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Old 12 June 2014, 08:08   #1
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Trailer servicing/legal advice

My trailer was recently serviced (13th Feb) which included, new hubs and bearings, however just under 16 weeks after service the nearside wheel came off on main road. Was very fortunate as no one was injured, car and boat not damaged also covered by AA to get the boat home, but the resulting damage is in excess of £500 including new axle. Dismantled and inspected offside (which didn’t fail) and there appears to be evidence of old grease mixed with small amount of new, also the inner bearing (left in picture) is different in appearance to the outer which suggests to me that they are not paired. The nearside (which unsurprisingly failed) was completely dry, Have been exchanging emails with Managing Director of the company responsible for the service who has advised Quote :-

As itemised on the invoice, the complete hub assemblies with new bearings on both sides were replaced

I can only assure you that the 2 complete hub assemblies were replaced and that they were properly packed with suitable grease and re-assembled’

Then questioning

Is there a possibility that the Trailer had been towed at a speeds in excess of the legal 60mph, or that it had come into contact with something to damage the bearing assembly?’

Summing up with

having considered all the information supplied, I think it is unlikely that the bearing or fitting were at fault. I think it is likely that it is a consequence of the environment that the Trailer is used’

I have asked two specific questions,

can you explain why the offside bearing assembly is still full of old grease, with only traces of new?

can you explain why the condition of the two bearing assemblies is not consistent?’

but to date not had response to either. Any opinions or advice what I should do next?
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Old 12 June 2014, 08:14   #2
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Inner bearing has an integral seal. Outer one won't. That's why they are different.

Outer one looks rusty. Could water have got into the outer part of the bearing through the dust cap vent? A bit of rust mixed in with the grease changing the colour perhaps?

Do you have bearing savers?

What actually failed? You say "the wheel fell off".
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Old 12 June 2014, 08:35   #3
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Did you pay by credit card ?

I think this allows you to make claim for th emoney back on the basis it was not up to standard.

Its very very very hard to say for sure whats caused a failing - however even with some proper abuse i'd expect bearing on an unbraked hub to last 8-12 months ( and by serious abuse I mean towing very very fast with little grease etc - and even then they'd sound like a grinder before they failed) .

What failed ( the outer bearing ? ) , hoe many uses / miles had you done with it ?

Potentially the other option is to ask for the companies liability insurance info ...

or option three - buy new hubs and bearings and DIY it ....very easy on unbraked hubs ...and put it down to being lucky there wasn't more damage etc and never ever ever go back. I'm surporised you need a new axle - they are usally failt bomb proof - unless the threads are shot as a result of the wheel /bearing etc coming loose ?
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Old 12 June 2014, 08:50   #4
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The outer bearing must have failed, have to have new axle as stub axle is absolutely shot from being dragged down the road at 50+ and it's intergral to main axle. done approx 780 miles since service and launched 5 times ie dunked 10 times.

I didn't actually pay, invoice is in previous owners name but he is totally genuine and just as annoyed as me!!
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Old 12 June 2014, 08:58   #5
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AHHHH - I can see the problem now !

If it was the prevous owner I think then technically you are what is know as screwed...
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Old 12 June 2014, 10:26   #6
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the bearing that failed would be dry from the heat which would have melted it out
I have seen bearings fail in very short times but yours is extreme possible cause would be towing at high speed then dunking while hot which causes water to be sucked in then on yoir return journey the grease is expelled by the increasing pressure due to the heat leaving an emulsifued soup in the bearings which causes corrosion while standing at home
what tow car do you use? most vehicles you can hear the bearings rumbling through the car but I noticed recently when the bearings in my trailer were getting worn that when hung on my merc ml I could clearly hear they were shot but later when hung on our hilux double cab I couldn't hear them
trailer bearings never last long but we found the best way of preserving them was a few shots of grease from a grease gun after every outing
sorry I cant be more positive but its part of the learning curve of boating im afraid
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Old 12 June 2014, 10:42   #7
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Do you have the wheel and the hub that "escaped". There may be some better information there.
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Old 12 June 2014, 14:57   #8
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Had bearing fail about fifteen years ago and learnt from that mistake, Only ever tow (with Astra) at 65 max, never dunk when hot, never leave standing for more than three week as I'm told that's when water grease separates sufficiently enough to start corrosion process, strip and inspect/clean hub assemblies at the end of EVERY season, never rely on grease nipples always cap off if I need to check grease, what more can I do? ... My only mistake this time was to trust others! Never again will I trust anyone to service trailer for me 😡 or tow anyone else's trailer without inspect bearings myself

The comment about grease burning off due to running hot makes sense to me and would be consistent with my theory, hubs were shiny following service and I suspect the service consisted of hub off quick smear of grease, outer bearing replaced hub replaced which is not what was invoiced for, if you look closely at the pictures of side which didn't fail there is clearly signs of new grease mixed with old, the side which failed so insufficient grease which burnt off??

After searching for 3 hours plus found the wheel opposite side of the road about 5m away from verge in deep undergrowth, hoped it would give me even more evidence of negligence but the cap had come off and bearing gone
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Old 12 June 2014, 15:11   #9
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Just inspected wheel/hub which did fail again, more evidence my theory is correct, completely dry but clear evidence of burnt on grease on the outer side only ..... thanks Beamishken👍
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Old 12 June 2014, 15:46   #10
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YOU have no contract with the trailer company (only the previous owner) so little recourse with them.

Even if they had a liability to you I suspect it might be limited because you've driven on it to the point of failure - when its likely a defect would have been apparent if you checked sooner. I check trailer bearings whenever I stop to see if they are getting warm/hot, precisely because they are known to be problematic.
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