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ivectoryou
08-24-2007, 12:46 PM
Hi.

Last night when we arrived at the lake I noticed that two (out of four) bearing buddy caps had come off during our 20 minute drive and that grease was all over our boat trailer rims.

We had replacement caps with us and I put those on for the drive home. When we got home, I noticed that we lost two or three caps on the way home and the wheels were very hot and smelly.

We drove the boat home from California (500 miles) a few months ago without any problems and we have put on at least another 300 problem-free miles with it this summer and I'm now dumbfounded as to the reason for the sudden problem.

I know the wheels were likely very hot from all of the grease we lost on the trip to the lake and that made the trip home one without proper lubrication.

The only changes we made were that I added air to the tires on the way to the lake and last week we pulled the caps off to inspect the little springy metal caps for proper wheel bearing grease amount. Yes, we pushed the caps back on far enough.

I guess I'll have to take the trailer in to ensure the bearings are still good.

My questions are:

Is there a way to ensure this doesn't happen again or is there any common mistake that we might have made?

Is there a better option than the bearing buddy route?

If I did fry the bearings about how much does a repair like that cost if I pay a shop (Les Schwab?) to do it?

Thanks in advance,

Confused in Eugene

JEREMY79
08-24-2007, 12:50 PM
I will be curious to hear eveyones answer. I have had a huge problem with bearing buddies this year. Ihave one that keeps coming off, not the cap the acutual stainless steel bearing buddy.

TMCNo1
08-24-2007, 01:46 PM
Hi.

Last night when we arrived at the lake I noticed that two (out of four) bearing buddy caps had come off during our 20 minute drive and that grease was all over our boat trailer rims.

We had replacement caps with us and I put those on for the drive home. When we got home, I noticed that we lost two or three caps on the way home and the wheels were very hot and smelly.

We drove the boat home from California (500 miles) a few months ago without any problems and we have put on at least another 300 problem-free miles with it this summer and I'm now dumbfounded as to the reason for the sudden problem.

I know the wheels were likely very hot from all of the grease we lost on the trip to the lake and that made the trip home one without proper lubrication.

The only changes we made were that I added air to the tires on the way to the lake and last week we pulled the caps off to inspect the little springy metal caps for proper wheel bearing grease amount. Yes, we pushed the caps back on far enough.

I guess I'll have to take the trailer in to ensure the bearings are still good.

My questions are:

Is there a way to ensure this doesn't happen again or is there any common mistake that we might have made?

Is there a better option than the bearing buddy route?

If I did fry the bearings about how much does a repair like that cost if I pay a shop (Les Schwab?) to do it?

Thanks in advance,

Confused in Eugene


Are you talking about the soft black bra or the entire Metal Bearing Buddy itself?
There are a couple different size/styles of Bearing Buddys and UFP also make a bearing protector called the Trailer Buddy that is simular and if the bras do not fit the proper protector, they will come off when the grease expands and the pistons push out. Clean the inside of the bra and the outside of the bearing protector with lacquer thinner before installing and be sure they are pressed on tight. Also, some of the cheap, silver colored bras are way to short and will come off easier than the original long black ones.

ivectoryou
08-24-2007, 02:04 PM
I'm talking about the soft black bra.

I firmly believe we have the correct size bra. I will clean everything up as you suggested and give it another go, but if it happened once, I don't see why it won't happen again.

Why can't they come up with a better system? (Thinking outloud). Passenger vehicles don't need buddy's/bra's etc. Is it because boat trailer's get put in the water?

Is there any way to tell if my bearings were damaged last night or do I need to take it to a tire shop?

Thanks you!!! I really appreciate the advice!!

Dan

TMCNo1
08-24-2007, 02:35 PM
Most always, the bra contains the grease that seeps out of the bearing protector as it expands from the heat and prevents it from slinging onto the wheels. I would just use the grease gun and top them off as directed and keep a close check on them.
Just to feel better, you may want to jack up each wheel individually and see if any play is observed in the bearings by grabbing the tread of each tire and trying to rock it back and forth and spin the tire to see if any noise is evident.

endl
08-24-2007, 04:46 PM
In my experience when those Bra/covers get any oil, grease in them they do not stay put. Like TMCNo1 stated clean them and the BB very well before sliding them on. Also I thnk they just get old and that vinyl deteriorates and they come loose.

As far as running low on grease you should have been ok as long a the BB did not come off.

If your trailer is a 01 might not be a bad idea to change your bearings just for PM and piece of mind. Seals go bad water seeps in, rust occurs and then you blow a bearing apart on the road and thats not fun. "from experience"

It is really not hard to change them out but if you not mechanical or dont have the time......my guess would be a 2 hours of labor plus parts. I am in the trucking business and our trailer shop charges 65.00 per hour and you might have 40.00 in parts worse case. Bearings and seals are cheap. It is really a good idea to change the races as well. The bearings wear grooves and its like putting new brake shoes on worn rotors...not a good idea.

P-hat_in_Cincy
08-24-2007, 05:13 PM
I know it might be rigged, but what about using a large pipe clamp or sip tie to keep them on? I guess you'd rather blow the bra off than have it push out the seal?

bobbyB
08-24-2007, 05:25 PM
Had the same problem with an EZ Loader trailer (not my MC boat trailer) when I was in N Cal. Going by Lake Shasta I heard something behind me make a loud clanging noise. Next stop went to do the normal check of the hubs and.....where the he!! did my bearing buddy go? Figured that that noise must of been the bearing buddy hitting the guard rail along the freeway:( Judging off of the noise level it made, I hate to think of what else it could've hit.

Bought a 2pack at the next NAPA. Again, lost another one within an hr. Put the second one on and never had any problems again:confused: No idea why!

B

stars79stripes
08-24-2007, 05:45 PM
IIRC Bearing Buddy recommends using a clamp to hold the bra in place. I can't find it on their site, but it is the way I have always done it. No problems except that one time I lost 1 whole BB, bra and all.

JEREMY79
08-24-2007, 06:44 PM
Had the same problem with an EZ Loader trailer (not my MC boat trailer) when I was in N Cal. Going by Lake Shasta I heard something behind me make a loud clanging noise. Next stop went to do the normal check of the hubs and.....where the he!! did my bearing buddy go? Figured that that noise must of been the bearing buddy hitting the guard rail along the freeway:( Judging off of the noise level it made, I hate to think of what else it could've hit.

Bought a 2pack at the next NAPA. Again, lost another one within an hr. Put the second one on and never had any problems again:confused: No idea why!

B

I had the same problem. Lost one then lost the new one. Dont know what the deal was.

TMCNo1
08-24-2007, 06:47 PM
IIRC Bearing Buddy recommends using a clamp to hold the bra in place. I can't find it on their site, but it is the way I have always done it. No problems except that one time I lost 1 whole BB, bra and all.



I've never heard of that, cause I've talked to both the people @ Bearing Buddy and UFP, who makes the Trailer Buddy and they have never mentioned anything about clamping them down, but I'm not saying that is incorrect.

bkblaida
08-24-2007, 07:26 PM
Cleaning the BB and the covers is the best solution. While I have recently converted to the Durahub oil bath system, I used BB for years. My BB covers were always kind of sticky and hard to remove when they were clean.
A trick I learned from the Durahub system, is to use blue "Locktite" around the BB before installing. The locktite both seals and bonds the BB in place and still comes off when needed.

ivectoryou
08-24-2007, 08:15 PM
Great advice from everyone!

I really appreciate the folks on this board and that you take the time to help others.

Dan