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Old 06-18-2018, 08:28 AM   #1
Dave R
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Default Tips for longer boat trailer bearing life

If you are replacing bearings and seal on your trailer bearings because of water intrusion, you'll likely need to clean up and dress the seal surface on the spindle. I recommend using three steps after you have cleaned the grease and grime off the spindle.

Step 1. Clean all the rust and imperfections with 220 grit wet/dry sandpaper and motor oil, then clean with brake cleaner.

Step 2. Smooth the surface with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper and motor oil, then clean with brake cleaner.

Step 3. Polish the surface with 1000 grit wet/dry sandpaper and motor oil, then clean with brake cleaner.

If you are really into it, you can use 5 steps of 220, 400, 800, 1600, 3000 grit, but I don't think it's necessary to go that crazy.

When you re-assemble, put a light film of grease on the seal surface of the spindle and pack grease into the space between the two lips on the seal.

The seal leaks again shortly, use a repair sleeve (like speedi-sleeve) to fix the spindle.
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Old 06-18-2018, 11:11 AM   #2
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All great tips!

My sonís trailer spindles were too far gone.

I replaced the axle with a modern one which includes:

A replaceable stainless steel wear surface where the seal runs which I hope will not rust.

A grease fitting on the end of the spindle which feeds grease from the back of the hub forward thus pushing out the old grease with the new.
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Old 06-18-2018, 12:16 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by 8gv View Post

I replaced the axle with a modern one which includes:

A replaceable stainless steel wear surface where the seal runs which I hope will not rust.
Sounds like it came with speedi-sleeves pre-installed. Neat, I've never seen one like that.
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Old 06-18-2018, 05:09 PM   #4
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I have been using Bearing Buddy's for years and never had a problem and never needed to do this type of maintenance. I have made multiple trips towing boats from the lake to Florida and never had bearing problems. I am surprised that anyone who trailers their boat a lot, or for a distance, does not use them.
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Old 06-18-2018, 05:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiltonBB View Post
I have been using Bearing Buddy's for years and never had a problem and never needed to do this type of maintenance. I have made multiple trips towing boats from the lake to Florida and never had bearing problems. I am surprised that anyone who trailers their boat a lot, or for a distance, does not use them.
I have a trailer with buddy bearing that is 25 years old... I concur greasing it at least yearly makes them last for years! I wouldn't own one without buddy bearing or similar and rollers rather than bunks.
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Old 06-18-2018, 09:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave R View Post
Sounds like it came with speedi-sleeves pre-installed. Neat, I've never seen one like that.
I got it here with free shipping:

http://www.sturdybuiltonline.com/220...F-_p_1115.html
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Old 06-19-2018, 04:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8gv View Post
I had to replace one of my Dexter axles, but mine was special order and did not have speedi-sleeves. Was also rated for 3500 lbs. Took 4 weeks to get it.
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Old 06-19-2018, 07:53 AM   #8
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My axle and other stuff arrived in four days. I had to buy one size larger than what was on the trailer because the spring mounts would have fallen outside the suggested atachment area. It was a really easy job. Now I have a state of the art axle for a little 12' aluminum boat. Oh well, changing bearings on the side of the road should now be a thing of the past!
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Old 06-19-2018, 08:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiltonBB View Post
I have been using Bearing Buddy's for years and never had a problem and never needed to do this type of maintenance. I have made multiple trips towing boats from the lake to Florida and never had bearing problems. I am surprised that anyone who trailers their boat a lot, or for a distance, does not use them.
Anything "without" Bearing Buddy's is asking for problems in the future at some point in time.

No mater what the shaft/ axle is made from, the actual bearings that take the majority of the punishment are usually made from heat-treated plain carbon steel that will rust if exposed to moisture.

If the wheel hub eventually fills with grease from use of the Bearing Buddy's over time it gets really hard for water to get in and do its dirty work on the bearing.

Tip:
Not always an easy thing to do when your excited to launch the boat after a long drive is to check the temperature of the bearings on the trailer (just with your hands). If they seem warm to the touch, avoid launching for a while if you can. When you launch with axles and bearing that are hot and they hit the cold water of the lake they will instantly try to suck in a small amount of water as everything cools down and creates a vacuum and sucks in some water. That little tiny bit of water is all it takes to start the process of eventual failure.
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