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Old 01-27-2012, 05:51 PM   #15
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I agree with the "no Bearing Buddy on the AS" crowd for exactly the reasons mentioned: inspections are important, and your drum will fill with grease long before you see external evidence. It's one of those lessons I've learned the hard way.

I do have BB's on my boat trailer. It's not really that they're under pressure with the BB, it's that you try to keep it full of grease. When immersed, a hot hub will tend to draw water inside, so keeping it full of grease makes it difficult for the water to find a home. I pull the drum and inspect at the beginning of every boating season, then carefully squeeze a partial pump or so into the BB prior to taking the boat out, watching the compression on the spring. It's very easy to pump too much.

Incidentally, In all my years as a boat owner, I've never been able to launch or retrieve my boat without getting the wheels wet. In my boat, the water line has to be just about level with the top of the fenders for easy launch and retrieval.
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Old 01-27-2012, 06:14 PM   #16
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Bearing Buddies aren't really needed on trailers that don't go in the water, otherwise cars would have them. - Bart
Most domestic cars manufactured in the last 15 to 20 years have non-serviceable wheel bearings. So in a sense cars do have them now!

Also contrary to what has been stated above bearing buddies are not limited to small boat trailers with no brakes. I have a 1997 27' express cruiser that weighes in at 7400#s in ready to tow trim. All four wheels have brakes and all four hubs have bearing buddies. Those bearing buddies do not remove the responsibility of brake inspections. They just help in keeping the presure on the grease so water does not enter the bearings. Brake inspections and servicing is still important. It is a temporary technology until disc brakes with removeable rotors are installed.

I personally don't have issues with bearing buddies on trailers that only see land applications. It is a tighter system for keeping out debris from the bearings. And auto manufactures realize this as well. That is why auto manufactures have permanently sealed wheel bearings and removeable disc brake rotors.* What has been discovered is what has been stated above, more damage has occurred with servicable wheel bearings than non-servicable wheel bearings through improper seating and debris entering the through the dust cap, past the spindle seal or during the re-packing proceedure. The trailer industry has not caught up with that technology yet and still employs old school drum brakes and repackable bearings.

* My rear wheel drive 1996 Lincoln Mark VIII has 191,000 miles and the front hubs and permanently sealed bearings have never been touched.

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Old 01-27-2012, 06:48 PM   #17
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What Action said....

One caveat though...It did take the auto makers awhile to get the sealed bearing thing rite.

The early sealed bearing/abs sensors were definitely not trouble free....and very expensive if out of warranty. Over $850ea on some AWD vehicles.

POI...boat & trailer design and ramp angle have more to do with whether or not my "buddies" get wet... not how accomplished I may or may not be at launching our boat.

Bob
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Old 01-28-2012, 09:59 AM   #18
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Well bearing buddies are for folks that don't know how to launch a boat. The trailer has rollers and a winch for a reason. I have never had to submerge a trailer to get a boat on and off.

I would think that they might be good for trailers that sit a lot to keep moisture out of the bearings. Those stock grease caps are not all that water tight.

Perry
I have a 19' fantail wooden boat with a deep forefoot. When the trailer wheel bearings are just out of the water, perhaps 50% of the weight is on the carpeted bunks rather than on the keel rollers - and not a bit of the boat is touching the water.

There is more than one kind of boat: not all have submerged transoms, and not all trailers have their wheels on either side of the boat; instead some have the wheels underneath the boat, so that the inboard propeller doesn't drag on the ground.

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Old 01-28-2012, 10:55 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
The problem with bearing buddies, is that you have no way of knowing when the drum cavity is filled with grease, "UNTIL IT'S TOO LATE".


Andy
Andy,
Have you ever used, installed or even read the instructions for bearing buddies? that's not an attack, I am curious about your first hand knowledge.

The front plate is spring loaded and and the procedure calls for grease to be added until the front plate has moved by specified amount. That and periodic checks of the front plate position after the wheel has been turning let you know when there is sufficent grease present.

This portion is directed to all:

I would highly recommend that people who are posting recommendations against using them at least read their website thoroughy first.

http://www.bearingbuddy.com/

I understand the validity of posts from people who say they want to check their wheel bearings yearly. I pesonally feel that is not necessary and a lot of extra work. But to each his own.

I don't have any interest financial or otherwise in Bearing buddies. Therfore, I am annoyed by something. I post my actual experience with this product with the intent to be helpful. It then is followed up by posts from people who don't give any indication that they have ever used or or seen one in action. The posts say that are not good for these purposes with no support that show their concerns are valid. I basically feel like I am being called a liar.

I would like to suggest that when you indirectly discredit what someome else has posted, that you back it up with some actual facts and not just opinions and/or hearsay.

I may have missed something, but I don't remember seeing in any of the Bearing buddy threads, a first hand account of a problem with them when used properly.

Ken
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:35 AM   #20
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I actually have to agree with Ken. If one reads and understands what this product does and then checks the bearing buddy befiore driving away one would know exactly how much grease is in the hub. If some one is constantly filling the bearing buddy there is a problem and no further driving should be done. The system is leaking and it isn't good.

Andy, The same can be said for other maintence items that you constantly harp on. Neglect will take one down the road of an accident or at least a very costly repair. A bearing buddy is a awesome way to understand what is going on inside the hub every trip with out dissassembly.

As to the comment above "Well bearing buddies are for folks that don't know how to launch a boat" This person has only a limited experience of boat launching. There are certain boat/trailer designs that don't allow dry hub launches. And if you are so confident about you declaration above I will reimburse your round trip expenses to Phoenix Arizona from anywhere in the lower 48 plus one nights lodging, meals and $100 pocket change if you can drop my boat off of the trailer into Saguaro lake without damage to the boat and not submerging the hubs. And now would be the time to come the highs are just under 80 and lows are just under 50.

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Old 01-28-2012, 11:39 AM   #21
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Mixed Reviews

I have always installed Bearing Buddies on my boat trailers through the years since 1981.
They seemed to work as advertised as long as I didn't become complacent and fail to also maintain my bearings each season.
Then, on a 17' utility trailer, the manufacturer installed Bearing Buddies.
After a couple years of rough service in and out of the mountains, I found burned bearings and damaged axle spindles.
The tech who was working on my trailer said smugly, "these ain't bearing buddies, these are bearing burners."
As I watched the bearings on this trailer more closely, I discovered that the bearing buddies had made me complacent and were giving me incomplete and inconsistent lubrication.
Since I could only attain thorough lubrication the old fashioned way by packing the inside and outside bearings by hand, i found the bearing buddies pretty much useless except for the boat trailer application for which they were originally designed.
The utility trailer manufacturer I bought my trailer from no longer uses them.
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Old 01-28-2012, 12:52 PM   #22
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Installing Bearing Buddies for the First Time

I've had boat trailers with BB's and I know how to maintain the BB's. The thing is, I've never had to remove a wheel - or initially install BB's. If the seals are in good shape, how do you insure that the hub is completely packed with grease - i.e. - and specifically, the inner bearing??? I can envision trapping a lot of air in the hub. Would a manual packing be in order the first time around? I know that the hub is empty after I hand-pack my bearings conventionally - but the theory behind the BB's seems to require a full hub, positive internal pressure, and good seals. Personally, I'm not in favor of BB's for drum brakes due to the potential for leaking and, accordingly, I'll continue to hand pack - but for disc brakes they might be a good idea. Thus the question.
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Old 01-28-2012, 01:03 PM   #23
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Ken.

I agree and disagree with your thoughts.

You are not the same as the average owner.

You are far more safety concious that the average owner.

As a shop owner for many many years, I have seen all to many trailers come in for brake service, that had the buddies installed, that also had major brake problems.

When chatting with the owners, they simply say "I took care of the bearings, I thought". When asked how about the other things behind the drums, and the typical answer was " I never gave it a thought".

Yes, they took care of the bearings with a total disregard for the other parts that are behind the drums.

Ken, it is in that sense that we do not recommend them, since owners then forget about brake wear and care.

Everyone does not use equipment in a manner that you may do, or that I may do as well.

It's not a matter of works for some, it's a matter of being falsely lead into a sense of security, that does not exist.

Unfortunately, all to many owners compare the trailer running gear and brakes, to that of a tow vehicle, namely brakes and bearings last forever, and rarely keep tabs of the trailer mileage.

Andy
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Old 01-28-2012, 01:34 PM   #24
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Andy,

Thanks for the explanation.. It make sense to me. With the way a bearing buddy is constructed, and the number of places grease can escape, it is true that frequent routine inspection and topping off is necessary.
As I think about it, I am certain that bearings would fail much faster with filled once and then neglected bearing buddies, than they would with packed once and neglected standard hubs.

Ken


Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
Ken.

I agree and disagree with your thoughts.

You are not the same as the average owner.

You are far more safety concious that the average owner.

As a shop owner for many many years, I have seen all to many trailers come in for brake service, that had the buddies installed, that also had major brake problems.

When chatting with the owners, they simply say "I took care of the bearings, I thought". When asked how about the other things behind the drums, and the typical answer was " I never gave it a thought".

Yes, they took care of the bearings with a total disregard for the other parts that are behind the drums.

Ken, it is in that sense that we do not recommend them, since owners then forget about brake wear and care.

Everyone does not use equipment in a manner that you may do, or that I may do as well.

It's not a matter of works for some, it's a matter of being falsely lead into a sense of security, that does not exist.

Unfortunately, all to many owners compare the trailer running gear and brakes, to that of a tow vehicle, namely brakes and bearings last forever, and rarely keep tabs of the trailer mileage.

Andy
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:17 AM   #25
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Baoat launching fundamentals

Cracker, I live on the Puget Sound and have a launch ramp in my back yard. I can assure you I know what I am doing. Depending on the grade of your ramp, the tide and the boat size you may or may not have to submerge your wheels. When you do, you need to be sure to rinse with fresh water and clean everything. You should know by now when you ass-u-me something you usually will, well you know. Not all boat trailers have rollers, some have slides. I've seen guys back up quickly and then stop quickly hoping to slide the boat off of the trailer only to have the boat tip back onto the mud or cement. Getting your wheels or for that matter your whistle wet are sometimes necessary.
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:19 AM   #26
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Sorry Cracker, that post was for Perry.
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Old 05-04-2012, 12:29 PM   #27
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I've had bearing buddies on boat trailers with brakes and never had a problem with the brakes caused by the bearing buddies.

I think, used properly with travel trailer, they would be fine. But I also see the point of checking the brakes etc. and packing the bearings the normal way should outlast that service interval.

FWIW at least on my boat and jetski trailers, the hubs were almost always submerged when launching. I've even had the back wheels of the truck in water on a shallow sandy beach on Lake Mojave (possibly to the detriment of differential on that vehicle). I always felt good that the little pressure in the buddies/hubs kept water intrusion to a minimum. Driving with warm bearings and then popping them in cold water would be a scenario for water intrusion without that small pressure.
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Old 05-04-2012, 04:15 PM   #28
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Let's see . . Perry is a Southern boy so you ain't gonna tell him anything on which his mind is made up. And, he's from Florida so his Daddy had to get the boat launched and the trailer stowed on the way to the hospital so Perry could be born. I'd reckon there's more than one way to sling a boat off a trailer. I've even tried a few. Sober.
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