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Old 29 October 2001, 07:50   #1
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Wheel Bearings!

Have just replaced the wheel bearings (Al-ko) on my SBS trailer(1600Kg rated) - what a pain.

They are a "sealed" double row taper roller, and have lasted 18 months. To replace the bearings you have to remove the brake drums: 35mm socket and 300Nm of Torque - then ask a friend with a 3.5 ton press to press out the old bearings and press in the new after removing the circlips with circlip pliers. I cannot imagine a worse set-up for roadside repairs!

As the bearings are sealed you cannot easily inspect them prior to failure.

I am considering going to the expense of buying a spare pair of drums and bearings for road use and keeping the old hubs for launching...Though I would still need to fit new hub nuts every time I changed to the road hubs.

Any suggestions, experience with more user friendly hubs?
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Old 29 October 2001, 11:36   #2
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Hi Rannsachair

Cure the problem altogether and buy a real inflatable, you just have to keep it in the back of your estate car, sod the trailer!

Mines a Triumph Trident. Whats yours?

Keith (tongue in cheek) Hart
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Old 29 October 2001, 12:27   #3
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Keith,

I have an Avon Rover 2.8 already - use it as a tender!

You must have some serious panniers on your Triumph - strangely enough - I had a stint as a design engineer with Triumph Motorcycles a decade or so ago. Still have a 1959 Speed Twin and a 1949 Ariel Red Hunter. Just got me thinking - you dont have one those trailers that some deranged Goldwing owners tour with!!!

We seem to have gone off track a bit.....
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Old 29 October 2001, 16:35   #4
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I'm planning to change my trailer next year and wasn't aware that (some?) manufacturers still use such "replacement unfriendly" setups. It was not a point I was going to stress when compiling my shortlist, but it is now! Thanks for the warning.

Mike
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Old 29 October 2001, 17:01   #5
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I stick with normal non sealed hubs.

When you have trailed for a while let the trailer stand to let the grease cools down and go hard. The pump the hubs FULL of grease before launching.
When you get home repack the bearings again as this help push any water out.

I have done this for years on various trailers and never replaced a set of bearings yet.

Gary
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Old 31 October 2001, 03:27   #6
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Quite agree with Garygee,

The problem is that not ALL the trailers have hubs with greasers. I replaced mine and follow the instructions Garygee said.
I' ve done this to the previus rib after having ruined 2 days of my vacations searching for bearings in South Crete many years ago. (See attached photo in "Some pictures from recent past" at Rib gallery)
No problem ever since.
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Old 01 November 2001, 14:40   #7
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Yes it does make getting the grease in easier if they have greasers

Gary
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Old 01 November 2001, 14:48   #8
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What? three years plus on a set of bearings? Obviously you use slipways that are much steeper than ours! I average two sets of bearings per year, although quite often they arent too bad, just a bit noisy. I suppose MUCH more effort would make them last longer, but the "ordinary" double taper roller type are quite cheap and very easy to replace. They also tend to get very bad and VERY niosy before they fail completely, so you get plenty of warning before the wheel falls off. Also the outer bearing is as big as the inner, so even with the rollers mssing it is quite hard (but not impossible) for the wheel and hub to get off past the outer bearing inner race.
WARNING I have been overtaken by a wheel half way between Hull and Leeds on a double decker club trailer when collecting two new ribs last year - it was ALKO type bearings. The problem with these is that the inside bearing is big and the outside bearing is much smaller, with no grease nipple, so if the outside bearing gets even slightly dodgy the whole wheel and hub can easily fall off past the remains of the outer bearing.
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Old 19 November 2001, 17:06   #9
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bearings

We launch boats off beaches in the NW and in Scotland as well as using ramps. We were forever changing wheel bearings, particularly at the roadside on the way North of the border. Then we realised that not all grease is waterproof-it comes out as an emulsion complete with rusty bearings when you get into the hub. Changed to "Castrol Heavy" and have never changed a bearing since! Absolutely magic - but it takes forever, and a shedload of Swarfega, to wash off your hands afterwards 'cos its waterproof qualities are amazing.
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Old 20 November 2001, 02:51   #10
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Can you give some more information on the Castrol Heavy grease as Im not having much luck getting it locally. What is the full name / description on the tub?
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Old 20 November 2001, 04:26   #11
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Just when you thought I had disappeared!

I found the 'Castrol' website and tried a search for 'Castrol Heavy' but with no luck. It is not a very good site as I found it difficult to get details of any products!

I did find details of the major UK distributor and emailed him asking about the product. As soon as (if) I get a reply I will let you know.

Cheers

Keith Hart
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Old 20 November 2001, 07:45   #12
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Grease

Alan
Could be you are not on his 'wavelength', hahaha!
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Old 20 November 2001, 12:36   #13
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Here is a quick reply:

Hello Mr.Hart,

Thank you for your enquiry, we have pleasure in quoting the following:

The item you are after can be supplied in 3kg containers at £11.91 each, excluding VAT.
Next day carriage at £8.08, excluding VAT.

We currently have stock.

Very Best Regards,

Sales
Midland Distribution Centre
www.johnsmallmanltd.co.uk
enquiries@johnsmallmanltd.co.uk

So, there you go then....all the heavy duty grease you could ever want!

Keith Hart
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Old 20 November 2001, 13:32   #14
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wheel bearings

Yes i have had trouble getting this product in the past-and have paid thru the nose for it when it has been ordered for me at car accessory shops. However I have found a motor factors who seem to stock it consistently, in fact I bought a tub testerday (the forum reminded me I ought to do some maintainance!).
The description on the tub is simply Castrol Heavy as a sticker on castrol's plastic tub that they use for everything (500g size).
The back of the tub has the properties of all their greases and under Heavy it says
"A heavy consistency lime based grease having excellent stability and water resistance. Particularly suitable for boating applications such as stern tubes and boat trailer wheel bearings".

If you cannot get any over there let me know and I'll see how much that nice man at the post office will charge me to post it to you.
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Old 20 November 2001, 16:00   #15
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Another grease that works well is that used on inboard prop shaft seals. Its really a grease for bearings which run in water.
Can't remember what its called but if you ask for propshaft seal grease at most proper boat shops they will know what you mean.
If it the right one it's cream in colour and again is from Castrol.

Gary
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Old 21 November 2001, 16:45   #16
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More on the grease. My local Trailer manufacturer, (Parrymore Trailers in Chertsey near Staines, Middx.) sells me some special ‘boat trailer’ grease called ‘Aqua Lube’ which is specially designed for the job. I have to say it stands up to salt water much better than ordinary grease. I’ve been using it ever since the trailer was new. According to the pot, the manufactures are….. Century Oils Ltd, PO Box 2. New Century Street, Hanley, Stoke on Trent. ST1 5HU. Phone 01782 202521. From memory, the 500gram pot costs about 4 or 5 quid. Also, I concur with the thoughts on the ‘sealed for life’ ALKO bearings. Life seems to be about 18 months if your lucky before they start to ‘grumble’. I now carry a spare hub, bearing and ‘one shot’ nut to do a roadside change if necessary. I may not be able to get full torque but it’ll get me home. Incidentally, ALKO won’t sell the ‘special bearing’ on its own. You have to buy it on the hub for about £100. However, the bearing, at least on my trailer is in fact a BRT680, the same as on a Bedford Van. It costs about £20 or £30. You just need a friend with a press and those circlip pliers. There is something to be said for good old fashioned ‘squirt the grease' in bearings! By the way, Parrymore Trailers have some interesting comments about so called waterproof bearings on their website! http://www.boattrailer.co.uk/
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Old 26 November 2001, 04:52   #17
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Bearing Savers?

Perhaps you might need to forgive my ignorance on this, but I haven't seen any mention in this thread of "Bearing savers" which I have seen advertised.

Are they also known as something else and I have missed it?

If not the "theory" goes as I understand, these attachments force grease into the hubs using the water pressure when you submerge the trailer.

I confess I feel a little cynical about this - grease being thicker than water.

If I am on the right track - does anyone know if they are any good.

Chris.
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Old 26 November 2001, 16:24   #18
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They actually work by a large spring which keeps the grease under a slight pressure into the bearings, the idea being that the grease will leak out rather than the water leaking in. Trouble is, the standard oil/grease seals are not designed for internal pressure and sometimes fail or pop out. Also the spring / plunger arrangement rusts up quickly. They also dont fit in place of many of the bearing caps as there are several different diameters.
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Old 27 November 2001, 05:43   #19
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as any schoolboy knows, the formation of rust requires air (or more accurately oxygen) and water. I have never had a problem with rust as I keep the trailer wheels permanently in water. All is required is a small pit in the driveway/garage which one reverses the wheels into. On long journeys, my 9 year old twin boys entertain themselves by continuously shooting water pistols at the trailer wheels from the back seat of the car.
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Old 27 November 2001, 05:48   #20
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If you decide that this is your preferred method, then it is important to remember to use distilled water (or water that has been boiled and allowed to cool) as untreated tap water contains dissolved oxygen which will cause rusting.

Whatever next?

John
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