Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I tell if I have genuine Bearing Buddy® wheel bearing protectors on my trailer?
Genuine Bearing Buddy® units have an adhesive label on the Bearing Buddy® itself, with the words "Bearing Buddy®" printed on the label. If it doesn't say "Bearing Buddy®" on the label then it is a copy, and not a "genuine Bearing Buddy®."
2. What can cause a Bearing Buddy® to fall out of the hub?
The most common reason is the hub bore diameter is wrong, because the hub manufacturer did not maintain quality control during production. Other possible reasons are listed below. The spindle may be too long, which could cause the nut or cotter pin on the end of the spindle to push against the Bearing Buddy® piston (when grease level is low), eventually forcing it out of the hub. Excessive removal and reinstallation of a Bearing Buddy® can wear down the Bearing Buddy® shoulder (the part that fits into the hub), which decreases the interference fit between the Bearing Buddy® shoulder and the hub bore. An out-of-balance tire and/or incorrect bearing torque can cause excessive "wheel play" or wobbling, which can cause a Bearing Buddy® to work its way out of the hub. Installing the wrong size Bearing Buddy® for the hub bore diameter. Theft.
3. With Bearing Buddy® installed, how often do I need to repack my bearings?
We don't recommend inspecting your bearings more frequently than once every 5 years, provided you properly maintain the grease level in the hubs, and your bearings and seals are in new condition when you install genuine Bearing Buddy®. The Bearing Buddy® system maintains a constant pressure of 3 p.s.i. on the grease inside the hub. Since the hub is always full of grease (with proper maintenance) there is no need to repack your bearings. Some customers have reported that their Bearing Buddy® units were removed for the first time after 10 to 15 years of use, and the bearings still looked like new.
4. How do I determine the correct Bearing Buddy® model for my trailer?
Measure the inside diameter of the hub or the outside diameter of the dust cap shoulder (the part that fits into the hub) with a caliper or micrometer. The measurement needs to be in thousandths of inches. Most marine dealers, auto parts stores and service stations have a caliper or micrometer and will gladly measure your dust cap for you. You can also use a "size gauge card" (see Question 15 below). To select the correct Bearing Buddy® Model to fit your hub, refer to the "Selection Chart".
5. How do I install Bearing Buddy®?
Please see our "Installation" page.
6. How do I remove Bearing Buddy®?
Lay a block of wood against the side of the Bearing Buddy® and strike the wood with a hammer. Place the wood on the opposite side and hit again. Continue this procedure until you ''walk'' the Bearing Buddy® out of the hub. Don't disassemble the Bearing Buddy® to attempt to remove it.
7. How do I check the grease level in the hub?
Grease can be added to the hub through an easily accessible grease fitting located in the center of the Bearing Buddy® piston. Lubricant level can be checked by pressing on the edge of the piston. If you can rock or move the piston, the hub is properly filled. If the piston won't rock or move, add grease until piston moves outward about 1/8 inch. When adding grease, always use a hand grease gun. An automatic grease gun will destroy the hub's inner seal.
8. What type of lubricant should I use?
Fill the hubs completely with a high quality, multipurpose No. 2 grade lubricant (e.g., the type used for automotive suspensions). Don't use heavy, fibrous greases; don't mix grease types.
9. What is the Bearing Buddy® Model 1980A with the blue ring?
Bearing Buddy® Model 1980A has a blue ring, which acts as a visual lubricant level indicator inside the hub. If the blue ring extends 1/8'' past the snap ring (located inside the barrel of the Bearing Buddy®), the hub is completely full. If the blue ring is flush with the snap ring, the hub needs grease. To view the snap ring see our "How Bearing Buddy® Works" page.
10. Does Bearing Buddy® make a threaded unit?
Yes. Model 1980T is the threaded unit. It is available in chrome-plated or stainless steel. When installing the Model 1980T, apply Permatex or some other greaseproof gasket cement to the Bearing Buddy® threads, and then screw Bearing Buddy® into the hub, hand tight.
11. Where can I buy Bearing Buddy®?
Most marine dealers and some automotive parts stores sell Bearing Buddy®. Check the Yellow Pages for a dealer near you, and call first to confirm that the dealer sells genuine Bearing Buddy® and not a copy. If you are unable to locate a dealer, contact us with your location and we will help you locate the nearest dealer.
12. What if none of the Bearing Buddy® models fit my hub, can I order a custom-made Bearing Buddy®?
Yes. The factory manufactures custom sizes. Prices range from $40 to $50 per pair. For a price quote, you will need to provide us with your hub bore diameter or the outside diameter of the dust cap shoulder (the part that fits into the hub). Measurements must be in thousandths of inches.
13. What is the Bearing Buddy® Bra?
The Bearing Buddy® Bra is a vinyl cover that fits over the Bearing Buddy® to contain excess grease and keep it off tires and wheels. Bearing Buddy® Bras are available in black. For more information, see our "Bearing Buddy Bra" page.
14. What products does Bearing Buddy, Inc. sell?
Bearing Buddy® wheel bearing protectors, Bearing Buddy® Bras and Spindle Seal kits.
15. What is the size gauge card?
It is a credit card size measuring tool that will measure your trailer's dust cap, to help you select the correct Bearing Buddy® model. It will measure the five most common size dust caps, which represents about 95% of all dust cap sizes. For an illustration of its use, see our "Size Gauge Card" page. The size gauge cards are available at marine dealers. If your marine dealer does not have size gauge cards in stock, they can get them from their distributor.
16. What is the difference between Bearing Buddy® model 1980 and model 1980A?
These models both fit a hub bore diameter of 1.980". Model 1980A has a blue ring which acts as a visual lubricant level indicator inside the hub. If the blue ring extends 1/8" past the snap ring (located inside the barrel of the Bearing Buddy® ), the hub is completely full. If the blue ring is flush with the snap ring, the hub needs grease. Model 1980 is the same as Model 1980A, but does not have the blue ring.