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Author Topic:   Bearing Buddies or Sure Lube?
JeepRob posted 04-20-2005 11:03 PM ET (US)   Profile for JeepRob  
What is the best wheel bearing lube system for a boat trailer?
My 150 Sport came with a Karavan trailer equipted with Sure Lube bearing system. This has a zerk fitting behind the dust cap allowing the grease to come out of the inboard bearing and out the outboard bearing as well, it is kind of messy to lube the bearings this way.

I was thinking of changing over to bearing buddies as a better alternative.

Any comments would be appreaciated.

high sierra posted 04-20-2005 11:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for high sierra  Send Email to high sierra     
I was just advised by the dealer in Las Vegas that they remove the inner zerk and replace it with bearing buddies. If you don't remove that inner zerk , the inside bearing doesn't get any fresh grease when you lube the bearing buddy. They have been doing this with no returned bad bearings. The air is expelled out through the back seal when you grease the unit. High Sierra
dittybag54 posted 04-21-2005 08:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for dittybag54  Send Email to dittybag54     
Everyone's story varies it seems but I had good luck with the Sure Lube system on two catamaran trailers. Five years of long distance trailering and salt water dunking and no problems. It's really cool how you can pump grease in until it changes color and know that you have essentially repacked your bearings with fresh grease. The downside, as you pointed out, is that it is messy and you lose the positive pressure of a Bearing Buddy to keep water out when you put hot hubs in the water. For that reason, it seems a very good idea to put new grease in on a regular basis if you have Sure Lube on your trailer. It was easy enough that it did not seem like a chore to do it often.

I wish it was on my latest trailer instead of Bearing Buddies. Seeing the old grease pushed out with brand new grease following in its place was oddly satisfying.

Larry posted 04-21-2005 09:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for Larry  Send Email to Larry     
While changing your lube' system anyway, have you considered changing to an oil system?
Chuck Tribolet posted 04-21-2005 12:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
I like a hub with a zerk on the back side, and SS Bearing
Buddies. When you add grease, you add it on the back. If
you want to repack, just pull the bearing buddy and pump from
the back till you get clean grease. Messy, but no more so
that taking things apart to repack, and a lot quicker.


lakeman posted 04-22-2005 09:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for lakeman  Send Email to lakeman     
I guess everyone has an opinion on lubing wheel bearings, but I have never heard of a dealer saying bearing buddies are better than shure lube, at least in recent history.
I just replaced my bearing buddies with super lube hubs, the ones referred to above with the zerk fitting on the back side, cost me about $110 dollars for two, I hope they perform as well as the Shurelube spindle types. If the axle had been bad I would have replace it with a torsion axle with shure lube spindles.
Also most boat trailer manufactures who have tried the oil lube method have gone back to the regular grease type.
andygere posted 04-22-2005 05:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Do you have a source or manufacturer's name for the type of hub you described? It sounds like the answer!
high sierra posted 04-22-2005 05:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for high sierra  Send Email to high sierra     
I am having second thought about the Vegas dealers thoughts on pulling that zerk fitting on the spindle. I carefully studied it and came to the conclusion that the factory idea is much better in getting the lube to the rear seal. So much for that idea.High Sierra
LHG posted 04-22-2005 06:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
I know from bad experience that Spindle Lube axles should not have Bearing Buddies installed, at least if the grease zerk on the spindle is left in place. That Las Vegas dealership may be correct.

About three years ago, I had the axles replaced on my 25 Outrage trailer just as a preventive maintenance measure, originally fitted with plain axles and Bearing Buddies, which worked fine for 12 years. The dealership, without mentioning it, replaced them with the new Spindle Lube axles, which I did not want. He said "no problem, I'll just install Bearing Buddies instead of their dust cap, and everything will be fine." He did not remove the grease zerks at the ends of the axles. Well, two years later, it wasn't, and an inner bearing completely failed, ruining a week's planned vacation. I do not believe the two systems are compatible at all, although each by itself seems to be fine.

On a new Continental trailer I recently ordered, I wised up and specified plain spindles and Bearing Buddies as an alternate to the Spindle Lube axles they now furnish as standard equipment, since Bearing Buddies have been working for me for 20 years now, and I am comfortable with them. Just don't mix and match the two systems.

Chuck Tribolet posted 04-22-2005 10:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Andy: I got those hubs from West Marine. I think they are
TieDown brand but could be wrong. It was a couple of years

LHG: Any idea WHY the Spindle Lube axles are incompatible
with Bearing Buddies? Did you lube them from the Spindle
Lube zerk or the Bearing Buddy zerk?


Chuck Tribolet posted 04-22-2005 10:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Yep, TieDown. The spare out in the truck says "T.D.E ATL. GA."

Their real name is Tie Down Engineering, and they are in


jimmy c posted 04-22-2005 10:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimmy c  Send Email to jimmy c     
I have seen many bad bearings over the years with buddy apears not only air but water gets traped between the inner bearing and the seal.
when the seal gets worn and lets water in greasing will not always push the water out but push the seal tight trapping the water in.
In every case of bearing failure it was always the inner bearing.
before winter layup I always clean and repack axels with buddy bearings and always replace the seals.
Ferdinando posted 04-22-2005 10:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ferdinando  Send Email to Ferdinando     
Turbo-Lube guys, it's the best thing for trailers since sliced bread.........

I've had em for two yrs with no problems what so ever.

No grease, just heavy oil...............


Alex K posted 04-24-2005 01:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for Alex K  Send Email to Alex K     
I have an EZ-loader trailer with "Reliable" oil bath lubrication but only used it "dry" on the way from the dealer back home. Is this comparable to the "Turbo Lube" that Ferdinando mentioned? Looks good, but I think it doesn't have that internal overpressure that makes the benefit of the original bearing buddy. Will this system not "suck" in water when you launch the boat with warm hubs?
LHG posted 04-24-2005 06:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
Chuck - I can't really answer your question, but I only inserted grease using the Bearing Buddy, never removing them to access the spindle zerk.

A friend has a Continental with the factory supplied Spindle Lube system, and he is having good luck with it. My dealer tells me the people at Continental think it's the way to go.

I use the Bearing Buddies with their Spindo Seal also.

Ferdinando posted 04-24-2005 08:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ferdinando  Send Email to Ferdinando     

Same system and it does not suck up the water if it did mine would not be running like it has been for the last two yrs.

I will never go back to grease..............


SteveGMP posted 04-24-2005 09:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for SteveGMP  Send Email to SteveGMP     
I just had to use a Turbo Lube hub on my son's 14ft aluminum boat trailer. I was very surprised when I had opened the hub packaging and found the Turbo Lube set up. I'm not sure if I like it. What happens if you bump a rock or curb with those plastic clear dust caps. If you lose all your oil can you still drive home? I don't think so. With a dust cap or even a bearing buddy you just knock it back on.
I hope it works ok. I just learned to rebuild trailer hubs and bearings this weekend after fifteen years of boating. I had one hub that was behond repair due to a seal failing and then causing much corrosion. Theres nothing like the smell of ten year old grease while swatting mosquitoes in the rain. Best weekend I've had in months.
mikeyairtime posted 04-27-2005 08:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for mikeyairtime    
Those oil bath hubs look really slick. Big over the road semi's use a similar system on their front wheels. If water gets in it will turn the oil into a grey colored milkshake which is probably the reasons for the clear cap.
LHG posted 04-27-2005 01:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for LHG    
I figure that as an inner seal wears out, oil will leak out and leave you dry, whereas grease will not, at least not as easily or quickly?
Gene in NC posted 08-02-2005 05:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for Gene in NC  Send Email to Gene in NC     
My experience is that seals, if they fail, wear out slowly not blow out. Drop in oil level as seen in the clear dust cap is telltale. Water in oil leaves it's telltale color too. Had an early version of oil bath bearing maybe 35 years ago. One side still operational and expect it to last longer than I will. That version glued an adapter, functional = to Spindo seal stainless, to the axle.

Overall the Turbo Lube design seems much better and spare dust caps are available from Champion. Might not be a pad idea to have a spare.

kingfish posted 08-02-2005 05:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
I'm currently teting out Kodiak's version of turbo-lube spindles on my tandem axle EZ-Loader, and after the first 1500 miles or so, I'm one happy camper. As was said, it is easy to see if the oil level is low or is dropping, and it is easy to see if there's water intrusion; it is also easy to drain and re-lube if there is water.


where2 posted 08-02-2005 10:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
When I inquired about the seemingly "flimsy" plastic cap, I was retorted with the fact that the cap is Lexan which is a rather robust General Electric plastic material if you've ever played with it...

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