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Trailer Issue... What to expect??

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  • Trailer Issue... What to expect??

    Ok Trailer Guru's!!

    ​I've had my trailer for a bit over a year now, and last Sunday we took out the boat and it was a blast!! Great fishing, calm water (for the most part) Just wonderful!
    This is our first boat, so it's all been a learning process.. lol.

    ​Well, the ride home seemed to go well.. But alas, it didn't..
    Bear in mind, the lake we go to is only about 15-20 minutes from my house, so it's a short drive... (THANKFULLY...)

    About 3/4 way home (about 7 minutes to go) I started to smell something burning..
    ​The tow vehicle is new (new to me anyway) so I was wondering about it's brakes or something..
    ​Got it home, and parked the trailer in the back yard. By now it was dark out. Couldn't see much, but could unhook the trailer and move the truck.
    ​When unhooking, the smell was actually coming from the trailer.. The right side.. Knelt down and reached out my had and could feel intense heat from the right wheel hub of the trailer. Couldn't see anything as it was dark, but it was enough to tell me it's time to replace bearings (both sides).

    ​So I went into the house feeling comfortable that I'll be replacing wheel bearings and inspecting hub etc.. and let it be until I could take the time to dig into it.
    ​Started doing research on boat trailer maintenance, bearings, bearing buddies (pro's and con's) etc...
    ​Basically it left me shaking my head thinking "Now why the heck didn't I look this stuff up sooner!!!!!! "
    Oh well.. Another lesson learned..

    ​Today, as we were getting ready to head out for some camping (without the boat of course), I happened by the boat and was SHOCKED!!!

    This is what I saw:
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    ​So now my first thought was that the cotter pin must've come out or broke, and the castle nut backed off letting the bearing come out and this is result.
    ​But closer look shows the cotter pin is still in place. You can see that in this picture:
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    ​So I jacked it up and put a jack stand under it to help get the weight off of it for now.. Can't do anything or see anything more than I've shown until sometime next week at the earliest.

    ​My next thought, was the spindle broke off.. But that can't be it either.. I'd think the whole wheel would've come off if that happened..

    ​So what do you folks think could cause that much of a gap, pop off the dust cap, expose the bearing, but not be a broken spindle or something..
    It's obvious to me now, that the bearings were NOT maintained by the PO, and that (as I've learned by research) I SHOULD have looked at all this right off. But I didn't. Hence the lesson in trailers I'm getting right now.. LOL

    ​I know at this point I'm asking for guesses, but any educated guess as to what I might be looking at (outside of what I'm thinking below) would be appreciated..

    ​I'll know for sure what I'm up against once I can get the wheel off, take off the hub, inspect spindle, inside of hub, bearings (ok, junk but will inspect anyway) etc...

    ​Bare minimum I'm thinking is new bearings (inner and outer, BOTH sides while I'm at it). That minimum is IF I'm really lucky, but that's not likely.
    ​Also thinking possible new hubs, and with this kind of gap, maybe even new spindles somehow..
    ​Willing to bet the part of spindle the seal seats on is toast now too. Not sure I want a "Re-sleeve" either..
    ​If it's that bad, I think I'd want to replace it all with new..

    ​The trailer is a home built by the original owner of the boat.. (not PO), so no manufacturer or brand associated with it.. lol


    Sorry so long, but wanted to give some details..

    ​Thanks All!!

  • #2
    I'd say the rear bearing is gone. You will take it apart, and completely clean the spindle, and hub, see what you have left of the mess. With any luck the spindle and hub are not damaged beyond repair. Not looking good at this point.
    If ya can't fix it with a hammer,ya got yourself an electrical problem.


    • #3
      the lack of paint on the hub means the bearings have been running hot for a while (lack of trailer maintenance)

      with any new to you piece of equipment. you need to do all the maintenane. with a trailer, that is repack all the bearings and a complete inspection of the brake system and the overall structure of the trailer.

      if you are lucky, you may get by with a new hub, new bearings, a speedy sleeve and a new seal. however if the spindle is chewed up like I suspect, you will be getting a new axle.
      1988 Cruisers Rogue 2420 -VP 290 DP now powered by custom 468 - http://forums.iboats.com/forum/owner...988-rogue-2420

      Past Boats
      1970 Wooster Hellion - Merc 9.8
      2002 SeaRay 190BR - 5.0 - A1G2 - "Cheasheads in Paradise"
      1984 Avanti 170DLI -3.0 stringer- "Ship Happens"

      What’s behind you doesn’t matter.Enzo Ferrari


      • #4
        That hub is toast. For what they cost it's not worth trying to save it. The axle is likely not far behind it. Once the hub is removed you'll be able to see the area that inside bearing runs on. If that's tore up/not smooth where a new bearing doesn't slide on without a lot of slop, the axle will need to be replaced. No fun, but not a huge deal either. You'll need dimensions of course, but the axle should be available with 2 new hubs for 150 or so.


        • #5
          Are there brakes on that axle? Spindle could have broken off and if there's a disc brake there the calipers may have held the rotor in place and kept the wheel/hub assembly from departing.
          1995 Cobalt 252 - 502 Mag EFI - Bravo 1


          • #6
            Thanks everyone!!

            ​Scott, I've never had a trailer before of any kind, so I didn't think much of it..
            ​The boat though, I went over like crazy.. (compression, spark, LU gear oil change, hull, etc....) All the stuff that should be done.

            ​I guess I just mistakenly thought "It's a trailer, a frame and wheels.. ". Well, there's much more to it than that as I have realized.. Cars? not as likely to fail, trailers (especially boat trailers)?? Big thing to pay attention to..

            ​Ok, so based on what pretty much all of you have said, sounds like if I find what I think I'm going to find, that I'll most likely be replacing the axle..
            ​Not even sure if it has a full axle (which I'd prefer honestly), or if it has those stub things one on each side..
            I have a hard time believing that the other side is much better than this right side, so I'll add up the cost/benefits when it's all apart.
            My intention is that whatever one side needs, I'll do it on both sides.. So new hub on one side? Both get them..
            ​Of course if it's a full axle and not stub things, then that'll pretty much be the whole deal right there LOL..

            ​And to answer thunder550 : No, there are no brakes on this trailer. Single axle no frills type trailer. It's only hauling a 15 foot tri-hull with a 50hp engine on it.


            • #7
              So in preparation for what I think is worst case, I've been looking at axles... As mentioned earlier, it's not that bad a price really.. Right in the ball park of 190(ish) which includes hubs, bearings, grease etc...

              ​I had been considering bearing buddies and have read a LOT about them.. However, I also see that there are axles I can get that have "Posi-Lube" or "EZ-Lube", or give it a name..
              ​Basically, it already has the zerk fitting and a channel in the spindle to grease it with..

              You all know about that already, so my question is...
              ​Are the axles with such fittings and grease passages better than a "Bearing Buddy", or is a bearing buddy type thing better?

              ​I know I can NOT use a bearing buddy type device on a spindle with the zerk built in, but It doesn't look like the built in has any positive pressure either..
              ​More of a grease till old grease comes out thing..

              ​Whereas the "Bearing Buddy" type device, will hold positive pressure preventing water intrusion... (provided it's installed properly, seals are good, and you don't over fill the dang thing and blow your seals.. lol)

              ​So which is better in the long run? The built in, the "Buddy" type, or even neither of the two???



              • #8
                In my honest opinion, nothing is better than removing the hub and actually cleaning up the bearings and axels. Having a good look at them and servicing them every fall, or every 2 years is my method. Haven't needed to buy any bearings in many years.
                If ya can't fix it with a hammer,ya got yourself an electrical problem.


                • #9


                  • #10
                    ​Way back in my late teens/early 20's I was an auto mech...
                    ​I know how to pack bearings, inspect races, spindle etc....

                    ​I absolutely agree on having things right and not having issues on the highway which could endanger myself or others!!
                    ​I do in fact consider myself VERY lucky that the lake is so close to home, and it lasted all the way home..
                    ​Didn't even give me an indication there was anything wrong. (besides the smell... ) The way it towed didn't change, didn't feel heavier or anything..

                    ​This was just my first ever trailer that I've had or had to work on. The first time home with it when I picked it up, I felt the dust caps and they weren't really that warm at all.. ​Then after the first couple trips out with the boat, same thing.. Seemed fine, so I didn't think much of it..
                    My folks have had travel trailers, pop ups etc.. and really never had to address the bearings at all.. That I know of anyway...
                    So I just was un-educated when it came to boat trailers..
                    ​At this point, I've only had the trailer for about a year, and have only taken the boat out about 7 times.. So 14 road trips..
                    I guess I expected them to last a bit longer than this without needing to be done.

                    ​Well, I didn't know about the difference when they are exposed to water, and have learned through this, that even after cooling them down for 1/2 to 1 hour before launching, there can still be the vacuum created and basically sucks the water into the bearing..
                    ​Even though it's only been about 7 dunks in lake, that doesn't play well with bearing grease.. lol
                    Now I know.. LOL

                    ​So anyway, I have no issue removing and inspecting/replacing and repacking the bearings as part of my winterizing routine..

                    ​I guess I was just wondering what other people here thought of the "Buddy" type caps, or the posi-lube or EZ-lube..
                    ​They're available, but I don't know if it's really worth the extra money when I can just repack them and inspect them...

                    ​So far, I see 1 vote for regular axle/spindle and cleaning/inspection/repacking regularly (Grub54891)
                    ​And looks like you agree Janster, so 2 votes..

                    ​It just seems like I'll probably have to buy a whole new axle at this point, so I'm exploring the different offerings that are out there and hoping for feedback from those that have them, or have used them in the past or recently...


                    • #11
                      I like and use the Buddy Bearing and EZ lube systems, but I would advise that either can get you into trouble if you aren't familiar with the specifics of using them. Both are capable of forcing the inner seal right out of the hub! Make sure you understand what to expect when the hub fills with grease...


                      • #12
                        My current understanding of the "Buddy" is that you have to be sure you get the proper diameter or it will not work/fall off etc..
                        Also, you do NOT fill it all the way..
                        ​Just till the spring and piston come out about 1/8"..
                        ​If you can rock and move the piston a little, then that's enough.. If you can't rock it or move it, you need to add grease just until you can rock it a bit..
                        ​Also, you may have to add grease a couple times after first install as any air works out..

                        ​The "A" model now has a blue ring for better visual checking, but other than that, there's no difference..

                        ​Not so clear on the proper use of the EZ-Lube type systems yet though..

                        ​Is my "Buddy" understanding correct so far to your knowledge ahicks ?


                        • #13
                          EZ-Lube systems are the same as manually greasing your bearings without cleaning & inspection.
                          All they do is allow you to pump fresh grease into the hub allowing the old grease to pour out the front.
                          They have no advantage in keeping water out at all.

                          Bearing buddies on the other hand are designed to run completely FULL of grease under constant pressure when set up properly.
                          This constant pressure stops water getting into the hub.

                          Once you fully understand exactly how the systems work you will get yourself some bearing buddies.

                          Hint: All moving seals leak except for Bruceb58's.


                          • #14
                            Yeah Fed...
                            ​That's pretty much the way I'm leaning right now..
                            ​Standard axle, bearings hubs etc..
                            ​Then put some "Buddies" on it, but be able to pull it apart and repack the way I know how as well if I feel like it..

                            ​At least that way, if I decide I don't want the "Buddies" for whatever reason, I'm not "Locked In" to a particular system..

                            Make sense? lol


                            • #15
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                              The new axle you get may have the EZ lube system on it as standard equipment (if from Dexter axle). It works on a similar system as the Buddy Bearing, only it's updated a little. With EZ lube, grease is forced through the fitting on the axle, through the axle, to an area between the inside seal and the inside bearing. As grease is added that cavity is filled, then it's forced through the inside bearing, then fills the interior of the hub (which takes forever/a lot of grease first time only) , eventually making it way through the inside to reach the outside bearing, which it fills. You stop pumping when you see grease being forced through the outside bearing if I remember right. This system pretty much eliminates the potential for air pockets to exist, and assures fresh grease is being circulated through both bearings as you add grease. I'd call that a pretty effective system in my opinion.