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Selecting Replacement Axle for Boat Trailer

Question:

I am thinking about replacing the axle on my boat but the current axle uses a 1 inch bearing setup inside and out. The new axle uses a 1 1/16 bearing setup inside and out. Can I use my existing hubs and replace the current one inch bearings and smaller seal with the newer larger bearings and seal since the raceways seem identical?

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Expert Reply:

It sounds like the new axle you're considering has larger spindles and this does mean that you will need to use hubs that have the matching bearings to work on those spindles. Bearings can vary in size by very small degrees and even ones that look like they might fit in a hub could be several hundredths of an inch different.

The best way to go is to select a new axle kit that includes hubs, bearings, races, seals, etc. We have complete axle kits in lots of axle weight ratings, like the 3500-lb Dexter kit # 35545I-EZ-89. This 89-inch EZ-Lube axle includes 5-on-4-1/2 idler hubs, bearings, races, seals, grease caps, wheel studs, lug nuts, and marine-grade wheel bearing grease. A complete axle kit not only ensures compatibility but it also gives you the peace of mind of knowing all the parts are new and in good order so you won't have to soon replace anything.

To choose the right axle you'll want to match the axle weight rating to the original and also note the hub face and spring center dimensions. Axle ratings can usually be found on a sticker on the axle itself. The dimensions are shown in the linked diagram. Once you know the weight capacity and dimensions simply use the linked page to select a new axle.

If you have trouble figuring the axle rating you can use the linked article to see the rating usually associated with the bearings in your hubs. For instance a 2K axle often uses bearing # L44643 or # L44649.

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