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mroyten

Trailer Bearing maintainance

21 posts in this topic

Just wanted to know any advice for trailer bearing maintenance, I got my boat a little over a year ago and I don't know sqwat about maintaining these guys. Popped open the bearing caps and she looks greased, the previous owner let me keep the grease gun- but haven't used it. I know it is important to keep these babies greased but - I guess I don't know what the h--- I'm doing. Any advice would help.

thx

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I'd pull them off and repack them.

Follow the instructions on this thread for more info:

Wheel Bearing Repacking 101

Then I'd put bearing buddies on. For the majority of the used boats that are traded in if the trailer has bearing buddies on it the bearings are fine. If it has dust caps on it they usually needed to be repacked at a minimum or replaced.

Not to say that dust caps don't work, but I think they require more maintenance.

marine_man

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I have similiar bearing questions.

I bought a new boat/trailer this spring. EZ-Loader if that matters. It looks like it already has bearing buddies on it. Sometimes when I drive a bit the kinda "buldge" out, but go back in after it sits for awhile.

So you're saying with these buddies in their I shouldn't have to grease? And if I do, do I just pull them off and reuse them? Or do I have to buy new bearing buddies each time?

Thanks

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If you have bearing buddies, or some variant of them, you will need to grease - but you'll need to montior them - if you over fill them you run the risk of pushing the oil seal out of the hub (on the indide of the hub). Grease them until they start to move outward - you should be able to wiggle them a little bit. That's plenty. If it's oozing grease out you've got too much - you'll need to knock the buddy off and clean some of the grease out.

marine_man

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Thanks!

How do I recognize when I need to grease them? About how many times a year?

Can I reuse the same buddy?

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Bearing buddys are reuseable. If you go fishing every weekend it doesn't hurt to give the bearing buddies a couple pumps before each trip. A good way to tell what shape the bearings are in is too jack up the boat, pull the wheel and turn the hub by hand and listen/feel for any bad spots or roughness. Twist to check for slop. Its a good idea to pull the hubs every other year and inspect the bearings and seals. If your using a good grease everything will last quite a while.

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I tow my boat quite a few miles every year. Each spring, I repack my bearing and every other year I replace them. It costs a little more but it beats breaking down on the road out in the middle of nowhere.

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Thanks!

How do I recognize when I need to grease them? About how many times a year?

Can I reuse the same buddy?

Yes, there's no reason you can't use the same buddy. Keep an eye on your bearing buddies - when the collar that slides in and out is near the outer portion of the buddy it's full, when it slides back in 1/2 ways or so I'd give it a couple of pumps.

marine_man

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I'd pull them off and repack them.

Follow the instructions on this thread for more info:

Wheel Bearing Repacking 101

Then I'd put bearing buddies on. For the majority of the used boats that are traded in if the trailer has bearing buddies on it the bearings are fine. If it has dust caps on it they usually needed to be repacked at a minimum or replaced.

Not to say that dust caps don't work, but I think they require more maintenance.

marine_man

Thanks a ton this, looks very informative. I will have to get on pulling them off and repacking them.

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The bearing buddy HSOforum has a very good section on maintenance - just do a search for it.

There is another thread currently running in this same forum on boat trailer bearing greases too - check it out.

About once every 5 trips to regrease is adequate for most people (unless long tows), with annual full inspection/maintenance.

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I'd pull them off and repack them.

Follow the instructions on this thread for more info:

Wheel Bearing Repacking 101

Then I'd put bearing buddies on. For the majority of the used boats that are traded in if the trailer has bearing buddies on it the bearings are fine. If it has dust caps on it they usually needed to be repacked at a minimum or replaced.

Not to say that dust caps don't work, but I think they require more maintenance.

marine_man

Alright, followed the set of instructions and completed one wheel with greasing the bearings and replacing the seal... took me a little longer than expected but it's done. Very good instructions, one bit confused me with the race image, is that connected to the bearing itself or to the axle? I could not locate mine.

But now I put the tire back on and the wheel doesn't roll as smooth as the other one that I have yet to grease. Any ideas? I didn't tighten the end bolt too tight, checked that. Not sure what to try? I was afraid something like this was going to happen.

Oh and I have bearing buddies too, fyi. Didn't put them on this tire yet (actually did but took them off again to fix the new problem)

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one bit confused me with the race image, is that connected to the bearing itself or to the axle? I could not locate mine.

The race is press fit into the hub - one on each side. If you replaced your bearings you're going to want to replace the race as welll.

Can you quantify "doesn't roll as smooth"?

marine_man

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Ok, "doesn't roll smooth" means that it spins when I spin it but in comparison to the other wheel, that wheel spins much easier and longer. The wheel I just did doesn't wobble or anything it just doesn't spin with as much ease as the wheel I have yet to repack. Is this typical? Do I have to run the trailer around for a bit for the new grease to get into formation and then it will roll smoother? Or is there anything else I should check?

mroyten

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I would say that if you're certain the nut isn't too tight and the seal you installed was the right size you should be good to go.

On your next road trip when you stop feel the hub - if it's too hot to touch there's an issue.

marine_man

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Check, check, I will keep an eye on it as advised. Thanks.

One more thing, now that it is on and I reattached the bearing buddy should I go ahead and fill that up with grease too?

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Yes - but only fill it so it moves 1/2 way out or so - do not fill it all the way as you could press your seal out.

marine_man

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Ok, took the trailer out for a spin and everything went well. The hubs were not hot and while the boat was in the water I lifted the trailer and spun the wheels and they were very smooth.

One thing I noticed though, I might have pressed my seal out on one of my hubs. Looking behind the hub I notice one of my seals in considerably extended out from the hub and it doesn't spin with the wheel, stays fixed. This is probably not good, I was just thinking about bringing it back out and pounding it back in? Any advice?

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The seals should be replaced when you do the bearings. for a couple bucks and 20 minutes you can replace both wheels.

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One other thing to do is wait just a few minutes to back your trailer in the water once you get to the lake. The hubs may be a litle warm from traveling and if you back it in right away to the cold lake water, that warm or hot hub could pull moisture in.

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I would guess you need to loosen the king nut a half turn then it will spin smoother. As far as the seal goes keep it seated snug or water will get in. But the best thing you can do is DONT WORRY I had a bearing go when I got my first boat and I had no clue what to do. I finnally got it fixed and then the other side went. Fixed that side but I was scared it would happen again. So for a long time I adjusted my mirrors to see the hubs and watched them more than the road. I packed them every month and worried about going every trip. Then I bought a tote and in that tote I put a small floor jack basic tools and a ziploc bag full of grease and a new bearing kit seals and pin. Then a couple years later a bearing goes again took me 15 mins (with emergency tote) and I was good to go. Now I just check for heat on the hub once in awhile. Mabey I should regrease but with my tote I can follow a good motto "SOME PEOPLE TAKE CARE OF THEIR STUFF SOME PEOPLE FIX IT WHEN IT BREAKS"

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