This has always been one of my fears towing the boat around on a single axle trailer - what do you do if one of your bearings decides to go half way to Seward?
You don't have a luxury of a tandem axle setup to bail you out, and if the spindle is messed up (which it usually is at that point), you can't just put on a fresh hub with bearings on it.
Well, this happened to me this week. I borrowed my buddy's boat to go try for silvers in Seward. I picked the boat up in Peters Creek on Tuesday night and was planning on towing it to my house in Anchorage so we can leave early Wednesday.
What follows is a long read/rant so you will need popcorn before starting, figured might be fun for someone to read as an educational experience:
As I was passing JBER flag pole, someone in a passing car was waving at me pointing back. I look at the trailer and the left wheel is smoking. I pulled over and discovered that bearings were gone, grease all over the wheel and the castle nut almost off the spindle (sheared off the cotter pin apparently).
This was about 8 pm maybe a mile north of Muldoon. Started calling for a tow as I didn't want to do any more damage to it. Managed to get one tow company to agree to come out (told the dispatcher lady what I had and made sure they would be able to handle it, she even put me on hold and checked with someone about boat/trailer). Long story short the tow truck showed up after 12 am. He is surprised that I have a trailer/boat to tow, apparently nobody told him about it.
The tow truck driver told me that he'll put dollies under trailer wheels and tow it for me. Took us a while to get the trailer hooked up to his flatbed truck, he couldn't get the hitch into the receiver, had to pound it in. Starts to put the dollies on the trailer. Realizes that the dolly bars are a few inches too short. Tells me he'll put the trailer with the boat on the flatbed. Calls his boss for some reason, boss says no go, too heavy (which is weird since the whole thing cannot be more than 3500 lbs - trailer rating) and too tall/long. Something about going through the scales (even though they were closed) and him getting a $5000 fine.
Anyway, after a long apologetic speech about the whole thing and telling me that he actually feels worse than I do about the whole thing he unhooks the trailer, tells me to find someone with a lowboy trailer and takes off.
Time is about 2:30am and I'm pissed. I start calling around again, manage to find a tow company that has lowboys and charge $180 per hour with a two hour minimum. I tell them sure what the hell I've got no choice. But then the dispatcher tells me they are all busy and will only be available after 8am.
At this point I'm pissed and just want to get somewhere. Decide that ***** it, I'll slowly tow it back as it is, the spindle is messed up anyway. Called my gf to bring me some tools and tightened up the castle nut as far as it would go. Turn around on the highway, and after about a 100 feet I see the castle nut come off the spindle and roll into the highway... Pulled over and spent the night in the truck on the side of the highway (didn't want to leave the boat/trailer all night unattended).
Go to 6 Robblees in the morning, get a new hub/bearings/seal an put it on the spindle (luckily it wasn't too bad of a mess) and very slowly limp it back to Peters Creek.
The way I look at it, I saved almost $400 in towing fees that day