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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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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.
+1
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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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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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Old 07 January 2015, 09:24   #11
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Well that was easy, got to say my dislike of sealed bearings is disappearing

Heartily recommend having a spare set of drums ready to fit - all done in about an hour this morning, both sides. If I ever had to do a roadside change I'd rather swap a drum than a set of taper roller bearings.

I've not yet tried to change the bearings in the drums, but it doesn't matter how long that takes now. I did find a collection of bits of brake shoe lining in the bottom of the drum on one side which explains why that side was a bit sticky!
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Old 07 January 2015, 20:00   #12
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Hum. Spoke too soon

The first bearing cracked from the drum with about 4-5 tons on it and pressed straight out, the second one maxed the press at 12 tons and sat there at that for half an hour with nothing happening ... currently soaking in WD40 and being left for a rainy day!

Definitely recommend having a spare drum on standby when doing this job.
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Old 08 January 2015, 02:24   #13
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heat the drum while the weight is n it
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Old 10 January 2015, 18:17   #14
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heat the drum while the weight is n it
.....& then tw4t it..
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Old 11 January 2015, 04:24   #15
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Confession time. More haste less speed. It helps a lot if you take the circlip out of the second one as well

After that, it comes out with about 5 tons on it

In my defence, I was doing it in a very dark corner of the garage and it was all the same brown rusty colour...

One question though; the original bearings in the trailer have metal seals in them, while both the replacements that came with the trailer (loose bearings), and the ones supplied in the new hubs, have plastic seals. Is there any significance to this (e.g. the grade of waterproofing?)
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Old 11 January 2015, 05:43   #16
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Confession time. More haste less speed. It helps a lot if you take the circlip out of the second one as well

After that, it comes out with about 5 tons on it

In my defence, I was doing it in a very dark corner of the garage and it was all the same brown rusty colour...

One question though; the original bearings in the trailer have metal seals in them, while both the replacements that came with the trailer (loose bearings), and the ones supplied in the new hubs, have plastic seals. Is there any significance to this (e.g. the grade of waterproofing?)
Numpty!

Re. the different bearings. I bought some cheap pattern bearings from a local supplier in lieu of the OEM & the pattern ones had plastic seals & failed within a season. They also differed in that the seal was bonded to the inner race & rotated against the outer race as opposed to vice-versa on the oem. This means that the amount of rotating sealing surface is considerably more on the pattern bearings. I stuck to originals after that, which do have a metal seal & they haven't failed.
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Old 11 January 2015, 11:45   #17
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Numpty!

Re. the different bearings. I bought some cheap pattern bearings from a local supplier in lieu of the OEM & the pattern ones had plastic seals & failed within a season. They also differed in that the seal was bonded to the inner race & rotated against the outer race as opposed to vice-versa on the oem. This means that the amount of rotating sealing surface is considerably more on the pattern bearings. I stuck to originals after that, which do have a metal seal & they haven't failed.
I believe the 'waterproof' axles fitted with waterproof hubs fitted to SBS (mine/later at least) trailers are different to standard Alko 'caravan/trailer' axles.

Alko Waterproof bearing are: SKF BAH-0069
(Inner Diameter: 42mm, Outer Diameter: 78mm, Width: 45mm)
Alko Waterproof hubs differ from the standard caravan ‘sealed' SFL hubs – and are marked W and Casting no is 1337228

Standard Alko 2361 for compact Euro hub ‘sealed’ bearings are
(Inner Diameter: 42mm, Outer Diameter: 80mm, Depth: 42mm)

Worth checking - I am sure Roy at SBS or Trailer Guy here can advise better than me. All I know is I had a little trouble finding the SKF ones and it took SBS quite some time, for some reason, to send the spare set of hubs I ordered

Like BogM I also keep a spare complete hub set for quick or emergency swaps

Jeff
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Old 12 January 2015, 04:17   #18
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Numpty!

Re. the different bearings. I bought some cheap pattern bearings from a local supplier in lieu of the OEM & the pattern ones had plastic seals & failed within a season. They also differed in that the seal was bonded to the inner race & rotated against the outer race as opposed to vice-versa on the oem. This means that the amount of rotating sealing surface is considerably more on the pattern bearings. I stuck to originals after that, which do have a metal seal & they haven't failed.


Ta - in discussion about a new trailer anyway, so the new bearings in this & the spare set on hand should be more than sufficient. After a slight modification to the brakes to make them greaseproof I have blathered a lot of waterproof grease in around both sides of the bearings anyway, so I think it'll take water a while to even find its way to the outside of the seal.
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Old 12 January 2015, 08:31   #19
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Bog M

I have wondered for a long time now how do you get large items like a rib etc to the Falklands. Or is it just the case it costs loads of money and that cures the problem?

TSM
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Old 13 January 2015, 04:19   #20
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Yeah pretty much money

Most regular stuff comes in containers, if it won't fit in a container then you can ship outsize items for a per cubic metre freight rate or there is a schedule of rates for certain items like vehicles, trailers etc. The cargo loadout is probably one of the most variable you can get with military stores and ammunition, heavy plant, new vehicles, general freight, groceries, wind turbines, roadbuilding materials, houses all the sort of things likely to be found on a typical manifest!

In my case I think the freight was about £4000 at the time for the rib sitting on the trailer. The new trailer I'm looking at will get supplied in partly knocked down form so it can be shipped in a container without taking up the entire container, and then I'll reassemble it at this end. Freight will likely make a nasty hole in £1k even so.

The actual route for most imports is from a freight agent in Hampshire to the military docks at Marchwood, onto a MoD-owned ro-ro freight vessel (Hurst Point, Hartland Point, Eddystone etc for those of you around Southampton area), and then off it again at East Cove in the FI followed by road transport into town (I picked up my boat direct from the port). There's a sailing about once a month typically, and it takes about six weeks from delivery in the UK to something appearing at this end.
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