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My newish kayak trailer is my first real experience with bearing buddies and so far I find them amazing.  There not expensive and seem to help out a lot.  Has anyone had a bad experience with them?

Edited by Angry John

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I had some on a boat trailer years ago. The only problem I can remember is over the years taking them out to clean and check or replace bearings and seals and reinstalling them they got to where they did not fit tight in the hub anymore. I replaced them with another set of them.

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Bearing Buddies are a great addition to a trailer but remember you still need to repack you bearings.

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You still need to do a repack every few years. The bearing buddies can only be removed and reinstalled once or twice. After that, the gripping grooves wear out and you'll throw the bearing buddy off when in tow.

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1 hour ago, slonezp said:

You still need to do a repack every few years. The bearing buddies can only be removed and reinstalled once or twice. After that, the gripping grooves wear out and you'll throw the bearing buddy off when in tow.

So the ones i have are stainless, and your saying that the threads on stainless are going to get worn???  I also cannot see repacking a bearing if your pusing fresh grease threw them.  I can see if your in dirty water that maybe being an issue but if your pushing grease threw the system that should keep out the dirt????

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Couple of things you need to realize about them.  They are not totally water proof.  When you add grease, you only add enough to float the center piston so there is some spring pressure, but not all the way out to where the spring is fully compressed.  If you put too much grease in them, when they build up road heat, the pressure can push them off, so when you get where you're going, you're looking at a greasy spindle and nut. If nothing else it will make one greasy mess inside your wheels. They have a small relief hole that's supposed to prevent over greasing and excess pressure.  Bras help keep the wheels clean if you don't put too much in a it push the bras off.  

The best time to grease them is just before launching your boat after a long road trip.  The springs can have pushed that center piston to the bottom and when you back your trailer into that cold water, it creates a suction that can pull water into the hub.  Over time, this turns the grease inside the hub to a milky mess and eventual bearing failure.  That's why you should still clean, check and repack your wheel bearings ever so often, I do mine every spring, just before the spring push starts.  I also fish during the winter, that's why I wait to spring.  If you don't winter fish, it's best to do them in the fall, so any moisture that might get in doesn't have time to sit there and rust your bearings sitting all winter.  Then there is also the possibility of a seal failure that you might not catch until your wheel passes you going down the road and you're stranded on the side of the road with the axle dragging the ground.  A couple of hours each year can save you a whole lot of trouble when you don't want it.

 

As for life span,  I've been running Bearing Buddies or Red Eye's almost ever since they came into existence, (a long time) and have only lost a few in all those years.  My Javelin is a 1999 model, has a tandem axle trailer and has made numerous round trips from middle GA to south Texas, about 2,500 miles round trip and couldn't begin to count the local trips it's made, and during this time, I've lost two off it.  That's taking them off every spring and doing the cleaning, inspection and packing, so they have been on and off at least 15 times.  You just need to learn how to take them off and put them in a proper manor.  I do keep a spare in the boat though, but I also keep a spare spindle and hub assy, just in case bad things happen.  I also keep a grease gun in the battery compartment so I can give them a shot after a long pull before launching.  Almost 55 years of towing boats umpteen thousands of miles, I've never been stranded on the side of the road with a bad bearing.  

Another word of wisdom, when you clean and pack your bearings, after each time you tow the boat give them a small shot of grease the first several times, even if you only went a coupe of miles.  When you reassemble things, you are going to have air trapped in the hub, and will get pushed out as you tow it.

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11 hours ago, Angry John said:

So the ones i have are stainless, and your saying that the threads on stainless are going to get worn???  I also cannot see repacking a bearing if your pusing fresh grease threw them.  I can see if your in dirty water that maybe being an issue but if your pushing grease threw the system that should keep out the dirt????

Look into Vortex hubs if you want to push grease thru the system. A bearing buddy greased properly merely keeps good grease on the bearings. The Vortex hubs have a zerk fitting to add grease and a bleed fitting to expel old grease while you're pushing grease thru the system. 

 

Second, the bearing buddy's do not have threads. They do not screw on, they are installed with a mallet.  They have gripping ridges which wear out with repeated removal and installation. 

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My current boat trailer has a grease fitting in the end of the axle. The grease comes out between the back bearing and seal. This pushes fresh grease all the way through both bearings. I still tear mine down to clean and repack them every couple of years.

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I use Bearing Buddies on both my trailers (Old Town Canoe & Lund).

They work as advertised but as mentioned, are not a replacement for maintenance. 

 

In an effort to assist them in doing their job, once I reach the launching site, (especially after an extended time on the road at highway speed) my routine includes ALWAYS taking sufficient time prepping the boat to allow the whole hub/bearing assembly to cool. Although mine have never been super hot (nor should they be) cool to the touch is good.

   When wheel hubs, heated by motion, hit the cool water at the boat ramp, everything inside contracts, creating a vacuum that can pull water into the hubs, contaminating the grease. This water will corrode bearings over time, which increases friction, creating more heat and eventually leading to failure, and an unplanned stop at the side of the road.     Bearing protectors, like the Bearing Buddy, combat this by maintaining a small reserve of grease under pressure on the outer face of the hub. The idea is that the grease under pressure will push into the hub when it contracts, preventing water from ever intruding. If you keep the Bearing Buddy filled just enough to maintain pressure, one can extend the service interval for your grease-filled hubs somewhat.

But they still need to be periodically checked, filled, maintained & changed. 

YMMV

:smiley:

A-Jay

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1 hour ago, A-Jay said:

I use Bearing Buddies on both my trailers (Old Town Canoe & Lund).

They work as advertised but as mentioned, are not a replacement for maintenance. 

 

In an effort to assist them in doing their job, once I reach the launching site, (especially after an extended time on the road at highway speed) my routine includes ALWAYS taking sufficient time prepping the boat to allow the whole hub/bearing assembly to cool. Although mine have never been super hot (nor should they be) cool to the touch is good.

   When wheel hubs, heated by motion, hit the cool water at the boat ramp, everything inside contracts, creating a vacuum that can pull water into the hubs, contaminating the grease. This water will corrode bearings over time, which increases friction, creating more heat and eventually leading to failure, and an unplanned stop at the side of the road.     Bearing protectors, like the Bearing Buddy, combat this by maintaining a small reserve of grease under pressure on the outer face of the hub. The idea is that the grease under pressure will push into the hub when it contracts, preventing water from ever intruding. If you keep the Bearing Buddy filled just enough to maintain pressure, one can extend the service interval for your grease-filled hubs somewhat.

But they still need to be periodically checked, filled, maintained & changed. 

YMMV

:smiley:

A-Jay

This was my thoughts said better.  As things always work I greased my trailer after owning it only a short time and 3 short trips less than 10 miles.  When I pushed in the grease water came out.  So the previous owner was not on their maintenance game.  I packed them full and I'm going to go roll around for a few miles to work it in and fill them up again.

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Speaking of grease, does anyone use synthetic grease like Mobile or just use marine grease ?

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9 minutes ago, Flatrock said:

Speaking of grease, does anyone use synthetic grease like Mobile or just use marine grease ?

Been using this for a while.  

Really good.

new CorrosionXhttp://www.corrosionx.com/corrosionx-grease.html

 

A-Jay

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On 12/23/2018 at 10:21 PM, Angry John said:

So the ones i have are stainless, and your saying that the threads on stainless are going to get worn???  I also cannot see repacking a bearing if your pusing fresh grease threw them.  I can see if your in dirty water that maybe being an issue but if your pushing grease threw the system that should keep out the dirt????

Bearing buddies are great but there’s a big difference between pumping grease into a bearing and actually packing a bearing. After years and years of pulling trailers I have learned a couple things. One is instead of replacing bearings, just replace the hubs. I replaced the bearings in my 1957 trailer my grandpa gave me and I was wailing on the races with a hammer every evening after work until people 1/2 mile down the road were complaining. New hubs only cost about $15-20 more haha. Another important thing is to always keep some spare parts (bearing, hub, wheel/tire, jack, tire iron, grease, etc) on hand. That way when your wheel flies off and into the woods, you can still just roll on home. Believe me it happens . 

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Bearing buddies help keep grease in the front bearing but not the rear bearings. (Remember, there is a big washer between bearing and bearing buddy.)

 

As was mentioned, I too changed to Vortex hubs. You grease from the back of the hub and it pushes grease out the front bearing.

 

some axles have a threaded hole in the end of the spindle. You’re going have to find a zerk you can screw in to add grease through the spindle but it would need to be removed to let the bearing buddy fit properly.

 

I carry a complete spare hub with bearings and all ready to go. If you have a problem in the middle of the night on the highway, it makes it easy to replace the assembly and get  going faster.

 

(unless the axle has brakes, of course)

 

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I dont doubt that having a spare hub is a great idea and I have yet to ever look for an entire replacement.  Where do you find these, tractor supply, etrailer??? I have not gone this deep and need to figure out how to size them correctly.  The only good news is I have a total load one each side that is almost insignificant.  100 lbs max per. Side.  Rotational heat is really my only worry.

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39 minutes ago, Angry John said:

I dont doubt that having a spare hub is a great idea and I have yet to ever look for an entire replacement.  Where do you find these, tractor supply, etrailer??? I have not gone this deep and need to figure out how to size them correctly.  The only good news is I have a total load one each side that is almost insignificant.  100 lbs max per. Side.  Rotational heat is really my only worry.

I needed to pack the bearings so it requires taking the hub off. I took the whole assembly to a trailer repair shop who also stocked the parts for sale. You’ll probably have to replace the rear seal when you do that so buy that and a whole kit. I changed to Lucas Oil marine grease because it is rated for high speed/heat applications. Tractor Supply near me had some of the parts, but not all.

 

once you know what you need, you can find parts online too.

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