View Full Version : Bearing Buddy rebuild

05-22-2013, 09:48 AM
My bearing buddies were full of crap and not working properly, so i pulled them, cleaned out the grease, soaked in gasoline, and noted that the there was considerable corrosion inside that prevented the disk with the grease fitting from freely moving. (How the heck they got corroded in the first place with all that grease in there is a mystery to me.) Pulled the retainer rings, springs, disks, rubber seals, and thoroughly cleaned. Had to use emory cloth to clean the corroded inside of the main hub. All now functions as they should EXCEPT I can't get the darn rubber ring seals back into their slots - they are too big. Anyone have some method for shrinking them short of cutting the rings, which I'm not inclined to do. I cannot find replacement parts on line and the local auto parts supply house doesn't have an aftermarket ring that will fit. Questions, comments, and even snide remarks are welcome.

05-23-2013, 06:46 AM
Thanks for the feedback. Typically, I'm doing a long hauls between Hatteras and eastern Virginia - approx 250 miles each way. Then boat sits for a day or two, and then launch at a local ramp that is less than 1/2 mile away, so dumping hot axles into cold water is not an issue. I monitor the bearings closely since I'm carrying 6,000 lbs on a tandem axle trailer - check for heat build up while traveling, check for bearing noise after launch, and pump additional grease into bearing buddies to get out any water. The problem appeared to be just a bunch of crude built up in the bearing buddy springs that kept the piston from moving out when grease was pumped in.

After pulling the bearing buddies apart, it was apparent that the real problem was caused by corrosion inside the hub of the bearing buddies, thus the disassembly and cleaning. These were old BB's, that came with the trailer when I bought it used, so I'm guessing that there had been a major saltwater incursion in the past. Since I purchased the trailer all bearings, races, and seals, as well as brake shoes and backing plates have been replaced.

So, back to the issue - how to get the rubber seal back into the bearing buddy. I solved the problem for three out of four of the units by boiling the rubber seals in hot water. That shrank them enough to get them to go back in. One of them refuses to shrink enough, so I am on the hunt for a replacement. In the mean time, I cut a length out of it, to make it work on a temporary basis. The ultimate solution all around is to find a source for the replacement rubber rings. The ones I re-installed seem a bit stiff and not as pliable as they should be.

Here is another lesson learned - the groove for the rubber seal needs to be very clean to get them back in and working properly. The solution that worked for me was to brush the grooves with alcohol, then use a Dremel tool with a small flywheel-type brush to get them really cleaned out.

05-23-2013, 12:30 PM
if you do buy new buddy bearings make sure they have the relief hole....that will protect the rear seal because you wont overfill..the way mine work is you can see the spring loaded outer cover coming out just a tad and then you will see grease coming out the relief hole...stop filling then...this may be old news to everyone but i put it in anyway...my bearing and buddy bearings have been on the trailer for 20 years this coming fall....never been pulled...i grease them the night before i leave at home and then make a 75 mile one way run on them...whenever i stop for whatever reason i check them for heat....at some point on every trip when the boat is off the trailer i grip the tires and check for side play...i just put the 4th or 5th set of tires on the trailer so there are many miles on the bearings..the boat is used 99% of the time in fresh water and is in the 2000 pound range...i do not grease the bearings before i launch or before the trip home..i probably should...the disadvantage of the relief holes is that you get grease slung all over your pretty shiny hubs after a while but i could not care less...

05-23-2013, 01:23 PM
All good points - thanks. I never considered what happens once the hubs and bearings cool. That could explain the corrosion inside the BB hub. Papyson - never seen BB's with relief holes. Don't mind drilling my own in these old ones. Do you have a guess on what diameter?

05-23-2013, 10:26 PM
i would guess a 16th CHawk....1/8th at the biggest...

05-23-2013, 10:47 PM
http://www.agrisupply.com/equipment-supplies/buddy-bearings-c-5000004.php...these people sell buddy bearings with relief holes...mine came with the trailer in 1993 so i got no idea where they came from...i see on the web some people dont like the grease that gets on their hubs etc though...actually it gets all over the rim...

05-24-2013, 05:54 AM
Thanks - I'll try 1/16th to start. That Agrisupply site had the best price I've seen on those.