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Need input on regular trailer maintenance

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Old 04-15-2006, 08:21 PM
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Default Need input on regular trailer maintenance

I have a triple axle trailer for my 28' Heat. I am starting my third summer however, I have done very little to it other than have the surge break system flushed and pads checked every year during inspection (VA law). I really only use the trailer to get me to the ramp on weekends (!o miles round trip) however, I do a few poker runs that are aroud 250 miles roundtrip.

My question is around the axles;
How often should bearing buddies be replaced?
I am not mechanically savvy however, I have heard mention of packing the bearings - how is this done?
When should bearings be removed and replaced?
2 of the wheels have grease slung all over them - what does this mean? Bad bearings or bearing buddies?

I am getting ready for a long trip and want to avoid any surprises (I had to replace all 6 tires last summer after 4 different blow-outs). Any assistance and additional suggestions are welcomed...thanks!
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Old 04-15-2006, 08:45 PM
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Default Re: Need input on regular trailer maintenance

Thorough check of wheel and bearing. If you dunk the trailer, you should change the bearings once a year. Use a high quality, high temp grease which should state made for trailer bearings. You do not want to use an inexpensive grease. Most inexpensive grease will turn to mud. Grease tubes 10oz will range in price from 1.97 to 9.97. Do not think you are saving money by using the less expensive item. Read the Cannister.

If you want a quik check of bearings put a jack under the trailer. Grab the tire and attempt to rock the wheel back and forth. If the wheel has play you need to retorque the spindle nut and add grease.

High temp grease will stay a lubricant under temp and excessive wear. The problem with dunking a trailer is the bearings will want to rust in any exposed area or from the mix of salt water and grease.
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Old 04-15-2006, 08:49 PM
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Default Re: Need input on regular trailer maintenance

what pro1 said, the bearing buddies themselves will last years, i grease them every 3 or 4 times i tow the boat somewhere. just to keep em full of grease.
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Old 04-15-2006, 09:11 PM
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Default Re: Need input on regular trailer maintenance

Thanks Pro1..makes sense.

How do you change the bearings? My guess is remove bearing buddy which will expose the spindle nut and cotter pin. This will allow me to pull off the hub, which will expose the bearings?

Aren't there seals in there? How do you know if they are good? My father-in-law tells me they are bad since the grease is slinging all over the tire?

Sorry for all the questions however, I was thinking of taking stab at this tomorrow but do not want to get in over my head.
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Old 04-15-2006, 09:19 PM
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Default Re: Need input on regular trailer maintenance

I think replacing the bearings is way overkill. I recomond clean and repack once a year. Inspect for pitting. If found replace the bearing and race at the same time. Also there are seals on the back of the hub that may need replacing also. The reason for grease on the back side is a sign of weak seals or over greasing of the bearing buddies. I'm in Annapolis and service and inspect trailers if you need help.
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Old 04-15-2006, 10:43 PM
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Default Re: Need input on regular trailer maintenance

I meant change bearings annually if you dip in salt water.

Bearings are inexpensive $10 per set with races and rear seal.

Salt water is tough on bearings. Plus pullng hubs off becomes an issue. When you remove the spindle nut, the hub assembly should slide off with no effort.

In certain cases you may not need to even unbolt the wheel to remove a hub.

From the start if you have to work to get the hub off chances are the spindle and bearing is lacking grease.

You are doing the right thing by maintaining axles. It will save you aggravation in the long run.
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Old 04-16-2006, 01:09 AM
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Default Re: Need input on regular trailer maintenance

What's the proper way to set the nut?
I've heard everything from a) torque while turning to ??? in pds, loosen, then tighen finger tight. b)And to tighten, then loosen till the 1st pin hole lines up. c)Set until you have approx 1/8" in/out movement at top of wheel.

I've always done the tighten snug, then loosen and finger tight as long as there was a hint of movement at the wheel top and never had a problem. Reason being as the hub heats up, the clearance will tighten up.
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Old 04-16-2006, 07:16 AM
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Default Re: Need input on regular trailer maintenance

Quote:
Originally Posted by US1 Fountain
What's the proper way to set the nut?
I've heard everything from a) torque while turning to ??? in pds, loosen, then tighen finger tight. b)And to tighten, then loosen till the 1st pin hole lines up. c)Set until you have approx 1/8" in/out movement at top of wheel.

I've always done the tighten snug, then loosen and finger tight as long as there was a hint of movement at the wheel top and never had a problem. Reason being as the hub heats up, the clearance will tighten up.
This would be the proper way of doing it. Never had a problem from semi trailers to boat trailers. The main reason for "snug" 1st is to set bearing pre-load. That will force excess grease from the bearing. The backoff is to allow expansion due to heat.
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Old 04-16-2006, 11:36 AM
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Default Re: Need input on regular trailer maintenance

That is totally correct. Tighten to seat the bearing. Then back up one notch or until the wheel spins freely. If you over tighten the wheel it will not spin freely because you have too much pressure on the bearing.

Very Important!!! If you are working on a trailer that has time on the spindle or corrosion. Make sure you lightly sand the spindle so the bearing freely slides on and off the spindle. Other wise you make crank the spindle nut and it will not totally seat. the when you travel, it will seat and you would need to check for play in the wheel.

I apologize for not answering your ealier question with regard to the rear seal. The cost of the rear seal is about .43 to 1.79. Generally you would no spend too much time inspecting parts that cost .43 cents. Take a screwdiver and hammer when you have the hub in your hand and smack the rear seal out. Flip it over and take a rubber mallet and bang a new one in after you may change the rear bearing inside.

The rubber on the seal gets dried out from the heat.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-16-2006, 11:41 AM
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Default Re: Need input on regular trailer maintenance

Some extremely helpful guides would be from Tie Down Engineering www.tiedown.com or Dexter Axle company. Under marine downloads.

Under tie down click on libraries.
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