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Best Grease for trailers


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Seeing as the replacement axle and overrun unit for my trailer is costing over £500 I'd quite like to keep it all in good nick. What grease is best to survive the salt water dunking? Is it just a standard multipurpose or is there something better?

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I dont know much about grease and axles. I do know though that after a salt water dunking the first thing you should do is was everything down to remove all the salt water. If you don’t have one, maybe fit a flush kit to the hubs. 

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27 minutes ago, Saintly Fish said:

I dont know much about grease and axles. I do know though that after a salt water dunking the first thing you should do is was everything down to remove all the salt water. If you don’t have one, maybe fit a flush kit to the hubs. 

As Neil said. Trailers are great, but can be hard work. I think the answer to your question is.........ELBOW GREASE..... Geoff. WINK.

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Not just marine grease but high temp marine grease. If you use the kind of marine grease that is used on the engine to do the bearings to, you might find that it liquifies and finds its way out on big drives. Bearing buddies are used on most boat trailers here, these simply push grease onto the brearings under the pressure from a spring and are easy to top up using a grease gun.

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9 hours ago, JDP said:

Not just marine grease but high temp marine grease. If you use the kind of marine grease that is used on the engine to do the bearings to, you might find that it liquifies and finds its way out on big drives. Bearing buddies are used on most boat trailers here, these simply push grease onto the brearings under the pressure from a spring and are easy to top up using a grease gun.

Funnily enough, working in the rail industry, a bearing failure is a major failure, (remember the summit tunnel fire 1984?).

Having spent the day with the tech guy from SKF doing a bearing course, a common cause of failure is...... Too much grease!

So bearing buddies are not a good thing for lots or road miles. Jon, I know you do lots of miles from time to time, so you are clearly getting away with this, or you are changing bearings regular enough to not see any adverse effects.

I only mention this to highlight a potential cause of failure to be considered, so even tho you think you have it covered, you still need to check them.

 

When you look at a prepacked bearing its surprising how little grease there is in there...

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45 minutes ago, suzook12 said:

Funnily enough, working in the rail industry, a bearing failure is a major failure, (remember the summit tunnel fire 1984?).

Having spent the day with the tech guy from SKF doing a bearing course, a common cause of failure is...... Too much grease!

So bearing buddies are not a good thing for lots or road miles. Jon, I know you do lots of miles from time to time, so you are clearly getting away with this, or you are changing bearings regular enough to not see any adverse effects.

I only mention this to highlight a potential cause of failure to be considered, so even tho you think you have it covered, you still need to check them.

 

When you look at a prepacked bearing its surprising how little grease there is in there...

I don't personally know anyone who doesn't use bearing buddies, even a good friend who is a world leading expert on lubrications has them on his trailer, never heard of bearing buddies being an issue. This is is the friend I mention and his list of credentials https://au.linkedin.com/in/sam-shatrov-49358328 if its good enough for him its good enough for me. I did see him today but hadn't seen this comment but will run it by him next time, you may well be right but it wouldn't make sense why every mechanic and dealer recommend and use them.

 

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14 hours ago, suzook12 said:

Jon, I know you think I make this shit up sometimes......

Have a read of this.....

https://www.maintworld.com/Applications/The-Three-Mistakes-of-Bearing-Lubrication

 

 

No I don't think you make things up, in fact I regularly take note of your advice. However this discussion I believe is in regards to a boat trailer used possibly in a marine environment, submerged under saltwater. Bearing buddies don't put excessive pressure on the bearing grease, besides they have a pressure relief mechanism. They do use enough pressure to keep the bearing packed and not allow saltwater, sand and dirt to get onto the bearing causing premature failure, hence why they are used on almost every boat trailer, not only here but in the US too where they also have a very large boating community.

On one trip alone I clocked 14000km towing and launching one of my boats, over which time I never had to touch a bearing at all. Normally I only change bearings when I buy a new outfit just to make sure they are in good order, fitted by a marine mechanic who like everyone else fits bearing buddies to their own trailer. We have over 250,000 registered trailer boats in my state alone and I can assure you it would be extremely rare to find a single boat without these fitted at any trailer boat carpark. 

Yes bearing buddies can fail when they haven't been maintained of fitted properly but given that any trailer carrying over 750kg gross has to have the equivalent of a 12 month mot, most trailers are maintained very well. Something goes wrong and you are found at fault or a garage who passed the inspection and all hell is to pay, hence the buddies to prevent problems.

 

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I guess the 12 month MOT and even the buddy people recommend an annual inspection has more to do with it.

I was working with bearings that had a load of around 8 tonnes at any given time and have done millions of miles and been in service since the early 80's.

You can overgrease a bearing, its a known....

An overgreased bearing can cause a fire, its proven. Braked trailers have an even bigger risk of fire, as where does excess grease go if you blow the rear seal out?

Which is cheaper, bearings or a boat?

Like I said originally, you've got away with it for some reason............ BUT, I will take the word of SKF/TOYO/NSK etc over all others. City and Guilds are also on the same page as the bearing manufacturers. Having worked in an industry where I have come into contact with 3 vehicles that have had fires because of this and seen the aftermath,  two of the £70k trailers (petroleum tankers) were written off, ok, a boat trailer doesn't cost all that, but have you seen the way GRP burns?

Being dunked then short journeies and standing around in a damp environment is far more detrimental to bearings than the long trips you take

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On 10/24/2020 at 2:46 PM, headlight said:

Renolit grease and use lanoshield to protect the frame.

 

Yep ............ Fuchs RENOLIT Aqua 2 ................. not cheap but excellent for boat trailers .............

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I always use bearing buddies. About 30yrs. They only use a light pressure to push grease into the bearing and bearing/shaft interface.  The latter is why hot shaft and bearings pick up when dunked and hot grease has spun to outside of bearing.  The shaft contracts immediately and allows salt water in.  Alternative is arrive at slip, leave trailer hubs to cool for an hour, then launch.  How many do that?  Doing freshwater work and dunking a trailer up to 10 times daily, we had to keep spare bearings with us.  fit buddies and the spare bearings are still in the truck years later.

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The newer trailers with ALKO / Knott - Avonride / BPW axles have a one piece sealed bearing, and the bearing preload is set by the 'one shot' hub nut which is torqued up to 290Nm (213lbft - which is a fair bit more than 3 grunts and a hernia 😂 ). Bearing buddies with these hubs are ineffective and not required ...................however, most of the trailers fitted with this type of bearing will be full roller coaster with swinging front and rear beams, so there is absolutely no need to dunk the hubs in the water. I launch and recover my boat 40 - 50 times a year, but only put the trailer into tyre depth at the most ............

On all my other trailers over the years have had standard inner and outer tapered roller bearings and I have always found bearing buddies effective ..............

Also, it should be remembered that another useful addition is a hub wash, my 2T Rapide trailer was fitted with one as standard and again, over the years I have found a hub wash to be very effective at keeping the brakes free from major corrosion

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