Trailer bearing life expectancy ?

Messages
1,482
Location
Michigan
A few years ago I bought a used 5x8 Ft. stake rack trailer for our annual Elk/Mule Deer/Antelope hunting trips out west. Leaving Michigan it's pretty much empty except for a chest freezer. On the way back though it's loaded to the gills right at max capacity. On the off season it seems to be constantly being used for all sorts of misc. stuff and being loaned out to friends and family. This little trailer has seen 4 round trips from Michigan to Colorado and Wyoming and countless trips within Michigan. When I bought it, I replaced the bearing, hubs and tires and I installed bearing buddies just so I can be assured that fresh grease would always be available for the bearings. My question is. How long should I expect these bearings to last? Should I replace them soon or will they last forever if I take care of them?
 
Messages
143
Location
Oklahoma
As long as the tire size is large enough(13 or 14 inch), bearings should last for many years given proper maintenance. Remove, clean, repack with grease, and reinstall using a new grease seal every year or two.
 
Messages
9,103
Location
MN
I have Bearing Buddies that have been in for 11 Years. Never touched them. Just greased. Not one single issue. thumbsup
 
Messages
5,091
Location
USA
Replacements will last far longer than the original,lowest bidder Chinese units.Buy a name brand,grease them with good high temp grease and use the steel spring loaded bearing caps/greasers and you'll be good to go for many years and thousands of miles.
 

ls1mike

$50 Site Donor 2021
Messages
6,788
Location
In the Garage...
Originally Posted By: NHGUY
Replacements will last far longer than the original,lowest bidder Chinese units.Buy a name brand,grease them with good high temp grease and use the steel spring loaded bearing caps/greasers and you'll be good to go for many years and thousands of miles.
This...I check mine because I am a bit anal and had a blow out once, but if you are not backing that thing down a ramp into salt water. Just keep them greased and they will be fine.
 
Messages
22,446
Location
Apple Valley, California
Originally Posted By: NHGUY
Replacements will last far longer than the original,lowest bidder Chinese units.Buy a name brand,grease them with good high temp grease and use the steel spring loaded bearing caps/greasers and you'll be good to go for many years and thousands of miles.
yup. but even the cheap bearings should last a long time with good grease. i often wonder if the chinese bearing failures are due to inferior grease or not enough grease. trailer bearing are very simmiliar to what cars and trucks used for decades.
 
Messages
10,008
Location
Upstate NY
Re-pack once a year if it's used a lot and it should be good. Use a NGLI GC-LB rated grease that's meant for bearings, and it should be good to go for the season. Basically, pick one grease and stick with it.
 
Messages
25,814
Location
Upstate NY
Pull the bearings every couple of years, wipe off the outside grease and have a good close look at all the rollers. They should be nice and shinny, no wear marks or rust or pitting. When you re-grease the bearings you want to do it in such a manner to push all the old (dirty) grease out. If you can prevent water from getting to the bearings, they will last a long long time. My Dodge Ram still has this type of bearing setup as the rotor is a rotor/hub with replaceable bearings.
 
Messages
13,076
Location
North Carolina
The hard part for those who have never done bearings or brake rotor hub with bearings and races, is getting the preload right when tighting the castle nut.
 
Messages
1,084
Location
Ontario , Canada
Originally Posted By: spasm3
The hard part for those who have never done bearings or brake rotor hub with bearings and races, is getting the preload right when tighting the castle nut.
Spin the wheel and just bring it up barely snug then back off to the first hole the cotter pin will go through. Not rocket science .
 
Messages
13,076
Location
North Carolina
Originally Posted By: nitehawk55
Originally Posted By: spasm3
The hard part for those who have never done bearings or brake rotor hub with bearings and races, is getting the preload right when tighting the castle nut.
Spin the wheel and just bring it up barely snug then back off to the first hole the cotter pin will go through. Not rocket science .
A lot of people mess this up and get them too tight.
 

Kestas

Staff member
Messages
13,958
Location
The Motor City
Bearing life depends on loading and number of revolutions. I doubt most trailer bearings ever reach their design end of life. Rather, most bearings fail from abuse or seal failure. This includes improper maintenance, preload, and allowing water and dirt to enter the bearing.
 
Messages
1,061
Location
Minnesota
The bearing failure with water is generally a warm/hot bearing being suddenly emmersed in cool/cold water(boat ramp)-thus forming a vacuum that sucks water past the seals. With a bearing buddy type deal, you are fully loading the bearings and hub with grease-and under a light pressure by compressing a spring against a pusher plate that visibly moves as grease filling is completed. An additional pump or two with the grease gun occasionally serves to keep everything happy. I've gone many years just doing the above on a number of trailers with no 'issues' at all.
 
Messages
17,914
Location
NH
Do bearing buddies really work? I bought a lightly used camper that had them. I did some reading, came to the conclusion that they only really belong on boat trailers, and decided I would remove them. I wanted to grease the bearings by hand and verify that they were in good shape. Good thing too: while there was no issues the grease was clearly not making it from the outer bearing to the inside, as the hub was not filled with grease. But the buddy spring was compressed... Not driven enough? Too viscous to make it past the bearing? Beats me. Like I said, I decided I didn't want them, and I removed them.
 
Messages
2,056
Location
Jupiter, Fl
Hmmm. Good question. I used to pull my main trailer about 20k miles a year, I replaced the bearings about every three years as PM and never had a failure. I still do it about every 3 years, but do many fewer miles.
 
Messages
13,076
Location
North Carolina
My travel trailer is dual axle. It has dexter e-z lube axles. The design allows grease to be pumped throught the inner and outer races with a grease gun. As long as you use a hand grease gun you won't blow the seals out. My tt is an 05 and i have not pulled the bearings out yet. The grease usually comes out pretty clean , i use valvoline duralube.
 
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