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Old 21 May 2024, 13:59   #1
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Sealed Bearing Hubs

I will only tow unbraked boat trailers now and generally tow those with Taper Wheel bearings. These bearings or hubs are very cheap to buy and very easy to change and if you use a bearing buddy quite reliable. When changing bearings however it is a very greasy and messy job.

My new extreme trailer has Sealed bearings on a Knott axel and changing bearings in these is not really possible away from a workshop or on the side of the road.

As I tow boats long distances I decided to buy a set of hubs with bearings installed from Extreme. They arrived today. The cost was £97.50 for the pair delivered. You get the following:

Hub with bearing installed
One shot nut
Dust cap
O ring
4 Wheel bolts

All x 2 for £97.50.

I am not sure how hard it is to wind on the one shot nut so I will get a nice long bar/tube to carry with me should I need to change out the hub.

To be honest I think I would rather have Taper Wheel bearings but this is not what Extreme trailers use and I like their trailers
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Old 21 May 2024, 21:55   #2
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I've personally never had a problem with similar ALKO sealed bearings, assuming they are properly maintained, and would very happily have a sealed bearing trailer again. I think actually I've found the sealed ones more reliable than the grease packed taper bearings having only just had to replace a set of the latter again a few weeks ago! I ran ALKO's on my 9m Ribtec (Bramber) trailer for ~10 years which was used for regular salt water launch and recovery as well as distance towing. Obviously don't launch hot, and flush out thoroughly with fresh water after every dunking (get a hub flush kit to fit if not already present), but they should then last you very well. Similarly on long distance tows I carried a spare hub with bearing ready fitted - my standard breaker bar (~1m length) never had an issue getting the hub nuts off. I think in 10 years I replaced the bearings at the 5 year mark (not because of any known issue, but simply to avoid any issues), and then again at the 10 year mark just as I sold the whole rig. I bought a cheap hydraulic frame press off Ebay for £100 which did the job perfectly (having tried beating the first one out with a hammer and found it a right pain...), and the press has come in handy for numerous other jobs since!
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Old 22 May 2024, 04:42   #3
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I've personally never had a problem with similar ALKO sealed bearings, assuming they are properly maintained, and would very happily have a sealed bearing trailer again. I think actually I've found the sealed ones more reliable than the grease packed taper bearings having only just had to replace a set of the latter again a few weeks ago! I ran ALKO's on my 9m Ribtec (Bramber) trailer for ~10 years which was used for regular salt water launch and recovery as well as distance towing. Obviously don't launch hot, and flush out thoroughly with fresh water after every dunking (get a hub flush kit to fit if not already present), but they should then last you very well. Similarly on long distance tows I carried a spare hub with bearing ready fitted - my standard breaker bar (~1m length) never had an issue getting the hub nuts off. I think in 10 years I replaced the bearings at the 5 year mark (not because of any known issue, but simply to avoid any issues), and then again at the 10 year mark just as I sold the whole rig. I bought a cheap hydraulic frame press off Ebay for £100 which did the job perfectly (having tried beating the first one out with a hammer and found it a right pain...), and the press has come in handy for numerous other jobs since!
Many thanks for that information. The trailers I have as stated are unbraked so I am fairly certain there is no place to fit a flush kit. Also you speak of ‘Properly maintained’. What can actually be done to an unbraked sealed bearing hub to maintain them. I think the answer to that is nothing
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Old 22 May 2024, 08:52   #4
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Many thanks for that information. The trailers I have as stated are unbraked so I am fairly certain there is no place to fit a flush kit. Also you speak of ‘Properly maintained’. What can actually be done to an unbraked sealed bearing hub to maintain them. I think the answer to that is nothing
Ah, sorry, somehow I completely missed the "unbraked" bit! Even without brakes then depending on launch surface it can't hurt to give the axles a good wash to try and prevent any sand/grit getting into the bearings and avoid dunking the bearings when hot, but beyond that presumably just a regular inspection, check for play/noise/stiffness, etc?
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Old 22 May 2024, 16:25   #5
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They are supposed to be sealed for life and maintenance free. I agree that with unbraked hubs, other than a blast of the freshwater hose, there's nothing that can be done to service or maintain them.

The main thing to remember is to let them cool down after a road trip before putting the trailer in the water.

It is my understanding that the press in bearings are not supposed to be pressed out, if they fail you should buy a whole new hub with the bearing fitted from the manufacturer. I don't know if that's true across all manufacturers though. In my experience (braked trailers in saltwater) by the time the sealed for life bearings require replacement, the hub its plenty rusted enough to warrant replacement anyway.
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Old 22 May 2024, 17:44   #6
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They are supposed to be sealed for life and maintenance free. I agree that with unbraked hubs, other than a blast of the freshwater hose, there's nothing that can be done to service or maintain them.

The main thing to remember is to let them cool down after a road trip before putting the trailer in the water.

It is my understanding that the press in bearings are not supposed to be pressed out, if they fail you should buy a whole new hub with the bearing fitted from the manufacturer. I don't know if that's true across all manufacturers though. In my experience (braked trailers in saltwater) by the time the sealed for life bearings require replacement, the hub its plenty rusted enough to warrant replacement anyway.
That is encouraging to know. Up until now my experience has been with Taper Wheel bearings. So it sounds that these sealed bearings should last a while.
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Old 27 May 2024, 14:57   #7
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I have always had open bearings and just use a decent grease gun to force grease through the bearing pushing the old stuff out. Do it on every long journey.
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Old 27 May 2024, 17:58   #8
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I have always had open bearings and just use a decent grease gun to force grease through the bearing pushing the old stuff out. Do it on every long journey.

I put brand new taper wheel bearings and hubs for the 300 Mile trip here to Torbay. Checked them both yesterday and one needed to be tightened by 1 castle.

The joy of taper wheel bearings is they are very cheap and very easy to change/work on
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Old 27 May 2024, 18:02   #9
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My friends bearings that he changed incl brakes and cables did not make it far sadly. Boat trailers are not fun.
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Old 27 May 2024, 19:17   #10
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He's lucky it never damaged the boat, guess he had a warning before it gave way. Wonder why if failed, keep us in the loop, it's my worst nightmare tbh.
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Old 28 May 2024, 05:04   #11
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He's lucky it never damaged the boat, guess he had a warning before it gave way. Wonder why if failed, keep us in the loop, it's my worst nightmare tbh.
We wish we knew. He did the bearings, brakes and cables before he left.

I have had this happen and will only now tow unbraked so no breaks to jam on and cook the bearings

This happened to me



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Old 28 May 2024, 05:18   #12
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Jesus there's some heat, wonder the tyre never blew out. I
Never had to trailer a boat with brakes, never got that big, looking at that lot I'm staying away, nice Fletcher btw.
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Old 28 May 2024, 06:01   #13
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Jesus there's some heat, wonder the tyre never blew out. I
Never had to trailer a boat with brakes, never got that big, looking at that lot I'm staying away, nice Fletcher btw.
Thanks it is a lovely boat. I also have the 19ft version but because of the issues with breaks jamming on I tend to tow the small rib now long distances.

So far this year I have towed boats and trailers 2,500 miles. I always carry a set of hubs and bearings.

This is me fitting new bearings at this same camp site we are at now. Easy to do with Taper bearings but messy.


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Old 28 May 2024, 06:03   #14
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One of the main reasons we recently bought the XPro 535 Rib was because it was the biggest rib I could find that would properly fit on an unbraked trailer
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Old 28 May 2024, 09:22   #15
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This is me fitting new bearings at this same camp site we are at now. Easy to do with Taper bearings but messy.
Just a handy tip, you need to push grease into/through the bearing rather than just smearing it onto it when assembling. I often do this by dropping the bearing into a glove (powder free), add some grease and then squish it around a bit so that it penetrates the cage and gets right into the rollers.

Also, try not to get any grease on the wheel studs/nuts. It can lead to overtightening and snapping off or chewing up the thread.
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Old 28 May 2024, 15:04   #16
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Done it this way for years - although I don't get quite as messy as he does!:
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Old 28 May 2024, 15:14   #17
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We wish we knew. He did the bearings, brakes and cables before he left.

I have had this happen and will only now tow unbraked so no breaks to jam on and cook the bearings
If you overtighten a taper roller bearing it will overheat, boil the grease off & dismantle itself.
Did that on the front wheel of a Reliant Scimitar years ago
Had got so hot the inner race of the inner bearing was well jammed onto the stub axle & needed a bead of weld running round it to free it - bead of weld on the track, the heat expands the race & stops it shrinking back.
I'd rushed the job so entirely my own fault.
I adjust taper rollers now by putting the wheel back on & tightening the nut whilst spinning the wheel until there is no play. I then back the nut off until I can JUST feel play by trying to rock the wheel with hands at 12 & 6 o'clock.
I've had no issues with taper rollers overheating since - or MOT issues on the cars.

ETA I've also seen the result of forgetting to fully release the handbrake on a twin axle caravan.
Being towed with a big 4x4 & the owner said he hadn't noticed anything untoward until one of the wheels collapsed.
All four brake drums were a lovely blue colour (this is when cold) the brake shoes were all in bits & the bearings - sealed & using 'one-shot' nuts - were also either in bits or getting there.
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Old 28 May 2024, 18:14   #18
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If you overtighten a taper roller bearing it will overheat, boil the grease off & dismantle itself.
Did that on the front wheel of a Reliant Scimitar years ago
Had got so hot the inner race of the inner bearing was well jammed onto the stub axle & needed a bead of weld running round it to free it - bead of weld on the track, the heat expands the race & stops it shrinking back.
I'd rushed the job so entirely my own fault.
I adjust taper rollers now by putting the wheel back on & tightening the nut whilst spinning the wheel until there is no play. I then back the nut off until I can JUST feel play by trying to rock the wheel with hands at 12 & 6 o'clock.
I've had no issues with taper rollers overheating since - or MOT issues on the cars.

ETA I've also seen the result of forgetting to fully release the handbrake on a twin axle caravan.
Being towed with a big 4x4 & the owner said he hadn't noticed anything untoward until one of the wheels collapsed.
All four brake drums were a lovely blue colour (this is when cold) the brake shoes were all in bits & the bearings - sealed & using 'one-shot' nuts - were also either in bits or getting there.
Over tightening, a decent torque wrench should do the job but I always stop after few miles to check for heat. Over tightened some mini ball joints in my younger days, both collapsed at the same time, wondered what the shims were for......
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Old 29 May 2024, 22:14   #19
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Originally Posted by Easedalenovice View Post
I will only tow unbraked boat trailers now and generally tow those with Taper Wheel bearings. These bearings or hubs are very cheap to buy and very easy to change and if you use a bearing buddy quite reliable. When changing bearings however it is a very greasy and messy job.

My new extreme trailer has Sealed bearings on a Knott axel and changing bearings in these is not really possible away from a workshop or on the side of the road.

As I tow boats long distances I decided to buy a set of hubs with bearings installed from Extreme. They arrived today. The cost was £97.50 for the pair delivered. You get the following:

Hub with bearing installed
One shot nut
Dust cap
O ring
4 Wheel bolts

All x 2 for £97.50.

I am not sure how hard it is to wind on the one shot nut so I will get a nice long bar/tube to carry with me should I need to change out the hub.

To be honest I think I would rather have Taper Wheel bearings but this is not what Extreme trailers use and I like their trailers
My trailer has a braked Knott axle with one piece bearings. The orginals from Knott lasted 4 years and they get dunked in the water about 80 to 100 times a year, so yes, very reliable from the water ingress point of veiw.

I replaced them with triple sealed bearing from Taunton Trailers which are about as close to OEM as you can get.

The bearings are easy enough to knock out with a socket and a lump hammer. I put the replacements in the freezer for 24 hours and they more or less just dropped into place.

The torque on the one shot nut is important (280nm) which is a little more than 3 grunts and a hernia, so I use a Torque wrench to set it correctly.
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Old 30 May 2024, 06:16   #20
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My trailer has a braked Knott axle with one piece bearings. The orginals from Knott lasted 4 years and they get dunked in the water about 80 to 100 times a year, so yes, very reliable from the water ingress point of veiw.

I replaced them with triple sealed bearing from Taunton Trailers which are about as close to OEM as you can get.

The bearings are easy enough to knock out with a socket and a lump hammer. I put the replacements in the freezer for 24 hours and they more or less just dropped into place.

The torque on the one shot nut is important (280nm) which is a little more than 3 grunts and a hernia, so I use a Torque wrench to set it correctly.
Useful information thanks. I had thought about putting them in the freezer 👍
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