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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need to lube raft trailer hubs; supposed to spin tire while pumping grease into zerk; subaru jack doesn't extend very high (have no wood or cinder blocks handy); is using the axle a terrible idea??
 

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How else would you jack it up? Also, not sure if I'm telling you something you already know, but putting grease into zerks is not greasing the bearings if it's something like bearing buddies. You need to actually pull the inner and outer bearings periodically and grease them by hand otherwise you'll end up stranded on the side of the road.

I worked in a shop for a few years and I can't tell you how many people towed their busted down trailers in because they relied on bearing buddies.
 

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a proper bearing pack is beyond most people's skill level.

"greasing" bearings is not just smearing grease on them. to do it right, the seal needs to be removed to remove the inner bearing, then clean the bearings and races completely, then repack them and install.

not hard, but very few people do it right!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm totally new to trailers ("novice" is even too generous!).
Builder said to do the zerk thing every 1K. Not sure how "periodically" the bearings need a more full treatment (axle is a Dexter E-Z lube, the Dexter book says 12 months or 12 K miles for "clean and repack wheel bearings" -- sound about right? Happy to hear any advice on that -- I expect I would bring to someone who knows what the heck they are doing!
 

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I always take the trailer for a short ride at highway speeds and then feel the hubs for heat. And after every stop.

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To answer your initial question, there is actually a device out there that is shaped like a nautilus shell- made of plastic. You place the corner of the device against your axel and then roll forward....causing your axel to rise off the ground as the "shell" shaped device rotates onto a thicker profile. You drive your axel onto this thing and it pivots your trailer wheel off the ground. If you are lifting from your axel, be sure to chalk both sides of the opposite wheel before you work on it. Break the lugs loose while.everything is still on the ground.

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A lot of the trailer maintenance recommendations come from the boating world. Not saying it's EVER a bad idea to take great care of your trailer bearings- but believe me, when you are launching and retrieving a boat in salt water several times a week, that's a whole different set of wear issues. Submerge those hubs in salt water and it's game on. When I was towing a flats boat around Florida for 4 years, I replaced them once a year and did fine. Now I do it every other year and augment with zirc grease application every other trip. So far, so good. I replaced mine last spring and there was zero signs of wear on the races after 2 seasons of quite a lot of towing.

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Jared
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Every season for boat trailers!

How else would you jack it up? Also, not sure if I'm telling you something you already know, but putting grease into zerks is not greasing the bearings if it's something like bearing buddies. You need to actually pull the inner and outer bearings periodically and grease them by hand otherwise you'll end up stranded on the side of the road.

I worked in a shop for a few years and I can't tell you how many people towed their busted down trailers in because they relied on bearing buddies.
You are spot on man! For trailers that get dunked in water every season, you need to do a full bearing pack. If you can't do it, pay someone. We charge 65 bucks plus the cost of the seals at my shop, but it is really an easy thing to do. I helped a friend last night pack and replace some bearings on an old boat trailer he just purchased. It is a really good skill to learn, because you will be able to get yourself off the side of the road if you have a bearing fail.
Since most of our trailers don't have brakes, it is not a concern. But for braking axle trailers, any bearing buddy, or dexter EZ lube axle gives you the ability to pump grease into the hub until the hub fills up with grease and blows the seal out inside the brake drum. Then the grease contaminates the shoes, and you need new trailer brakes. Trailer brakes should be visually inspected regularly anyways, so I don't understand why Dexter even uses that setup. You can blow the seal out just as easy with a no brake (idler hub) axle, but the grease just gets on the wheel and trailer, not really ruining anything, just making a mess.
I always find water or the affects of water on trailer hubs when I perform bearing packs. Even when you add more grease, it doesn't eliminate the moisture in the bearings and hubs. Also, there is specific grease you use called marine grease, instead of standard hi temp grease. It is thicker and is sticky like peanut butter.
 

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You might want to find a block of wood or a cinder block before heading to the river. Whatever jack you have must also work on the trailer to change a flat. (Do you have a spare tire for the trailer?)
 

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I also have Dexter EZ Lube axle and just greased bearings for recent Lodore trip. Marine grease, my stuff is red and that helps distinguish it from the grey **** that comes out when you pump it in. Don't have any problem with blowing seal out but it's time to pull everything and repack as described above. Lots of good advice here, unlike some threads on the Buzz.... best way to make sure all is good with trailer bearings is the touch test: tow it 30 miles or so and put your hand on grease cap: if it's anything resembling hot you have a problem. You can also shoot it with a laser temperature gun (electrician tool): if any more than 10-15 degrees above ambient temperature, you have a problem.
Really shouldn't head out on any trip of more than couple hundred miles without spare bearing(s), pack in a ziplock with a little mini-grease gun unless you're already carrying latter for your outboard (good idea). Bearings are very common but out in boondocks it's always comforting to be self-sufficient...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the advice - you guys rock!
(I avoided the need to understand anything about trailers by having only small boats that I could toss up on the car roof for a while, but I/we hit the limit -- my wife is especially happy now about not having to help get the 12 foot raft and frame up on the roof! -- and of course, now that I have a trailer, I can get an even bigger raft; oh, and then I'll need a big truck, and then...)
 
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