Bearing Buddies, be careful! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-17-2007, 07:44 PM   #1
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I have had boat and travel trailers for about 40 years. Since I have been a member of this group I have seen members mentiion bearing buddies, caps that keep pressure on wheel the bearing grease, and have never seen a need for them on trailers that do not suberge the wheels in water.
I have been working on a Trillium that I bought yesterday. After tracing the brake wiring and getting power to the brakes I pulled the wheels and brake drums. There must have been 4 pounds of wheel bearing grease inside each of the brake drums. I am lucky that there was no power to the brakes as I would have been in trouble if I had needed them on the way home.
If you have bearing buddies on your trailer be very careful when you add grease or you may end up having troubles.

John
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Old 08-10-2007, 02:34 PM   #2
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Quote:
I have had boat and travel trailers for about 40 years. Since I have been a member of this group I have seen members mentiion bearing buddies, caps that keep pressure on wheel the bearing grease, and have never seen a need for them on trailers that do not suberge the wheels in water.
I have been working on a Trillium that I bought yesterday. After tracing the brake wiring and getting power to the brakes I pulled the wheels and brake drums. There must have been 4 pounds of wheel bearing grease inside each of the brake drums. I am lucky that there was no power to the brakes as I would have been in trouble if I had needed them on the way home.
If you have bearing buddies on your trailer be very careful when you add grease or you may end up having troubles.

John
I am having my bearings packed today and the guy mentioned installing The Bearing Buddies. I decided to not install them untill possibly next time or I'll do them myself. What are your thoughts on the bearing buddies? What IS the proper way to grease with them on? I will ocasionaly be crossing water in the Burro to get to a camp site I love so this may play into if I should or should not install them.
Thanks
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Old 08-11-2007, 09:19 PM   #3
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EZ lube vs Bearing Buddies



Bearing Buddies and the EZlube system are like comparing oranges and apples. The EZlube system is engineered to lube the bearings and the Bearing Buddie system is an add on.

The EZlube system works by the grease being forced through a drilled hole to the inner bearing and then the grease is forced out through the inner bearing to the outer bearing as the cavity is filled up.
All the excess will automatically comes back out to the front of the hub and can be wiped away. The EZlube system is well engineered and works well on these trailers and the seals are very reliable with a small portable grease gun. http://dexteraxle.com/e_z_lube_system

The Bearing buddie is attached to the hub as an add on and when you grease it the outer bearing gets the grease and the inner bearing gets the surplus if there is any. In other words if you don't put enough grease in the inners won't get any lubrication and if you put too much in you will blow the rear seals because of the spring in the outboard end and pressurized grease has no place to go accept to blow the seal. http://www.bearingbuddy.com/why.html Bill
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Old 08-12-2007, 12:25 AM   #4
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Quote:
I am having my bearings packed today and the guy mentioned installing The Bearing Buddies. I decided to not install them untill possibly next time or I'll do them myself. What are your thoughts on the bearing buddies? What IS the proper way to grease with them on? I will ocasionaly be crossing water in the Burro to get to a camp site I love so this may play into if I should or should not install them.
Thanks

I am 65 years old and have had camp trailers and motor homes all of my life. The only trailers I have ever had bearing buddies on were my boat trailers that completely submerged the wheels.
I really do not see the need for them on travel trailers. I think they are just a way for the RV shops to get some more of our money.
Grease does not wear out. My personal feeling is that if you use your trailer quite bit and have the bearings packed every couple of years you should be OK.
John
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Old 08-12-2007, 08:30 AM   #5
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Hi, I don't like the bearing buddies, because they are pressed in the trailer hub, via a brass or softsided hammer, and the only thing keeping that springloaded device from falling out and entering somebodies windshield is 1/8" to 3/16" of pipeing, Iam a welder and build construction type trailers, and will not install these, ez lube is a better choice, I don't care for that either, knowing that you have that, bearing inspection would be a thing of the past, bearings should be cleaned and inspected every couple of years because you could get a defective bearing, and not know it, a good portion of them are made in guess where? yup you guessed it --- China the land of quality products --- Paul
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Old 08-12-2007, 09:51 AM   #6
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When I buy a new (to me) vehicle, I repack the bearings with moly grease... Then I forget about them. After all, those of you who repack the wheel bearings on your RV's, how often do you repack the bearings on your tow vehicle? The tow vehicle is often our daily driver and as such, sees a lot more miles than your trailer. If you're going to repack your trailer bearings every year, why would you not repack your tow vehicle bearings every oil change?

If I go offroading and drive through a 3 foot deep stream, I'll check my wheel bearings when I get back. If I splash through a bit of a puddle lower than my axles, I won't bother.

Wheel bearings on a boat trailer? Definitely, check them every year. There are probably more important maintenance areas on a camp trailer though... You should continue to inspect things like brake pads on the trailer... and you should clean out the flue on your propane fridge...
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Old 08-12-2007, 07:23 PM   #7
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Paul, I'm with you on add-ons falling off -- In my travels, I have seen a half-dozen BBs on the pavement.

Herb, I know owners of larger trailers who claim to have never repacked bearings! I also know me, who didn't repack his Scamp's bearings for about 2.5 years (after having originally packed them) and had bearing failure so bad that the spindle was irretrievably scored. That resulted in a $$ axle replacement. Of course, after having made temporary repairs, I checked the other wheel and found the grease to be water-contaminated. The grease won't last very long if the seal leaks and lets water in... I'll take a repack as cheap insurance against a more expensive failure.

Comparing the tow vehicle to the trailer is apples to oranges for many modern TVs because they have cartridge bearings in the front, and of course, the rear bearings are in a gear oil bath from the differential. Unfortunately, one needs to be using a 16" wheel with a six-lug hub to get cartridge bearings in a TT axle AFAIK.

Dexter Nev-R-Lube Bearings
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Old 08-12-2007, 08:18 PM   #8
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Comparing the tow vehicle to the trailer is apples to oranges for many modern TVs because they have cartridge bearings in the front, and of course, the rear bearings are in a gear oil bath from the differential. Unfortunately, one needs to be using a 16" wheel with a six-lug hub to get cartridge bearings in a TT axle AFAIK.
Wow. Seen a lot of Toyota's and Honda's disassembled and never run across a cartridge bearing. Only my lightweight non-towing toyotas have semi-floating diffs... Both of my tow-vehicles have full-floating axles and hence need to have grease packed in them... Haven't taken any 2007's apart so maybe that's where they are.
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Old 08-12-2007, 09:30 PM   #9
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Have to admit I've never seen a Honda or Toyota apart, and I can't explain why the car manf recommend long service intervals and the trailer axle manf recommends much shorter intervals. I doubt it's because they make money on seals...

My '82 Dodge had grease bearings on the front (repack 30,000 miles IIRC, but that may have been for severe service), but unlike my trailer, they seemed to be away from the weather, so maybe it's seal protection. I believe my ex-wife's '93 Saturn had cartridge. They've got something strange on the front wheels of my Ranger 4x4, but the 4x2 calls for repacking at 60,000 miles.

Frankly, I haven't messed much with truck or auto bearings because they don't seem to fail much (overbuilt? well sealed from the elements? higher off the ground? slower rotation?), but I have certainly had a lot of experience with trailer bearings, esp boat trailers. Based on what I have read, seen and experienced, there are real differences between the two systems and I certainly couldn't advocate ignoring trailer bearings like one does automotive bearings -- YMMV -- I intend to continue repacking my trailer bearings as recommended by Dexter.

BTW, Al-Ko recommends 6,000miles or 6 months, whichever comes first, and my old Jayco's recommendation was about the same. Dexter is a year and I don't recall the mileage, if any.
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Old 08-12-2007, 11:52 PM   #10
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Toyota and Honda routinely use sealed bearing cartridges, at least on cars (I haven't owned a Toyota truck). My 1984 Tercel had sealed in the front and trailer-like you-pack-em bearings in the back. Various vintages of Civic/CRX (1984-1992) I've maintained have sealed front and back. The Sienna's are sealed front and back.

Sealed bearing for trailers are available in smaller hub sizes... but not from Dexter. Check out a T@B, the most "common" (okay, they're not common, but they're out there...) trailer in North America with European-style Al-Ko components.

The EZ-Lube is also a problem for grease leakage into the brakes (as the Dexter documentation says), but much less of a problem than the Bearing Buddy silliness, partially because (as mentioned by others) the EZ-Lube doesn't hold pressure on the grease continually.
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Old 08-13-2007, 03:26 PM   #11
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There is a place for everything, but Buddy Bearings on a TT no.I have them on my boat trlr, and for 20 yrs. I have questioned their effectivness.
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Old 08-13-2007, 03:55 PM   #12
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You know, I got to thinking about this and I wonder if having brakes on the trailer (like every car/truck wheel does) keeps everything more protected, esp the seals, than the 'idler' (aka brake-less) arrangements do.

The axle I had a problem with did not have brakes, and the guys saying they never repack on the other RV groups generally have large trailers with two axles and four braked wheels. Without the brake drum and hardware plate protection, the seal area of the spindle shoulder is right out there to pick up dirt, chafe the seal and then get very wet in the rain (which is what I believe happened in my case).

OTOH, if I had another boat trailer, I would be very inclined to use BBs, esp the newer ones which have an over-pressure relief valve, because just dunking warm hubs in cold water is likely conducive to sucking in water.
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Old 08-14-2007, 04:09 PM   #13
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On my boat trlr the big problem for me is having the wheel cylinders rust up, and having to hone them out. The brake grease works as long as the brakes do not get hot.The last time I rebuilt the brakes I used a Dow Corning grease and coated the cylinders between the dust boot and piston. The last time I did my TT it had 20k mi. and the bearings were great.
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