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TOPIC: Trailer bearings

Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 11:50 #1

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Went to fill up for gas yesterday and on the way home the drivers side bearing went. Only a 2.5 mile trip both ways, luckily it wasn't on the way or on the way home from a days outing. I have a 2003 1952 cuddy cabin, and I believe its the original trailer, Caravan? Does anyone know what size bearings are on these trailers? I have veiwed numerous Youtube videos and feel comfortable doing the work myself, just want to know of similar experiences.

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2003 Bayliner 1952 cuddy

Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 12:35 #2

  • FISHIN00
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If it is a single axle trl...you PROBABLY have a 1750lb axle. It is tapered with the inner bearing at 1 3/8" and outer at 1 1/16"...clean them up and measure. Unless you are REALLY careful installing the races in the hub, you can replace the whole hub, with preinstalled bearing/hub kit. I did both of mine for less than $100. Purchased them at Northern Tool. I then redid one of my old hubs at a later date as a spare. Then go to a trl shop and purchase a extra spindle nut and washer....and your good to go.
You would not believe the boats on trailers I see on the side of the highways, on a jack with the hub and tire missing!
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Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 13:12 #3

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An auto parts store should be able to help you out as well as any marine repair. Once you have your new bearings, I would invest in a $30 IR gun from Harbor Freight and take temps after each run to see if you are starting to run hot. Also, you should be adding new grease each season to ensure long life... Unlike a car or RV, your trailer gets a lot of water in those bearings and that shortens their life. Also, make sure the wheel is off the ground when greasing the bearings by turning the wheel as you pump a few squirts...

I documented my last bearing change over: Might help give you some pointers not normally seen on Youtube...
www.doug-cook.com/goaweightotrailer.htm

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"Go Aweigh to" Photos < click on red letters... 2001 Bayliner 2452 w/6.2 HO (paid for)


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Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 13:33 #4

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One thing you may want to do is take advantage of Auto Zone's tool loan program. Go buy the seal driver set and take it back after you are done. Nothing sleazy about it as it's a valid program they have. The kit will make it a lot easier than using sockets like I have for years (till I tried the set for a particularly ugly bearing and liked it so much I kept it). You will also benefit from buying a seal packer. You can use your hand but it just plain sucks and the packer disks let you use a grease gun and keep most of the grease off your hands. You will be doing this annually anyways so just buy one, $10 or less. Store it in a zip lock bag when you are done so it stays clean.

Stock up on seals. Buy a 4 of them. The reason being that to really grease the rear one you have to destroy the seal pulling it out. Don't try to salvage a seal on a boat trailer. It will distort at least a little in removal so it's not worth the chance of water getting in more easily. Just toss it. Every few years I order a few complete sets of bearings and get even more seals off one of the online trailer parts stores. Get a couple caps too in case you bend one's sealing surface pulling it off. That way when I do mine if I wash a bearing down in gasoline and find it has a shadow I can just switch it (and the race if it's also got any imperfections) and not have to go chase parts.
Personally since I don't drive mine long distances I only do the rear bearing every couple years. I just pull the front bearing and look for any signs of water like water itself or more likely smeary off color looking grease. If it's off color at all then I do the whole deal. When checking bearings you look for any signs of wear or rust. You will after some use see a light consistent shadow where the bearing contacts the race. The word is consistent. If you see any tiny pits or scrapes ,TOSS IT OUT.
Its a good idea to keep a set of bearings and seal with the trailer, especially if you go very far. Some even keep an entire greased hub with bearings in a sealed bag. You can then do on the road repairs in sort order if something does happen. Also make a habit of feeling your bearings after you drive. They never ever fail quickly and if they are getting uncomfortably hot to touch on the hub (hold your hand right there on it) you need to take a look sometime soon and see why. Often it's too tight that causes it. Bearings are better a bit too loose than too tight. Remember that when you check them. I just grab the sides of the wheel at 3 and 9 oclock and wiggle. If it wiggles more than a teenie weenie bit it's too loose. If you spin it and it drags (and it's not a brake doin it) it's too tight. You have to balance the two.
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Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 15:22 #5

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To be certain , remove your bearing, both races, seal to a local bearing shop...
They can match you up exactly what you need
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Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 16:03 #6

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Ruffryder wrote: To be certain , remove your bearing, both races, seal to a local bearing shop...
They can match you up exactly what you need


+1 on the bearing shop, replaced the bearings on a ATV recently, price for the OEM bearing at the dealer was $42.00 a piece, went to Kaman Bearing with the old unit and bought them for $9.00 each, any decent Bearing shop can match any bearing and usually carry a line of belts at similar savings.

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"WHAT EVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT"

Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 16:17 #7

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+1 on a bearing shop or even Napa auto.
If your like me...a backyard mechanic...you need to have the right tools to install the new races....one slip up and you have a deep scratch on one...and your back to square 1....that's why purchased new hubs with everything installed.
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Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 16:23 #8

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If you ever need a new axle or trailer make sure it comes with a SureLube spindle (there are two other names for it too). This spindle allows you to pump grease through the center of the axle, flows through both bearings and then comes out again. At least once a year pump grease through while spinning the wheel until you see that the color changes slightly and you are done. The beauty is that the entire volume will be filled with grease so water has less of a chance to get in. To check whether you have one of these: if there's a grease zerk fitting in the center of the spindle you are lucky. No BB's with these axles EVER.
If you have regular spindles and use bearing buddies DO NOT give them a squirt of grease for maintenance. ONLY fill in grease if they no longer are "out". Otherwise you will blow your inner seal and then you have a real problem.

When you put the new bearings in it is very important to seat them right. Tighten the nut until the wheel doesn't rotate any more (but not more), then back off the nut ~1/2 turn and check whether the wheel freely spins. Always rotate the wheel while you tighten slowly. Check again after a few miles....

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Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 16:45 #9

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kjs wrote: If you ever need a new axle or trailer make sure it comes with a SureLube spindle (there are two other names for it too). This spindle allows you to pump grease through the center of the axle, flows through both bearings and then comes out again. At least once a year pump grease through while spinning the wheel until you see that the color changes slightly and you are done. The beauty is that the entire volume will be filled with grease so water has less of a chance to get in. To check whether you have one of these: if there's a grease zerk fitting in the center of the spindle you are lucky. No BB's with these axles EVER.
If you have regular spindles and use bearing buddies DO NOT give them a squirt of grease for maintenance. ONLY fill in grease if they no longer are "out". Otherwise you will blow your inner seal and then you have a real problem.

When you put the new bearings in it is very important to seat them right. Tighten the nut until the wheel doesn't rotate any more (but not more), then back off the nut ~1/2 turn and check whether the wheel freely spins. Always rotate the wheel while you tighten slowly. Check again after a few miles....


Where does the grease come out again?

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"WHAT EVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT"

Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 16:51 #10

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depends what system. The one I don't like that much it comes out behind the rear race. With the better two it comes out around the grease fitting. Yes, if you don't pay attention and have some paper towels handy it can turn a mess..... My current trailer unfortunately came with the old/conventional system but I had the good one on my last boat trailer. Day and night difference in maintenance........ If this axle or a spindle fails it will be replaced with the right one.
What I really would want is the Alko marine bearing. Maintenance free warranty for 10 years........ No filling up grease or taking off, just use for 10 years, then replace the hub.

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Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 16:54 #11

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FISHIN00 wrote: +1 on a bearing shop or even Napa auto.
If your like me...a backyard mechanic...you need to have the right tools to install the new races....one slip up and you have a deep scratch on one...and your back to square 1....that's why purchased new hubs with everything installed.


All you need is a old race to press fit ...

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I'm not a big fan of these spindle,,,pros at the bearing shop will tell you, you pump them too much it is real easy to blow the seal!

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Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 17:02 #12

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Ruffryder wrote: I'm not a big fan of these spindle,,,pros at the bearing shop will tell you, you pump them too much it is real easy to blow the seal!

Then you better look for new pro's.... Sure, if you blow the grease in with a pneumatic gun you might have a chance to blow the seal. The system is pretty open and the pressure which can build up isn't that high..... I heard the same argument from the shop here when I got the axle for my last trailer. I checked several of their trailers they had in for service and had their preferred bearing buddies installed. All had grease behind the rear seal. That's where the pump to much is valid, not the SureLube axles.
That's a place I wouldn't even have my trailer washed at..... Mainly a NIH factor for most of these places and some of them may have never even seen the new system . It's also bad for their business as the owner can do the job with ease.

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Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 17:06 #13

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went to tractor supply... they have chinese made bearing sets for $20. Auto zone has American made for $26. The Chinese rear race is a hair larger than the original, there is no way that one will fit. Guess I'm off to auto zone for good old American quality. How does one make a race set easily?

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2003 Bayliner 1952 cuddy

Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 17:13 #14

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stay away as far as you can from these Chinese bearings and seals unless you want to do it again soon. American made or SKF made in Europe (not their Chinese crap they sell often in the US).

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Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 17:23 #15

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Sounds like an interesting system, would like to see a drawing on how the ports for the grease are configured, with it as you are saying filling both the inner and outer bearings areas and then being forced out a exit port is there no concern with over pumping and unseating the rear seal or is the exit port of sufficient size. I have a O/B jet drive on my fishing boat and the main bearing for the jet has a exit port for the grease with a hose connected of around 1/4" ID. and the manual still warns of pumping the grease in at a slow pace so as to not rupture the seal. Ever had a issue with this system.

Thanks for the pics of the system im a little slow on replys and you posted before I finished.

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"WHAT EVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT"
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Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 17:28 #16

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look above, I added some pictures..... A lot of new trailers now come with it as the main axle manufacturers all adopted them. Btw: all pictures are from earlier BOC postings (Bounty-Rick and myself are the big proponents of it).......

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Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 17:45 #17

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kjs wrote: look above, I added some pictures..... A lot of new trailers now come with it as the main axle manufacturers all adopted them. Btw: all pictures are from earlier BOC postings (Bounty-Rick and myself are the big proponents of it).......


Thanks, from the pics I just realized I have the system with the zerc in the center, when I greased the hubs last weekend it never dawned on me. All my other trailers have had bearing buddys so when I removed the little rubber cap on the new trailer and I found a grease fitting I just greased it with-out much thought to how it worked. Now I know.

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BC Steve
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2008 185 BR 3.0L TKS
Alpha 1
2007 Yamaha Wave Runner VX
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2012 F250 SD 4x4 Crew Cab
"WHAT EVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT"

Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 17:47 #18

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make sure that at least once a year you do what's shown in the last picture I posted: exchange the entire grease in the hub...... ALWAYS slowly rotate the hub when you do so!!!!! The grease only comes out in two places in the rear and when you rotate it goes through the entire bearing instead of only two spots.
When you take off the wheel(s) for bearing inspection pack and fill the interior as good as you can with grease. After the hubs are back on pump grease in until no air bubbles come out with it. That fills all the voids in the hub with grease instead of air = no space for water and as grease doesn't expand much it won't suck water in through the seal as it would if there would be hot air inside.
That's actually what the BB's are thought for but they are usually maintained wrong. Once the entire cavity is grease filled the BB's should not need filling any more. They are a good idea but only if used as intended and should not be used on these through spindle greased axles.

All the new boat trailers I have seen in the past few years had them already which is a good thing.

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Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 18:33 #19

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Took the other wheel off and guess what, chinese bearings. I'm taking the wheels to a shop to get done right, too much time lost to this issue already. The trailer is a Karavan mfg date of 2002, must be original trailer with aftermarket cheap chinese bearings. Tires are also shot, so will probably need two rims as well. Thought I could get out of this for less that a c-note...NOT. Looks like another $500 that could have went to a new boat. We bought this last year in August, got 10-15 good trips out of it,
this year, first time out, rookie mistake, forgot to put drain plug in, go ahead laugh and give it to me, we had a good laugh too. Then yesterday, the bearing issue, hope its all resolved tomorrow. This trailer also has drum beakes, can I remove them? They are pretty rusted out and don't work anyway. Also, I broke the grease fitting off one wheel, can see it but not feel it, how can I back this out. Thanks for all the help, you guys are wicked awesome.

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2003 Bayliner 1952 cuddy

Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 18:37 #20

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Just went out and had a look at mine. it only exits from the front which makes me realize I did not put enough grease in to exchange the old, I will fix that Now that I know I can. I know the value of a maintained trailer as I learned the hard way 20 or so years ago with my first boat on a long trip, cost me 3 days of my holiday and some unplanned cash. So thanks again for the good info.

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BC Steve
Terrace BC Canada
2008 185 BR 3.0L TKS
Alpha 1
2007 Yamaha Wave Runner VX
1100 cc 4 stroke
2012 F250 SD 4x4 Crew Cab
"WHAT EVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT"

Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 18:42 #21

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As there is already a hole threw the fitting you should be able to use a Easy Out, you may need to drill the hole out a bit depending on the size, make sure clean out any fillings that enter the hub.

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BC Steve
Terrace BC Canada
2008 185 BR 3.0L TKS
Alpha 1
2007 Yamaha Wave Runner VX
1100 cc 4 stroke
2012 F250 SD 4x4 Crew Cab
"WHAT EVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT"

Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 18:47 #22

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paperhanger wrote: Took the other wheel off and guess what, chinese bearings. I'm taking the wheels to a shop to get done right, too much time lost to this issue already. The trailer is a Karavan mfg date of 2002, must be original trailer with aftermarket cheap chinese bearings. Tires are also shot, so will probably need two rims as well. Thought I could get out of this for less that a c-note...NOT. Looks like another $500 that could have went to a new boat. We bought this last year in August, got 10-15 good trips out of it,
this year, first time out, rookie mistake, forgot to put drain plug in, go ahead laugh and give it to me, we had a good laugh too. Then yesterday, the bearing issue, hope its all resolved tomorrow. This trailer also has drum beakes, can I remove them? They are pretty rusted out and don't work anyway. Also, I broke the grease fitting off one wheel, can see it but not feel it, how can I back this out. Thanks for all the help, you guys are wicked awesome.


I bought complete 205/75-R14 wheels for $125 + $15 shipping a piece. Nice alloy rims and Greemax tires which are re-badge LT tires...... www.wheelsexpressonline.com (now $145)

No. there's no reason to laugh. There are a ton of things where it's not an IF but a WHEN. Forgetting the drain plug, forgetting to lift the outdrive/outboard when back on the railer, running aground (= solid anchoring), redesigning a prop are just a few of them......

As you are already in spending mode: I'd highly recommend to get the trailer brakes working again. You will know why when you have your first emergency stop. If they are rusted replace them with new disc brake hubs. Most of them come with the bearings installed already..... Worth every penny at the first time you have to stop fast or go downhill on a long slope.

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Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 18:51 #23

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Been there done that on all the standard "O Shit" things we do , your just one of the many.

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BC Steve
Terrace BC Canada
2008 185 BR 3.0L TKS
Alpha 1
2007 Yamaha Wave Runner VX
1100 cc 4 stroke
2012 F250 SD 4x4 Crew Cab
"WHAT EVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT"

Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 19:18 #24

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Where do I get replacement rubber plugs? I have a tandem, 10k trailer. Fittings in center of spindle, but one of the rubber plugs was torn when I bought boat last August. Can't post pics now, but they look like the pics here with all the grease coming into the plastic bag. Now that the boat's on the mooring I want to attack the trailer/brakes/bearings, but have not found these types of bearings/plugs for sale. Any ideas?
Also, these rubber plugs don't seem to be waterproof. Do they need to be, or is the bearing itself designed to just keep all the water out by pumping new grease into it?

Mainiac

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Trailer bearings 08 Jun 2014 19:47 #25

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These plugs are somehow watertight. You don't want them to be hermetically sealed as they let trapped air get out when the hub heats up and there's still air in there. Better than been blown out on the rear seal.... The pressure is so low that even a sloppy fit will keep the water out. You can get these plugs from most online trailer places. Example: www.etrailer.com/dept-pg-Grease_Caps.aspx or www.pacifictrailers.com/Standard-Dust-Caps/ . Unfortunately they are different from manufacturer to manufacturer. You have to know the brand or at least the diameter you need.

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