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Ando81

Slightly off topic, Trailer Bearings

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Hi all, I thought I should start a trailer bearing thread here as we all probably have a trailer or two. Yesterday I was getting my fishing boat ready to take away for the long weekend and thought I’d better jack up the wheels and check bearings for noise and free play. Well there wasn’t much free play but boy was there some noise. It’s a single axle and both sides were rumbling. I’ve only had the boat for 2 years but the week prior to my buying the boat the previous owner had new bearings and seals done throughout. He had a receipt for work done so I know it was definitely done. Even with proper marine seals fitted I noticed some water had gotten into the inner bearing and turned the grease into black gunk. I bought 2 new bearing kits and new marine seals and packed them with Penrite marine grease. I’m hoping to get a bit more life out of these new bearings as the other ones would have been luck if they did 1500 kms. Do me a favour and check your wheel bearings on your trailers next time you’re in the shed please legends, it may save you a lot of heartache being stuck on the side of the road. Does anyone on here use Dura-Hub bearing caps? I’m thinking of changing my trailers over to their system running bearings in oil instead of grease as they have a clear plastic window on the outside so that you can monitor oil level and see if it changes colour from contamination.

bear351c likes this

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how do the "bearing buddys" work ,  seen some with hoses on the bearing caps like diff breathers,(so hot bearings from the drive dont suck in water when they hit the cold water suddenly..
guy i worked with had a "routine" he used to do when he arrived at the boat ramp.. involved fucking around long enough to let the bearings cool down

Slow250XC likes this

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The Dura-hub is basically just a cap that replaces a standard bearing cap but has a clear plastic front and a plug that is removable for topping up the oil level. Most common bearing buddies are a spring loaded system where you grease a grease nipple and a spring pushes approximately 3psi of pressure onto the outside of the hub to help hold the grease pressurised in there so contaminants cannot enter the hub.

deankdx likes this

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Handy hints, Penrite Wheel Bearing Grease is just as water safe as their Marine Grease, whereas Castrol and Valvoline Wheel Bearing Grease is NOT marine rated at all.

I've and to convince a few customers to use Penrite WBG or another form of marine safe grease for their boat trailers, after seeing them buy marine wheel bearing kits but getting a tube/tub of Castrol HTB.

So even if your wheel bearings (particularly on a boat trailer) may have been done recently, there's no guarantee it was a marine rated grease.

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Valvebouncer and deankdx like this

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All good advice here. I'll add that as hard as manufacturers try to seal the water out, they just end up doing a very good job of sealing it in. Unfortunately, there's no way around the fact that you have to repack the bearings regularly, and in the case of boat trailers, as soon as possible after the boating season is over.

Our company service schedule says to pull down and repack every year, regardless of work done.

Dual axle trailers are a particular problem because of the turning loads on the bearings ie: the axles are fighting each other around corners. This works the bearings very hard so regular adjustment/replacement is needed on top of the need for repacking.

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Slow250XC likes this

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Plus one for having a boat ramp routine.

Have told lots of customers over the years to wait when they turn up the ramp for things to cool down. Especially when they complain they were only done a year ago. 

Not so bad on a 2 minute trip to local ramp. Any longer though and rest is best.

deankdx likes this

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Great feedback thanks fellas. I read on a yachting forum how a fussy owner had ran an oil line into his axle so that he had a hose full of oil like a diff breather and it was full of oil up above the axle height as he mounted the hose onto his trailer winch post. I’d be worried about the hubs being totally full of oil might encourage the oil seal to leak. Maybe annual maintenance is the key as already mentioned.

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Maintenance is key for sure. Spending a half hour each year packing new grease into the bearings isn't exactly a dealbreaker lol

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