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Inspecting Hubs, Bearings and Spindles on a Boat Trailer

Question:

Heres some information you were requiring about my boat trailer hubs. Are there better bearings to use than national or Timken? Why not use sealed bearings? It seems like it would be less of a messy job. I did get a better measurement on my bolt center for the hub. Both spindles looks to be in about the same condition on top and the bottom of the spindle. I do see tooling marks from the Final Cut when the spindle was made. Should the area where the bearings ride Shine like a mirror? While dressing the spindle I have never purposely tried to get all of the tooling marks out. I wrote down all the numbers I could find on both bearings and I hope that was enough for you. I cant think of anything more to tell you and I hope this solves my problem. Which bearings do you seem to have the most luck with? I can only send one picture thats all the phone will allow me to send. The areas of the spindle where there are no bearings does have rust on them from some time ago. My grease seal seems to be working fine though. Guess I could clean it up a little bit where both of the seals seal against the axle.

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Expert Reply:

Thank you for the measurements you provided, they are very helpful and tell us everything we need to know to recommend parts that will work for you. Based on your bearing numbers and spindle measurements you need a 3,500 lb hub with a 5 on 4-1/2 bolt pattern. The type of hub that you need will depend on whether you have brakes or want a galvanized versus a painted finish.

For idler hubs (no brakes), you can use part # 84545BX or # 84545UC1-EZ for EZ Lube spindles. These hubs come with the races already pressed in and they include the bearings, seal, grease cap and lug nuts.

If you have drum brakes and need a hub/drum assembly, you can use part # 84546UC3 or # AKHD-545-35-EZ-K for EZ Lube spindles. These hubs are also offered in a galvanized finish as part # 8-247-50UC3 and # 8-247-50UC3-EZ for EZ Lube.

It doesn't sound like your boat trailer has disc brakes, but just in case you are interested, the disc brake kit that I recommend the Kodiak Disc Brake Kit, # K2HR35D.

National and Timken are good bearings that are used by many trailer manufacturers and typically only fail if something else is causing wear or heat build-up. Sealed bearings are not used simply because most bearing manufacturers simply do not make sealed bearings for trailer hubs. Sealed bearings would be less messy, but I would think it ultimately comes down to cost.

The bearing surface on the spindle does not have to shine like a mirror, but you want to look at it very closely and make sure there are no groove, uneven wear or nicks on the spindle. Rusting can happen over time, especially if water gets into the hub or the spindles were exposed to the elements for some time. It would be best to try to remove as much rust as possible to make sure it has not gotten too bad.

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John H

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