What's the deal with wheel bearings?

Discussion in 'On The Road' started by Andy G., Oct 20, 2018.

  1. Thox Spuddy

    Thox Spuddy Member

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    This summer a boat trailer ahead of us starting smoking from the right side tire and then it came off completely and took off and passed the trailer as it was pulling over, and continued onto the other side of the road. It went for several hundred yards before going into a nearby field. Good thing there wasn't a car coming. Locally there was a FedEx truck that burnt the bearings, the wheel came off and caught fire the dried grass along the road. It had 1/2 million miles on it, typical maintenance I suppose.
     
  2. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    Bearing Buddies and a couple pumps every 1000 mile or so. Every season jack them up and check for noise and play. Never had a bearing go out on the road. Small diameter tires and bearings have higher RPM so slow down.
     
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  3. Thox Spuddy

    Thox Spuddy Member

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    What kind of grease do you use? I just bought Lucas Oil "Red n' Sticky" for waterproof, agricultural, RV use.
     
  4. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    I use marine grease in everything.
     
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  5. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    I use NLGI Grade 2 Lithium grease (red) with a minimum 440 degree dropping point. The higher the better on the dropping point. The dropping point is the temp that the grease turns from gel to liquid.

    I would not recommend bearing buddies on a camper. They are better designed for marine trailers. With that being said, I have spoken to folks that work on trailers for a living and they said that they would never put bearing buddies on any of their trailers because bearings fail at a much higher rate than trailers without. I'm not sure if that is because people get a false sense of security with them so they don't do their due diligence in maintaining them or if it is the fact that there is no way to properly grease the rear bearings using bearing buddies.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
  6. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    I like red and tacky, a step above lithium grease( i think) but if changed regularly it probably dosent matter.
     
  7. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    With bearing buddies, folks have a tendency to over grease. This puts grease out the back side and onto the brake shoes. Even with the Easy Lube axles over greasing does happen
    I use a NLIG2 grease for everything, it makes for a good chassis grease
     
  8. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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    The back axle grease seal is not meant to be a pressure seal. A cheap grease gun can develop 2,000 to 3,000 psi which easily comprises the grease seal. When you pump up the Buddy Bearing where the spring is compressed some, you have pressurized the hub. About the same thing with the EZ Lube hubs, maybe worse. If you completely fill a hub with grease, the grease has nowhere to go when it gets hot but past a seal. EZ Lube hubs do not come full of grease from the factory for a reason.
     
  9. silvermickey2002

    silvermickey2002 Morris County, NJ

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  10. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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  11. silvermickey2002

    silvermickey2002 Morris County, NJ

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    We've had the pup for 10 years and have never had any issues. When the grease gets hot and does expand the rubber cap on the bearing cover expands a little and a little grease might come out and get on the rim. The grease seal has never failed! I also use the red high temp grease.
     
  12. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    Been running bearing buddies on every trailer I've own for decades and haven't had a bearing fail yet. You can't over grease the ones I have on my trailers. There is a hole in the side that becomes exposed just before the spring is fully compressed. If you pump past this point the grease simply comes out the hole and gets on your wheel.
     
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  13. mattlreese

    mattlreese Active Member

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    I repacked mine this year, its a new trailee. I am not sure if i will repack them next year. I will inspect them though

    My uncle has been a mechanic for 30 years and owns several trailers. He said repacking every year is absurd.
     
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  14. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    I don't even look at them unless there is a reason. I jack up each wheel every couple thousand miles and check for play or noise. Check for overheating every stop. Bearings give warning before they leave you on the side of the road, it's up to the operator to find the warnings. The bearings on my 1986 boat trailer have never been removed.
     
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  15. Steve0we

    Steve0we New Member

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    We use Cat Gold on everything or Lucas is a fantastic product (shameless sponsor plug) and Mr Lucas is a really great person.

    I love using great products from great people when I can.
     
  16. MyName

    MyName Active Member

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    Thanks for the idea guys. I've never checked my bearings in the year I've owned my pup. The previous owner said he just repacked them, but he lied about other stuff. Time for me to make a new thread.
     
  17. bobinfleet

    bobinfleet Active Member

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    At the end of winter in preperation for the camping season I jack the trailer and check for wear in the bearings.For the first time in 25 years one side had movement in it so I decided to renew both.On the first trip we stopped after about 40 miles and checked the hubs, both were hot but as we were half way to the camp we carried on. On reaching our destination and about 85 miles I checked the hubs again and they were warm, not hot, checked for play (none). On the return we did the 85 miles non stop and when we got home I checked the hubs, they were warm not hot.could it be they were bedding in when they got hot?
     
  18. bheff

    bheff Active Member

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    I realize that this thread is 6 months old but one quick note about bearing on boat trailers. The main reason they need so much attention is because the hubs (usually caused excessive breaking) get hot. Has soon as the hibs hit cooler water they draw in some moisture. This speeds up the degradation of the bearings. If you dont back your pup into a river or lake you should be fine with limited maintenance. But just as a safety, I always feel my hubs everytime I stop to make sure they aren't over heating.
     
  19. hometownhiker

    hometownhiker Active Member

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    Same here brother. My pup has 10s of thousands of miles without a bearing problem. I practice the same routine as you and it has served me well.
     
  20. M-88

    M-88 Member

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    I never really understood how bearing buddies did anything to actually lube the bearings. I always thought they were just to purge old grease after submerging your trailer in the water launching a boat.

    The grease fitting isn't anywhere near the bearing. Unless the hub is completely filled with grease, I'm not quite sure what it would do.

    I usually hand pack mine every other year. I have had mine 5 or 6 years and don't have warm running bearings, but I always frequently stop and check them.

    The other thing to consider is, a lot of popups run really small tires. That causes them to spin much faster on the road at highway speed.
     

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