Wheel Bearing Temperature? - SailNet Community

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Old 04-19-2007
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Wheel Bearing Temperature?

I just replaced the wheel bearings, races & seals in my single axle trailer a week or so ago. This was my first attempt at doing this after researching how it's done and also following some advice that was given to me here on the forum. I finally got a chance yesterday to take the trailer (with boat) for a test spin to see if all is well with the new bearings and pack job.

After driving for 30 miles or so at 70 mph and probably another 10 or so at around 45 mph (plus/minus), I pulled over a couple of times along the way to feel the hubs for heat. One side was very cool while the opposite side was barely warm. My question is this: Does this sound like the bearings are going to be okay? There is no rubbing or grinding noise what so ever from either wheel and they both seem to roll very smoothly.

I travel about 1-1/2 hours to the lake with the boat in tow and will be driving highway speeds (70 mph) pretty much the whole distance. There are a few small communities along the way where speeds will be reduced. I intend to stop a couple of times (at least) in between to check the hubs and also the lug bolts so I'm guessing that this will be the real test. This trailer has 8" wheels and the boat is a Sunfish type sailboat so there is not allot of weight on the wheels.......just tons of wheel revolutions on the axle while in tow to and from the lake.

But because the wheel bearings are a source of paranoia for me I was hoping to get the opinion of those that are experienced in the topic to tell me if the slight heat in the one wheel hub is an indicator of possible future problems on the road? Or is there anything here to worry about?

All input is appreciated.
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Old 04-19-2007
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Sounds like you got it. I cool hub is an excellent indicator. The warm hub on the other side isn't a bad side and can be associated with other things like a dragging brake or even low tire pressure.

We kept bearing buddies on our trailers. Bearing damage occurs after driving somewhere, warming up the hubs and then dipping them in the water when launching your boat. The cooling hubs will suck in the water. Bearing buddies keep a little spring pressure on the packed grease and you can give it a shot of grease now and then that can help force the water back out.

After your test drive, take a load off each wheel by jacking it up then check to see if the bearings are still tight (no play when you try and shake the wheel)
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Old 04-19-2007
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Sounds like you're OK. Cool is good and warm is OK too. The difference could be caused by the sun/shade and can also be caused by the vehicle's exhaust on longer runs. Different tire pressure (or different tires) can affect temperature as well. Be sure the tires are properly inflated and in good shape.

As long as you have no leaks and are comfortable that the bearings are well-packed you're good to go. Did you install anything like Bearing Buddies on the hubs?
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Old 04-19-2007
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WARM, like a baby's bath, bearings just love to wallow around in that warm grease ... BOTH hubs ... check EVERY stop ... a wee bit of paranoia is a good thing ...
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Old 04-19-2007
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Your obsession with your wheel bearings is a bit over the top. If they aren't rocking back and forth or howling at you as you run down the road, they're ok. Redirect your concern toward blowing one of those little tires instead of seizing a bearing. Relax...if it happens it happens, deal with it then.
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you're fine
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Old 04-19-2007
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Sounds like I'm good to go. Thanks for all the input!
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