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tvano

Oil Bath Bearing Protection

oil bath bearing protection  

27 members have voted

  1. 1. have you had a bearing failure with your well maintained oil bath hub system?



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tvano

i'm in the process of replacing my corroded trailer w a galvanized unit.

dealer is telling me that the oil bath bearing protection was another good idea that didn't work. too many failures.

i've got a ton of miles and cycles on my oil baths and am very satisfied with their utility.

am i the only one?

i know seals fail and i don't consider seal replacement to be a big deal. let's not call a mildly leaking seal a failure.

catastrophic seal failure with out warning? sure, that's a yes vote.

let's assume that 'well maintained' means that you check the sight glass each trip out and replace fluid annually.

thanks for your feedback.

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REW

I bought my boat used so I have no idea what the orginal owner did for trailer maintenance. I have driven many miles into and out of the mountains of NC with my single axle trailer without any barring issues. I changed the oil last year before going to Tennessee (mountains) with the Bu. no issues.

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wdr

I had the old style screw in plastic caps fail on '06 Boat Mate trailer, but not the seals. BM has since offered aluminum cap w/ window upgrades @ $60.00 a set as I reacall.

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rat01

I have the oil bath bearings on an '06. I check the oil level twice each season. Thousands of miles no problems. I had greased bearings with bearing buddies on my previous trailer. Repacked them yearly. No issues with them either, just found them a lot messier.

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BillFooter

The biggest problem with oil bath hubs is catastrophic oil seal failure. If your oil seal fails while you are at highway speed, you can have a total loss of lubricant very quickly, burn up your bearings, ruin the hub, the axle, or both. You probably will not notice you have a problem until you see smoke, or just happen to stop and check your trailer. If your luck is really bad you may have a hub/wheel assembly come off while going down the road.

My job is selling commercial 18 wheel type trailers. This type of equipment sometimes averages 150,000 to 200,000 mile per year. We have not been using oil in the hubs of our trailers for 10 years. Semi trailer manufacturers are using high quality semi-fluid grease. Catastrophic bearing failures are nearly nonexistent with this type of lubricant. Hub seals can still leak with semi fluid grease lubricants, but it is seldom that you would have total loss of lubricant quickly.

Many people have had good experience with oil bath hubs on boat trailers. They are great as long as they don't leak. It is a gamble I would not be willing to take.

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tvano

thanks to all for the feedback.

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gorilla

how do we swap the oil baths for something more reliable?? :unsure:

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BillFooter

Normally the same hub seals will work with either lubricant. Remove the hub assemblies, clean old lubricant from hub cavity and axle spindles, inspect & clean bearings (replace as needed). Install new or cleaned bearings, and new seals in hubs, then install hubs on axle. Adjust/tighten axle nuts. You probably will need different hub caps.

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Fman

The biggest problem with oil bath hubs is catastrophic oil seal failure. If your oil seal fails while you are at highway speed, you can have a total loss of lubricant very quickly, burn up your bearings, ruin the hub, the axle, or both. You probably will not notice you have a problem until you see smoke, or just happen to stop and check your trailer. If your luck is really bad you may have a hub/wheel assembly come off while going down the road.

My job is selling commercial 18 wheel type trailers. This type of equipment sometimes averages 150,000 to 200,000 mile per year. We have not been using oil in the hubs of our trailers for 10 years. Semi trailer manufacturers are using high quality semi-fluid grease. Catastrophic bearing failures are nearly nonexistent with this type of lubricant. Hub seals can still leak with semi fluid grease lubricants, but it is seldom that you would have total loss of lubricant quickly.

Many people have had good experience with oil bath hubs on boat trailers. They are great as long as they don't leak. It is a gamble I would not be willing to take.

Do you have any idea of how many failures occur with the oil bath bearings? My last boat ('08) and my current boat both have the oil bath bearings and its been great, no problems. I would think if it were a major issue the new trailers would not be coming with them, seems like most, if not all the newer boat trailer manufacturers are using oil bath bearings (sport boat, boatmate, etc...).

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tvano

Do you have any idea of how many failures occur with the oil bath bearings?

no. that is why i posted this poll.

I would think if it were a major issue the new trailers would not be coming with them, seems like most, if not all the newer boat trailer manufacturers are using oil bath bearings (sport boat, boatmate, etc...).

the new eagle trailer the dealer is recommending does not offer oil baths.

i asked why and was told that they have seen too many failures.

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BillFooter

Do you have any idea of how many failures occur with the oil bath bearings? My last boat ('08) and my current boat both have the oil bath bearings and its been great, no problems. I would think if it were a major issue the new trailers would not be coming with them, seems like most, if not all the newer boat trailer manufacturers are using oil bath bearings (sport boat, boatmate, etc...).

I am only saying that the possibility for catastrophic bearing failure is higher with oil hubs. Most commercial trailers that travel many thousands of miles per year to over a hundred thousand miles per year have gone away from oil bath hubs to semi fluid grease. I have sold several hundred trailers per year equipped with semi fluid grease hubs every year since 1996. We will build a trailer with oil hubs per a customer request, but it is not the best option. I would not want oil bath hubs on my boat trailer.

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REW

I am only saying that the possibility for catastrophic bearing failure is higher with oil hubs. Most commercial trailers that travel many thousands of miles per year to over a hundred thousand miles per year have gone away from oil bath hubs to semi fluid grease. I have sold several hundred trailers per year equipped with semi fluid grease hubs every year since 1996. We will build a trailer with oil hubs per a customer request, but it is not the best option. I would not want oil bath hubs on my boat trailer.

How about a little more information about the semi fluid grease and if/how to convert form oil to semi fluid.

Yea ok so it is a hyjack.

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tvano

How about a little more information about the semi fluid grease and if/how to convert form oil to semi fluid.

Yea ok so it is a hyjack.

hijack appreciate

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jkendallmsce

I am only saying that the possibility for catastrophic bearing failure is higher with oil hubs. Most commercial trailers that travel many thousands of miles per year to over a hundred thousand miles per year have gone away from oil bath hubs to semi fluid grease. I have sold several hundred trailers per year equipped with semi fluid grease hubs every year since 1996. We will build a trailer with oil hubs per a customer request, but it is not the best option. I would not want oil bath hubs on my boat trailer.

So what is a semi fluid grease?

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Michigan boarder

[quote name='jkendallmsce' timestamp='1330652304' post='512498'

So what is a semi fluid grease?

That's what I want to know too, and can I get it in grease gun form to just squirt in like my current stuff.

This is a great discussion!

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BillFooter

Kendall EBL is what we use in truck-trailers. I am not specifically endorsing this for your boat trailer. I am only saying I would prefer a high quality, high temperature grease filled hub over oil in my hubs. Hub oil will leak faster than grease if you have a problem, which could lead to a serious failure sooner.

kendall-ebl-00.pdf

Edited by BillFooter

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tvano

i've emailed upf and asked a few questions about oil bath hubs. ufp said "Gold series oil bath was discontinued in June of 2007. We now have the Vault hub which goes in like a grease, but turns to an oil at 150 degrees". Vault looks like a Trailer Buddy product.

The Trailer Buddy® VAULT Axle brochure says that the system uses "semi-fluid oil in a pressurized chamber" and that at "ambient temperatures the oil is thick with a viscosity approaching grease. As the bearing temperature rises during towing, the VAULT’s Hybrid Oil thins out replenishing the bearings with lubricant and dissipating heat. no inspection, no maintenance and no service required.".

this is a different mental picture than i was getting from this thread. yes, i did look at the spec sheet that BillFooter referenced. "semi" fluid left me with the picture of an 18 wheeler. i'm slow but ... i'm slow. now that i've fit reality with nomenclature it kind of smells like this 'new' fangled system would be subject to the same failure modes that plagued the (apparently outdated) oil bath hub; i.e. catastrophic failure should the seal die while the "semi-fluid" is in it's liquid state (towing).

i'm not at all sure that i've learned enough to avoid the annual chore of greasing axles. bummer.

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BillFooter

Although the semi-fluid grease may not seem that much different, it is quite different. It does not fully becomes liquid at highway speed temperatures. It will maintain a higher viscosity at highway temperature than oil, thus it will leak less. On semi-trailers a vented hubcap is used.

Note that UFP is calling the lube in their Vault Hybrid Lube System a semi-fluid oil, not semi-fluid grease. If they discontinued their Gold series oil bath hub that should tell you something.

If you read their literature you will notice that they also list leaks and catastrophic failure as a disadvantage for oil hubs.

http://www.ufpnet.com/Portals/0/PDFs/VAULT%20Brochure.pdf

Edited by BillFooter

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Molarbu

I have experienced the 'catastrophic failure' mentioned above and it is a bad bad thing. Ruined a weekend trip for me.

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thealy

I have experienced the 'catastrophic failure' mentioned above and it is a bad bad thing. Ruined a weekend trip for me.

How much do you pull your boat? Did you ever perform any "maintenance" on your oil hubs? My trailer is an 06 and I have done nothing with my Oil Bath Hubs. I typically trailer it on a few 400mile round trips each summer then a bunch of shorter 30 milers on a weekly basis.

Edited by thealy

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