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Old 29 December 2014, 05:13   #1
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How much wheel bearing play is too much?

I've got an SBS bunk trailer with an Alko axle - sealed bearings.

Part of my regular checks is to give it all a good shake when the boat is off to check wheel bearing play. One side - the side that got a little warm about a year back when the brake stuck on - has a discernible amount of play (you can't feel anything rocking it slowly but if you get the trailer rocking at its resonant frequency so it's all bouncing around then you can feel something there).

If it was a taper roller bearing like a Land Rover type hub, I'd not give it a second thought and would think it was about right, but how much is acceptable in a sealed bearing? The other side has nothing at all.

It's only used for a slow haul to the slip (about 5 miles mostly on graded gravel road at about 30mph) and I'd rather defer it to being a job for the winter if I can (which in practical terms is likely to mean half a dozen more outings), but I'm not sure how quickly they deteriorate once there is a bit of play there?
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Old 29 December 2014, 06:06   #2
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Steven, I don't think the play would be an issue but since it shouldn't be there and you've overheated it a bit, I suspect you've got a sightly damaged seal which may have let water in. Does it feel rough or grumbly when you spin the wheel? On the plus side, I've seen rust damaged bearings travel a long way after cleaning and refilling with grease so, if you can pop the seal and repack it with water resistant grease then replace the seal - or even syringe grease under the seal lip, I would think it would last out your season given the short distance you travel.

Get grease into it and keep an eye on it is my advice.
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Old 29 December 2014, 13:57   #3
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Thanks, if I have to strip it down I'll just change the whole thing, I just didn't want to do it yet
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Old 30 December 2014, 11:50   #4
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If its an AlKo sealed bearing, there shouldn't be any play. The bearings are held on with a "one shot" nut which iirc is tightened to 270nm (i.e. 'kin tight) Any play is either from a loose nut, not good; or worn bearing, also not good. The bearings themselves aren't serviceable, it's a bin it & change it job. A press is VERY useful if you have access to one, as the bearings are a 1 piece sealed unit & difficult to swap without damaging the new bearing. With a press it's a doddle.
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Old 30 December 2014, 12:35   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pikey Dave View Post
If its an AlKo sealed bearing, there shouldn't be any play. The bearings are held on with a "one shot" nut which iirc is tightened to 270nm (i.e. 'kin tight) Any play is either from a loose nut, not good; or worn bearing, also not good. The bearings themselves aren't serviceable, it's a bin it & change it job. A press is VERY useful if you have access to one, as the bearings are a 1 piece sealed unit & difficult to swap without damaging the new bearing. With a press it's a doddle.
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Old 31 December 2014, 04:55   #6
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Being rather remote, and taking a long while to get parts here, I planned ahead and have a new pair of drums with new bearings that I got from Trailer Guy, with the idea being to cut out one level of 'stuff going wrong' while the trailer has no wheels on it if I then had to order parts. So the change will hopefully be straightforward, as long as I can get the old one off the stub axle (famous last words).

The idea is to swap them over, then overhaul the bearings in the original drums in my own time and put them on the shelf ready for the next service exchange (though I hope I'll have a different trailer by then). I have a 10 ton press, which will hopefully do the job in combination with heat and topped up with swearing

I need the boat tomorrow for safety boat duties so hopefully it doesn't fall off then - might get on to it next week. It's a very small amount of movement which TBH most people wouldn't have noticed - but I'm fussy and I don't like wheels falling off!!
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Old 31 December 2014, 09:46   #7
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If you can access a lathe and a bit of spare iron , a simple tool as in the picture makes the removal and replacement of the bearings a doddle . Turn the diameters to suit your hubs & bearings
( assuming your press is big enough to accommodate the drum and tool , which I think it will be and you have a decent enough breaker bar/scaffold pole to loosen and re-tighten the one shot nut ).

You should be whistling and not swearing..............
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Old 31 December 2014, 10:35   #8
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I'm sure you'll be fine Steven, you're a capable chap (I've been watching the building works with keen interest )

Drop me an email if you get stuck.

All the best, Ben
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Old 31 December 2014, 11:03   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BogMonster View Post
I have a 10 ton press, which will hopefully do the job in combination with heat and topped up with swearing
There is a 20T press in the trailer centre near Winchester with a slight bend in it. We got the bearings out in the end but it was close. Gas axe / soak in diesel what ever it takes before it goes in the press would be good.

Good luck

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Old 31 December 2014, 11:18   #10
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I have a cheapo Clarke 10t press & it's never failed to shift the bearings out of the drum. I use an old bearing as a mandrel.


.....sh1t happens.......
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