EZ Lube hubs on boat trailer

Ashful Posted By Ashful, Aug 26, 2018 at 10:48 PM

  1. Ashful

    Ashful
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    I just picked up a new axle for one of my boat trailers, and it has EZ Lube hubs. Of course, I also habitually picked up a new set of bearing buddies to go with the axle (I've been running Bearing Buddies on boat trailers since before I was driving), before noticing the EZ Lube ports and zerks on the axle.

    What are the options, here? I've seen some suggest pulling the EZ Lube zerks, and running the buddies. I've seen others who prefer EZ Lube, for good reason, but none of them are dunking their trailers in water. Warm hubs in cold water is exactly why Bearing Buddies were invented.

    Some wisdom, here? @Jags? @Highbeam? Bueller? This is a new axle, new hubs, old trailer.
     
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  2. Highbeam

    Highbeam
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    Does the axle have brakes? More specifically, drum brakes that will be ruined by exposure to grease?

    I have ruined the brakes on two 5200# dexter axles by using their ezlube system. My current axles do not get grease this way. They will be taken apart for packing.

    Boat axles are a bit different , application, due to the contraction of air when rapidly cooled by dunking. It might be worth the risk.

    I would not depend on an ezlube system to replace proper maintenance. The ezlube system does not provide constant positive pressure allegedly provided by the bearing buddies.
     
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  3. Ashful

    Ashful
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    Oh, and if going EZ Lube, I guess I'd want to ditch the typical rubber plug type dust covers, and go with old-skool solid caps?
     
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  4. Ashful

    Ashful
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    Light trailer (very, very light), no brakes. Proper maintenance will be done, as long as I'm alive. Once I'm gone, there's no telling what the kids will do with it.
     
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  5. Ashful

    Ashful
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    I guess my main issue with the EZ Lubes is that, while maybe better than buddies for other types of trailers, they seem to do nothing to prevent water intrusion.
     
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  6. Chimney Smoke

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    I'm not sure what brand is on my boat trailer but they were on it when I bought it brand new in 2006. The have the grease zerks with the rubber center cap that just pops out. Boat is a 16 foot aluminum side console with a 25 HP outboard. I can guess that there's at least 12-15K miles on the trailer and I've never had a bearing issue. I put a few pumps of fresh grease in when I put it up in the fall and then about 2-3 times between spring and summer. I've never even adjusted my bearings. Maybe I got lucky in a good way with these but I've loved them. Much better than having to pull the bearings and repack them every year.
     
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  7. Dobish

    Dobish
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    I cannot add anything to this thread. I do however have to add electric brakes to an old popup. (thread drift, my apologies) Its all wired, but no brakes installed...

    not really sure what parts I even would think about needing.... or what to look for.
     
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  8. Ashful

    Ashful
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    If you're only doing 1000 miles per year on the trailer, I'd suspect you can back way off on the greasing schedule. I do 1 or 2 squirts in each of my trailers once per year, and also never have any issues. In fact, if you had brakes, you'd definitely want to back off, but I suspect you don't have brakes on a trailer that light.

    Sounds like you should post a thread about that, this one is about bearings. ;hm I'd just buy new axles with brakes on them, a brake-away, harness, and battery. I'd not bother trying to retrofit brakes onto idler axles.
     
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  9. Dobish

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    i actually clicked on it because I noticed that I had some squeeking in the trailer, and thought I might get some useful info on if I should replace the hubs with EZ lube hubs.
     
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  10. Ashful

    Ashful
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    I like the EZ Lube design. It’s a zerk fitting on the end of the axle, with a port that runs axially thru the spindle, to just outboard of the inner grease seal. So, when you pump grease into that zerk, assuming your inner seal is good, it just pushes all of the old grease out thru the hub and bearings around the spindle. Much better than the Bearing Buddy design, with one exception... they don’t provide the positive pressure that helps prevent water intrusion when you dunk the trailer at the boat ramp.

    I think I’m going to stick with the EZ Lubes on this axle, and just install Bearing Buddy bras over the dust caps with rubber center plugs. I’ve seen others mention doing this, with success, and I like it better than removing the EZ Lube zerks to install BB’s.
     
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  11. Dobish

    Dobish
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    I got under the camper yesterday and poked around. Everything is wired up to accept brakes, including flanges, but it looks like I will have to replace the hubs and get the brake kit. The manufacturer spec calls for ez-lube spindles, but i think i need to get some actual measurements and part numbers before I start really digging into this. The EZ lube seems like a good option though!

    I already have the break controller wired up, so at least that part of crawling under the car is done.
     
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  12. Ashful

    Ashful
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    Hmm... now I’m confused. I didn’t know there was an EZ lube hub. My understanding is that the EZ Lube system consists of the port thru the axle spindle, and the dust cap with removable rubber plug to access that fitting. I thought the hubs and bearings were just regular hubs and bearings, nothing special about them.

    A quick google search just turned up this handy photo dialog of their use:

    https://www.sltrailers.com/What_are_EZ_Lube_Hubs_.html

    Here’s a cross-section, showing how they work:

    55c110afb2b2044b23700ed7685c8cbb.jpg

    Note that inner seal. Be damn sure your inner seal is good, if you’re running brakes with EZ Lubes. Otherwise, you end up like this poor bastard:

    https://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/why-i-hate-ez-lube-hubs.74631/
     
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  13. Dobish

    Dobish
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    Looks like people call them ez lube hubs, but they are really spindles.

    https://www.etrailer.com/question-162933.html
     
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  14. Jags

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    Hmmm...
    On my flat trailer I wished it had the easy lube system. A great way to get fresh grease to the bearings. On my boat trailer I am sticking with the bearing buddy system for the exact reason you state above - positive pressure.

    I am pretty sure that if you were very diligent with the easy lube system you would have years of trouble free bearing service. The above statement is just me and my mechanical overkill approach.
     
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  15. Ashful

    Ashful
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    We’re much the same, there. I have EZ Lube on my heavy landscape trailer, and Bearing Buddies on my larger boat trailer. This is just a small dinghy trailer, the boat weighs 200 lb. and the whole rig with boat on trailer weighs under 500 lb., so not exactly a high load situation. But like you, I tend to do things overkill, or what I’d call “just right”.
     
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  16. Highbeam

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    The ezlube spindles are famous for blowing out the inner seal and messing up your brakes or coat your wheels in grease if you hav no big ales. You will never know if all of your bearings are seeing grease. Grease will shoot through the path of least resistance.

    There’s no free lunch. Repack.
     
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  17. Ashful

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    It can happen, but I think these horror stories are mostly just the overstated case of one or a few owners. If you shoot new grease in and don’t see a similar amount of old grease coming back out thru the hub, it’s time to check your inner seals. Besides, I don’t see how they’re any worse than beating buddies, in this particular regard.

    No brakes on this light trailer.
     
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  18. Poindexter

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    I have metal threaded caps on my boat trailer hubs. The new stuff gives me the heebie-jeebies.

    If I am reading this right two of you guys are pretty satisfied with the bearing buddy system? I will need a bigger trailer for my next boat...
     
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  19. Ashful

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    I believe bearing buddies are the best system for boat trailers, if you ramp launch. They keep 2-3 PSI positive pressure on the grease in the hub, if loaded properly, which prevents water intrusion when you back a warm hub into cold water and the grease within contracts.

    For any trailer that will stay out of the water, I prefer EZ Lube. The down side to bearing buddies is that you need to remove them and the hub to clean out old grease every few years. The EZ Lube system pushes the old grease out, as you pump new grease in, so you never have to disassemble them until it’s time to replace your inner seals.

    In the end, I think either can work. I’m going to try just leaving the EZ Lube zerks on my lighter boat trailer, and putting bearing buddy bras (the rubber condoms) over the EZ Lube caps for extra protection. Double-bagging it, so to speak. I’ll report back here if it fails, and then I’ll be pulling the EZ Lube zerks and installing bearing buddies over the EZ Lube spindles. Sort of a waste (EZ Lube doubled the cost of the axle), but either way will work, I think.
     
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  20. dCalvinz

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    We're going to check the camper as well, we'll just finish installing the new rack and access tonneau cover on the current truck project. The camper is 4 years and the previous owner confirmed it got EZ-lubes spindles. Hope everything is in good condition.
     
  21. aaronk25

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    Ya I have these on my boat trailer it’s a triple axle using 3,500lbs torsion axles with electric over hydraulic brakes.....any way boat is 10,000lbs loaded and the ez lube hubs are awesome! Yes it takes more grease to repack but it’s faster and I’m confident all the old grease comes out!


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  22. Ashful

    Ashful
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    That's serious. The boat I was discussing here has a hull weight of 150 lb. I think the whole rig (trailer plus boat) is under 500 lb.

    Got to take it out for a few hours with my son today. Went great, until the wind went away, leaving us baking out in the middle of the lake. I left the emergency oar in the truck, the wind was supposed to start light and build thru the day. He was not as amused as I was, mostly because we skipped lunch.
     
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  23. aaronk25

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    Ya I’d like 2 bigger axles but 3 smaller ones ride better and allow the ultimate height of the load to be lower. Top of windshield is at 10’.


    448bc68501624df909bc6c119ec8fdcb.jpg


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  24. Ashful

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    So, you just have the little dust plugs in the center of the regular EZ Lube covers? Nothing water-tight? No issues?

    Dunked mine twice today, didn’t have time to inspect them for water when I got home tonight.
     
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  25. aaronk25

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    Yep that correct. I think the little rubber plugs seal well, it’s the hub to steel cap I worry about. But no issues but I also give the bearings 30 mins or so to cool while I’m getting ready. I buy fuel near the launch so bearings cool down before dunking.


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