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Old 16 July 2007, 20:12   #1
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Still confused about bearings!

Hi all

Been reading previous threads on this and still dunno what to do! Recently bought a 3 year old 5m with a Bamber trailer. Previous owner never touched the bearings although he didn't use the boat much. With previous boats we used to regrease at least once a year -the bearing phaff was a good excuse for cans of beer as well! This one comes with Alko bearings which I gather from the previous threads are sealed and not really designed for the amateur to touch. Indeed, when I took the wheel off it certainly didn't look like you were supposed to take apart. Bamber maintenance/service manual doesn't mention doing anything to the bearings ever.

Previous threads have suggested sealed bearings are a farce for marine use, and I certainly don't want to watch a wheel overtaking me on the M5 (which has happened to me before!). I know this has been discussed before but would welcome advice - do I need to take to the marine engineers every year which sounds expensive? In which case I'd rather replace with ones I know I can do myself.
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Old 16 July 2007, 20:51   #2
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I would suggest that you bite the bullet and replace with tapered roller bearing hubs. If you plan to keep the boat it is going to cost you 1-2 hours of time once a year and some petrol/ mineral spririts to clean them and some grease. Maybe new seals every 2-3 years. Been doing that for a couple of decades and had no problems. Sealed bearings are crap.
regards, T.
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Old 17 July 2007, 06:58   #3
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Quote:
Sealed bearings are crap.
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Old 17 July 2007, 07:24   #4
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Is there a direct replacement option?

I have the same Alko bearings myself. Once I got myself a suitable drift made, I found it easy to get the local car garage to press new bearings into place - so far FOC!

However taper bearings do have their appeal - it's just that I've never seen a simple replacement option which doesn't involve a whole hub and axle replacement. This isn't as costly as I'd imagined by the way, check out all the options (these being with sealed bearings, but you get the idea) at:

http://www.western-towing.co.uk/acat...-ko_Axles.html.

They also seem to have sensible prices for the bearings - about half what Alko themselves charge!

Can a simple bearing swap (sealed for taper) actually be done?
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Old 17 July 2007, 07:32   #5
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one other thing ...

... for the DIY option a quality socket and long-handled driver bar are pretty much essential for getting the single large hub nut off. I also never regret buying a quality socket to use with the same bar for the wheel-studs - much easier than using a traditional cross-braced thingy.
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Old 17 July 2007, 08:21   #6
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Originally Posted by Neil R View Post
Can a simple bearing swap (sealed for taper) actually be done?
Depends. I'd ASSUME that the sealed ones are deep groove ball bearings rather than tapers and as such are probably not as 'thick' as the taper rollers. Therefore the taper rollers won't fit in the same space.

If someone could pop a set of the Alko's out and stick a pair of verniers over 'em I could look in my bearing bible and find out for sure...
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Old 17 July 2007, 10:38   #7
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Originally Posted by Limey Linda View Post
If you plan to keep the boat it is going to cost you 1-2 hours of time once a year and some petrol/ mineral spririts to clean them and some grease. Maybe new seals every 2-3 years.
If you're going to pull, clean, inspect, repack, and reassemble the bearings each year, why not replace the grease seals as well? Seems kind of silly to save the $2.45 (which was the grease seal price last time I looked) if you've got access to the area anyway.


[quote = NeilR]... for the DIY option a quality socket and long-handled driver bar are pretty much essential for getting the single large hub nut off.[/quote]

If it takes a breaker bar and corresponding socket to get the hub nut off of a roller bearing setup, it's way too tight. Should be just snug, which you can usually do by hand. Granted, a hub that's been used and neglected for a couple of years my have baked on grease and sludge and such, but usually just a large crescent wrench will get it started, and then you can spin it off with finger power. Note that this applies to roller bearings; I don't know a thing about the sealed bearings you were discussing.



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