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Old 06-30-2016, 07:52 AM   #1
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Bearing buddies

A couple of my buddies swear by the "bearing buddies" or similar products. I'm sure they have been discussed in the forum but I cannot find where. Any pros/cons to this product? Just installed a couple on a small utility trailer of mine but didn't know if they would be a good add to the old Argosy. As always, thanks a lot Jim
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Old 06-30-2016, 08:43 AM   #2
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I swear by them on small trailers without brakes. I have two that I have used them on for 20 years without periodic tear down and repacking.....I wouldn't use then on a trailer with brakes because of the possibility of pushing grease out the rear seal and getting it on the brake shoes.
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Old 06-30-2016, 10:36 AM   #3
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Basically the new axles that are ez-lube with grease gun is same thing as bearing buddies just installed at time of manuf.
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Old 06-30-2016, 11:28 AM   #4
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Bearing buddies and easy-lube hubs on travel trailers are simply excuses for people to avoid performing needed maintenance. I happily replace many grease-contaminated brake assemblies every year after the trailer owners pump in too much grease, rather than cleaning and repacking bearings as specified in their owners manuals.
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Old 06-30-2016, 12:27 PM   #5
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Bearing Buddies are OK for greasing the outer bearing, it does nothing for the inner bearing. The best way is to repack both inner and outer. Some axles are drilled through and the grease is pushed from the axle tip through the axle and out between the bearings. My boat trailer is designed this way. It uses a special needle tip instead of the zerk tip on the grease gun to push the grease through the axle.

It's a little difficult but very effective. Instead of pushing the dirty grease between the bearings, it forces the grease out from the inside. If there's any water between the bearings this gets forced out too. You still want to periodically repack them.

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Old 06-30-2016, 12:54 PM   #6
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Pump the hub full of grease and it goes to the inner bearing.
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Old 06-30-2016, 01:11 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
Bearing buddies and easy-lube hubs on travel trailers are simply excuses for people to avoid performing needed maintenance. I happily replace many grease-contaminated brake assemblies every year after the trailer owners pump in too much grease, rather than cleaning and repacking bearings as specified in their owners manuals.

With the exception given to boat trailers where the positive pressure helps keep the water out.

If launched correctly.......



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Old 06-30-2016, 01:13 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Andersojd View Post
A couple of my buddies swear by the "bearing buddies" or similar products. I'm sure they have been discussed in the forum but I cannot find where. Any pros/cons to this product? Just installed a couple on a small utility trailer of mine but didn't know if they would be a good add to the old Argosy. As always, thanks a lot Jim
So, "bearing buddies" are grease reservoirs that use a spring loaded piston to keep the bearing assembly full of grease at all times.

They are useful for boat trailers, because boat trailers are commonly driven back into the water far enough to immerse the bearings. When this happens, the hub assembly is cooled by the water, and that causes the air trapped in the bearings to contract creating suction, and usually even good seals aren't good enough to keep the water out under those conditions.

With "bearing buddies" there will typically be some grease leakage. At the time "bearing buddies" first came on the market, most boat trailers didn't have brakes, and so the excess grease was just one of the many minor nuisances of owning a boat trailer. The larger boat trailers have always had hydraulic surge brakes, and some of them at least now have disc brakes, so problems with grease contamination are lessened by the open design of the brake system, and are easier to identify and correct when they do occur.

With RVs with electric drum brakes there is a heightened potential for the brakes to be fouled with grease. Since RVs aren't driven into the water, as a rule anyway, the problem "bearing buddies" are designed to solve doesn't apply.
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Old 06-30-2016, 11:34 PM   #9
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If you don't over load them they will work fine. Put in grease to where the piston starts to rise and stop.

One guy says the grease won't reach the inside bearing, another guy says the grease get past the inside bearing and grease seal and onto the brakes.
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Old 07-01-2016, 01:54 AM   #10
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With a boat trailer that the bearings are heated and rapidly cooled, the air space between the bearings will get "burped" out over the cycles of heating and cooling. This air is typically released out the back past the seal as pressure is increased. As the hub assembly is chilled from the dunking in the water everything contracts including the seal. The bearing buddy spring will take the slack and push grease into the hub, past the outer bearing. So in fresh installations it is a matter of monitoring the bearing buddy to see if it has bottomed out and then pump in some more grease to replace the air that was expelled. Just enough to take the bearing buddy off of the seat. More than that, puts greater pressure in the hub assembly and one of two things will happen. Either the bearing buddy will pop off. Or the more common event is grease will get pushed out the grease seal and causing a mess at minimum or grease contimanated brake linings at the worse.

Eventually all of the air wil be released and grease will take the place of the air that was in the hub. Then the contraction and expansion is limited to the grease which does not expand or contract as much as air does. At that point no new grease needs to be introduced. A correctly installed and maintained bearing buddy will keep slight pressure on the inside of the hub to keep out debris and moisture. It is a Goldilocks thing, too little grease and too much grease is an issue.

For trailers that are NOT immersed in a liquid (water) there isn't much point in a bearing buddy. A bearing buddy is designed to create some positive pressure inside a hub such that when rapid cooling occurs that inside pressure is there to keep out water specifically. Travel trailers (as pointed out above) are not designed nor is it desirable to be immersed into water with a rapid cool down rate. Sure there is expansion and contraction of the air inside the hub. However that expansion and contraction is spread out over a greater length of time. (unlike a water immersion) And the contraction takes place while the trailer is not moving ..... in air. So a bearing buddy can be installed on a travel tariler or any other land based trailer, however in my opinion there is no benefit. The down side is a waste of grease (which is a small price to pay in a boat trailer versus water in a hub) and a mess at re-packing time.

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Old 07-01-2016, 07:16 AM   #11
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Pump the hub full of grease and it goes to the inner bearing.
Bearing Buddy is just a replacement for the dust cap and that spring will never hold enough pressure to force grease through the wheel hub and into the inner bearing. That little spring allows the 'plate' to come backwards and the grease flows past it, never putting any pressure into the wheel hub. Almost as soon as you start pumping grease into it you can see that plate move and excess grease starts flowing past it, particularly when the grease is cold.

There is no way I'd use a Bearing Buddy on my AS or my boat trailer. I think they're a useless gadget. You'd have better luck filling the dust cap with grease and hammering it back on. If your wheels get submerged the bearings need to be repacked annually. That's not likely for an AS.
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Old 07-01-2016, 08:23 AM   #12
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Oh well, they must be better than a lucky rabbit foot, then....I have had them on my boat trailer since 1996 and my utility trailer since 1992. Neither have been hand packed since. Never a problem.
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