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Old 07-22-2020, 01:15 PM   #1
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Name: john
Trailer: bigfoot
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registering or logging in

Hi... From a complete newbie in axle grease.... wheel bearings etc... Is there any way to know of the wheel bearings on a small trailer are in good shape? We have a 17 foot Bigfoot approx.... 1987 vintage... Thanks John
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Old 07-22-2020, 01:50 PM   #2
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Trailer: 1979 Boler B1300
New Hampshire
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You could tow it for 20 miles and see if the hubs are hot to the touch.

Actually you could try jacking up each side, put your hands on the tire at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions and try waggling the wheel. If it waggles the bearings are really worn. The only other way to see if they are not worn that badly would be disassembly. If the axle is a torsion axle and is the original you would have to replace it anyway, they have a lifespan and 33 years is beyond it.
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Old 07-22-2020, 02:17 PM   #3
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Thanks Alex.... If the axles are ok.... would you recommend servicing them anyway ??
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Old 07-22-2020, 02:40 PM   #4
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Are you looking at the trailer to purchase, just bought the trailer or have you owned it for a while? If you are looking at or just got the trailer, does the previous owner have an invoice or something to show if he had the bearings re-packed recently? Have you towed it yet? If you have, did you check the hubs to see if they were hot? Are there any weird wear patterns on the tires?
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Old 07-22-2020, 03:04 PM   #5
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Hi Alex

I actually bought the trailer three years ago and used it for the past two seasons, towing it 500 miles or so. Never did think about checking the axles or anyhting but so far so good... although somewhat concerned...
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Old 07-22-2020, 03:19 PM   #6
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Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
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Its 33 years old with no service history. I've had wheel bearings go out on a trip, very expensive repair plus tow bill. Meanwhile, servicing them myself might have taken about an hour.

Its the old pay a little now or pay a lot later.

And my rig was not 33 years old, it was about half that. And mine had recently been serviced (improperly as it turned out). I prefer to do the bearings myself to ensure they are right..


Running old bearings until they fail can be both dangerous and expensive.

Google trailer wheel bearing service interval.

OK, I googled it for you "In general, trailer wheel bearings should be serviced annually or every 10,000 miles, whichever occurs first."

So there you go, you should service once a year, and you've owned for three years.
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Old 07-22-2020, 04:55 PM   #7
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Got it Thrift.... Will do better from now on... One last thing maybe.... Since my automotive knowledge is close to empty, how can anyone make sure that the job is done right?...... Crap shoot ???
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Old 07-22-2020, 05:04 PM   #8
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The only real way to know for sure that it was done properly would be to learn how and do it yourself. If you take things apart to check to see if it was done correctly, then you have to have it done all over again. If you have a mechanic that you explicitly trust and have used for years, have them do it.
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Old 07-22-2020, 05:19 PM   #9
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Yes... do it myself..... MMmmmm.... When I got my first car, I didn't have the oil change for 50,000 miles. Not because I was cheap, but because mechanics and me seem to have been born on different planets. So doing the bearibgs myself would be like a three year old making 'chicken-cordon-bleu'. In fact, I haven't seen or spoken to a mechanic for years. I drive cars slowly and with great care so I don't hopefully ever get to know a mechanic.

Kidding aside, is there an approx ballpark figure for doing the job right that would sound right??? Hey.. I think I could build a house pretty well, but it's getting there that might get me in trouble.... lol
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Old 07-22-2020, 09:25 PM   #10
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Sorry, I do my own so I have no idea. I've done wheel bearings myself since my 1979 VW Bus through several generations of Ford Escorts. I used to replace the shoes on the rear drum brakes and when you did that, you had to re-pack the bearings. After the Escorts I had vehicles with 4 wheel disc brakes which didn't require any bearing re-packing.
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