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Grease those wheel bearings!!!!

Posted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:44 am
by neel thompson
I had a very close call on Wednesday. I was trailering my boat up I-95 through Wilmington, DE on my way home from a wonderful day of boating on the Chesapeake bay. I was cruising in heavy traffic around 65 mph. I heard a couple of thumps coming from behind the car so I checked both sides of the trailer in the rear view mirrors and everything looked fine. About a mile later smoke appeared from around left trailer tire. I pulled off on the narrow shoulder and was afraid to get out of the car. I let the smoke dissipate and then went about 30 mph to the next exit which was about a mile away. I exited and went to the first side street where I stopped to evaluate the situation. The inner and outer wheel bearings were completely gone, grease was all over the trailer and the wheel was ready to fall off the spindle. I don't have Buddy Bearings, but checked the bearings for grease about a year ago. I trailered the boat to Tennessee and back, up to Mystic and back, and about eight hours of travel this summer to and from the Chesapeake. The total distance was probably less than 2500 miles....That was enough to fry the bearings. I could have lost my boat, caused a bad accident, or who know what else. I am now going to replace my single axle trailer with a tandem axle with Buddy Bearings. This was scary.... Grease those bearings!!!!

Re: Grease those wheel bearings!!!!

Posted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:22 am
by Bill Edmundson
I grease mine, buddy bearings, each year before the Gathering. If you launch your boat right after a pull, the bearings will be hot or at least warm. Water will be drawn into the bearings as they cool quickly. My pulls normally are very short, less than 100 yards. When I grease them water and contaminated grease are forced out. The bad grease will have a milky color.

I'm running a single axle trailer. As Neel said. This is important!

Bill

Re: Grease those wheel bearings!!!!

Posted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:40 am
by gdcarpenter
For your consideration. When I rebuilt my '61 "Champ" trailer for my ZIP I installed a new axle with oil filled hubs. I have towed my ZIP well over 5,000 miles so far and love the axle. You can visually see the oil level at a glance through the sight glass.

The sight glass/caps that came with the axle were a clear 'plastic' of some sort. I discovered one leaking, found it was separating between cover and thread portion. The replacement caps I got are aluminum billet and I don't expect to ever have that separating issue again. I wound up, thanks to great trailer folks here that sold me the axle, getting a spare hub you see mounted to the trailer.

Been a mechanic for years in a former life and would never go back to any kind of greased bearings after riding with these! That was a close call, and since I run I95 all too often I know how scary it must have been.

Some say hot bearings hitting water will inevitably 'suck in" water. Not sure how quickly they launch their boat after getting off the highway. As for me, by the time I stop to remove transom saver, remove tie downs, throw life jackets in the boat, attach bumpers to boat, connect lead line for launching, etc. etc. etc. I figure any necrssarycooling has occurred. I may be an old dog but not beyond learning new tricks.

Re: Grease those wheel bearings!!!!

Posted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:34 pm
by bob smith
Oh Yeah!!!
After losing a wheel (Thank Goodness it didn't hit anyone), I grease mine a couple of times a season. They have a grease fitting on the axle and it forces grease from the inner to the outer bearings.
I also do a "finger check" at gas stops and when I get to the lake. Just feel each hub to check is they are hot or one is hotter than the others.
Bob Smith
Chester, SC

Re: Grease those wheel bearings!!!!

Posted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:38 pm
by Bill Edmundson
At the Gathering I usually have a grease gun for anyone who thinks they want to take a shot or two. That is other than Keith's "Pain Killers".

Bill

Re: Grease those wheel bearings!!!!

Posted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:28 pm
by vupilot
Yikes Neel. Glad no harm was done to the boat and you eventually made it home safe. That axle sounds really slick gdcarpenter, neato! I actually just packed the bearings and replaced the seals on the Utility trailer last week, had a fair amount of water in with the grease.

Re: Grease those wheel bearings!!!!

Posted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 3:42 pm
by neel thompson
I got lucky for sure Chris,, When the bearings blew apart, the big nut actually broke the kotter pin (sp) and started to back out. It stopped at the end of the spindle when part of the broken kotter pin got lodged into one of the notches on the nut and prevented it from coming completely off. After I stopped and jacked up the trailer, I could move the wheel with the tire on it in and out about 1 1/2". I think the smoke I saw was from the tire going from side to side and hitting the fender. No more single axle trailers for me!!! I had to leave the boat in a "not so nice neighborhood" overnight until I could get back with tools and someone who knew how to fix the problem. Turned out we had to replace the hub and both bearings. The spindle was slightly scored, and smoothed out with some emery paper. It could have been much worse.....

Re: Grease those wheel bearings!!!!

Posted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 3:48 pm
by Roberta
I also have the axles that you can force the grease through the bearings. I make it a point to shoot some grease in once or twice a year and check the hubs for heat at every gas stop. Before the long haul to Lake Powell, I R&R'd the hubs and cleaned and repacked the bearings before we left. Not a fun thing to break down and to be chasing down parts on a road trip.

The trailer for the Torpedo will be tandem axle!!

Roberta :D

Re: Grease those wheel bearings!!!!

Posted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 7:33 am
by Bill Edmundson
I just replaced the whole assembly. I went from drum brakes that were gone to new disc, brakes, bearings and hubs. I should be ready to go.

Bill

Re: Grease those wheel bearings!!!!

Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 5:10 am
by kens
Sometimes you just never can tell when these things can happen.
Returning from G1, I blew a steer tire on the truck, on I-285 going around Atlanta.
That was exciting, to say the least.
No matter how well you prepare & maintain, sometimes you never know.

Re: Grease those wheel bearings!!!!

Posted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:51 pm
by Lowka53
kens wrote:Sometimes you just never can tell when these things can happen.
Returning from G1, I blew a steer tire on the truck, on I-285 going around Atlanta.
That was exciting, to say the least.
No matter how well you prepare & maintain, sometimes you never know.
I have to agree I had a blow out coming back from the lake Powell gather doing 75 mph my truck being a 4x4 I had to replace all the tires they was getting close to being changed anyway. but I am on hold now till i get money built up to buy my plywood for my build I am working on right now.

Re: Grease those wheel bearings!!!!

Posted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 11:15 pm
by thudpucker
Another Trailer Failure story. True!
10 of us went on a big 3 day fishing trip to Eastern Washington, Jameson lake.

We put 2 boats in my pickup. On the trailer with one large boat, we added two other Smaller boats.

On the way over we had to stop in North Bend, and get a fish plate welded into the Holsclaw trailer. It was a bunch of rust held together by paint.

On the way back the story got worse.
The Frame rusted, let one end of a spring go upwards, the Trailer Fender came down onto the Wheel and stopped it cold. Screeching and smoking, we got stopped up on a pass with Grass all around us.

We made a decision:
We put all the boats into my Pickup. It looked like a "Grapes of Wrath" remake.
We took the one good Tire/Wheel off the trailer, and pitched the Trailer over the edge of the hill. Out of sight of the HI way.

Sometimes the situation calls for Desperate measures.
The trailer was gone the next weekend when we went over to get it.