Trailer Failure on the Road (options?)

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  • Trailer Failure on the Road (options?)

    I'm have a trip coming up where I will be towing the boat approx. 8 hours. I have done this trip before with no problems. I've checked my bearings and tires and all seem good. I will carry a spare wheel/tire. But what are my options if I have a bearing failure? Do I need to take a spare hub w/ bearings and plan to replace it myself if something happens? I have AAA and Boat US/Trailer Assist but I'm guessing that neither of these will help with a bearing failure.

    Any input would be appreciated.

  • #2
    Why do you think you will have a bearing failure? Don't jinx yourself. That stuff happens when you don't keep up with maintenance.

    Hammering out a bearing on the side of the road would really suck. I'm sure you would notice before a complete failure. Just keep an eye on the hub temperature when you stop for fuel.

    I carry grease, seals, and an extra bearing on long trips. Mostly because it brings good luck and piece of mind.

    I almost hope I do have a breakdown so I can get a return on all of my insurance premiums. My policy covers road side breakdown expenses including incidetals.
    2010 Sea Ray 205 Boston Whaler dauntless 15 W/75 merc 14' Shakespeare Wondercraft W/Merc110 17' Gheenoe W/Johnson 4.5 Other assorted watercraft

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    • #3
      Never hurts to have a spare hub and bearings.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by blaster View Post
        Why do you think you will have a bearing failure? Don't jinx yourself. That stuff happens when you don't keep up with maintenance.

        Hammering out a bearing on the side of the road would really suck. I'm sure you would notice before a complete failure. Just keep an eye on the hub temperature when you stop for fuel.

        I carry grease, seals, and an extra bearing on long trips. Mostly because it brings good luck and piece of mind.

        I almost hope I do have a breakdown so I can get a return on all of my insurance premiums. My policy covers road side breakdown expenses including incidetals.
        I'm just trying to be prepared. So even with insurance to cover roadside breakdown, what are they going to do if a bearing fails and the wheel comes off on my single-axle trailer. Is a guy really going to replace my hub on the side of the road? Are they going to try to drag my trailer (with only one wheel) up on a flat bed? And when bearings fail and a wheel comes off (seen in happen, but not to me), does that mean the spindle broke off and it has to be replaced also?

        I just don't want to get stuck not knowing what to do with a wife and young kids in the car.
        Last edited by Ric232; 06-21-2017, 04:07 PM.

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        • #5
          I would check the insurance and see what it actually covers and take it from there. One thing though it may be quicker to make repairs yourself than to wait for help to arrive...Charlie

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          • #6
            The best you can do is have bearings removed, cleaned, inspected (replace if even questionable), packed and installed. Wouldn't hurt to even jack them back up after a short trip and re-check pre-load. On trip, bout the best you can carry for insurance is, new hub with pre-packed bearings and seal, lugs, spindle nut, cotter pin, spare tire and wheel. Tools, jack, lug wrench, slip joint pliers, good hammer, large chisel, file and roll of emory cloth. All the insurance/roadside assistance in the world is useless in some areas and week ends when no shops are open and then parts can be a problem.

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            • #7
              Slough last post hits it. Only real way is pull the hubs, check the bearings.
              I also usually drive for 1/2 hr or so and get out and check hubs for heat.
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              • #8
                If you go to the trouble of pulling bearings, just replace them.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Parker Yacht View Post
                  Slough last post hits it. Only real way is pull the hubs, check the bearings.
                  I also usually drive for 1/2 hr or so and get out and check hubs for heat.
                  Yep, I left that out. Good catch PY

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Parker Yacht View Post
                    I also usually drive for 1/2 hr or so and get out and check hubs for heat.
                    I'm thinking this is especially important as my usual drive to the boat ramp is only 2 miles.

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                    • #11
                      BoatUS/Trailer assist will cover the call (drive time) and tow of truck and boat. Some towers have a mechanic on call, that can replace bearings if needed. I learned this many years ago. Now I carry a couple u-bolts, cordless impact, jack, and an extra hub assembly (and spare tire). I do change/grease hubs each year. I also replace springs every 2/3 years. I tow from Michigan to the Keys round-trip once a year.

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                      • #12
                        Keep your ears open as well when going over bridges and near walls open your window and listen for growling noises over the tire noise, a poor bearing will usually reflect off the wall or the bridge and you will hear it with the window open as they get worse you will usually feel subtle vibrations in the vehicle assuming you are pulling something heavier than a 16 ft aluminum boat. I also try set my mirrors so i can see the tires by leaning forward a little and have my wife check her side as well

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                        • #13
                          Having Trailer Assist is great, but often the rescue operator wants to tow your rig, then schedule repairs. In order to salvage as much time as possible while on vacation, it might be best to have a spare hub (or 2), complete with bearing kits, and/or be prepared to rebuild a hub.

                          I carry a "trailer tool bag" and am ready to replace, or rebuild a hub. That means having a race punch, lots of rags, bearing grease, trash bag, and hand cleaner. I also carry a Dremel Tool & hack saw in case an inner race is friction welded to a spindle. A spare washer & nut might be needed too, which are not part of a standard bearing kit. Spare bearing buddy, or cap & rubber plug might be needed too. Double check that your lug wrench actually fits your wheels (if aluminum), and lug nuts.

                          If you have 3500 lb axles, and need to rebuild a hub, be SURE to determine which outer race you have on the inner 1-3/8" bearing (L68110 or L68111). They are NOT interchangeable.

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