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  1. #1
    Seaman
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    Default Symptons of bad trailer wheel bearings?

    What are the symptons of bad trailer wheel bearings?

    Can you hear them?

    Do they vibrate?

    Do the hubs get hot?

    I don't want find out the hard way.

  2. #2
    Moderator Bondo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Symptons of bad trailer wheel bearings?

    Quote Originally Posted by cptnmcluvin View Post
    What are the symptons of bad trailer wheel bearings?

    Can you hear them?

    Do they vibrate?

    Do the hubs get hot?

    I don't want find out the hard way.
    Ayuh,.... Unless ya jack it up, 'n spin it 1st,...

    All those symptoms become known only when it's already too late...
    Any Grease is Better,..... Than No Grease at All.......

  3. #3
    Admiral smokeonthewater's Avatar
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    Default Re: Symptons of bad trailer wheel bearings?

    all of the above, also add to the list.... sparks flying from under the trailer while the wheel and hub assembly rolls right past you on the road.

    If you have ANY doubt at all, service the bearings pronto
    Kevin

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinnie
    But, where are the reevets?
    1981 Wellcraft V-20 CC Fisherman (FREE BOAT)
    1989 Wellcraft Monte Carlo 28(Build thread here)
    1992 Hotsports Jet'n'Cat Yam 701 WR3 drivetrain "SS George Washington"
    90's Yamaha WRIII and a pair of 95 Kawasaki ZXI-900's
    Fresh clean cheap oil is better then old dirty expensive oil any day

  4. #4
    Lieutenant JDA1975's Avatar
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    Default Re: Symptons of bad trailer wheel bearings?

    I got bearing replacement kit at a local farm and ranch supply, 25 bucks, includes new bearings, races, seals, and cotter pins. Also bought bearing buddies with grease fittings for another 25 bucks. 50 bucks and an hours work for peace of mind, cant beat that. If there is any doubt in your mind, change them. If its a new to you trailer and you don't know how well it was maintained, change them.

  5. #5
    Lieutenant Commander zopperman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Symptons of bad trailer wheel bearings?

    jack trailer up and sping wheel

    rumbling = bad.

    +all the stuff you said.
    Zak

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Symptons of bad trailer wheel bearings?

    Quote Originally Posted by JDA1975 View Post
    I got bearing replacement kit at a local farm and ranch supply, 25 bucks, includes new bearings, races, seals, and cotter pins. Also bought bearing buddies with grease fittings for another 25 bucks. 50 bucks and an hours work for peace of mind, cant beat that. If there is any doubt in your mind, change them. If its a new to you trailer and you don't know how well it was maintained, change them.
    What I find weird is that it's not much more than $100 for a whole new axle with hubs. Combine that with the fact that it's pretty easy to sell a decent used axle on Craigslist for a good price and it's almost more economical to replace the axle every couple years than it is to maintain hubs and bearings.

  7. #7
    Admiral smokeonthewater's Avatar
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    Default Re: Symptons of bad trailer wheel bearings?

    that's because it's cheaper to ship huge containers of chinese axles to sell in bulk to trailer manufacturers than to keep quality american made parts in stock for the backyard mechanic....

    FWIW tho.... it only costs a couple dollars worth of grease and solvent to do a repack
    Kevin

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinnie
    But, where are the reevets?
    1981 Wellcraft V-20 CC Fisherman (FREE BOAT)
    1989 Wellcraft Monte Carlo 28(Build thread here)
    1992 Hotsports Jet'n'Cat Yam 701 WR3 drivetrain "SS George Washington"
    90's Yamaha WRIII and a pair of 95 Kawasaki ZXI-900's
    Fresh clean cheap oil is better then old dirty expensive oil any day

  8. #8
    Lieutenant Commander
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    Default Re: Symptons of bad trailer wheel bearings?

    Like other have said, spin and listen and grab wheel at top and bottom and check for excessive play. No play and no noise...no problem. There is no need to over react by replacing parts if you don't have to. Also visually check the grease seals and pull the dust caps to check for water.

  9. #9
    Supreme Mariner Frank Acampora's Avatar
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    Default Re: Symptons of bad trailer wheel bearings?

    Well, I disagree. When you become attuned to the normal sound of the trailer, then when bearings start to go bad you will hear them through the trailer frame and into the tow vehicle--unless you have the boom box turned all the way up. As the bearings "spall" they will start to "grumble." They won't fail immediately, but you don't have much time left either.
    That is your warning and it is now time to stop before the bearings fail completely.

    I do remember a time many years ago during the CB craze. I was listening to a fellow on the radio. " I have a bad bearing but I am going to try to nurse it home." No more than 5 minutes later, probably more like two, I hear: (excitedly) "Oh, Crap! The wheel fell off." He made a poor decision. He needed to leave the boat on the side of the road in either case, but when the wheel fell off, he had much more repair and expense to go through. Better to have stopped and unhitched the trailer before the wheel came off.

    As others have said: Before using the trailer, jack up the wheel and spin it. it should not rumble or grind and the bearings should operate smoothly.

    That said, wheel bearings in any auto usually last the lifetime of the vehicle with no repacking. Of course, they don't get dunked in water repeatedly. However, if you keep your trailer bearings repacked and seals in good condition, you may never need to replace them either.

  10. #10
    Admiral smokeonthewater's Avatar
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    Default Re: Symptons of bad trailer wheel bearings?

    I'm gonna disagree with the disagree, to a point, you MIGHT maybe hear or feel it under some circumstances. You might also not hear or feel a thing.... I can guarantee that there is no way I'd hear a bad trailer bearing in my truck, but who knows, maybe with a much lighter vehicle. I've had flat tires on a trailer at 80 mph that the only indication in the truck was seeing pieces of tire and trailer flying all over the road in the mirror.

    the part about repacking tho is right on.... unless you are towing hundreds of thousands of miles, replacing trailer wheel bearings is generally only needed when maintenance (grease) has been neglected.
    Kevin

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinnie
    But, where are the reevets?
    1981 Wellcraft V-20 CC Fisherman (FREE BOAT)
    1989 Wellcraft Monte Carlo 28(Build thread here)
    1992 Hotsports Jet'n'Cat Yam 701 WR3 drivetrain "SS George Washington"
    90's Yamaha WRIII and a pair of 95 Kawasaki ZXI-900's
    Fresh clean cheap oil is better then old dirty expensive oil any day

  11. #11
    Lieutenant Junior Grade
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    Default Re: Symptons of bad trailer wheel bearings?

    There is many reasons for bearing failure, the number one is lubrication. Even though bearing buddies are nice the main thing is keep up maintance, use correct lube, and check out End play on thrust bearings. New bearings can fail if not lubed correctlly, to tight or loose.

  12. #12
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default Re: Symptons of bad trailer wheel bearings?

    If you think you have a problem, you probably do! Remove, inspect and repair or replace. $100 in parts now will save you $1000s in fiberglass or aluminum repair later when the wheel flies off and your boat ends up in the middle of the road!

  13. #13
    Rear Admiral MH Hawker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Symptons of bad trailer wheel bearings?

    About the only warning you may get is if your very very lucky and happen to feel the hubs when you have stopped some place is if thier running very hot , and by then you hafe ways some place, and then what do you do. Bearings is one thing you do not ignore or it will bite you hard.
    Last edited by MH Hawker; November 20th, 2011 at 05:22 PM. Reason: spelling
    James & Deb

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  14. #14
    Chief Petty Officer marcoalza's Avatar
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    Default Re: Symptons of bad trailer wheel bearings?

    This is the result of not taking heed of all the above!

    Luckily, it was on the way home from a lovely day out and I was doing 5 mph after turning a corner at the time the wheel bearing gave way!!
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