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Best boat trailer wheel bearing grease for salt ap #1232632 09/09/08 11:33 AM
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Steelhead Offline OP
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Best boat trailer wheel bearing grease for salt water apps?

Re: Best boat trailer wheel bearing grease for salt ap [Re: Steelhead] #1232669 09/09/08 12:14 PM
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Bircsbor Offline
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I've always used just regular wheel bearing grease (like a GC-LB, grade 2...that is what is on my Pennzoil tubes). The trick in a salt water application is to use it often and in conjunction with a device to keep a positive pressure on the bearing races like Bearing Buddies. They are cheap insurance from failed bearings.

Hope that helps.

Last edited by Bircsbor; 09/09/08 12:16 PM. Reason: addid more info

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Re: Best boat trailer wheel bearing grease for salt ap [Re: Bircsbor] #1254481 10/10/08 01:43 PM
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fsskier Offline
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I will second the vote on installing bearing buddies! Then be carefull to:

Make sure they are the Bearing Buddy brand, all stainless steel.
Other brands (the red eye plastic ones may be the worst) often stick and fail, leaving you totally unprotected. They may be other quality buddies but I cannot recommend any.

Then, after installing new bearings, new grease, etc pump them all the way up and take your grease gun to the boat ramp with you. They will be flat by the time you get there, lots of air remained in your first pump up. Pump them up before entering the water. Pump them up again when you return home. Now, they are likely full, the plungers will take all summer to go down again, do not let them hit bottom, as the system relies on positive spring pressure. Each new season jack up each wheel, give it a spin and listen carefully for bearing noise, if quiet pump up the bearing buddy and go!!

I maintain about 8 "constant use" boat trailers for waterski show use, some with tandem axle trailers.
One trailer has been in constant use since 1984 without ever having the bearings repacked - these bearing buddies only go down about half way in a years time.

I put the plastic "red eye" brand on one of our tandems, in one year the sand caught in the grease and jammed them up, allowing water in and causing bearings to fail at that time. when I pumped them back up, another stuck and would not pump up - then the back seal blew out due to the over pressure - the relieve themselves normally when they reach the top of their travel.
I initialy saved about $10 on these (two sets), lost $100 worth of bearings as a result, (and lots of labor) then still had to buy the bearing buddies!!

WE have not lost a bearing in any of our trailers since that time - about 10 years ago. Our boats launch 5 days a week for 5 months every year.

Re: Best boat trailer wheel bearing grease for salt ap [Re: fsskier] #1262219 10/21/08 01:52 AM
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Best boat trailer wheel bearing grease for salt water apps?

the question was NOT multiple choice or multiple fill in

Re: Best boat trailer wheel bearing grease for salt ap [Re: Steelhead] #1262400 10/21/08 09:27 AM
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Yes on the bearing buddies.

Re: Best boat trailer wheel bearing grease for salt ap [Re: Steve S] #1266771 10/26/08 01:30 PM
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The best I've seen rated for water washout AND good bearing performance is Amsoil Water Resistant Grease.

That being said I don't know of many that will take prolonged or repeated exposure to salt water. Barium based grease is great for salt water resistance but it's a terrible wheel bearing grease usually suited for open gears on bridges and such.

A good trailer maintenance plan and great water washout resistance seems to be the best setup.


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Re: Best boat trailer wheel bearing grease for salt ap [Re: mpersell] #1267055 10/26/08 08:26 PM
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Any marine grease will be the best when used by bearing buddies. fsskier is a pro and that is a recommendation.

Re: Best boat trailer wheel bearing grease for salt ap [Re: mpersell] #1564974 08/13/09 05:14 PM
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fst Offline
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I fish salt water all the time, the best grease I have used is the Amsoil syn. water resistant grease. I have not had any bearing problems in 4 years. I do clean & repack bearings 1/ year. i had tried Mobil & RP syn. greases but they did not hold up.

Re: Best boat trailer wheel bearing grease for salt ap [Re: fst] #1568451 08/16/09 07:28 PM
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The only water my boat sees is saltwater. As others have said use bearing buddies and then any marine rated grease will do. It is far more important to keep your hub full than to pick a brand. You just can't keep the hub full using a dust cap. So, it doesn't matter what brand you use, or how good it is, if you don't keep the hub full water gets in and that is the end of it.

I use the ACE hardware marine store brand( white and green tube )and it works fine. I could spend more on a brand with a fancier name and pedigree but there is no need. I pump them up until full( spring fully compresses and the grease just starts to squeeze out at the front edge of the BB )before every trip as needed. I never leave the yard without pulling the rubber BB cap off and seeing if the spring is out near the face( indicating a full hub )or if it is recessed( indicating it needs grease ).

I know you asked about brands but brand doesn't really matter. Keep a full hub and water can't get in if your seal is good. Just pick a marine rated grease and you are good.

Last edited by NHHEMI; 08/16/09 07:29 PM.

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Re: Best boat trailer wheel bearing grease for salt ap [Re: NHHEMI] #1589745 09/04/09 11:26 PM
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every Bearing Buddy system on the market leaks some water in
hot wheel, hub, bearing system after a long tow. most boat trailers are right at the max. spec'd load ratings with all the extras thrown in the boat so bearings do run hotter.

hot axle into cold salt water =s contraction which pulls some SW in past the seal. mixes with the grease.

i have noticed bearing surface corrosion with some of the so called lower quality low priced marine rated greases.
i'll be sticking with Merc. 2-4-C ntil something better comes along or there are pertinent answers

Re: Best boat trailer wheel bearing grease for salt ap [Re: Steelhead] #1589935 09/05/09 07:56 AM
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Well, it seems to me that you feel you know everything anyways so why even asks us for our opinion? I apologize for wasting your time.

WOW! smirk


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Re: Best boat trailer wheel bearing grease for salt ap [Re: NHHEMI] #1601991 09/16/09 11:15 AM
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Well, I see this subject has revived again! OK, we have finished another season, our 5 boats, portable jump, dock trailers have been launched another 100 times each, and still no bearing failures - and none have been repacked - in as many as 25 years, using Bearing Buddies and whatever brand of grease is in the gun at the time!

Steelhead, how would the water get in if the bearing buddy is pumped up and has positive pressure inside?? Now, our big ski jump is in the water for 5 months straight with the wheels on it and.....

Hitting cold water causes them to "suck the water in" Even if there is positive pressure inside? Now, I have driven into cold puddles and backed into cold water with hot tires all my life and never had water sucked inside any of my tires!! Of course not, they have positive pressure in them!!
Much like a bearing with Bearing Buddies!



Lets assume there is a pinhole leak, and grease coming out through it. The water could go upstream?? The bearing buddy would soon be flat???

Now, in salt water I would want to watch the center piston carefully and make sure that it remains free so the spring can keep positive pressure on the grease!

That is why I recommend avoiding all other brands (unless you can determine that they are all good quality stainless steel, etc ... and probably leave the outside a little greasy also for protection. The plastic "red eye" brand that we put on a tandem axle trailer 10 years ago had a 75 percent fail (jammed up) rate within one year in our service. That of course caused some of the bearings to begin to fail - we caught them well before catastrophe.

And, of course a Bearing Buddy will do you little good if the rear
seal has failed, or if you let the pressure piston go flat for any reason. Generally, we use them all summer long without having to refill them - but we do check them before every road trip - often 800 miles on a weekend.

Incidentally, the 1984 Shorelander trailer that has been in continuous use without repacking the bearings has worn out 3 sets of tires during this time!!

Pics of our regular ski shows are at www.5sst.com

Re: Best boat trailer wheel bearing grease for salt ap [Re: fsskier] #1602815 09/17/09 07:59 AM
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Lubriplate:
Description: LUBRIPLATE Special Auto-Marine Grease is an NLGI 2 polymer type lubricant specifically designed for automotive and marine applications of all types. This lithium 12-hydroxy stearate grease is extremely shear stable and resistant to both fresh and salt water, making it the ideal lubricant for all marine and automotive needs. Marine uses include all pressure fitting applications including boat trailer wheel bearings, winch gears, deck machinery, ground tackle and turn-buckles. Automotive applications include chassis, king pins, steering knuckles, bucket pins, ball joints and universal joints.

Re: Best boat trailer wheel bearing grease for salt ap [Re: PT1] #1605323 09/19/09 10:54 PM
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In our pre- bearing buddy days (the 70's through 1985) we repacked bearings twice a summer by schedule on all the boats.
We tried all the marine greases, miracle greases, super greases, what have you. Without bearing buddys the mix had always become half grease, half water and several bearings were always failed.
We thought bearing buddys and not repacking was an invitation to disaster, but we were dead wrong!!!!

We never found a type of marine grease that would prevent corrosion when the mix becomes watery.....
and never found a brand of grease that fails when kept dry.
Lots of advertising on the tube yields little improvement in the results!

Re: Best boat trailer wheel bearing grease for salt ap [Re: fsskier] #1605600 09/20/09 09:11 AM
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NHHEMI Offline
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Originally Posted By: fsskier
In our pre- bearing buddy days (the 70's through 1985) we repacked bearings twice a summer by schedule on all the boats.
We tried all the marine greases, miracle greases, super greases, what have you. Without bearing buddys the mix had always become half grease, half water and several bearings were always failed.
We thought bearing buddys and not repacking was an invitation to disaster, but we were dead wrong!!!!

We never found a type of marine grease that would prevent corrosion when the mix becomes watery.....
and never found a brand of grease that fails when kept dry.
Lots of advertising on the tube yields little improvement in the results!


X2 100%!!!!!!!!!!

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