Mildura Good Samaritin

Submitted: Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 at 15:16
ThreadID: 97370 Views:2314 Replies:5 FollowUps:5
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On my way from Adelaide to Canberra we called in at the Mildura Golden Arches for lunch. As we got out of the truck we could smell something that had clearly overheated. On checking around I found that the left side wheel bearing on the trailer was a smoking mess. I immediately had visions of being stuck there for a week waiting on parts etc.

I called a few places to see if they could help only to be told "next week is the earliest we could do anything". One of them suggested that I try Country Wide Tyre and Automotive on 15th Street. I gave them a call and talked to Tony the owner who said that, even though he had a backlog of work, he would try to help me out.

I had replacement bearings, but the damage was so bad that the failed bearing had welded to the axle on one side and scored a groove in the hub. It is an ALKO system in which the hub and brake drum are a single unit, so I had to get a new hub. I managed to do this fortunately. There is no way that I could have removed the old bearing, they had to use an oxy torch to get it off.

Bottom line is that within about 2 hours, everything had been replaced, except for the axle which suffered minor damage when the bearing was removed. I managed to get safely home and will have the axle replaced shortly.

I am very grateful to Tony and his team at Country Wide for helping me, a total stranger, to get going again.

It is worth noting that I had replaced the bearings and hubs only 9 weeks ago, before my Cape York trip. I suspect that with all the water crossings on the Cape, I must have got water into the bearings and should have serviced them once I got back on the blacktop.

If you relax at a faster pace you can get more relaxation in for a given time.
Regards Rob

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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 at 17:50

Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 at 17:50
Good on you Rob,

Always nice to get a good news story albeit as a result of bad luck.

There are a lot of good people out there, finding them is a lot easier in a country town.

On another note Rob, is it possible to fit those "bearing buddies" such as they fit to boat trailer hubs which get a dunking regularly.

If you do a lot of water crossings they might be the go for your set up if they can be fitted. Might save a headache in the future perhaps.

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: Member - Rob D (NSW) - Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 at 18:46

Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 at 18:46
Hi Bruce,

That is a good idea, I will look into it.
Thank you for the suggestion.
If you relax at a faster pace you can get more relaxation in for a given time.
Regards Rob

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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 at 18:12

Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 at 18:12
Hi Rob,

Had a similar event on our honeymoon 36 years ago. Was heading up the Alpine way with our camper trailer in the first week of June. A beautiful sunny day so I wound the window down to more enjoy it and a dreadful squealing noise came in. Yep, a trailer wheel bearing. When I tried to move to a safer park the whole wheel had seized and dragged on the dirt. Couldn't get the bearing off the axle, it had welded itself on.

Left the New Bride to guard the rig and drove back to Khancoban for help. The local mechanic sent me to Corryong for a bearing then loaded his oxyacetylene and headed up to the scene. He wielded that oxy torch like a surgeon's scalpel to cut the bearing inner off without more damage to the axle. Those country mechanics are something else again.

Of course, after 36 years I cannot remember his name but cheers mate, your repair has lasted as well as the marriage. Actually, I have replaced the camper but not the Bride! LOL



Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Rob D (NSW) - Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 at 18:49

Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 at 18:49
Hi Allan,

I was really lucky that I did not loose the wheel. I don't think that it would have taken too long for the whole thing to come off. I was also dead lucky that I found out about the problem where I did, within a few km from help.

If you relax at a faster pace you can get more relaxation in for a given time.
Regards Rob

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Reply By: the_fitzroys - Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 at 19:07

Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 at 19:07
Great good news story, thanks Rob. We've had a couple of similar situations with leaf springs going on our trailer and have found mechanics in country towns absolutely fantastic.
Lou
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Follow Up By: Member - Rob D (NSW) - Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 at 20:02

Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 at 20:02
Hi Lou,

Yes I agree, it is great when someone understands your situation and is keen to help you out in such a situation.

If you relax at a faster pace you can get more relaxation in for a given time.
Regards Rob

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Reply By: Member - Mary W NW VIC - Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 at 21:54

Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 at 21:54
Yep and his service to the locals is spot on too!
"Some people walk in the rain,others just get wet."

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Reply By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 at 21:59

Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 at 21:59
Hi Rob. Good to hear a story like that. Thanks for sharing.
Something I worked out many years ago with our boat and travelling for water ski racing. Boat trailers and water, salt especially, do not mix. We tried the bearing buddy type caps for a while but all we ended up with was watery grease all over the inner part of the hub and wheel. The bearings lasted a bit longer but still required a lot of maintenance.
If you have either Holden or Falcon inner bearings then grab a couple of water proof seals. They are the two piece stainless outer/ruber inner type from motor spares places. Do your bearing service/replacement,pack them up with copius amounts of HTB grease and then fit a standard outer cap but seal it with silastic around the fit into the hub. My current boat trailer has had the same done to it 5 years ago and I have not had to touch it since.
Unfortunately, there are not any other sizes for those seals that I know of so if you have larger bearings you are stuck with what you have.Cheers,Bob.

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Follow Up By: Member - Rob D (NSW) - Sunday, Aug 12, 2012 at 09:42

Sunday, Aug 12, 2012 at 09:42
Hi Bob,

Thank you for sharing your experience with us. It may have taken me years to try all of this out myself as I don't have my trailer in the water as much as someone launching a boat every weekend.

I am pretty sure that the wheel bearings are of the Falcon variety, I will double check and then proceed to implement your solution.

Thank you again.
If you relax at a faster pace you can get more relaxation in for a given time.
Regards Rob

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Follow Up By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Sunday, Aug 12, 2012 at 14:09

Sunday, Aug 12, 2012 at 14:09
Your welcome Rob. Forgot to mention I did my Caravan dual axles the same way a couple of years ago as a precaution if I ever came across water that was above axle height.
Even running under normal conditions,the seals are more than adequate. Make sure they have a good layer of grease in the grooved part of the rubber for lubrication. Bob
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