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View Full Version : Changed oil bath to grease


kingwoodlee
10-19-2009, 10:56 AM
After switching the oil bath to grease on my trailer, I finally found time to machine the aluminum caps on my lathe and turn them into buddy bearings. I have attached some pictures for anyone interested in doing the same.

Hrkdrivr
06-21-2010, 10:52 PM
That's cool! You actually removed the sight glass and turned threads into the oil bath cap to accept the bearing buddies?

timvan
06-22-2010, 06:16 AM
man thats a lot of work but you wont look back.

Id rather be at the lake than working on my trailer any day, Im glad I switched

fskof
06-22-2010, 10:36 PM
Why did you switch over?

bridomine99
06-22-2010, 10:45 PM
Why did you switch over?

x2

Very nice fab work, but I also don't get why you would want to go back to grease. I love the oil bath system and wish all of my trailers had it.

timvan
06-23-2010, 06:25 AM
Why would you want oil? What are the benifits? Grease is pretty much fill it and forget it without all the timely maintainace

They work great on otr trucks that dont get backed into water causing extreme temputure changes and a vaccum on the hub

kingwoodlee
06-23-2010, 10:14 AM
If you will look under a thread titled "MC-Trailer failed" you can read the whole story. Here is a recap of why I switched from oil bath to grease.



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Hello from Texas, and new to this forum. I recently bought a 2005 X-10 from an individual located in OK. The boat had 150hrs on it, ran great, and the trailer looked brand new. I drove up and did the deal and when leaving the seller's bank, I noticed oil sprayed onto my left front tire on my tandem axle trailer, and my wheel and hub was extremely hot from towing the rig the last 8 miles from the lake. I drive it over to a local tire/repair shop and we pull the tire off. The hub is smoking hot and the caliper is locked onto the hub. After cooling a bit, we removed the caliper and capped the Flexible brake hose with the intention to drive home with only 3 brakes, as we could not find any parts in this town, and the nearest MC stealer was in Ft Worth.. At this time, all the other wheels looked and felt fine. The leaking oil was from a cracked outer cap, but there was still plenty of oil left in the hub. We repaired the plastic cap with a soldering iron and headed out. I drove 2 miles and checked, all OK. I drove another 12 miles and checked, all OK. I drove 20 more miles, still Ok, with no leaks, or heating of anything. I then drove about 120 miles and decided to stop and check. To my dismay, the right rear hub and axle was completely fried. Apparently this caliper started to drag, and overheat the hub causing the cap to melt off and spill out all the oil on the axle. I was lucky the wheel didn't fall off. The bearings were completely gone, and the axle was ruined. This happened on Friday 8/7/09 at 5:00pm. I miraculously found a wrecker and had the boat and trailer towed 50 miles to another town, where it sits today. It has taken two weeks to try and get an axle from MC shipped to where my boat is located. I am hoping it will ship out tomorrow and be there sometime toward the end of August. I am upset, because I discovered this forum after I purchased the boat, and there are numerous threads about defective calipers, cracked caps, etc. I have towed boats all my life, and have never experienced an axle failure. Everyone take note and have your trailer serviced once a year so this doesn't happen to you. BTW, a dealer I am working with did say that MC switched to the Kodiac calipers some time ago and he has not seen any failure with these yet. I have ordered 4 of these along with a new axle. Sorry for the long thread, but wanted everyone to know the "rest of the story"

bridomine99
06-23-2010, 11:25 AM
Why would you want oil? What are the benifits? Grease is pretty much fill it and forget it without all the timely maintainace

They work great on otr trucks that dont get backed into water causing extreme temputure changes and a vaccum on the hub

Minimal maintenance and a 2 second visual check to verify everything is good to go. My experiences have been that grease is a big mess and you have no way of verifying they are good to go beyond adding additional grease and waiting for water to come out.

just my 2c

MattsCraft
06-23-2010, 11:50 AM
I will add my 2c - My last boat, a Cobalt W/Heritage Tandem Trailer purchased new and only brakes on 2 wheels. It had bearing buddies, I had major problems with one axle from day one, would just eat grease and spew it all over the inside of the rim. 3 services on this same wheel and never got the problem totally fixed. Constantly adding grease, carrying a grease gun was a major pain. Also, they would run very hot, would have to let them cool before dunking after a long tow! It also had chrome steel rims, constantly had to re-tighten the lugs. The MC rims, I check before every major tow, never had to tighten a lug date.

Now on my 3rd season with the 2009 MC tandem trailer W/ Oil Bath, love them, have not had a problem, 2 trips 4 hours through mountains etc W/ No Problems to date. They run far cooler than may last trailer, after a long tow, you can still touch the rims without burning your hand.:D

timvan
06-23-2010, 12:17 PM
BEARING BUDDY VS. OIL BATH

Some trailer manufacturers are offering an oil bath system as an alternative to a standard bearing protector, such as Bearing Buddy. They claim that since long haul trucks use this system it must be a superior system to a grease packed hub. What they fail to recognize is that America's highways are the perfect environment and application, as the constant miles and tire rotation keeps the bearings well lubricated. Boat trailers, however, operate in a completely different environment. The hubs on a trailer can heat up during long trips and when they are dipped into cool lake water, the sudden temperature change creates a vacuum inside the hub. This vacuum will draw any condensation, moisture, or impurities directly into the bearings, which can cause premature bearing failure.

Standard bearing protectors, such as Bearing Buddy®, make it easy to visually check the amount of grease inside grease packed hubs. The internal spring piston exerts about 3 p.s.i. against the grease to ensure that no water enters the hub when the hub is submerged during loading and unloading. When properly maintained, there are no voids inside the hub where condensation can form during winter storage.

By comparison, oil bath hubs should be checked after every loading/unloading cycle to make sure water has not penetrated and diluted the oil. Small leaks can cause the oil to escape and once this happens, bearing failure is quick and complete within a few miles. Most oil bath hubs are only half filled with oil and must be carefully inspected to maintain the proper level. Too much or too little oil could cause problems.

If a Bearing Buddy® is knocked off, it would still be possible to run for many miles without bearing failure. This would not be possible with an oil bath. Bearing failure would occur within a few miles.

FoggyNogginz
09-19-2010, 09:17 PM
What kind of maintenance is required with the oil bath? Do you have to add oil? If so how and where? Photos appreciated. :-)

Thanks!!

east tx skier
09-19-2010, 10:12 PM
My friend had his oil bath hub seals fail at least four times this past summer. It was ridiculous.

FoggyNogginz
09-19-2010, 10:23 PM
My friend had his oil bath hub seals fail at least four times this past summer. It was ridiculous.

OUCH! So is the only way to convert to bearing buddies a custom deal as shown above? I'm really curious on the maintenance of the oil bath and the option to convert back to grease. Good, bad, ugly.

bkblaida
09-20-2010, 10:47 AM
First - I ran a traditional grease bearing system for years and never had a problem with the bearings. Had a lot of other trailer problems but the bearings never let me down. We trailer our boat around 3-4,000 miles per season so we stress a trailer. However cleaning and adding fresh grease every season is a mess as well as kills half a Saturday. Carrying a grease gun with you on trips is a mess, and never knowing just how well the bearings are lubricated after driving and launching drove me nuts. (it shouldn't have, but did)

About 3-4 years ago I ran across an Austrailian oil bearing bath system called Dura Hub. This system has a simple release valve that eliminates the pressure difference caused from hot bearings going into cold water. The system is made of stainless steel and the cover glass is made of thick lexan and recessed to eliminate damage from unexpected contact.
Dura Hub sells an 80 weight oil with an addditive that makes the oil tacky (think chain saw bar oil) so the oil adheres to the bearings. Dura Hub also states that any high quality 80 weight gear oil works as well.

Results - thousands of miles traveled.....no failure. Before a trip you look at the bearings and see the oil level. If it is 1/2 full you are good to go. No questioning the condition of what is in the hub lubricating the bearings. You can see it and take instant action if needed. Bearings rarely run much above ambient temperatures so the hot bearings going into cold water has not been an issue. I drain and change the oil every 2 seasons and this takes about 30 minutes.

My take after reading all the positive as well as negative comments on oil bath systems is not oil vs grease but the quality of the oil bath system. Systems with breakable plastic, screw on exterior sight glasses and no way to compensate for pressure differences are poorly designed and I will take a grease system over these any day. However our experience with the Dura Hub system has been exceptional and I have no desire to go back to carring a grease gun. www.durahub.com will give you additional information.

bkblaida
09-20-2010, 10:57 AM
I just re-read EastTX comments on seal failure. Using an oil bath system requires that you start with clean and glass like axle's. Any nicks and or deep scratches and the seal will leak. Also make sure you use seals designed to be used for oil. These seals usually have a double sealing spring. Any good trailer or auto parts store knows the difference.

east tx skier
09-20-2010, 12:07 PM
I just re-read EastTX comments on seal failure. Using an oil bath system requires that you start with clean and glass like axle's. Any nicks and or deep scratches and the seal will leak. Also make sure you use seals designed to be used for oil. These seals usually have a double sealing spring. Any good trailer or auto parts store knows the difference.

They were dealer replaced each time with "Genuine MasterCraft Parts." The last set held for whatever reason. I saw enough smoke coming form his trailer wheels to last a lifetime. Hopefully, he has better luck with his 2010 TT 197's trailer.

hbomb
09-20-2010, 11:17 PM
Dura Hubs are used by all the main boat trailer manufacturers and as a replacement for grease hubs on exisiting trailers

they have a strong reputation in Australia and are seen on many trailers......

First - I ran a traditional grease bearing system for years and never had a problem with the bearings. Had a lot of other trailer problems but the bearings never let me down. We trailer our boat around 3-4,000 miles per season so we stress a trailer. However cleaning and adding fresh grease every season is a mess as well as kills half a Saturday. Carrying a grease gun with you on trips is a mess, and never knowing just how well the bearings are lubricated after driving and launching drove me nuts. (it shouldn't have, but did)

About 3-4 years ago I ran across an Austrailian oil bearing bath system called Dura Hub. This system has a simple release valve that eliminates the pressure difference caused from hot bearings going into cold water. The system is made of stainless steel and the cover glass is made of thick lexan and recessed to eliminate damage from unexpected contact.
Dura Hub sells an 80 weight oil with an addditive that makes the oil tacky (think chain saw bar oil) so the oil adheres to the bearings. Dura Hub also states that any high quality 80 weight gear oil works as well.

Results - thousands of miles traveled.....no failure. Before a trip you look at the bearings and see the oil level. If it is 1/2 full you are good to go. No questioning the condition of what is in the hub lubricating the bearings. You can see it and take instant action if needed. Bearings rarely run much above ambient temperatures so the hot bearings going into cold water has not been an issue. I drain and change the oil every 2 seasons and this takes about 30 minutes.

My take after reading all the positive as well as negative comments on oil bath systems is not oil vs grease but the quality of the oil bath system. Systems with breakable plastic, screw on exterior sight glasses and no way to compensate for pressure differences are poorly designed and I will take a grease system over these any day. However our experience with the Dura Hub system has been exceptional and I have no desire to go back to carring a grease gun. www.durahub.com will give you additional information.