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Five years ago I bought an almost new Bear brand dual axle trailer for my Manitou 24' pontoon boat and Johnson 70 HP outboard. The trailer is their model 24T. I have kept the bearings greased faithfully, have recently put Buddy Bearings on all wheels. The trailer data plate indicates that the max load for the trailer/boat/motor is 3500 pounds with the factory 20.5x8-10 tires. The hubs are 5 bolt, and the distance between one bolt and the next adjacent bolt is 2 & 9/16?. I took the boat and trailer across a set of commercial scales recently and got a normal towing weight reading of 3850 pounds with 1/2 tank of fuel for everything combined. Over the past 3 years I have had nothing but problems with the bearings in this trailer. The seals seem to be constantly leaking and when I get to my destination, the wheels are covered with grease. I've had one bearing failure and replaced all of the bearings when that happened. I just can't trust the trailer anymore and I don't feel confident with taking it on long trips to Arkansas from Iowa anymore either. I had a mechanic recently tell me (in Arkansas), after he packed the bearings for the trip back to Iowa, that the bearings were pretty "light" in this trailer and never meant to carry the weight that I have on it, and with the high revolution speed - due to the small diameter tires - the bearings aren't going to hold up. I can't afford to buy another trailer, nor would I want to sell this one to someone else to have the same trouble as me. The trailer is like new otherwise. D. Brees, Lehigh, IA
Answered on: 6/2005
MIKE: Considering that your load already exceeds the manufacturer's rating for this trailer, I would opt for changing the axles/bearing and tires to the heavier size. I would only do this after consulting with the manufacturer for their recommendations. Keep in mind you should calculate the weight of your load with a full tank of fuel, the gear that you typically carry aboard, filled coolers/ice, water, etc... You want to determine your max load and then give yourself another 10-15% of margin under the trailer maximum rating.
The Trailer Boat Expert: Mike