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With the open water season right around the corner I was wondering what people thought of the use of bearing buddies on their trailers?

When I bought my current boat about 12 years ago, they were on the trailer already and the seller told me "with these on you only need to repack the bearings about every three years. Just before you back the trailer in the water just put a couple squirts of grease in each side and this will build up pressure so water won't get in the hubs and wear the grease in the bearings so fast." Me being quite naive at the time about the buddies I believed him.

On my annual trip to Canada that year I burned out the inside bearing on the right side. To make a long story short, after this incident cost me three days of fishing out of my boat and $500 later(they had to weld on the spindle) I vowed when I got home to learn how to pack the bearings myself.

I bought new hub kits for both sides and took the old ones apart slowly so I would know how the new ones went to together. After seeing it, it was not rocket science and I put the new ones together and now repack the bearings at least once a year(twice if I travel a little more).

My main question on bearing buddies is how does the grease get by the spindle to the inner bearing when you put a few shots of grease in before you put in at the ramp?

Thanks in advance for the input.

John B.

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I grease mine every year in the spring and have never had any trouble. Sounds like you're doing the same since your repair.

I'm not sure that I can entirely answer your question, but it seems that when I grease mine, there is enough pressure to "click" the spring forward. I would think this movement is doing something to get the grease to the inner bearing.

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Maybe the spring on your buddy doesnt have much tension left.I pack my bearings every other year and my bearing buddies will put enough pressure on to keep the bearings full.I never have a problem.

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I have bearing buddies on my boat trtailer and haven't had them off for 6 years (seriously). Keep checking the springs and making sure when I go down the road the bearings don't heat up (feel them and they should be same temp as the outside of the tire). Gone thru 3 sets of tires so I believe in them.

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I think most problems with bearing buddies happens in thewinter time when your trailer sits in one spot for 4 months if there is any water that got in there you have a good chance of getting pits in your bearing and races i feel that the best thing you can do is repack your bearing right before you store your boat don't wait to spring once your bearings are pitted you do have a good chance of them failing

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I was told that the main advantage of the bearing buddies is that they keep a positive pressure inside the hub and that will also help keep the water out of the hub. I have them on my boat but I pack the bearings every spring anyway. I bought one of those little jigs that you hook the grease gun up to. Seems to me to be much easier than kneeding the grease through the bearing in your palm. Have a good one and N Joy the Hunt././Jimbo

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Thanks for input all. I now just use normal dust cap covers and repack once or twice a year. I have never had any problems since. I diligently check for them heating up anytime I stop for gas now and carry spare parts, if needed. Sounds like even though people use bearing buddies most still repack once a year.

Ray - Great advice about packing them at the end of the year. This way you are all ready to go in the spring when excitement is running high to get on the water.

Duck - What is the little jig called you use to pack the bearings? I have just done them in the palm of my hand like you mentioned but always thought there must be a better way but never heard of one until your post.

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It is a bearing packer but I don't remember exactly what the name of it is. I bought it at Car Quest I believe. It is a cone shaped thing with a grease xert on the top of it. You put the bearing on big side up, spin the top down onto the bearing and filler up with grease. I would think that any car parts place would have it. Have a good one and N Joy the Hunt././Jimbo

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The bearing packers are great! but you know when it comes down to it when I'm at home in the garage (my happy place) repacking bearings I like being a little old school and pack them by hand.

By the way FOE! I also clean and repack in the fall. this does two things. Makes shure the bearings are in good condition with a visual check. Removes any moister which could put a damper on the first outing in the spring! It takes 30 to 45 minutes and a couple of bucks for seals. Its a small price to pay for a little piece of mind.

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jd, Alittle info and a story about bearing buddies. My brother who resides in Denver bought a boat through e-bay (got a smokin deal too) from a guy in Rosemount, MN this last summer and I was elected to close the deal and deliver it to him. I told the sellor where I was going with the boat and he told me the bearings were repacked the previous fall and should be no problem. Wellllll, the day before I intended to leave, was out fishing (20 min from the house) and when I came home something told me to feel the hubs. Both were very hot. Needless to say a last minute bearing replace/ repack took place. The bro still owes me bigtime for what certainly would have been disaster.

Now the info, when people don't fill the hub while repacking bearings, then head out to their favorite spot, the grease from the bearings is "slung" into the hub leaving the bearing dry, thus infant bearing mortality. Also many trailers have a "grease galley" to the inner bearing, be sure the grease is getting to the inside by plugging the outer ports and pumping in grease before inserting outer bearing. IE: Be sure to fill the hubs with grease.

Lastly, bearing packers put stress on the bearings due to the grease forcing the bearing against the outer cage before being lubed. (probably ok for automotive but are illegal for aircraft)

Sorry I got so longwinded, hope this helps.

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Im probably going too sound like an idiot but im not good with the lingo and im not familiar with "packing"? I have bearing buddies on my trailer and i check the grease all the time making sure the springs are tight and i have plenty of grease. If it needs grease i take a grease gun and fill the hub with grease. This is what i was told too do. I usually have too add grease in the spring and then again at some point in the summer but i always monitor it and i always check on trips too make sure the hubs arent hot. Am i missing something or is this the "packing" thats being referred too.

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james walleye

What you want to do every year is to take the wheel and hub off the axle,pull out the bearings and races,check the bearings for wear,check the races for wear or pitting and replace if needed.Also,put in new seals.Then you will pack the new or old cleaned ones with new grease and re-install.

You can just keep pumping grease into the bearings,but if they are bad or are pitted

,or the seals are bad,you could still end up having a problem.This is very easy to do,and after doing it one time you will probably do it every year.Also,if you have bearing buddies,it doesnt hurt to check during the year to make sure they are full of grase.

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I am a stickler on this and do as AirJer does....I had pack them. And if I am going anywhere over a hundred miles they get a good check-over and packing. Doing this doesn't have to take long and goes a long ways towards being assured of a clean trip.

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James W.,

Packing just means taking the bearing out and cramming grease into the bearing. Most people just place some grease in the palm of their hand and rotate the bearing around into the grease until there is grease packed into all of the rollers in the bearing (packing the bearing). Harvey Lee explained how to go through removing and installing great.

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Yardman, Good story - I guess the only way to make sure the bearings are good and packed is to check for ourselves. A little maintenance before a trip can bring alot of peace of mind.

Harvey - I have never pulled the races out of the hub and checked them. I usually just do a visual of the surface once the bearings are out and make sure they are smooth. Is this essential to pull them out of the hub and check them better than what I am doing? If I remember from long time ago, it was kind of difficult for me to get the races in the hub to begin with once I bought the hub kit.

Thanks again for the info everyone. It is a real benefit to me to know what everyone is doing for maintenance on their bearings.

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If my races are pitted then I replace bearing,race and seals.It is not a costly job and the peace of mind is worth the expense in my opinion.

You dont have to pull them out,just make sure they are good.

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