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How a Bearing Buddy can Destroy Caravan Brakes

by | Mar 28, 2020 | Trailer & Caravan Safety | 4 comments

How a Bearing Buddy can Destroy Caravan Brakes

Installing bearing buddies on your caravan can have unintended consequences such as destroying your braking system. A correctly adjusted brake drum should stop your rig quickly. However, some circumstances can lead to accidents.

Caravan and Camper owners love to install the latest, time-saving equipment. Owners self install bearing buddies thinking they are using time-saving devices; however, the reverse can be true.

The photo above is a Dexter backing plate that accommodated a 12″ Electric Drum. As you can see, the bearing buddy made quite a mess of the brakes. Excess grease escaped out of the rear bearing seal into the backing plate.

The magnet had been engaging the drum face but not adhering to the drum face effectively. As a result, braking is significantly reduced. Further, there is evidence the magnet surface has inconsistencies that also results in ineffective braking.

Couplemate recommends not installing bearing buddies on electric brakes. This type of equipment is better suited to boat trailers and box trailers that are either disc braked or unbraked.
45.2mm Australia Grommet Dust

Bearing Buddys destroy drums brakes of any type, mechanical, hydraulic or electric. Drum brakes fail when misusing bearing protectors.

An overfilled bearing cavity spills grease onto brake shoes and other equipment inside the backing plate.

The most effective way to ensure your wheel bearings are in great shape is a manual inspection.

Alternatively, rubber grommet dust caps can give an insight into carbon black or water contaminated grease buy, removing the rubber grommet. Upon removing the grommet, perform an inspection noting any discolourisation of the grease.

Finally, inspect your bearing buddies immediately. If brake shoe contamination is evident, replace the shoes.

Braking effectiveness is not improved by cleaning the brake shoes because the grease has permeated the entire shoe material.

Purchase replacement dust caps here

Source: Lemon Caravans & RVs in Aus


  1. Barry Stoodley

    A hub full of grease will overheat the bearings as well.

    • Steve Wotherspoon

      Hello Barry, I had not considered your comment before and made me think for a while. A hub full of grease will be expelled as pressure rises inside the hub from high-speed rotation before critical over temperates occur inside the hub. This pressure inside the hub can be as high as 2 – 3 psi @ 100 kph. Bearings do not overheat during this process. Bearings overheat due to wear and tear of the casting ring and rollers, incorrectly adjusted bearings and poor quality bearings. I have never seen any evidence of overheated bearings as a result of an overloading grease into a hub.

  2. Ian Foster

    Marine seals can also cause a similar problem.

    • Steve Wotherspoon

      Hello Ian and thank you for your comment,

      Marine seals expel excess grease to the road or inside the wheel rim. It is uncommon to find backing plates in a marine environment where marine seals are used. A marine seal has no real purpose in the electric, mechanical or hydraulic backing plates. More is best does not apply to grease. In the day of DIY, simple mistakes occur. Professionals, on the other hand, should know better and remedy their errors at their expense. Thank you for your comment, Ian. Steve Wotherspoon


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