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Thread: Boat trailer wheel bearings

  1. #1
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    Default Boat trailer wheel bearings


    I feel that I am not getting normal service life from my jon boat trailer wheel bearings, I replace seals each time bearings are replaced and seldom get more than 2 years service before getting bearing noise. Trailer is pulled less than 2000 miles a year with less than 1000# gross weight on trailer. The only thing different from other bearings I've serviced is there is no washer between the axle nut and outer wheel bearing. What is the purpose of the washer? the axle nut is secured by a cotter pin. Is this washer necessary. The bearings, when inspected, still have lubricant. Am I missing something???

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    They help keep the grease in the bearings. Are you putting the nut on correctly? Tighten it down to seat the bearings then back it off just enough for the wheel to turn and you can put the cotter pin in.
    Fair Winds and Following Seas

    Bill H. PTC USN Ret
    Chesapeake, Va

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    The washer is to protect the bearing from the back side of the nut and help keep even pressure on the bearing. I tighten the bearing to about 40 ft pounds (tight) spin the wheel then back it off tell it loose. Re tighten hand tight then then tighten it tell the cotter pin goes in. Most problems with wheel bearing is people over tighten them causing failure. I've made a living for the last thirty years servicing trailers trucks and heavy equipment. This applies to most single and tandem axle trailers.
    This is how I've always done my boat and car trailers. A local trailer shop or boat dealer usually will be glad to give good info also. Nothing worse than braking down on the road, be safe out there.

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    You might consider installing new Hub Kits on clean well greased axles like I did. I removed my Bearing Buddies and just installed grease fittings instead. My axle has a small weep hole for each side where when full, some grease comes out. After filling with grease the first time, I now pump a couple of shots in each one every other time or so that I take the boat out. When I launch the boat, then park the trailer, I see the little line of grease that weeps out the inner weep hole, I wipe it off each side, toss in the trash, and go fishing. When they are full of grease, there is no room for water and stuff. This assures me that my bearings stay well greased, and all is well. At least once a year I raise each side of the trailer, spin the wheel as I listen and feel for anything unusual. That's how I found a bad bearing years ago, one of the roller bearings had broke in half and was tumbling around in there, no heat or noise, but I could feel by hand that something was just not right. Good to catch these things early.
    For folks that trailer long distances, bearing buddies or similar is a great idea, but for short hops like I do, I prefer my method.
    I found my hub kits online, the price was not bad. With new hubs, bearings, seals, lugs on a good axle well greased, you can haul with confidence. I expect many years of trouble free service from my trailer. No way would I go back in there every couple of years doing the same thing over and over. Try it, you might like it!

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    Thanks for all the replys, I pretty much follow all the steps listed above including handpacking the bearings. Only thing different is the missing axle nuts. I had considered replacing the entire axle assembly but may try poobah's suggestion of new hubs and keep the old ones for emergency spares. One other comment, does there seem to be any difference in quality between "namebrand" (Timken, Fafnair, SKF) bearings vs the "over seas bearings" available on the internet. Good Fishing

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  8. #8
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    X2. Always use a good quality bearing,,,, Timkin x2,,,
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    Default Boat trailer wheel bearings

    Have you inspected the bearing races as if they are pitted or warped your bearings will not last. You could replace the spindles with all new parts and start their. Just a thought and good luck Boat trailer wheel bearings


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    I agree - Timkin
    Fair Winds and Following Seas

    Bill H. PTC USN Ret
    Chesapeake, Va


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