Proper way to grease this kind of trailer bearing?

Discussion in 'Boat Repair Help' started by Mr.T, Dec 12, 2006.

  1. Mr.T

    Mr.T New Member

    Messages:
    2,553
    State:
    MO
    My trailer (2005 Backtrack) has greaseable wheel hubs, but they're not the "bearing buddy" brand as far as I can tell.

    These have a rubber dust cover over the center of the hub. When you remove the cover, there's a zerk fitting in the middle and when you pump grease in, the old grease oozes out from the perimeter of the hub. The dust cover normally keeps all the oozing grease contained.

    When greasing them, should I keep adding new grease until I see new grease oozing out, or just add "some" grease to it? I suppose the obvious answer is to completely flush the old grease out, but I wouldn't think that's necessary every time I check the bearings.

    In one wheel, the grease that oozes out is milky gray in color, which means water contamination to me. The other wheel oozes only dark black grease.

    If it's any more of a clue, the rubber dust cover has the word "WEDGE" stamped in it. Couldn't find anything on the web about bearings or hubs with that brand name...

    Thanks!
     
  2. Bobpaul

    Bobpaul New Member

    Messages:
    3,039
    State:
    Supply NC
    That's a better system than bearing buddies. It's not likely to blow a seal by putting in too much grease, and the grease comes up between the bearings.

    Put in as much as what satisfies you. I usually just add enough to see the grease move.

    The miky grease is water intrusion and shows either a seal leaking or the cap is leaking.
     

  3. Mr.T

    Mr.T New Member

    Messages:
    2,553
    State:
    MO
    Thanks Bob -- I'll probably go ahead and flush the one wheel completely and see if there's any further water contamination.
     
  4. kickersdad

    kickersdad New Member

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    17
    The dark grease is bad, from heat, pump untill new is coming out.
     
  5. mspratt

    mspratt New Member

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    173
    State:
    missouri
    I agree,had the same on one of my trailer:wink:
     
  6. Doctor

    Doctor Member

    Messages:
    378
    State:
    Springfield, Ohio
    MR.T,
    I have the same set-up on my trailer, the spindle is drilled and has holes in front and back of each bearing , normally I pump grease till the old stuff is out then wipe down the hub, sometimes I'll pop the cap off and get all the old grease out out of the cap, great system as I put better than 20,000 miles on my trailer in a years time, so far no problems.............Doc
     
  7. canebreaker

    canebreaker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,307
    State:
    Southaven,MS
    my grease will turn black when left open in about 3 days
     
  8. Bobpaul

    Bobpaul New Member

    Messages:
    3,039
    State:
    Supply NC
    The quality of grease is determined by it's ability to adhear to metal and still lubricate under heat.

    Use the best you can get. I like Kendal Blue, but there are other good quality greases out there too. try not to mix the different brands. They may or may not be made alike and could react to each other.
     
  9. Mr.T

    Mr.T New Member

    Messages:
    2,553
    State:
    MO
    On mixing different grease -- if I thoroughly flush out all the old grease with new grease of a different type, do I still need to worry about them not getting along?

    I have no idea what kind of grease was originally used on the wheels; I've been using some kind of "marine" grease in little bitty tubes from Wally-World but decided today that the el-cheapo grease gun I have is going in the trash, so have to buy new grease and a new gun and might as well get something good quality (both gun and grease!)
     
  10. Bubbakat

    Bubbakat New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    McMinnvill
    You can't beat Kendal blue grease in my opinion. The grease you clean out of the hub won't leave enough in there to contaminate anything.
     
  11. three_rivers

    three_rivers New Member

    Messages:
    688
    State:
    Tupelo Ar
    T, i recently repacked the bearings on my backtrack trailer. Doc is right the spindle is drilled and a zerk is installed. The grease just flows out through the front bearing. It is better than a bearing buddy because it greases the rear bearing along with the front. The grease you pump into it pushes the old grease through the front bearing. On my trailer the bearings were left a little loose and the tires wore unevenly. I kept them greased and finally broke down and tore them apart. I too had water contamination in one of my bearings and it looked to be sound. Only trouble i had was matching up the inner seal. We had to break out the micrometer and measure it for a replacement. It just needs to see water now. :roll_eyes:
     
  12. Doctor

    Doctor Member

    Messages:
    378
    State:
    Springfield, Ohio
    It's called the Safety Lube system, where can I get Kendall Blue at?........Doc
     
  13. Bubbakat

    Bubbakat New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    McMinnvill
    Tractor supply should have it DOC. I buy mine at Co-op and can also get it at Napa.
     
  14. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    T,if you have one near to you go to West Marine or Boaters World and select one of the Marine specific greases.They are generally more "waterproof" kind of like Marine grade engine oils.The marine grade also have a higher temp range.Often you can find marine grade at Auto Stores like auto zone etc.Amsoil also makes a synthetic which is what I use when I can get it.They real key no matter what grease you use, is to use it frequently and check the bearings often,particularly during operation.Good maintenance relates directly to "good luck".I learned that as a Tanker in the Army and since I much preferred riding to walking I kept my tank fully operational.:smile2: :big_smile:
     
  15. Mr.T

    Mr.T New Member

    Messages:
    2,553
    State:
    MO
    I ended up buying some Pennzoil Marine Grease as it seemed to be about the best I could find after checking several local auto parts stores and the local Tractor Supply. Didn't see Kendall anywhere.

    Anyway, I pumped about half the tube into each wheel until all the old grease was flushed out. Quite surprised at how much grease it really took and also bothered by how gray the grease in one wheel was, all the way to the end of the flushing -- I'll keep an eye on it and probably have to re-do the seals before long. Which is a shame, as the trailer is only a year old.

    While I was at it, I also lubed every zerk fitting I could find on my Yamaha engine and think I've got things pretty well in hand for a while.

    Thanks for all the help, fellas!
     
  16. Bubbakat

    Bubbakat New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    McMinnvill
    That is a good grease Marty.

    As My grandfather always told me, any grease is better then no grease.:tounge_out:
     
  17. Kutter

    Kutter New Member

    Messages:
    5,379
    State:
    Arnold, MO
    I have a question on this subject also. It was my impression that "buddy" bearings rely on the spring to hold the grease in and the water out during the quick temperature changes brought about by the cooler water hitting the warmer bearing and spindle. That being the case, wouldn't adding grease till you see it oozing out, in reality, be "blowing" the seal? In my line of work, we replace dozens of bad bearings on the equipment, nearly every day. The equipment is high pressure washed down with water several times a day. On regular bearings with rubber seals on both sides, the bearing will last months as long as the seal holds up. We are told that if you can see grease oozing out through those seals, the seal is blown. That's why we only grease those type bearings once a week and then it is only one pump from the gun. They hold up quite well under that condition. Once too much grease is added, whether by mistake or from lack of knowledge, the bearings life goes out the window and they only last a short time. I was under the impression that "buddy" bearings do not have seals on them so adding too much grease would only cause the excess grease to be ejected. If that is true, then I would assume that they should be greased quite often to remove any water contamination. However, it seems to me that if they were built in that way, wouldn't grease be "slung" out at highway speeds?

    Pardon me if I am not making any sense. I am heavily medicated at this time and it's hard for me to understand myself much less than to expect anyone else to.
     
  18. riverbud55

    riverbud55 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,932
    State:
    AZ Topock-/CA Riverside
    Name:
    Dale Miller
    man grease and seals are cheep so i clean and repack every year or less takes maybe a half hour to do each axel end but time well spent, got be nothing worse then sitting on the side of the road out in the middle of the desert on a 120* day with burnt up bearings or worse the axle end ground up. i have buddy bearings on my trailer and keep enough grease to keep the spring 1/8" from the top as not to blow out the seal, but never have to put grease in the between the yearly inspection and repacking , if the spring keeps presure on the grease inside the hub there no place for the water to enter the inside of the hub ,the trick is to pack the hub full of grease with no air pockets and not to blow out the seal with to much presure, i have never taken mine apart and had any signs of water and the grease looks like the day i put it in. i would never just pump grease through the hub TRYING to replace the grease if had any signs of water coming out of the hub it just dosnt make any since. I tow my boat across the 110*desert at 70 mph 180miles ea way 2 or 3 times a month with small low profi trailer tires (dont know what the rpm is on one of them small tires, but its alot)so good bearings that are well mantaned are must for me. theres only one thing on a boat trailer to break down and thats the bearings so take care of them for the peace of mind
     
  19. trnsmsn

    trnsmsn New Member

    Messages:
    1,214
    State:
    Missouri Originally Now I
    You should, as part of a YEARLY trailer maintenance.........

    #1. REMOVE your hub from the trailer, clean, inspect, repack the bearings & REPLACE the hub seals.

    #2. Due to the submersion factor involved with the trailer, the waterproof ability of the grease is a major criteria.

    #3. In years past most trailers didn't have brakes & if they did, they were drum brakes which don't produce a great amount of heat & therfore temperature resistance of the grease was not that great of a concern.

    #4. It is now the LAW that trailer manufactures install brakes on ALL axles if the GVW is of a certain rating(less than you'd think). Now these brakes will typically be disc brakes that DO produce high operating temperatures, thus requiring the grease used to be of a high heat resistance.

    #5. Greases are made from many different base compositions and are NOT compatible, so don't mix grease types..Good grease of one type + Good grease of another type = CRAP. It will not mix & WILL wash out.

    HTH, Elliot
     
  20. Defiant

    Defiant New Member

    Messages:
    76
    State:
    West Virginia
    Also some very good grease is the BelRay waterproff grease you can get at Motorcycle shops sticks very well and doe's not wash out easy. It is Marine Grade. Use it on all my Motorcycle's/4wheeler's/Boats

    http://www.belray.com/consumer/product.fsp?pid=13631