Trailer Wheel Bearings

kegman

Well-Known Member
How do I check my trailer wheel bearings without taking it all apart? Do they squeak like a car might. I know i havent greased them yet this year and was just something i was thinking about?

A bad days fishing better than good days work.
 

andrewm

Well-Known Member
Jack up the trailer and give the wheel a spin would be a good place to start; listen for any type of noise. But to know for certain, need to take it apart. Wheels of the trailer are usually too far behind you to be able to hear any noise they might be making while driving. It's a good idea to make this an annual habit.
 

andrewm

Well-Known Member
Just be careful if you use bearing buddies not to overfill the hub. These things don't actually pack the bearing, and too much grease in the hub can be a bad thing. Can also blow the seal out the back.
 

scrimmy

Well-Known Member
The only way to check your wheel bearings is to take them off the trailer clean out the grease, inspect them for hardenening (vast differance in colouration) and wear and if they are OK repack them. If you go through the trouble of doing this it is always good to just replace them. Wheel bearings are cheap and keep the old ones handy for emergency use.
 

JustForUs

Well-Known Member
I just recently had a bearing incedent on my trailer and I thought I had done the right things. It turns out I was doing the right things in the wrong order. I was packing the grease in the spring to ensure a full bearing house which I found out from the trailer manufacturer that I should be packing it in the fall time when there is a chance that water is actually in the bearing. If water is in the bearing when you lay it up for winter the water will cause rust and hence a bearing failure. The trailer manufacture had stated that if you pack the bearing with grease in the fall you should get about 300 thousand Km on a set of bearings.... which for the most part is a life time for a boat trailer. Most important is to ensure that the dust cap is secure and ensure that the inner seal is good so no road dust "kills" the bearings. All the other comments are also very valid.
Just thought I share this as I just about lost a wheel beecause of a bearing failure.
 

GRIZZLY

Active Member
from my experience jack up the trailer spin the wheels if you hear any kind of growl replace them but also in my experience if you do alot of trailering you should remove the bearings anually wipe off the old grease repack them and replace them with fresh grease .
trust me a little maintenance goes a long way because if they go dry they can leave you stranded very easily and at the
least conveniant time.
 

kegman

Well-Known Member
Thanks i was figuring it was time to do them I dont do as much trailering as i would like and it already has bearing buddies but i didnt use trailer last year at all so was thinking it might be time for a checkup

A bad days fishing better than good days work.
 

roebag

Member
quote:
Originally posted by andrewm

Just be careful if you use bearing buddies not to overfill the hub. These things don't actually pack the bearing, and too much grease in the hub can be a bad thing. Can also blow the seal out the back.



You cannot overfill or blow out a seal using Bearing Buddies.
Only 3 psi is exerted and then grease is excreted around the edge of the centre cap. This indicates that the cavity is full and no more grease is required. My 2000 EZ Loader came with bearing buddies installed. Periodically I remove the dust cover and note the position of the centre cap. A simple test to ensure they are full is to give them a shot or two of grease. Once you see any sign of grease around the edge of the centre cap, stop. Eleven years and a whole lot of miles and never a problem.
If you are installing a new set of bearings they must hand packed properly prior to installation. Bearing Buddies will not fill all of the voids.

http://www.bearingbuddy.com/why.html

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8293470844095773448#
 

andrewm

Well-Known Member
They can be overfilled, and if they are the back seal can / will blow out which is a sure way to allow water in.
 

roebag

Member
quote:
Originally posted by andrewm

They can be overfilled, and if they are the back seal can / will blow out which is a sure way to allow water in.


Read the second paragraph of the link provided.

http://www.bearingbuddy.com/why.html
 

north08

Member
My trailer has bearing buddies on it , 6yrs old when i bought it both wheels blowen seals inside of rims covered in grease
 

roebag

Member
quote:
Originally posted by north08

My trailer has bearing buddies on it , 6yrs old when i bought it both wheels blowen seals inside of rims covered in grease


What you might be seeing is a slight leakage due to the grease breaking down. Overtime, the heat generated will cause some of the grease to break down into liquid. In this form it can get past the seal and collect on the inside of the wheel. Dust will accumulate and make things look much worse than they are. Top them up with wheel bearing grease and check them frequently. If they require a slight top up after a long trip or several short trips then I wouldn't be concerned.
Seals wear just like anything else in this world. An earlier poster had suggested that too much grease (overfilling) would blow out the seal.
Eleven years and a whole lot of miles on my EZ Loader and no troubles. An occassional squirt of wheel bearing grease to top up and that's it.
A much older trailer I owned had 8" wheels and no bearing buddies. Every year I had to repack or replace. The heat generated by the higher rpm of the smaller tires would break the grease down. The dust caps weren't waterproof and before you knew it everything was full of water.
The positive pressure created by bearing buddies prevents water from entering as the grease breaks down.
 

wojo

Well-Known Member
quote:
Originally posted by G.Mech
Also, there should be a tiny amount of "slack" in the wheel as you try and wiggle it left to right.




I would never leave even a tiny amount of slack in a wheel bearing, that is just asking for failure.
 
Just to clear the air of if a " bearing buddy" can be over packed!
If it is a factory buddy bearing then it CANNOT be over filled
If it is a " CRAPPY TIRE" set-up, then yes, it can be over packed!
It all has to do with what type of seals are installed
If you replace the seals in your axle, be sure you replace buddy bearing seals with OEM seals
If it is a "normal" set-up then just replace with average seals
The "kit" that you can buy from stores aftermarket are for replacing original bearing buddy systems ONLY!!!
Just to make a note: hub styles are different between the two!!!!
You should not try and do a change over if it is not originally set-up for a buddy bearing style
I hope I have made it good enough to understand:)
 

JustForUs

Well-Known Member
Fish4life is correct! The bearing that went on my trailer was from a replacement bearing buddy from crappy tire. Simply put after looking closley at the failure once I took the hub off the back seal was blown out due to the internal 3 psig pressure. The other 3 bearings after close examination are perfect. I lost a dust cap on a trip and seeing the bearing buddy and hearing how good the bearing buddy was suppose to protect... thought it was prudent to replace the lost dust cap with a new bearing buddy. NOT! almost cost me a tire and who knows if the trailer was rolling down the road and loose the hub then what.

To Confirm... I have had personal and very recent experience in this exact senario. Do NOT mix and match.
 

G.Mech

Moderator
R.O.C. (Radio Operator's Certificate)
quote:


I would never leave even a tiny amount of slack in a wheel bearing, that is just asking for failure.





Not trying to be argumentative but almost every source of info on wheel bearing adjustment says something like this (quoted from the RV maintenance website):

"Wheel Bearings Adjustment:
Every time the wheel hub is removed, the wheel bearings must be adjusted. Turn the hub slowly to seat the bearings while tightening the spindle nut until the hub will no longer turn. Loosen spindle nut so it may be turned by hand. Tighten nut finger tight then loosen to first hub slot allowing alignment. Install cotter pin. NOTE: Do not move hub during this step. The spindle nut and hub 'Should be free to move with the cotter pin being the only restraint. A slightly loose bearing is far better than a slightly tight bearing as over tightened bearings result in overheated bearings."


Also, if you trailer long distances it's a good idea to carry a complete hub assembly for easier roadside replacement, they really aren't that expensive in the long run.
 

wojo

Well-Known Member
While I agree Slightly loose is better than too tight, but slightly loose in no way means that there is play on the hub, but then I've never had a trailer bearing failure, car or truck bearing fail and I'm a mechanic , but I only care about myself so do whatever you guys want to do with yours, I know I'm not gonna stop and help you on the side of the road. There's enough misinformation out there to keep us employed for years to come!!!
 

G.Mech

Moderator
R.O.C. (Radio Operator's Certificate)
Wolffy,

You are splitting hairs here and you don't need to worry about stopping on the road to help me out. It is hard to define exactly what a "little slack" is. Like you, I have never had a wheel bearing failure either on my boat trailer, stock car trailers, or in the years of racing late models with red hot brake rotors... a "little slack" is good so cut me a bit and let it go. The point is that you don't crank down the nut with a wrench and drive in the cotter pin. That is guaranteed to cause failure.

With that said, I am different than you in that I would stop and help anybody on the road even if they did overtighten their bearings, that's just the kind of guy I am....at no charge.

I am starting to remember why I don't post on here much anymore. Every little thing seems to turn into an argument with somebody no matter how simple the discussion seems.
 

wojo

Well-Known Member
2 things , this is also why I don't post either , but sometimes I can't resist and as the old saying goes a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing, but like I said there's a lot of bad information out there that people take a gospel
Wolffy out for good.
 

wojo

Well-Known Member
quote:
Originally posted by G.Mech

Wolffy,

You are splitting hairs here and you don't need to worry about stopping on the road to help me out. It is hard to define exactly what a "little slack" is. Like you, I have never had a wheel bearing failure either on my boat trailer, stock car trailers, or in the years of racing late models with red hot brake rotors... a "little slack" is good so cut me a bit and let it go. The point is that you don't crank down the nut with a wrench and drive in the cotter pin. That is guaranteed to cause failure.

With that said, I am different than you in that I would stop and help anybody on the road even if they did overtighten their bearings, that's just the kind of guy I am....at no charge.

I am starting to remember why I don't post on here much anymore. Every little thing seems to turn into an argument with somebody no matter how simple the discussion seems.







Your late model wouldn't pass tech inspectrion if the front wheel had play in it, would you drive it with play in it? So why would you tell someone to leave play in a wheel bearing then?
 
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