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Old 30 October 2006, 15:01   #11
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Originally Posted by Jimmy_Beam View Post
http://www.bearingbuddy.com/
And for god sakes, take them out, solvent clean and dry, inspect, replace seals, pack and re-install every 12 months.. You will never have this problem again.
Ditto... Mind you, I use my trailer in fresh water, which is presumably less of an issue. I just figured that I dunk my bearings about 70 times a year, and trail several thousand kms a year. Every year, I take the trailer to a tire shop where they pull the bearings, thoroughly inspect and grease them. All except one year that is (too busy!).. and that is the only time I fried a bearing in 30 years of boat trailering!

With Bearing Buddies, you need to be careful not to overdo it with the grease though or you can blow the rear seal out and not notice...

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Originally Posted by toby4594 View Post
Exactly how hard is it to change bearings ,The chap I purchased my rib from was really keen ,There was grease everywhere and he had maintained the rib impeccably,but I always wondered if bearing replacement was a seasonal duty.
It's quite simple really, but the tire shop near me will do it for about $35, so it's not worth the effort to do it myself! There's no nead to replace them if they look OK, although perhaps in salt water that would be a good idea.

I find synthetic grease works best too...
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Old 30 October 2006, 15:38   #12
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316 or A4 stainless isn't any good for bearings so unfortunately Fit for purpose=bollocks in this case.
An honest and direct answer
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Old 30 October 2006, 17:15   #13
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In my experience trailer wheel bearings don't fail without a deal of complaining first. Free play in the wheel can be detected by rocking it at the top in line with the axle without lifting the wheel off the ground.This can be done at start of journey and during pit stops en route. Excessive free play should lead to more detailed inspection with the suspect wheel jacked up and supported eg on blocks. Excessive free play accompanied by rumbling noises when the wheel is spun vigorously indicates wheel bearing failure imminent. When I go on a run exceeding say 60/70 miles each way I will always jack up and at least spin the wheels to listen/feel for roughness. 3 or 4 times during any 12 month period (I use my boat all year) I will strip, wash out and inspect the bearings. Any sign of pitting of the rollers or marking of the cups will result in a change of that particular assembly. I always used to use Duckham's Keenol grease which I understand has now virtually disappeared from the planet. A fine alternative is "Ramonol" that I have found in good chandlers; not cheap but it does the job for me and has virtually the same formulation as Keenol.

I have had trailers with both taper roller bearings and with double row sealed for life ball bearings (I believe Alko or some such name). As observed elsewhere in this thread "lifetime" has no particular meaning.

Taper rollers are simple to change and could be considered a roadside repair (I always carry one spare set, tools and grease to change). Setting the free play can be tricky to judge but barely discernible play when grasping the top and bottom of the wheel and rocking gently in the line of the axle is sufficient. Always back off the nut to allow fitting of the split don't tighten. This may increase the free play slightly but it's better than too tight.

Double row ball bearings can be a complete pain to change even with good workshop facilities. I have had to use bearing pullers to remove stuck bearing tracks from stub axles and it is common practise to need some hydraulic tons to remove and replace the bearings in the drum hub assemblies. It's not rocket science but I have had to use some specialist kit to do this job; a large hammer is not to be recommended! I would never again have this type of axle as it is too much aggravation. Maybe OK for caravans but not for me for boats.

On unbraked trailers I have used bearing buddies (bearing savers I think this side of the pond) and always found that the pressure on the grease especially when warm from a run forced said fluid grease past the inner grease seal and spread it liberally around the inside of the tyre.

Having had this experience I have formed the view that this would happen also with braked trailers except in the latter case the escaping grease will be distributed liberally inside my brake drums. I would not welcome quantities of messy grease lubricating my brakes! I may be overly cautious here but this is my story.

Someone mentioned washing out the brake drums thoroughly after each recovery. I believe this to be excellent practise and I do this too with a fine jet attached to my hose. Of course this has no effect on cleaning out the bearings.

Last thing I can think of is let all the trailer running gear cool down 15 minutes or longer if you can be patient before dunking in the water. Hot bearings don't like sudden cooling quite apart from the potential for changes in temperature tending to suck more water into the hubs.

With all this fuss I have never had a bearing failure on the road but I believe I have avoided a few.

This is what I do. If it helps anyone else I shall be pleased.
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Old 30 October 2006, 19:21   #14
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Overbearing Problem

Much good advice about preventing expensive mishaps. Never trust another persons trailer without careful inspection. I bought a 17' Aluminum boat about 500 miles from home and happily hooked it up after inquiring as to the road worthiness of the trailer. I swear that I had not accelerated to 25 mph or traveled one quarter mile when I heard a crash and watched both wheels pass me. Both hubs separated cleanly from the axles due to salt corrosion. As a freshwater boater I learned an important lesson. I count myself very lucky that this did not happen 5 or more minutes later at 65+ mph. Anyway I just bought my first RIB, A searider 4, with a raggedy trailer and no engine. Thank all for posting so much good info. I can't wait to get my boat to the North Carolina outer banks.
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Old 30 October 2006, 20:39   #15
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Originally Posted by Watchemrocks! View Post
Anyway I just bought my first RIB, A searider 4, with a raggedy trailer and no engine. Thank all for posting so much good info. I can't wait to get my boat to the North Carolina outer banks.
Just one further thought... you should consider adding an engine before you venture too far....
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Old 30 October 2006, 21:36   #16
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[QUOTE=Stoo;172104] Just one further thought... you should consider adding an engine before you venture too far.... [/QUOTE Naw, too noisy. Anyway, I'm just going to the Outer Banks. I didn't say I will put it in the water. Seriously, I have a Honda 50 on order but first I have to find an elephant trunk and re do the trailer.
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Old 31 October 2006, 07:13   #17
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Quote:
http://www.bearingbuddy.com/
And for god sakes, take them out, solvent clean and dry, inspect, replace seals, pack and re-install every 12 months.. You will never have this problem again....
Generally good advise but you might get the problem again because the inner part if the stub axle the seal is running on is able to corrode. The corrosion will lift the seal lip and allow the water in.
Quote:
With Bearing Buddies, you need to be careful not to overdo it with the grease though or you can blow the rear seal out and not notice...
I can't comment on your bearing buddies but the bearing savers we have in the UK have a small blow off hole for the grease to escape through when they are over filled.

Quote:
In my experience trailer wheel bearings donít fail without a deal of complaining first. Free play in the wheel can be detected by rocking it at the top in line with the axle without lifting the wheel off the ground.This can be done at start of journey and during pit stops en route. Excessive free play should lead to more detailed inspection....
Agreed.

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Never trust another persons trailer without careful inspection.
Agreed...and never trust another person's anything without inspection. You may have to be subtle, cunning, sly, wily, shrewd, crafty or even ingenious so as not to give offence.....but do check.

The lip seals are designed to keep the grease in rather than to keep the water out and therefore the principle is entirely wrong for a boat trailer.

When sourcing replacement seals, go to a bearing company and check to see whether there are double lip seals available of the correct dimensions. These have one lip facing inwards and one lip facing outwards. They are available for my hubs and these are standard units. I've even used the original oil seal and fitted it the opposite way around so it has better sealing against water ingress.

My experience with grease possibly escaping from the hub is that this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Brakes which are dunked in salt water need to be liberally coated with grease anyway and the grease quickly mixes with the brake dust to form a nice, sticky and protective sludge. Grease which reaches the friction material is quickly burned off.

When using bearing savers, do not fill them completely. Leave enough space for the expanding grease to push the piston outwards against the spring and it will return when the hubs cool and keep a positive pressure inside the hub.

However, I believe trailer hub/stub axle assemblies to be poorly designed to the point where they are unsuitable for the job. They rely on a splitpin to prevent the retaining nut from screwing off the stub axle and the wheel then coming free of the trailer. A splitpin should only be used to fix the position of the nut for adjustment purposes, it should not be required to carry a rotational load. Other road vehicles which use taper bearings always have a locking system for the retaining nut or use a washer which is shaped so as not to be able to rotate. This washer prevents any bearing rotation being applied to the nut. I have modified mine to be inline with good practice and it's easily done. Source or make washers with a hole which is 'D' in shape. File a flat onto the thread of the stub axle so the washer will just pass over it but will not rotate. Set the bearings as normal. Using this method, the bearings can be adjusted tighter than recommended. I use zero end float but whether you do this is your choice. The advantage is that the hub rotates concentrically around the stub axle. A bearing which has free play will cause the hub to rotate eccentrically and this constantly flexes the seal lips producing wear. If the play is significant, I can envisage a situation where the seal will not be in contact with its running surface on the stub axle around the upper part of its lip. This space will let the water in.

With regard to this area corroding, it is a problem because the seal is constantly wiping the metal so the grease protection is low. I keep an eye on this because it is the place for water entry and I reface the surface with fine wet-or-dry paper at service time. I have one axle end where this is a particular problem and if it continues I'm going to bronze sleeve it and use a seal with a larger internal diameter.

As usual, it's all just my opinion.
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Old 31 October 2006, 12:11   #18
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Thanks for all the great advice. I think I'll buy some bearing savers and check/repack them twice a year.

It it essential to replace the outer bearing race as I found this quite difficult on my trailer? Can I get away with leaving it in place and replace the bearing with the same make?
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Old 31 October 2006, 12:26   #19
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On my trailers I have changed annually after last recovery before putting it for storage, use sealed bearings only. Also change the rear seal. No problem with the trailers.

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Old 31 October 2006, 18:18   #20
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No problem with the trailers.
i rekomend whail fatt insted ov greese forr weel barings.

sea bowgi forr deetayls ov wher too by itt fromm

gaRf
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