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How Does Heat Build Up in Trailer Wheel Bearings

Question:

This is a general question and refers to a light weight trailer with no brake assembly. What causes the heat build up in a wheel bearing. Is it friction of the bearings itself or heat transmitted from the road surface via the rims and hub? DO you have a indication of the typical temperature of a wheel bearing after say three hours traveling at high speed.

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Expert Reply:

Bearings get hot from friction of the hub spinning around them on the spindle. Grease like # L54FR is used to lubricate the bearings which reduces the friction and helps keep everything cool. There is also a bearing packer, # L70025, that you would use with a grease gun such as # L30416 and cartridge grease like # L11390, and this makes packing bearings quicker with less mess.

Also, the more weight on the trailer, or the more revolutions of the wheels, the more friction there will be.

There isn't a specific temperature range that I have encountered for bearings. It is possible they could be too hot to touch and still be fine. When they get too hot they will basically weld themselves to the spindle or hub. That would take extreme heat though.

If you are looking at your bearings and they are black instead of shiny then that means that have overheated and will need to be replaced. But you will also want to take the trailer somewhere to have the spindle and hubs inspected too because there could be unseen damage that needs to be repaired.

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