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ContinuousWave: Whaler Repairs/Mods
Trailer bearings: oil bath vs. grease
|Author||Topic: Trailer bearings: oil bath vs. grease|
posted 04-21-2010 10:37 AM ET (US)
We have a newer EZ Loader trailer with the oil bath hub bearing protection system.
Just used the trailer yesterday for about 200 miles.
It had been sitting for about 6 months before that in the PNW winter (i.e. the rain is a little colder).
Worked fine, but I noticed not all the bearing is submerged in the oil.
When it sits for long periods, with high moisture content in the air, is rust possible in the top part of the bearing?
posted 04-21-2010 11:05 AM ET (US)
Good question, I do not think so, The oil in the hub is heavy duty (90 weight and up) I think the oil is heavy enought to leave a lite coat on the bearing even if it has been parked a long time. Some of the oils used today once the oil hits the metal its like there will always be a lite film on the metal. I also understand that the oil bath hubs are better than the grease ones...Take care
posted 04-21-2010 11:52 AM ET (US)
frontier, I've had my oil bath bearings for 2 years and they are the best solution to bearing maintenance. No rust at all . Perfectly oiled all the time especially when at high speed. They run much cooler. high sierra
posted 04-21-2010 03:26 PM ET (US)
My owners manual for UFP Gold brand hubs states to keep the hub full of oil.
posted 04-21-2010 03:34 PM ET (US)
My TurboLube bearings indicate "full" at about 1/2 of the cavity...meaning that the bearings are continually running through a bath of oil and up around the spindle and back into the bath of oil as the wheel turns.
The same is true for the gears in your vehicle. Think about how the transfer case and differentials are similar - the gears turn in to and through a 'puddle' of gear oil.
posted 04-21-2010 04:21 PM ET (US)
This thread got me to thinking... and googling... I found this to be a quick and unbiased read on the matter. Enjoy.
posted 04-21-2010 04:51 PM ET (US)
I've towed my current trailer with oil bath hubs about 20,000 miles over the last 3 years. Overall I've been really pleased with them. I did have an issue on one of the trips though where the plastic cap would unscrew itself and allow all of the oil to leak out. This also resulted in the cap cracking from bouncing around inside of the hubcap. I was able to get a metal replacement and use a little threadlocker and haven't had further problems with that hub.
My trailer is also an EZ loader and it does have disc brakes so the article referenced above is wrong on that count. BD
posted 04-21-2010 09:48 PM ET (US)
When I first became aware of the oil bath systems I thought- Wow, what a geat idea! I still believe it is a great idea. The only problem that I see is what has already been mentioned in an earlier post- it works great IF there is oil in the hub.
My brother in law hauls logs with a Mack truck set up with log gear. The hubs on the trailer are oil bath. He lost the oil in one hub once, frying the bearings in that hub quickly.
I understand his load conditions are way more extreme than any load condition our trailers are subjected to. It did however, make me think back to once, when I lost the dust cover off one of the hubs on one of the Spindle Lube axles on my trailer. I KNOW there was plenty of grease still available for the bearings. I bought a new dust cover and rubber cap, pumped new grease through and all is good.
By the way, I like the Spindle Lube system a lot better than the old Bearing Buddy system I had on my Sakonnet's single axle Easy Loader trailer bought new in the 80's. Adding grease pushes old grease toward the outer bearing, with the new grease servicing the inner bearing. My boat and trailer see exclusive saltwater use, so this is very important to me.
posted 04-21-2010 10:42 PM ET (US)
I use the old bearing buddy style caps and grease because of the same reason Doug outlines. With oil bath if system fails and looses the oil, you are quickly in trouble.
Twice last year on two separate trailers I lost bearing buddy caps while on a trip. They flung off somewhere between stops and who know why but, they were gone at the next stop. Once was at least 100 miles and the other was about 160 miles and both still had grease completely coating the bearings at the next stop. The grease was surely contaminated with some road dirt but, I was able to put another cap on (always carry spares as part of my trip kit), fill it with new grease and finish my trip without any problems. In fact on later inspections the bearings showed no signs of any excessive wear of damage.
posted 04-23-2010 05:55 AM ET (US)
Had oil bearings for close to 3 yrs not one problem. When I bought my new Montauk Turbo Lube did not make the caps for my size trailer, otherwise I would have already installed them. I really loved the low maintenance
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