Tuna 1....Sean 0 [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Tuna 1....Sean 0

07-15-2007, 11:23 AM
Yesterday I set off to put my best friend on some tuna. The reports were a little spotty but we hoped for the best and set off at 5:30 into the bay. We were about 7 miles into the trip and we spotted a few fish breaking the surface in the light fog. Everybody grabbed a rod (it was going to be a spin day) and we approached the fish. They were soon gone and we sat in place hoping they would reappear. Unfortunately they didn't and after about an hour searching the area we have had so much luck in we set off in search of greener pastures. For the rest of the day we covered most of the bay and beyond but with exception of a few finning and pushing pods we found no joy on the tuna. Constant check ins with others proved most were having the same luck. We were greated to an awesome whale show at the end of the day. We were on acres and acres of sand eels and so were the whales. A little unnerving in a 20' boat to have about 50 30' beasts rolling and splashing around but something I and my guests will never forget. We had a bit of a fun ride back to the ramp as we headed directly into the building SW wind, but made it back a little wet but with smiles all around.

The smiles ended about halfway through the trip home as we crossed over the Mount Hope bay bridge and felt the truck losing power. At first I thought engine trouble but a quick check of the right mirror revealed the problem:


My best guess is just a bad bearing or somehow the seal leaked as I just put on new disc brakes this spring which included all new bearings, hub and seals. I regularly check the hubs for any heat when I reach my destinations and have not felt any the past few trips. I know for certain the hub was still sliver and showing no signs of rust at the beginning of the trip. Obviously heat and friction are powerful forces as this is the mess that resulted when we came to a stop on the side of I195:


Luckily I have the trailer care package from SeaTow and they had a flat bed on the scene in about an hour. Pretty good work at 8 p.m. on a Saturday in my opinion. The operator did a great job minimizing any further damage getting the boat on the bed and she is now sitting in their lot. My guess is I will need a whole new break set up and spindle for the axle but thankfully no one was hurt.

I think I will now be adding a new check in to my process and jack the trailer up from time to time and spin the wheel to check for friction. I will also take a few seconds at the ramp to inspect the seals whle the boat is in the water.

While these trips have certainly cost me some coin and taught me and my gear some lessons I still would do it all over againg next weekend and probably will!

07-15-2007, 05:59 PM
Hard to tell from your pics but was the spindle still intact??? It looks like the spindle was still intact and that you had a bearing failure which is a bit strange given you just did everything in the spring. I do mine every spring completely disassemble the whole shootin' match and clean with Mineral spirits all traces of grease. Then new grease seals and after inspecting the bearings re-pack them with new grease using a bearing packer left over from my mechanic days. I have in the past had seals fail mid season but not cause any issues as I grease the bearing throughout the season through the zerk fittings on the end of the axles. This pushes grease into the axle to the back bearing and then forward to the front bearing. I keep pushing grease in until I have clean grease coming out. I think maybe you just had a mechanical failure which does occur from time to time. Nothing you did wrong or missed. Sucks but you are alright and you will be back in business soon enough I am sure.

07-15-2007, 06:17 PM

To be honest I don't know if the spindle was intact or not. We just figured there was no way we were going to fix it roadside being a Saturday night without the neccessary parts so we just let the tow operator handle everything figuring their insurance would play if further damage occured. I was very surprised the wheel didn't come off with all that weight pushing it down the road. I had bearing caps with a grease fiiting on them but it was not the type you described where you can continue pushing in grease without risking blowing out the inner seal. I am going to inquire about changing the whole system out when I talk to the mechanic tomorrow. My buddy and I could do the work ourselves but the tow home will cost me $150+ and as you say I just want to get back on the water so I will most likely have them do it this week if they can get the parts and get it done.


07-15-2007, 06:28 PM
Sorry to hear of your latest mishap. You sure have been tough on the gear this season!
Glad to hear you spotted the problem and got stopped before the wheel came off. Coulda made a bad situation alot worse.

07-15-2007, 07:30 PM
The castle nut looks rusty and what is left of the bearing cage is burnt pretty good. Looks to me from the pic ( a close up inspection would tell the story better) that you have a lack of lube Sean, which can certainly be brought on by seal failure and water entry. Trailer axle components are demon spawn, the work of the devil himself. They require constant vigilance and fastidious maintenance practices.

I do what Striper does for two of my less than mechanically inclined friends. complete disassembly and cleaning. I check them mid season for seal failure, water, grease etc.. too.

I have found that the bearing buddy caps are OK but the system Striper speaks of is way better. Salt water is a killer no matter what you do it seems

Reef Runner
07-16-2007, 12:13 PM
Sean - I do the same thing Mike does and I carry a g gun in the truck just in case things get a little to warm, especially on a longer then normal trip. Sorry to hear about the break down. Nice to know that the trailer pkg works with Sea Tow. I have it also and luckly haven't had to use it (hope I didn't just jinks myself). Same here with the fish on Sat. Thought Slinger might have had 1 shot, just couldn't get close enough before they went down. Maybe next time!

07-16-2007, 06:34 PM
You should look at Torsion axles with replaceable spindles. Tie Down Engineering makes some real nice ones and the VP of the company owes me a couple at his cost due to my brake problems with their brakes. He offered me the axles at his cost due to my problems with the brakes and I am going to take him up on it. They are basically axles that do not use springs but heavy duty rubber bushings inside the axle housing which act as your suspension. It eliminates the broken spring problem which can also sideline you and they have removable/replaceable spindles which should you have another issue like the one you had it would be feasible to make roadside repairs provided you have an extra spindle, hub and bearings.



07-17-2007, 07:23 AM
Not a good day,
Sorry to hear of your trailer malfunction:frown: , always look forward to your post but that was not the photo I was hoping to see. For the record dont beat yourself up a lot of things may have caused the bearing to fail that have nothing to do with your maintenance schedule, however I would encourage you to check those hubs by jacking the trailer up from time to time.
As for the spindle there may not be visible damage but the thing you have to look out for that you may not see is damage caused by heat. Any time you overheat a surface you can change its shape and with the machined surface of the spindle it may cause continued bearing failure. With that said better luck next time
and give me a call I have something I need to run by you.

07-17-2007, 08:09 AM
I agree with Neac9 100%. I would replace the axle if you can afford to do that just to be on the safe side as you cannot be sure that it wasn't damaged structurally . And if you do choose to replace it please look into the axles I posted about earlier, I believe these are a better option than the sprung axles that we are used to. The Torsion axles I have done some research on and everything seems to be positive about them. If anyone has anything negative I would love to hear your thoughts about them.

07-17-2007, 08:19 AM

I am still waiting to hear back from the shop on what he found and a quote but my initial thoughts are to upgrade both spindles to the suber-lube system but not to change out the axles. My understanding is that they are removeable and can be swapped out without changing the whole axle. I will look into the torsion system if that becomes a neccessary fix but I am hoping not.



07-17-2007, 08:38 AM
Going that route should be fine just make sure you price out everything before you decide what to do. The complete torsion axles are not that expensive comparatively. I think I had priced them around $350.00 each and to remove your spindles and weld on new ones may be in that neighborhood. It may end up being cheaper to just swap out the old axles complete. Just food for thought.


07-17-2007, 01:18 PM
Looks like I will be replacing the axle. Waiting on some quotes on the torsion vs. standard etc...Also need to make sure any salvagable parts are compatible. Looking a lot like Break Out Another Thousand!

07-19-2007, 06:45 PM
Just curious, what did you decide on for an axle? Did anyone figure out what caused the failure? Bad seal etc...? I know it was not lack of attention from you.