Malone kayak trailer...just purchased a 9 yr. old little used ...any advise on maintainence?

just brought it home…any advise on wheel bearings?

I would change them out then you know they are good.


Timken bearings if possible.

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Definitely new tires. Inspect the wiring closely for chafing.

For nearly anything trailer related, my default is

Been buying from them for years and never a bad experience.

I would swap out all the bearings and possibly even the hubs if they are showing any wear or rust. They are cheap and you can buy a whole kit.

The tires need to be replaced, assuming they are original. If you have good wheels, a local tire shop is worth checking on tbe tires. They don’t need balancing, just mounting. If the wheels aren’t in good shape, I would just buy new wheels and tires already mounted.

Replacing the bearings (and inner seal which should come with a bearing kit) is definitely the safest approach to minimize risk of a breakdown. But realistically, the kayak trailer is a very light duty application for the bearings as the same bearings go in trailers spec’d to haul 2 or 3 times the load. So you could just pull off the dust caps and see if the grease looks reasonably clean and abundant, and then as long as the bearings don’t heat up you are probably fine. One of my two trailers is seven years old and it has 10000+ miles on it. The bearings are original, but I periodically place my hand on each hub when I make stops to see if the bearings are generating much heat. If the hubs are no more than comfortably warm, maybe like a comfortable (not steaming) hot shower, I’m happy.

I am not advising against replacing the bearings. It can’t hurt but it might not be necessary.

Thanks for the replies…I bought this from a 87yr.old engineer who started paddling 12 years ago and went from rec yaks to a 17+ ft. Current Designs composite kayak and only used it very locally. His garage was full of top-end road bikes, snow shoes and a gazillion hiking boots…he pulled it with a Subie Outback…I did pay $900 and he says the Micro Sport has lifetime replacement parts( he broke a light …they sent him a new one)…so I’m feeling pretty good abouit the purchase

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Pull the dust caps and if the grease does not look cloudy (water intrusion) I would repack them and be on my way.

coronaboy - Did the trailer come with Bearing Buddies (i.e., axle caps with a grease-gun fitting)? I wouldn’t be surprised if an engineer with a lot of high-end stuff paid a little more for them.

No, but aren’t those meant for submersion? I have a utility trailer with a Dexter axle that you pump grease till it comes out like new grease…I tried using it for boats, but the suspension is to stiff… meant for much more weight

If it came with Bearing Buddies, pull off the dust cap and look at whether there is enough grease inside, and what condition the grease is in.

Do not OVERFILL the bearings, either.

If grease condition and quantity is adequate, just test the rim temperatures immediately after you have driven it. Not the tires—the rims. Assuming one side of the trailer has not been exclusively in the sun and the other in shade during your drive, the rims should be cool to warm, depending on ambient temperatures.

The bearing seals in my trailer leak some grease, which started on one side after my husband curb-checked that side. The trailer shop I took it to said all was fine (I still don’t believe them), but simply checking grease and adding a few pumps a few times a year was enough to keep things working well. Recently, the other wheel began leaking grease—with one wheel it is on the inside of the rim and on the other it leaks on the outside. When I find a good shop in our area, I will have them check everything. Meanwhile, the leakage is small enough I can stay on top of it, and the rims remain cool to warm.

BTW, leaking happens only on hot days or when driving at higher speeds (sustained 65+ mph). I am using a wheel bearing grease that supposedly is made for such uses but maybe I should switch to a different one.

I don’t think they’re specially intended for submersion, more just to conveniently keep the bearing housing filled with grease. But perhaps having the Bearing Buddy push grease into the entire empty space in the bearing housing leaves no space for water to get into. One of my trailers came with them. It is interesting that they essentially work by filling all of the empty space with grease. As pikabike said, you’re really not supposed to overload the grease as that just leads to heat generation from the grease churning. But Bearing Buddies seem to be pretty widely used.