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Discussion Starter #1
We got home last night and discovered (by this screaming metal sound backing into the driveway) that one hub on the trailer seems to have blown out. I think we're kind of lucky to have made it home without a problem. Amazingly we heard and felt nothing, maybe it finally went just before home. Could we be so lucky?

So now we're venturing into trailer hub repair, something neither of us have done, and thought some rad techies on the Buzz could point us in the right direction. I'm thinking that we might as well replace both, with waterproof seals, so we're good to go for a while. The trailer is only 2 years old, but was what we thought a pretty beefy trailer regarding the clearance and wheel size. Not like that matters for the quality of what is inside it, but it's not a teeny-tiny wheel thing and so we thought it was a bit more durable. Seems not.

I suppose a bent axle is a possibility?

Does anyone have any advice, a direction to point us in?
 

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We got home last night and discovered (by this screaming metal sound backing into the driveway) that one hub on the trailer seems to have blown out. I think we're kind of lucky to have made it home without a problem. Amazingly we heard and felt nothing, maybe it finally went just before home. Could we be so lucky?

So now we're venturing into trailer hub repair, something neither of us have done, and thought some rad techies on the Buzz could point us in the right direction. I'm thinking that we might as well replace both, with waterproof seals, so we're good to go for a while. The trailer is only 2 years old, but was what we thought a pretty beefy trailer regarding the clearance and wheel size. Not like that matters for the quality of what is inside it, but it's not a teeny-tiny wheel thing and so we thought it was a bit more durable. Seems not.

I suppose a bent axle is a possibility?

Does anyone have any advice, a direction to point us in?
Sounds like bearings and potentially the chases (the part that wears against the bearings. They are not too hard to replace if you're comfortable mechanically. If you take weight off the wheel try moving it side to side. It shouldn't move that way, but if it does...bearings are loose and potentially shot. Use a screwdriver to take off the hub, there will be a pin holding a large bolt on, remove the pin and the bolt should come off easily, when that bolt is out you can remove the whole wheel and hub. You can remove the wheel and tire from the hub and take the whole hub assembly to a good parts shop and they can recommend if parts or a whole new hub makes the most sense. Sometimes it is not much more money and a lot less work just to replace the whole hub assembly. Good luck.
 

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do you have a greasable hub? zirc fitting behid a rubber seal? if not depending on your axle size 2000 lb axles are 150 bucks all the way to the wheel nuts. best bet fastest fix. if you have a tandem axle floater, you might just do the bearings. EASY diy's on the google search. a no brainer.
 

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Not to be a smart ass, but it's bearings and races, not chases.

I repack my bearings once a year and always carry a spare hub and bearings. It's pretty cheap insurance.

It's also my opinion that grease zircs on wheel bearings don't get the grease where it needs to be. I hear many stories of bearing failure with "bearing buddies", as they are sometime called.

I never let my axles get submerged when loading/unloading my rafts.

Any trailer or even auto shop can easily fix your problem. The problem may be getting the trailer there. Depends on have bad the situation is, but I wouldn't drive too far or too fast.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
No idea what kind of bearings/hub we have, yet. Here are some photos, it doesn't look like it is good to go to move to a shop for repair. It seems kind of amazing we heard/felt nothing until backing up (perhaps that little metal shaft sticking out just caught at that time, and screamed), and we drove the last 4 miles through town with our windows rolled down. We're pulling with a 1 ton van, so it takes a lot for it to register any strain too.

We're inclined to fix it ourselves ($$, if it would save), but I'd rather be playing and gardening than learning about bearings and hubs, personally.

I think we'll be repacking these regularly in the future, and spares will be going in the toolbox.
 

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No idea what kind of bearings/hub we have, yet. Here are some photos, it doesn't look like it is good to go to move to a shop for repair. It seems kind of amazing we heard/felt nothing until backing up (perhaps that little metal shaft sticking out just caught at that time, and screamed), and we drove the last 4 miles through town with our windows rolled down. We're pulling with a 1 ton van, so it takes a lot for it to register any strain too.

We're inclined to fix it ourselves ($$, if it would save), but I'd rather be playing and gardening than learning about bearings and hubs, personally.

I think we'll be repacking these regularly in the future, and spares will be going in the toolbox.

Hey Laura,
Glad you made it home with that.

Bearings are toast. It doesn't sling that much grease without frying something.

Not hard to do seals bearings and races at all. It's dirty but not hard. Packing the bearings by hand is a "little" messy too, but at least it's clean grease.

It can be a little hard to get out the old race on the inside, sometimes it is pressed on which is another thing to think about.

I would think about doing the other side too - or at least taking it apart cleaning it, looking for pitting and scoring on the roller parts and races.

One of the most challenging parts is getting the right pre-load on the bearing.

You usually need a good torque wrench to do this.

Good luck.
 

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Take the tire off, take the cotter pin out, remove the big nut. It should come off easily. Now the hub will come off the axle. Check the axle for damage, but from the looks of the photos, I'm guessing the axle will be ok. Take the hub to a parts dealer to get new bearings and seal. If the hub is damaged, you may need a new hub. It looks like the big washer behind the nut may be gone. You'll need a new one. The race for the outer bearing is pressed into the hub, so the race may be shot, but the hub may be ok. If just replacing the race, it will have to be pounded out with a punch from the back side. There will be a couple of small areas where you will be able to just get the edge of the punch on the race to push it out. If you can have the parts shop do this, it will be much easier. The new race has to be pressed in also. Make sure it is all the way seated. If you are not comfortable with this, it might be easier to just buy a new hub and bearing set. This is also what you would want to carry as a spare. Just be sure that you have the bearings packed on the spare so it's ready to go if you need it. Keep it boxed up and clean.
Once the new inner bearing and seal are installed (the seal must be carefully pressed into place), you can reinstall the hub. The tricky part is how tight to tighten the nut. I was taught to first over-tighten it and then back it off just a touch so that the wheel turns freely, but not too loose or you will just be doing this all over again. Some goes for too tight.
Looks like I failed to mention that the bearings must be properly packed with grease before the reassembly starts.
If you want to talk to me about this, shoot me a PM and I will send you my phone #.


Looks like Carvedog addressed some of this while I was typing. Good info there.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone, lots of good info. The Buzz is so excellent!

I did find a cool video:

YouTube - Remove and Reinstall a Trailer Hub Review - etrailer.com

It actually scared me more than anything, wondering if the axle is bent or something. but a good visual on adjusting the pre-load.

I'll be passing this info on to the project manager (husband), I'm actually supposed to be staying out of this repair! I'm pretty sure we have a good torque wrench too. And we are definitely doing both sides.
 

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Not to be a smart ass, but it's bearings and races, not chases.

My bad...races not chases. Should proof read more carefully. Anyway, it is a pretty straightforward repair and a good parts shop should still be able to tell you just what parts are needed and the price difference between getting the parts separately or the whole assembly. Latex or similar style double gloving is also a good idea. It is a messy job. Good luck.
 

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Thanks everyone, lots of good info. The Buzz is so excellent!

I did find a cool video:

YouTube - Remove and Reinstall a Trailer Hub Review - etrailer.com

It actually scared me more than anything, wondering if the axle is bent or something. but a good visual on adjusting the pre-load.

I'll be passing this info on to the project manager (husband), I'm actually supposed to be staying out of this repair! I'm pretty sure we have a good torque wrench too. And we are definitely doing both sides.
wow they have everything on the utubes these days. yeah that's the bit.
 

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I've been dealing with the same thing a lot this year. Last year I bought a homemade trailer, took it apart and repacked everything with grease. I reused everything including the grease seals. This year I took it apart before the season and found the bearings on one side to be dry and rusted. I took everything to the parts store to find replacements only to learn that it is all old and odd-sized. They put a micrometer on everything and gave me the nearest thing they had. I bought two of everything to do both hubs. The rear seal didn't fit very well and I destroyed one trying to get it to seat. Finally I was confident that the one side was good but I was now short one seal for the other side (an hour round trip to get another one). I pulled the grease cap and the other side didn't look dry like the first so I put off doing it.

Suddenly, without hearing any bad noises, I lost the tire after a great day floating. I had enough parts to rebuilt it to get it home and then spent father's day at the parts store getting a new set of everything to make it right before hitting the river again. I still don't trust it is right and ordered a new axle and hubs that I can get replacement parts for.

Up until now, I have kept the hubs out of the water when loading and unloading. I was hoping that with new, good seals and annual maintenance I would be okay backing the trailer down further and sink the hubs.

Does anyone have good or bad experiences sinking their trailer?
 

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We're inclined to fix it ourselves ($$, if it would save), but I'd rather be playing and gardening than learning about bearings and hubs, personally.

I think we'll be repacking these regularly in the future, and spares will be going in the toolbox.
It's a messy job, BUT you oughta learn how in the comfort of your driveway and in close proximity to liquid refreshments. It sure beats trying to do it on the side of the interstate in a blizzard, I can attest that sucks.

Grease, grease, and grease some more whenever you think about it. I carry a mini grease gun in the tool box. You ID and MT folks don't seem to have many putin/takeouts where you can float a boat onto the trailer, so you are probably saving some wear there. JC Whitney and other interweb sites have axels for cheap, they should be easy to put on. You may want to think about getting the biggest tire you can fit on the trailer, less rotation = less wear.

I saw a trailer shoot a wheel off at 70mph, toasted the hub and axle. It was funny only because he'd had been bragging about NEVER having to lube his bearing buddies.

Now I better go grease my axles after talking shit!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Does anyone have good or bad experiences sinking their trailer?

Um, this might be our problem. Our raft & frame are heavy, and last weekend it was just the two of us, and not a soul at the takeout (freaky - 4th of July - WTF) to help. So instead of taking the frame off the boat and loading them separately, we backed into the river just enough to float the boat up next to the trailer and we could horse it up ourselves. I didn't think we got the hubs in, but we may have. It seems too coincidental for it not to be the cause. That's why I'm thinking waterproof hubs/seals/bearings etc.
 

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Sounds like you have it covered, good info from good folks. If I might suggest this stuff. It is marine grease meant just for bearings that are subject to dunking. You should be able to get it from napa in your area. It specifically resists washout due to submerging. (even the best of seals seem to let a little water in) It is made by Sta-lube. All that I use. Good luck!
 

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Hate to repost, but bearing buddies are junk. If you do replace an axle go with EZ lube axles made by dexter axle. They are built with a drilled out spindle with a zerk on the end that allows the grease to push through the back bearing forward. If you are careful to allow time enough for the grease to ooze forward and not pop the seal out the back it will repack the bearings without taking the wheel off. These are the standard nowadays, and it is hard to find a good trailer without them. They also do not have springs but incorporate a pressed in torsion axle with dropped spindles , no axle across the middle (way better clearance).
 

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What he said.

I have to replace one of my DExter EZ lube axles(bent), the whole thing with hubs is like $250, I always back the trailer in the water when possible, well worth it to me.
 

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First I will admit to not having read every post or watching the video so if I am redundant I apologize. Packing the bearings correctly is important. Simply smearing grease on the race and rollers will not do. Another important and often overlooked part of all of this is assuring that you adjust the re packed or new bearings to the proper running clearance. A wheel bearing that is too tight will self destruct quickly, and too loose can cause the grease to prematurely run out and cause burnelling (pitting) of the race. With a little research this can be done easily by even the most non mechanical. Good luck!
 

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Get a new axle

I went through this last year. Went to ainsworth repair in denver and they took good care of me.

They got a replacement, welded the brackets on, and had it back to me in 2 days. ~150 bucks out the door.

Ainsworth Trailer Repair ? Denver, CO

You're gonna end up doing this in the long run. No point in wasting 100 bucks on a new hub and bearing.
 

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wheel bearings are to easily maintained not to be one of the items on your check list, same as your boat and gear. Repack the bearings with bearing grease at least twice a year and more often if you submerge your axles in water, to check for wear jack the trailer wheel off the ground and shake it in and out looking for slack, tighten the axle nut just enough to take the slack out, do not over tighten the axle nut.If you are afraid to get a little or a lot of grease on your hands take it to a shop.
 

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If the spindle's bent, just get a new axle

I went through something similar after spending a summer in MT where I was able to back down into the river on the fine concrete boat ramps after doing solo after-work floats near Libby. After coming all the back to CO, the bearings failed that fall, the spindle was shot, and I made the mistake of assuming a new axle would be much more expensive than repairing the spindle. The shop that had the trailer re-welded the spindle on crooked and a few months later I noticed the tire was wearing very unevenly. I don't remember the exact pricing but I think I was able to get the entire axle & bearings replaced for about $75 more than the yearly bearing replacement I've been doing.

-AH
 
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