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Old 03 February 2015, 16:11   #1
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My first trip to salt water!

I know that this will seem hard to imagine for most of you "over there", but my trusty RIB (A Hurricane 590/Yamaha 150) has never seen the salt, and I've decided it's time that it does. So this summer, we are planning on taking a trip from west of Toronto, to the Perce Rock area of Quebec. According to the Googler, it's 1600 km exactly, so a good hike.

I'd like some advice from you guys if I might...

Concerning the trailer. I use a single axle and I'm a bit concerned about bearing issues along the way. Of course I would have them serviced before leaving, but since a good chunk of this trip is through relatively unpopulated areas, I'm wondering about DIY roadside repairs. I was thinking that I would buy an entire spare hub assembly, which could replace a damaged one in a pinch. (In my experience, when a bearing goes, it often destroys the hub as well...). Do any of you do this?

Unfortunately, I need to submerge my wheels to launch and recover, but other than a good hose-down after, do I need to worry about that?

I would also pick up a second spare wheel I think, just to be safe!

Regarding the lights, I understand that most of you use light bars that can be removed before launching. My lights are mounted to the trailer. Am I safe to assume that a few dunks in the salt and the'll be done? I figured I'd take a new set, and replace them before I return. I currently use the "lifetime warranty/fully sealed" LED lights and find that they pretty good for water tightness, but certainly not perfect.

Thoughts?

By the way, I tow with a 5.6 litre V8 Chev Tahoe. It has some miles on it, but runs well...
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Old 03 February 2015, 17:16   #2
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Originally Posted by Stoo View Post
Concerning the trailer. I use a single axle and I'm a bit concerned about bearing issues along the way. Of course I would have them serviced before leaving, but since a good chunk of this trip is through relatively unpopulated areas, I'm wondering about DIY roadside repairs. I was thinking that I would buy an entire spare hub assembly, which could replace a damaged one in a pinch. (In my experience, when a bearing goes, it often destroys the hub as well...). Do any of you do this?
I would carry a spare tire, and a hub that is greased and ready to go, along with all tools needed to change them in the field. The Chevy jack should work for the boat if it is the one I am thinking of that looks kinda like a manual bottle jack.



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Unfortunately, I need to submerge my wheels to launch and recover, but other than a good hose-down after, do I need to worry about that?
A rinse is all you can do other than dunking it in fresh water.

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I would also pick up a second spare wheel I think, just to be safe!
Instead of a second spare, a small compressor and a industrial grade plug kit are where it is at. That way you can repair your truck tire in the field in case of two flats. Mine has been used many times to repair other peoples tires in the field or top them up.

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Regarding the lights, I understand that most of you use light bars that can be removed before launching. My lights are mounted to the trailer. Am I safe to assume that a few dunks in the salt and the'll be done? I figured I'd take a new set, and replace them before I return. I currently use the "lifetime warranty/fully sealed" LED lights and find that they pretty good for water tightness, but certainly not perfect.
They should be fine if they are sealed units. I have a set of LED's on my trailer.


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By the way, I tow with a 5.6 litre V8 Chev Tahoe. It has some miles on it, but runs well...
Sure that isn't a 5.3L V8? Either way the fuel pump is failing! They all fail and often. If it ever does not start and you can not hear the fuel pump while cranking, hit the fuel tank with an object, like a stick, while cranking.
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Old 03 February 2015, 17:37   #3
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Bearing savers and a grease gun.....
+1 for the spare wheel/hub set-up bolted to the trailer.
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Old 03 February 2015, 17:49   #4
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Bearing savers and a grease gun.....
+1 for the spare wheel/hub set-up bolted to the trailer.
We call them "Bearing Buddy's", per the manufacturer, here in the USA.
http://www.amazon.com/Bearing-Buddy-.../dp/B0000AZ7FL

The dust cap for them keeps the grease from flying out. Everyone needs to at least own a grease gun if not carry it. With the greased spare hub I don't bother. If I dipped my trailer though I would let the bearing assemblies cool while prepping and give them a shot of grease before launching.

Also when towing get in the habit of jumping out and checking the bearing temp. That is the single best way to prevent a catastrophic failure, with a worst case of throwing the wheel assembly, in who knows what direction. Seen it! (Never lost a wheel myself, but I have come close!) An IR temp gun tucked in the door pocket makes it a clean job. (I usually just touch the hub, right after stopping.)

The load, in this case a boat, routinely needs a tug on it's retaining straps, or at least a visual.
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Old 03 February 2015, 18:06   #5
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1600 km
That's a fair old tow - but the chances are* that if it makes the first 100km on recently serviced bearings without them getting hot it will make the next 1500 too. Of course check them (I do mine after a couple of miles, then at 25 miles (convenient service station) and then whenever I need to stop for comfort, fuel, food).

(* assuming your bearings are in good order and properly serviced they should run for thousands of miles, the killer as you know is water getting into them - which doesn't happen underway).

People here who are paranoid, or do lots of towing, or who use dodgy trailers, or who have spend 2 hrs waiting for a recovery truck often carry a spare hub!

As you probably know the killer for bearings is hot hubs into cold water - so ensure everything is cool before backing into the water.
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Old 03 February 2015, 21:03   #6
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I do a fair bit of towing, and frequently drag the sucker on 4-500 km without a thought. As I mentioned, this trip is different in that (a) parts of it are pretty remote and (b) it ends in salt water!

And true enough about the bearings... if they make it 20 km, they'll make it 1600 km. Well, unless they don't. I always figure that the mere act of preparing with all of this stuff will hopefully mean I don't need it!

Thanks everyone!
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Old 04 February 2015, 07:17   #7
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Just one more thought, I do not know what your legal requirements are/whether you have brakes on your trailers/what type of brakes are fitted, but in my experience many bearing failures are caused by binding brakes. The brakes drag, heat the hub and the bearing grease goes walkabout, with inevitable consequences. Might be worth a check of brake function, ensuring that all brake linkages/cables operate freely.
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Old 04 February 2015, 09:23   #8
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Thanks Ian...

My trailer has surge brakes, and you're right, they occasionally stick a bit. I back into my usual parking spot, and this tends to activate the brakes. When I unhook the trailer, I think that the brakes stay "on".

I learned years ago to pull ahead slightly before uncoupling and that seems to work well.

But for sure I would have "everything" checked and serviced before heading away.
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Old 04 February 2015, 13:00   #9
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Ian has a good point about the brakes. They do chew up the wheel bearing fairly often when they stick on. Had it happen to me once, and have seen it a couple of other times. Are you drum or disk?

Stoo, I just checked out your photos. They are great! So you obviously dive in salt water sometimes, and it looks like you picked the right days, as the vis is really good. I need to go North and do some diving. Is this salt water trip a dive vacation?
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Old 04 February 2015, 14:15   #10
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The dust cap for them keeps the grease from flying out.
Well, it may prevent grease "spillage" from flying out; mostly they keep road grime from getting all over the nipple and pumping that in when you add grease.


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If I dipped my trailer though I would let the bearing assemblies cool while prepping and give them a shot of grease before launching.
Agreed.



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Also when towing get in the habit of jumping out and checking the bearing temp.
I have a temp gauge, but generally just touch the hub. If it's any more than warm to the touch, something is not right (note that if you come off a long descent with a lot of braking, that needs to be factored in, as brake induced heat will change things.)

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