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Discussion Starter #1
I was looking at hauling my Harbor Freight trailer (1195 lb. Capacity 48 in. x 96 in. Heavy Duty Folding Trailer # 90154) on a few hundred mile trips and wasn't crazy about the cheapo and odd sized hubs/bearings that came with the kit. As such, looked at a few options and went for a more common sized hub/bearing that is probably higher quality. There didn't seem to be a ton of readily available info on this, so if anyone on here was interested, just thought I'd share the pieces I found fit well for me.

Got the Ultra Tow #57204 High speed hubs online from Northern Tool Northern Tool - Quality Tools for Serious Work. They come with the standard sized bearings.
While the bearings on these hubs fit the HF axle well, the seals are slightly loose on the axle. Therefore, I ordered a set of 30x50x10mm double lipped seals online from Orings and More | Affordable and Quality Gaskets and Seals and they fit perfectly on both this standard hub and around the axle.

Am using the original hubs/bearings as spares for on the road.

Edit: Forgot to mention, while the 30x50x10 seals fit snugly into the upgraded hubs, they had a tendency to walk out because they werent super tight. A dab or two of RTV on the surface between the seal and hub is all that was needed to keep it in place.

Also, the races on the upgraded hubs are ever so slightly spread apart more than the HF hubs. Therefore, the castle nuts have one or two less turns on them, making using the original large cotter pins difficult to insert through the axle. Had to go a size down on the pins to get it to fit.

Lucas Heavy Duty grease all the way. Stay away from Mobil 1 grease (red stuff)!...seems to shed all its oil prematurely.
 

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2001 Forester S 5 Speed
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Since the axle and bearings are the weak point(s) of a HF trailer, a Dexter 2000LB axle with easylube hubs would be a better long term solution. Replacement bearings are EASY to procure in an emergency.

Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sorry I disagree. Replacing the axle, particularly with one of those gimmicky ez-lube systems, is a waste of money for a number of reasons.

..and in the end, you will still want a spare hub assembly ready to go. Just having bearings is somewhat worthless since the races will also likely be toasted. not to mention, that the metric bearings on the HF hubs are not commonly available in the US.
 

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2004 Forester XT
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I cleaned the bearings in a tin can filled with Kerosene or Diesel...been a while so I can't remember.

I used a tooth brush to get into every nook and cranny. I then packed the bearings by hand with a tub of Redline CV-2 grease. Then I installed bearing buddies and used a tube of Redline CV-2 at the nipples. No heat felt by hand on 200 mile trips.

Thanks for sharing this info and your opinions.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yep, cleaning and repacking is the best you can do for your bearing. Just be careful not to become over confident with the bearing buddies. They're really only meant to prevent water from penetrating the hubs of boat trailers. They are not a substitute for repacking.
 

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Sorry I disagree. Replacing the axle, particularly with one of those gimmicky ez-lube systems, is a waste of money for a number of reasons.

..and in the end, you will still want a spare hub assembly ready to go. Just having bearings is somewhat worthless since the races will also likely be toasted. not to mention, that the metric bearings on the HF hubs are not commonly available in the US.
Don't take this the wrong way. The forum is to offer insight on issues based on real-world experiences in an effort to help the forum family make proper decisions for safety, function, aesthetics, etc. Opinions open the floor for discussion. So...

Since you provided no legitimate reasons on why one shouldn't seriously consider upgrading from an inferior axle for safety reasons, I take it that you have no real-world experience with the subject.

To the issue presented, your rush to provide a disagreement appears to have overlooked the subject statement that the axles are the weak point of the HF trailers. There is a reason why the trailers are such a low cost out of the door. There is no mystery with that. There is also a reason that there are so many that end up with wheel, bearing, and hub damage. There are some things that it is prudent not to be cheap on. Axles, spindles, and bearings fit into that category, especially if you plan to haul anything that you consider to be of value.

True enough, there are owners that take excellent care of their equipment. I wish there were more of them. However; reality shows that a good number of people don't do pre and post trip inspections on their equipment, let alone quick visuals at rest stops. It also shows that the a routine bearing maintenance schedule is not followed. To make matters worse, road speed becomes a factor. After you personally experience a bearing failure, or happen to be behind someone who does, then come back and we'll compare notes on cost(s) regarding time, damage, etc., and so on.

In the meantime, careful driving is a civic duty. Being cheap with the express purpose of avoiding known low quality part concerns is irresponsible and will cost you on the back end. That is when the driver behind you sues you after your cheap axle components fail, your load flips, and someone gets hurt. Or a better question yet, would you want your family to be behind one of those same trailers? I am sure that your opinion on not changing out cheap components would change at that point.

Your disagreement citing cost doesn't hold up. A real axle with idler hubs costs less than $125. If that is too expensive an investment for safety, then you might want to reconsider owning a trailer.

Cheers!
 

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Your disagreement citing cost doesn't hold up. A real axle with idler hubs costs less than $125. If that is too expensive an investment for safety, then you might want to reconsider owning a trailer.

Cheers!

Link to that axle? I am considering replacing one on my old lowes trailer.. vs buying a new trailer. Cheapest one I saw was more towards 200$
 

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2004 Forester XT
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Yep, cleaning and repacking is the best you can do for your bearing. Just be careful not to become over confident with the bearing buddies. They're really only meant to prevent water from penetrating the hubs of boat trailers. They are not a substitute for repacking.
Thanks for the warning! I hear that the grease in the middle can actually stop airflow to the bearing. Like anything else, I use common sense and weigh the costs and benefits.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Don't take this the wrong way. The forum is to offer insight on issues based on real-world experiences in an effort to help the forum family make proper decisions for safety, function, aesthetics, etc. Opinions open the floor for discussion. So...

Since you provided no legitimate reasons on why one shouldn't seriously consider upgrading from an inferior axle for safety reasons, I take it that you have no real-world experience with the subject.

To the issue presented, your rush to provide a disagreement appears to have overlooked the subject statement that the axles are the weak point of the HF trailers. There is a reason why the trailers are such a low cost out of the door. There is no mystery with that. There is also a reason that there are so many that end up with wheel, bearing, and hub damage. There are some things that it is prudent not to be cheap on. Axles, spindles, and bearings fit into that category, especially if you plan to haul anything that you consider to be of value.

True enough, there are owners that take excellent care of their equipment. I wish there were more of them. However; reality shows that a good number of people don't do pre and post trip inspections on their equipment, let alone quick visuals at rest stops. It also shows that the a routine bearing maintenance schedule is not followed. To make matters worse, road speed becomes a factor. After you personally experience a bearing failure, or happen to be behind someone who does, then come back and we'll compare notes on cost(s) regarding time, damage, etc., and so on.

In the meantime, careful driving is a civic duty. Being cheap with the express purpose of avoiding known low quality part concerns is irresponsible and will cost you on the back end. That is when the driver behind you sues you after your cheap axle components fail, your load flips, and someone gets hurt. Or a better question yet, would you want your family to be behind one of those same trailers? I am sure that your opinion on not changing out cheap components would change at that point.

Your disagreement citing cost doesn't hold up. A real axle with idler hubs costs less than $125. If that is too expensive an investment for safety, then you might want to reconsider owning a trailer.

Cheers!
wow :rolleyes:

What sources/experience do you cite that properly used HF trailers experience axle failures? I've never heard of this conspiracy theory before. Bearings are a different story....hence the purpose of this thread. If you're overloading a HF trailer, your subaru braking power is probably just as weak of a link.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the warning! I hear that the grease in the middle can actually stop airflow to the bearing. Like anything else, I use common sense and weigh the costs and benefits.
Actually, the biggest problems with the buddies on non-boat trailers is that they give some people the idea that adding grease to the hubs is actually driving grease into the bearings, which they do not. The pressure needed to do that (if you've ever used a bearing packer youll know) is quite great and would blow out your seals well before driving grease into the bearing. You can read countless threads with photos about people citing failed bearings with buddies or ez-lube systems where the grease on the bearings was toasted while the glob of grease in the center of the hub was untouched.
 

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wow :rolleyes:

What sources/experience do you cite that properly used HF trailers experience axle failures? I've never heard of this conspiracy theory before. Bearings are a different story....hence the purpose of this thread. If you're overloading a HF trailer, your subaru braking power is probably just as weak of a link.

Thanks Bud... you have proven my point. If you took a fraction of the time you have taken to try and be "clever" to do SIMPLE research you might make yourself aware of a few things. First of all... read the original post again for comprehension. You totally missed the point. You obviously have neither experience with trailering big or small, nor the desire to look up easily accessible information. I can't help you with that. That is on you.

Nothing personal, but being intellectually lazy is not cute...

Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I've trailered plenty over 25 years so no need to be rude. You're saying the axles need to be upgraded just because of the cost of the kit from Harbor Freight. Again, I disagree. In my experience, if you dont overload the trailer (<1200lbs), I'm not aware of any axle failures. There are countless threads on these trailers across the internet, none of which point to axle failures. Plenty of bearing failures though. Plus, swapping out an axle is a lot more involved than hubs and IMHO, not worth the time or money.

ie, if you have spare time and money on your hands, fine, go for it, but there is no reason to accuse someone as negligent.
 

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I had a hub assembly (full casting) shear on my 1750 lb harbor freight trailer. Degreased, repacked, less than 200 miles on the trailer. Was hauling firewood, and took it over a scale to make sure it wasn't my fault, I was less than 1200lbs with trailer and wood.
 
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