never seen a load.
I had noticed a while a ago the fluid level on the low side, which indicates a leak, but we didn't see any signs of one anywhere, even around the brake cylinders in the read, moving the boots out of the way to get a close look.
We also performed a leakdown test of the cooling system. Steve has a cool new set up to do this with, so we got to play with it. Connect it up to the system in the place of your radiator cap and pump it up to about 12 or 14 pounds and then look around for leaks and watch the gauge to see if the pressure decreases.
We left it on for 15 or 20 minutes but saw no signs of a leak, but the pressure did decrease slowly over time, more than we would have liked. Steve also noticed signs of a previous leak in the front of the engine, near a pulley, near where the water pump is. The evidence was in the form of dried up, reddish material which matches the color of the coolant in the system. Through the leakdown test, however, there area did not experience any moisture leaking out, so we believe that it's a really small leak that won't be any trouble.
And finally, since I had to dig around behind the back seat for the lug key, I took the opportunity to shed some sunlight on the spare tire, which has probably never left its perch since the truck was new. It was down to 20 psi from its recommend 35 psi, so I added air and checked the condition of the tire. It all looked good other than some scuffing at the mount points.
Interesting, and timely, article at the NYT that talks about people who go without air conditioning during the summer.
I agree with lots of the people in the article as well as in the comments. You get used to it, physiologically.
We made the conscious decision during the remodel to go without AC upstairs. It gets hot up there a few times a year, but it's easily mitigated by sleeping downstairs on the fold out couch, which provides a nice change of pace once in a while. And the downstairs stays pretty cool all time time except for extraordinarily hot days.
A nephew, who works for the local electric utility, PG&E, over the weekend asked how much my PG&E bill is on a monthly basis. When I told him what it had been lately, he seemed dumbstruck. He and his family of four live in a two bedroom apartment and pay about the same as we do. He said that their place never gets above about 74F (23C), his AC is always on. He seemed oddly proud of that fact, added something about using his company's product, job security. Yeah. Right.