looking for trailer maintenance tips

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by lawncuttinfoo, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. lawncuttinfoo

    lawncuttinfoo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,014

    My new trailer did not come with a manual. Just looking for some basics, what to grease and so forth, I'm getting tired of how squeeky it has become after 1.5 years, any good websites?
  2. ncls

    ncls LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 442

    grease the wheel bearings. Or you will witness your trailer tire pass you on the freeway.....:)
  3. lawncuttinfoo

    lawncuttinfoo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,014

    Anyone seen a website that has a step by step for doing this?

    DOLMARatOS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 173

    Hook yourself up with BEARING BUDDIES!!!!

    Available at Fleet Farm stores and any boat or RV place. The continueously grease the wheel bearings as you drive the trailer. Worth their weight in gold really.

    Also, grease you trailer plug with dielctric grease. If the trailer has any of those goofy blue cheater connectors....get out the soldering iron and shrink-tube.

    grease the heck out of your hitch and ball. Use FLUID FILM on your springs and hinges, on your jack, etc.

    Other than that, wash it periodically and expect to re-paint it ever 3-4 years. I use a stiff brush and a 5000 PSI power washer to loosen any peeling paint, wait to dry, wipe down with mineral spirits then use a paint roller to put 2 coats of rust-oleum black on black.
  5. Fatboy

    Fatboy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    Bearing Buddies do not replace the need to clean and repack the wheel bearings on a regular schedule.

    Find the information needed to maintain the trailer at the Dexter Axle website.



    DOLMARatOS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 173

    I re-pack and or replace my wheel bearings when I install new tires and brakes on my trailers. Depending upon the trailer this might be a few years.

    I've logged around 700,000 miles towing trailers. I'd still say that bearing buddies and fluid film are your best bet. Other than washing your trailer often in the winter to avoid corrosion and rust.
  7. Fatboy

    Fatboy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    If you are talking about the type of unit that replaces the dust cover and has a spring loaded cup with a grease fitting in the center then no, they will not replace the routine maintenance that the bearings require. Especially the inner bearing which carries most the load.

    Bearing Buddies where invented for use on boat trailers about 30 years ago, about the time that I worked setting up boat trailers. I installed thousands of them and they work well for the original purpose, to keep water out of the hubs and bearings when the trailer was backed in the water to launch the boat. When the cold water would hit the warm hubs a vacuum was created that sucked the water right past the inner seal. With the Bearing Buddies the vacuum would pull the cup in with help from the spring.

    I've seen a lot of people pump grease into a Bearing Buddy until the inner seal pops out from the grease forced through the inner bearing. Most times the inner bearing does't get adequate grease by just pumping grease in a Bearing Buddy.

    Therefore using Bearing Buddies do not take the place of repacking the bearings. An easy lube axle is different, there is a grease fitting in the end of the axle stub. The stub is drilled and the grease comes out between the inner seal and inner bearing. Grease is forced through the bearing to the center of the hub and then through the outer bearing. You can see the grease coming through the outer bearing. The dust cap has a rubber plug to cover the grease fitting and seal the cap.

    Even with an easy lube axle it's recommended that the bearings be cleaned and inspected on a regular basis. I have two trailers with Dexter Easy Lube axles, last year I had to replace a cracked hub on the 3500# axle. Found the crack after pulling the wheel to repack the bearings and supposed to leave the next morning on 1200 mile trip. Good thing that I didn't just give it a couple of pumps, the hub would not have lasted.

    If you prefer to take a short cut on bearing maintenance then that's up to you but I won't. Further, I won't recommend taking shortcuts like this to others either.


    DOLMARatOS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 173

    I'd say it always depends upon the application. The last time I looked, the header hear was lawn-site. LCO trailers usually see short trips (Under 100 miles) and short lifespans due to massive wear and tear. If the OP had posted the same question on a camping trailer forum or OTR drivers forum he'd have gotten a different response.

    I do agree with easy-lube axles...but he obviously doesn't have them and coughing up the $$$ for a new set of axles may not be in his budget. Synthetic high-quality grease and bearing buddies are still the best cure for issues. Pulling your hubs once or twice a year depending upon mileage and cleaning the bearings is always a good idea but sadly there aren't alot of LOCs that have time to do this maintenance. To maximize the lifespan of your non-easylube axles if you aren't pulling long distances I'd recomend bearing buddies, synthetic high quality grease, and try to clean them every season depending upon mileage. Of course there are exceptions to all rules. If you like to travel cross-country with your LCO trailer then check out RV maintenance.

    Here's a quandry. How many 2WD trucks are out there? How many of you pull your hubs apart and clean, re-pack and readjust your wheel bearings other than when it is time to install new rotors? I put 60K on the last set of front rotors and when I pulled them the bearings were still nice and tight, grease didn't smell burnt, etc. This truck goes through water and snow and the bearings are subject to EXTREME heat and brake dust. Much more severe than your average LCO trailer bearings.

    I'd be surprised if an LCO trailer saw more than 10 or 15K miles a year with a well planned route considering they usually sit idle for a few months. Also, how many years do LCOs keep their trailers before upgrading.

    I stand behind my advice to the OP and IF his application involves cross-country trips then he would be advised to do bearing and all vehicle maintenance / inspection before leaving for said trip.
  9. Mark in MD

    Mark in MD LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    Also, if you have the steel mesh back ramp, try to keep it in good condition. Be sure the mesh is supported with beams where your mower wheels run on it. If not, install a beam. Touch up with rustoleum on any rust spots. Keep an eye for broken welds -- spot weld when needed.

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