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Old 17 October 2015, 18:07   #1
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When to replace sealed for life bearings?

As per title...

Trailer is now 9 months old and has been dunked quite a few times in salt and then immediately rinsed with hub flush kit.

Should I replace them over winter?
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Old 17 October 2015, 18:44   #2
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Are these Alkos?

I can't know what shape yours are in but I ran a set over three seasons and the bearings seemed fine when I sold up. If you have let the hubs cool before launching and not otherwise abused them, I'd give the wheel a rattle and see if there is any give or rolling rumble....
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Old 17 October 2015, 18:57   #3
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I think they are alko, come with the sbs1800el trailer.

It is always cool before launch yes.
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Old 18 October 2015, 02:03   #4
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My 2d worth........If you have a single axle trailer and you ever hit a decent sustained speed with it , is it worth the risk not to ?

Bearings by definition must be kept in A1 condition . The moment they start to deteriorate things can only go downhill very quickly and you can write off an axle , maybe damage the rib and cause an accident . I know that's the worse case scenario but if it were to happen it can be scary and will definitely be inconvenient and costly .

I change my Alko bearings every year ( and still give them a quick check before any long run ) . They always look ok as I discard 'em but once bitten twice shy for me .
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Old 18 October 2015, 03:00   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xk59D View Post
I think they are alko, come with the sbs1800el trailer.

It is always cool before launch yes.
I have Alco sealed Bearings cooled...(mostly) before dunking 5 seasons thousands of miles...changed one this year more of a precaution than anything..check for noise/rumbles and heat on a regular basis and they should be good for sometime
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Old 18 October 2015, 03:10   #6
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First couple of years with Alko bearings & I changed them annually, out of habit. I realised I was chucking away £60 quids worth of perfickerly good kit. I still had to do the brakes annually & checked the bearings at the same time.
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Old 18 October 2015, 09:25   #7
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I took mine out at six years nothing wrong with them kept as spares (alco bearings)
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Old 18 October 2015, 09:28   #8
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Thanks gents, I'll take the hub off anyway to inspect the brakes as a matter of course.

I have REALLY babbied them and rinsed immediately after salt every time so I'm curious to see how much the hub flush really does.

One thing, the nut on them is a one time use?
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Old 18 October 2015, 09:31   #9
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I've had mine 3 years but don't dunk them in the salty stuff. I just jack the trailer up & give the wheels a spin, if it's all quiet and smooth that'll do for me. I also feel them when I've done a few miles on a journey and they've never felt any more than barely warm. I still think the 'old' style greasable bearings are preferable to these for anybody that likes to maintain stuff.
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Old 18 October 2015, 09:32   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xk59D View Post
Thanks gents, I'll take the hub off anyway to inspect the brakes as a matter of course.

I have REALLY babbied them and rinsed immediately after salt every time so I'm curious to see how much the hub flush really does.

One thing, the nut on them is a one time use?
According to Alko then yes one time use only .

( I have taken liberties here with no disasters up until now . I 'd probably tighten them that little bit extra " second time around " )
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Old 18 October 2015, 09:42   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xk59D View Post
Thanks gents, I'll take the hub off anyway to inspect the brakes as a matter of course.

I have REALLY babbied them and rinsed immediately after salt every time so I'm curious to see how much the hub flush really does.

One thing, the nut on them is a one time use?
They are one shot nuts Xk59D , change brake shoes every 3years they de-bond and get fast heating up the hub , I had a flush kit still well rusty so I coated everything in dense petrolatum past.
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Old 18 October 2015, 11:28   #12
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We had to have a bearing changed last year, was noisy when driving, the bearing had to pressed into the drum so if a bearing failed out on the road you would be stuck, I was considering buying a new drum & bearing as a spare think they were approx £100 complete
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Old 18 October 2015, 11:53   #13
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We had to have a bearing changed last year, was noisy when driving, the bearing had to pressed into the drum so if a bearing failed out on the road you would be stuck, I was considering buying a new drum & bearing as a spare think they were approx £100 complete
I did exactly that but in theory you are only supposed to press new bearings into any one hub six times I believe !

Quite honestly I think that approach is far less risky than NOT changing bearings regularly .
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Old 18 October 2015, 19:11   #14
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I run the Alko sealed bearings. Would rather have serviceable tapered type but that's what came with the boat.
I'm meticulous with the flushing. In my opinion though, flushing will rinse the saltwater from your brake parts but not from inside the bearing.
When I got the trailer it was 3 years old, never flushed out after dunking, and the bearings never changed.
They seemed fine but I had them pressed out and replaced anyway.
I've done this every 2 years since.
I also have a spare set of hubs c/w bearings that never see water.
I tow 300 mile to my annual hols so these go on at my house before setting off, and get changed over on arrival, then swapped back again for journey home.
Sounds a faff but it's the ultimate in peace of mind.
Trolley Jack, torque wrench, and a bag of one shot nuts - takes 10 min a side - so 20 min added to a 6hr journey.
For local launches I leave the older hubs on.
If all my launches were local I'd service brakes each season minimum.
Spin the hubs each weekend or before each journey.
Change bearings every other season.
If you're launching more than say 15 times a season then change every winter.

If you'd had a trailer wheel go past you at 60mph and looked in your mirror to see your stub axle ploughing the M5 you"d understand!!!

Oh, and I'd agree with 6 go's at pressing new hubs and I'd never re use a one shot nut.
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Old 20 October 2015, 15:34   #15
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As stated above - keep an eye on them. This was one of yesterday's jobs. The chap ended up being recovered off the M27, with three failed bearings... Click image for larger version

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Old 21 October 2015, 04:49   #16
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Ouch.
As you do this professionally do you have any suggestions/advice as to checking, maintenance & replacement intervals beyond checking for roughness when spun & play?
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Old 25 October 2015, 12:08   #17
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I have the Knott/Avonride SFL bearings.
I pressed out the first bearing at work, but it came out so easily i just knocked the other bearing out using a socket and a lump hammer.

I don't press them in. The hubs go in the oven and the bearings in the freezer for 20 mins.
Then the bearings just fall in with no friction. Easy peasy!

The trailer is 3 years old. The previous owner had never changed the bearings. My wheels rotated smoothly and nothing got hot when towing, but when i inspected the bearing race i could see quite heavy pitting. Glad i changed them.

For the cost and minimal work involved i will probably do them yearly.
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