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  1. #1
    Seaman Apprentice
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    Default How often should you pack wheel bearings

    My brother has a 14 foot boat trailer that is 6 years old. He had bearing buddies put on so he insist that as long as you see oil and change it every 5 or so years that every thing is fine and there is no need to make these checks. Is this true.

  2. #2
    Supreme Mariner bruceb58's Avatar
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    Default Re: How often should you pack wheel bearings

    Bearing Buddys have grease, not oil. What do you have? Oil bath hubs?
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: How often should you pack wheel bearings

    I guess so. It is a clear hub that is half filled with oil.

  4. #4
    Chief Petty Officer '78 Crusader's Avatar
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    Default Re: How often should you pack wheel bearings

    As long as there's oil in the site glass you should be fine. No need to change it at all.

    The bearings will last forever as long as they're properly lubricated.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How often should you pack wheel bearings

    Thanks, I guess my brother was right.

  6. #6
    Commander chriscraft254's Avatar
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    Default Re: How often should you pack wheel bearings

    It is a good idea to make sure no water has gotten in from bad seals.

  7. #7
    Supreme Mariner bruceb58's Avatar
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    Default Re: How often should you pack wheel bearings

    You can tell when that happens if the oil appears emulsified.
    1998 Wellcraft Eclipse 24 Cuddy
    Volvo Penta Duo-Prop 7.4L "LK"

    2006 Sun Tracker Party Barge 21
    Mercury 90 4-Stroke FI
    "Common sense is not very common"
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  8. #8
    Chief Petty Officer Idlespeedonly's Avatar
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    Default Re: How often should you pack wheel bearings

    I don't think I have ever seen a trailer that small with oil bath hubs. They are a great thing to have.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How often should you pack wheel bearings

    If water gets inside the hub it will look milky, it will be pretty obvious.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How often should you pack wheel bearings

    Quote Originally Posted by 30hpbob View Post
    My brother has a 14 foot boat trailer that is 6 years old. He had bearing buddies put on so he insist that as long as you see oil and change it every 5 or so years that every thing is fine and there is no need to make these checks. Is this true.
    Oil is the best bearing lube. As long as no water gets in them sould last forever. They went to grease on bearings because well any monkey can run a grease gun. Not putting anyone down but oil is the best lube for bearings.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: How often should you pack wheel bearings

    Quote Originally Posted by Fishing Dude too View Post
    Oil is the best bearing lube. As long as no water gets in them sould last forever. They went to grease on bearings because well any monkey can run a grease gun. Not putting anyone down but oil is the best lube for bearings.

    Oil bath are great for non-marine trailers, but they have a huge drawback for a bearing you dunk in water. They are sealed, but there is always a little gap in the seal and they will weep a little oil. (otherwise they wouldn't be clear, need to check the oil) When you take a hot almost-sealed bearing and dunk it in cold water, its going to contract and gulp in some water. Its almost guaranteed that oil bath boat trailer bearings are going to be running in an oil/water mix. More conventional designs like bearing buddies can deal with the thermal expansion/contraction.

    So yes, oil is the best lube for bearings, but given the operating environment and constrains, it makes for a poor choice for a boat trailer. If it actually was better, you would see far more out there. (It would be far easier for said monkey to fill a container with oil then figure out how to even load a grease gun, let alone use one!)

  12. #12
    Supreme Mariner Frank Acampora's Avatar
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    Default Re: How often should you pack wheel bearings

    If you were worried about water, you COULD fill them with lower unit oil. It has emulsifiers and extreme pressure additives plus corrosion inhibitors to protect against slight water pick-up.

    The reason almost every stock dead axle uses grease is because grease and a grease dust cap is much cheaper than any other system. MONEY drives our manufacturing system.
    Look at the axles on all automobiles: Nothing but a grease cap and they last forever. So, they are adequate for the purpose so have become the norm. Got nothing to do with monkeys and everything to do with money.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: How often should you pack wheel bearings

    For greasable bearings-
    I really only worry about packing bearings if the trailer (or vehicle) has sat for a long time or has a ton of miles on it.
    When a trailer/vehicle sits over time the heat and cold can and does melt and settle the grease to the lowest point it can in the bearing and race were it can harden up given enough time.
    Marine/boat trailer, water intrusion???? I guess follow trailer MFG's spects.
    (I think I would be more worried about the tires and the lug nuts. Possibly the hub nut torque.)

    You can always jack up the trailer and spin the wheel and see if there are any points were it hangs up and wiggle the tire back and forth to see if there is any play between the tire and the bearings.
    home is where we drop anchor

  14. #14
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    Default Re: How often should you pack wheel bearings

    I check mine every six months and repack with new grease, seals every 12months.

  15. #15
    Rear Admiral MH Hawker's Avatar
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    Default Re: How often should you pack wheel bearings

    well I think it depends a lot on what sort of hubs I have safty lube hubs so its lot simpler, I flush them out twice a boating season, and jack the trailer up and spin the tires to look for bearing slack once a year, and no I do not pull the hubs, if it has clean grease and no bearing slack and no seals leaking thier is no need, but thats a personal choice, and one of the reasons I have that type of hub, a grease gun and 5 minutes, will completly change and flush a hub with out disassembly if a bearing is greased it will last several hunderd thousand miles
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: How often should you pack wheel bearings

    My manual tells me to keep my oil bath hubs completely filled, no air in there. Thermal expansion of oil is minimal, so that keeps the water out during a cooling dunk in water. It also saysto use straight 50 weight oil.
    1970 14ft Winner 90hp Merc (44 seasons of saltwater operation);
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    First boat; 1963 13ft Fabuglass Fury 50hp Merc (63-69)

  17. #17

    Default Re: How often should you pack wheel bearings

    My oil bath hubs have 80/90 weight synthetic gear lube which I change yearly. I also take a sample of the lube and look for water infusion while I check for seal distortion. My trailer is used in salt water exclusively so I have my fair share of maintenance.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: How often should you pack wheel bearings

    Are you guys really that bored up North?

  19. #19
    Supreme Mariner bruceb58's Avatar
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    Default Re: How often should you pack wheel bearings

    Quote Originally Posted by kahuna123 View Post
    Are you guys really that bored up North?
    Apparently as bored as you are!
    1998 Wellcraft Eclipse 24 Cuddy
    Volvo Penta Duo-Prop 7.4L "LK"

    2006 Sun Tracker Party Barge 21
    Mercury 90 4-Stroke FI
    "Common sense is not very common"
    "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." -- John Wooden

  20. #20
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    Default Re: How often should you pack wheel bearings

    I deserve that

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