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rugger

Need input...vault bearings or grease?

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rugger

Well my weekend was ruined... frozen wheel bearing enroute to lake.  I had the oil bath bearings on the 2007 extreme trailer... all looked good but apparently there was a leak.  

So, I'm not a huge fan of the oil bath and I've read that oil bath hubs leak fairly often.   Should I replace with the newer style Vaults, or go back to buddy bearings?  

The problem with buddy bearings for me was that I would constantly lose the bearing bra cap and get grease all over my wheels because I live in the foothills and the brakes would heat up.  My remedy was a switch in the truck to turn off the brakes when needed.   I don't like that scenario with the bigger 247 boat (and loaded with camping gear) I now have.     The problem with Vault is that you have to "assume" they are good to go since you can't really check.   Or can you?

Any feedback?  I've never owned the Vaults.   Thanks!

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NHolladay

Good question there is some what of an art to getting all of the air out of the bra to seal.  Seems like once I get the air out I rarely lose them.  Also at  $5 a pair I just anticipated lose and keep a pack on hand.  But I can grease them for my own satisfaction of knowing I did something.  No experience on the vault ones but depending on use it seems like with regular changes say every third year I would think you could run with no issues.  

Turning off brakes seems like a bad solution considering additional wear on your tow vehicle and safety.

 

I would stick with the greasers and just clean the rim if the bra comes off.

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oldjeep

if you switch to a conventional hub, just skip the bearing buddies.

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rugger

Thanks.   The Vaults "seems" like a good idea.  Oil runs cooler than grease but can leak out quickly.  Grease can be easily serviced but gets hot and I lose caps on the hills.    So the Vault uses a "hybrid fluid" that heats to an oil then cools to a more grease-like viscosity.  It's sealed.   But is it reliable???????   That's the million dollar question.  How do you guys check them before a long trip, anything?

oldjeep, what do you use instead?

Edited by rugger

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wakesonthesnake

I just talked to UFP today.  My actuator stuck and I boiled the oil and warped a rotor on my oil bath, lots of heat.  One thing about the vault is they give a five year warranty with the option of ten year for 50.00.  They do have a cap that is pushed out a bit to hold a little pressure, you will know if there is a problem if it is not pushed out.  They have complete units to go onto the torsion or you can use your spindle.  In my case it will be about 1000.00 for all new complete units with disc brakes and an actuator.  Probably go that route.  You can call UFP, I had them on the phone for about 30 min. and they were more than happy to answer all my questions.

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oldjeep
7 hours ago, rugger said:

Thanks.   The Vaults "seems" like a good idea.  Oil runs cooler than grease but can leak out quickly.  Grease can be easily serviced but gets hot and I lose caps on the hills.    So the Vault uses a "hybrid fluid" that heats to an oil then cools to a more grease-like viscosity.  It's sealed.   But is it reliable???????   That's the million dollar question.  How do you guys check them before a long trip, anything?

oldjeep, what do you use instead?

My trailer has the vault hubs, they work great and there is not really anything to check other than making sure they have not sprayed any oil out of the seals or front cap.

For conventional greased axles I just use a standard grease cap, that is the way that many trailers come from the factory.  Properly packed there is no need for a bearing buddy.  Never thought that bearing buddies were good for much other than blowing grease out seals.

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rugger

Ok, thanks for your input.  I'm still torn between conventional grease or Vaults.   I still can't get a good read on the Vault hubs as far as reliability.  I think this is because many threads confuse oil bath with vault, when they are different.   Talked to 2 local trailer shops, one said he'd prefer grease, another said Vault.  Go figure.

Anyone out there, at all, have problems with Vault hubs?   Thanks!!

 

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dalt1

I have Vaults on my 2012. Finishing up 5 years of use with last 3 being towed every weekend from Memorial day to sometime in November. Flawless so far, no maintenance.

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Molarbu

Well, you'd think I would have some unique input here seeing that my tandem axle trailer has two oil baths, one vault, and one bearing buddy!  I'm pretty sure the surviving oil bath hubs once failed and were reworked by a local shop and have actually been great for the last 6-7 years.  One catastrophic failure led to the single vault that I have.  The grease one was one I converted myself a couple of years ago because an oil bath had leaked and I couldn't get the fill plug out.  I'm wondering what I should do with my trailer.  I'm temped to just convert all to vault because I'm not seeing many complaints about them since the oil baths ended back in 07.  

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shadetreefab

That sucks, give pacific trailers a call, they helped me out with parts I needed.

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jwl019
21 hours ago, wakesonthesnake said:

I just talked to UFP today.  My actuator stuck and I boiled the oil and warped a rotor on my oil bath, lots of heat.  One thing about the vault is they give a five year warranty with the option of ten year for 50.00.  They do have a cap that is pushed out a bit to hold a little pressure, you will know if there is a problem if it is not pushed out.  They have complete units to go onto the torsion or you can use your spindle.  In my case it will be about 1000.00 for all new complete units with disc brakes and an actuator.  Probably go that route.  You can call UFP, I had them on the phone for about 30 min. and they were more than happy to answer all my questions.

I went with the Vault hubs/rotors/brakes/spindles plus a new actuator this summer instead of repacking the old hubs and replacing brakes and rotors.  It was an easy swap. I have only towed a couple trips, but so far so good.

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rugger

Maybe its Vaults... great idea except for the lack of maintenance options.   Man, that sucked being stuck on the side of the road.   I might consider bringing an extra spindle-to-hub setup in the truck for long trips -- kind of like a spare prop.   It'd be a trip saver.  

Thanks for feedback so far.   Vaults have been out a while.... I want to believe, I really do.

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oldjeep
7 hours ago, rugger said:

Maybe its Vaults... great idea except for the lack of maintenance options.   Man, that sucked being stuck on the side of the road.   I might consider bringing an extra spindle-to-hub setup in the truck for long trips -- kind of like a spare prop.   It'd be a trip saver.  

Thanks for feedback so far.   Vaults have been out a while.... I want to believe, I really do.

No reason to be stuck onside the road.  There is nothing magic about the vault hubs.  You could either carry a spare standard hub and some grease or a spare hub with vault cap and the correct grease.

Have a look at this, it is the service procedure for the vault hubs, nothing too complicated here and done with the same tools you would use with a standard dust cap or bearing buddy setup.

http://www.vmboattrailers.com/images/Filling_Instr-Vault_7-8-09.pdf

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rugger
2 hours ago, oldjeep said:

No reason to be stuck onside the road.  There is nothing magic about the vault hubs.  You could either carry a spare standard hub and some grease or a spare hub with vault cap and the correct grease.

Have a look at this, it is the service procedure for the vault hubs, nothing too complicated here and done with the same tools you would use with a standard dust cap or bearing buddy setup.

http://www.vmboattrailers.com/images/Filling_Instr-Vault_7-8-09.pdf

Thanks, man.   Maybe I don't understand Vaults completely.  That looks like the installation guide but I thought you don't really service them once they are on there.  I guess the key would be to watch for leaking fluid as your maintenance, and if they leak, you replace the hub, right?   I'm going to go by the trailer shop to take a look in person.  I see them as a "better" oil bath solution because of the viscosity of the hybrid oil, but the problem is if the oil leaks out your bearings will be toast in no time just like oil bath.   I think.

I get what you are saying, you can always throw a new hub on, even on the side of the road.  But my oil bath hubs were full, then one started leaking during the tow and without warning fried the bearings to the point that the spindle was torched so bad and I could barely get the wheel off (spindle nut/threads warped).   Trying to see how Vaults would be any different, other than that they are less likely to leak.

Here's the carnage for fun: IMG_7559-3.jpg.0b94bcde2228aecadb8ec15c3
 

 

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kx250frider617

Your right, there is nothing special about the vaults. It's all in the hybrid grease they use along with a oring that's installed in the Hub where the bearing cap gets installed. 

 

My trailer first had vaults that started to leak. I had a shop convert them all to the grease style buddy bearings since they didn't have the vault seals. The only difference was the rear seal and the caps. Just had to clean the bearings real good. 

 

I I then had an axle replaced, do to it being bent. I then changed back to vaults. I've never had any issues since. Since then, I've replaced all the rotors, calipers, and actuator since I launch in salt water. What I like about the vaults is they do stay cool on long road trips. I had a temp gun and they read 120 degrees on a 115 degree day through the desert. 

 

I do have an extra set of bearings, seal, grease, and a buddy bearing cap just incase I need to do a swap on the road though. Everyone should have that, no matter what lubrication system you have. 

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oldjeep

You service vaults every 5-10 years.  Basically by cleaning them out and repacking them with the special grease.  In the meantime all you do is watch the button on each hub to see if it is still pushed out and check for any grease leaks.  In the simplest terms they are just a bearing buddy with no way to continually add grease (and over pressurize the system).  No matter what you use (oil, grease, vault lube) if it is able to leak out then you have a problem.

If you manage to screw one up to the point of your picture then you have the same problem.  \Now how you get to that point without seeing a crapload of smoke from all the burning oil/grease I'm not sure.

Edited by oldjeep

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rugger
11 minutes ago, oldjeep said:

 \Now how you get to that point without seeing a crapload of smoke from all the burning oil/grease I'm not sure.

Lol that's what I was thinking too.  First sign of smoke was actually when the spindle nut failed and tire kicked sideways enough to run on the inside of the wheel well.   I saw a poof and knew what it was.  

Thanks for input.  I'm an old jeeper too; we even have a race team in the ultra 4 class at king of the hammers since beginning.   Been around fabrication a long time and used to checking things!!  That's why I was so pissed about these hubs. 

Thanks kx250, also.  Great points

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oldjeep
Just now, rugger said:

Lol that's what I was thinking too.  First sign of smoke was actually when the spindle nut failed and tire kicked sideways enough to run on the inside of the wheel well.   I saw a poof and knew what it was.  

Thanks for input.  I'm an old jeeper too; we even have a race team in the ultra 4 class at king of the hammers since beginning.   Been around fabrication a long time and used to checking things!!  That's why I was so pissed about these hubs. 

Thanks kx250, also.  Great points

LOL, that rugger - miata guy?

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rugger
50 minutes ago, oldjeep said:

LOL, that rugger - miata guy?

No.  #4434, my brother is driver.  Been involved a long time.   Rubicon is in my backyard.  

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ORMailbuboater

Sorry you are having issues.   Hated my greased axles which constantly needed care.   My new Malibu trailer has the vaults.  They seem to be running cooler and so far after ~1200 miles working great.   One long 700 mile trip with no issues.   Also like the 5\10 year warranty.  To me that speaks volumes from the manufacturer standing behind the product from a reliability standpoint.    

I know I have been flamed for recommending this but I have to put in my 2 cents.  If you had a programmable tire pressure\ temperature monitoring system you may have caught the rising temperature before you had a total failure.  

I had a actuator failure on my trailer a few years back.  The trailer TPMS monitor gave me a high temp warning, I pulled off and fixed the issue before it fried my trailer brakes, spindle and hubs.   Fairly in expensive to purchase (~$300) and have a tire shop install.  Piece of mind for me.  Having had a UFP actuator failure and two flat tires on long trips I am a believer.   I have this unit made by Dill.  Really works well.  Dill TPMS    Sold by the Tire Rack.  

 

 

Edited by ORMailbuboater

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rugger

Thanks for your response.  I don't think it's a bad idea.   

I ended up getting Vaults.  In fact, I went ahead and bought 4 trailing arm-to-hub setups.   Was more expensive than fixing the one wheel.  But the kits are a better deal, and my local trailer shop gave me a discount for 4.  This way I replace my bearings, hubs, rotors, calipers, pads, etc. all in one shot, instead of replacing pieces as we go.  Just over 800 for all four.   So my trailer is nearly 10 years old but will be like new at the wheels.  BOAT -- Break out another thousand, right?  Expensive summer.  

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Andrew63

When I rebuilt my trailer I could not break down the torsion axle to permit galvanising. So I arranged to have the trailing arms hot metal sprayed.

The shop that did the work attempted to remove the rotors which have The Vault system. They found it too hard to remove so they put the vault cap back on.

i have only had one issue with the Vault cap coming off on a trip, the one removed & reinstalled.

Why, the workshop did not know the Vault caps are held in place with locktite stud adhesive.

make sure you follow the instructions & use locktite on clean surfaces where the contact is.

As a rule of thumb on any trip not involving a lot of extended braking, as long as you have a 5 min run with little brake use, when you stop check the hub temp. If it is any hotter than Luke warm, put it on the maintainence list to check the bearings. You should not notice any substantial difference in hub temp between the 4 hubs. Hubs, I mean grab the bearing cap.

another simple check before the trip. Jack the trailer & tap the calliper to move over so one side is not dragging on the disc, just enough to permit free rotation with no drag. Spin the wheel & listen for any rumbling noises as this indicated corroded bearing surfaces. Also a good time to check for excessive bearing play 

.

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racer808
On 9/14/2016 at 10:25 AM, oldjeep said:

You service vaults every 5-10 years.  Basically by cleaning them out and repacking them with the special grease.  In the meantime all you do is watch the button on each hub to see if it is still pushed out and check for any grease leaks.  In the simplest terms they are just a bearing buddy with no way to continually add grease (and over pressurize the system).  No matter what you use (oil, grease, vault lube) if it is able to leak out then you have a problem.

If you manage to screw one up to the point of your picture then you have the same problem.  \Now how you get to that point without seeing a crapload of smoke from all the burning oil/grease I'm not sure.

I got this vault, one guy on MB says regardless of what it says it needs to be repacked yearly??  You, internet all say to leave it alone & only use a specific grease.  I am going to pop tires off tonight & feel for any play, but mostly I need to check or adjust my brakes.  How do I know if the bearings have ever been bothered or regreased?  If that cap is pushed out & there is no play just forget about it & go onto other things?

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boardjnky4
10 minutes ago, racer808 said:

I got this vault, one guy on MB says regardless of what it says it needs to be repacked yearly??  You, internet all say to leave it alone & only use a specific grease.  I am going to pop tires off tonight & feel for any play, but mostly I need to check or adjust my brakes.  How do I know if the bearings have ever been bothered or regreased?  If that cap is pushed out & there is no play just forget about it & go onto other things?

They definitely don't need to be re-packed every year. The only other thing to check is the backside of the axle, to make sure the seal isn't leaking. Other than that, just keep rolling.

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granddaddy55
23 hours ago, boardjnky4 said:

They definitely don't need to be re-packed every year. The only other thing to check is the backside of the axle, to make sure the seal isn't leaking. Other than that, just keep rolling.

 My vault caps are starting to be slightly less than flush outwards where some  portions of the cap/circle a little more in than flush out, no backside oil leak at all and only slight oil:dirt directly surrounding cap on face of vault in the tiny rim around the cap . Previous year only one of these showed that ring of dirt /oil .  

My plans for Norris is to bring 2 spare vaults, caliper and all.

Some OP said if the cap is not fully out indicates time to service???

ill be at 50 months on vaults for my 1st extensive long pull and slightly higher speeds

bring spares and call the truck tire repair guys and grab a beer and learn something watching ???!!   

Edited by granddaddy55

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