Ericson 25 Trailer Bearings

JeremyK

New Member
Hi all. First post. Great forum. I've been lurking for a few weeks.

I'm in the market for a "trailer sailer" and looked at my first E25 over the weekend. The current owner purchased her ~3 years ago with intentions of refitting but at 65 years old and with a new girlfriend, he decided that the boat was too much work (and the girlfriend wasn't a sailboat person).

The price is right and the boat appears complete (not too messed with since he never really started his project). It IS a big project and needs to be gone through completely. My biggest concern in making an offer (and driving home with it) was the trailer. I believe it is probably the original trailer and had not been used much, if at all, in many years. It had only moved 15 miles to where it was currently sitting. If the boat is still available and if I decide to take the plunge, what do I need to know (specifically) about changing out the wheel bearings. I'm pretty mechanically inclined and probably have all the tools I would need...but my last automotive bearing job was when I was 16 years old (now 47). PN's and a short tutorial would be great!

BTW-the other reason I didn't purchase the boat during my first visit was that it was my 11 year anniversary and this is NOT how my wife anticipated spending the morning. I think she said two words on the entire drive to see the boat (one word for each hour). It was painful but she's coming around (I think).
 

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toddster

Curator of Broken Parts
Blogs Author
Those look like (the remains of?) old "bearing buddies." Spring-loaded gadgets that force extra grease into the hubs. See if they'll accept fresh grease. Old tires sitting on dirt are probably rotten too.
How far is the trip home? If it's not too far, I'd grease and air it up as best can be done in the field and take it slow, with a few stops to check hub temperature and tire condition.
 

Afrakes

Sustaining Member
Factor into the offering price replacing the tires before you take it home. It looks like mismatched tires and wheels on this specimen. Borrow a floor jack and some wood blocks. Pull the wheels and have the tires changed. They probably have permanent flat spots anyhow. Grease the hubs prior to the trip home. The trailer has probably not seen a lot of road time so I wouldn't worry about the wheel bearings too much. As far as your mate is concerned, I purchased a sailboat on my, new to me, wife's birthday without telling her. Still together thirty eight years and six boats later, she loves sailing but continues to bug me about it.
 

gabriel

Live free or die hard
I bought my boat in Phoenix Arizona and towed it back to California with a rusted out drooping trailer tongue, and three completely rotten tires (I was only able to procure one replacement). Drive slow and
check the trailer while driving often.

trailer bearings:

they’re super easy and inexpensive to replace. Its a cotter pin and a single nut and Can do each side in about half hour. The biggest work is all the grease you’ll have to deal with so I would do it over dirt...not your driveway.


 

Jonathan G.

Junior Member
By the way, those upright, roller guides are useful for centering the boat on the trailer when pulling it out of the water, but they should come off before a long road trip. A previous owner of my boat left them on, and the wore through the gelcoat down to glass. They stow horizontally in that extra sleeve behind the wheels.
 

JeremyK

New Member
Hmm, I should have taken a closer look. I have to travel about 100 miles of mostly flat land. The owner agreed that the tires would need to be replaced (they're not even all the same type).

I walked away feeling a little overwhelmed (not having the support of my wife didn't help). Feeling more optimistic today after looking at a Chrysler 26. Even as a novice, I could see the difference in quality/size of the mast, rigging, and hardware on deck. I did like the standing headroom of the Chrysler and the extra storage but with eventual plans to cruise the Great Lakes, the Ericson seemed more suited for the job.

Sounds like the trailer bearings are a standard size. I'm very familiar with buying parts for motorcycles and cars but not sailboats or trailers. So...a guy walks into an autoparts store (me) and asks for bearings. What are the specifics I need to know?

You guys are making me feel a little more confident about just greasing her up (with new tires of course) and dragging it home. That's what I would normally do but she's a big girl compared to what I'm used to. ;)
 

Mblace

Member II
I have an E-25cb on a custom trailer, similar experience that you’re describing when I bought it. Best trailerable sailboat EVER. But, it’s very heavy and needs a competent trailer and tow vehicle (figure 6500# all up). You can buy tires mounted on galvanized wheels for trailers from etrailer.com for about $130 each. Buy new lug nuts also. For an E-25 you’ll need at least load range C tires, I’d go with D’s. Bearings are probably fine, actually, just need to pull the hubs, remove the bearing assemblies (races are probably fine) and wash with mineral spirits, repack with grease and reinstall. Torquing them back on requires care - watch a good YouTube if you’ve never done it before. Use a good quality synthetic grease. Many trailers use lock tabs on the hubs, not cotters, so best to get a new set. EZ-lube hubs are the worst invention ever - people overfill them and either grease their brakes or blow out the seals in back. I’d be more concerned with brakes. I bought my E-25 in western Ohio and drove 400 miles home, took new tires on wheels I had with me and swapped with what came on the trailer, but had the marina do a brake service before trailering, including a new surge brake unit/tongue. It was still an adventure, but at least the trailer never tried to pass me going down a mountain…. Call me if you want to chat. 301-876-2126. Mark
 

Jonathan G.

Junior Member
You guys are making me feel a little more confident about just greasing her up (with new tires of course) and dragging it home. That's what I would normally do but she's a big girl compared to what I'm used to. ;)
Those tires don't look too bad compared to mine, and mine made it from Arizona to Wisconsin. For 100 miles, I'd be tempted to get that BoatU.S. membership (with Trailer Assist), and go for it. :)
 

klb67pgh

Member II
Are your tires 14.5" mobile home tires? I bought 4 lightly used such tires at $50 each from a local place, took them to Massachusetts, replaced the dry rotted tires on my E25's trailer, and drove it home to Western PA. I will eventually replace them w 15" tires but it's low on the list. I would see if the bearings will take some fresh grease and otherwise would be more concerned about tires than bearings. And much more focused on the boat's condition than anything trailer related given those pictures - trailer repairs are knowable and manageable cost wise and that trailer looks just fine in the pics.
 

JeremyK

New Member
Thanks for all the great info. While I'm asking questions, what is the bolt pattern/ size for those wheels? Could just get wheels and tires and take them to the boat.
 

Mblace

Member II
Those are probably 15” wheels with 225/70-15 tires, but note the 6-bolt hubs, which are for higher-load axles (probably 5000#). Mine are 5-bolt 3500# axles and hubs with 15” wheels.
 

gabriel

Live free or die hard
Are your tires 14.5" mobile home tires? I bought 4 lightly used such tires at $50 each from a local place, took them to Massachusetts, replaced the dry rotted tires on my E25's trailer, and drove it home to Western PA. I will eventually replace them w 15" tires but it's low on the list. I would see if the bearings will take some fresh grease and otherwise would be more concerned about tires than bearings. And much more focused on the boat's condition than anything trailer related given those pictures - trailer repairs are knowable and manageable cost wise and that trailer looks just fine in the pics.
My boat came with the mobile home tires mounted on 14.5” rims but I read they’re no bueno, I replaced them for radials pre-mounted on a rim. They were about $120 ea before the inflation hit.
 

JeremyK

New Member
So, it seems the boat and trailer were just a little worse off than the owner felt comfortable with and he pulled the listing. A potential buyer that had restored a couple other E25's inspected it over the weekend and it seems that quite a bit of work was needed on the deck (more than just rebedding) and that the trailer may not have been safe for transport (structurally, not just the tires). The owner has now decided to part out and salvage the boat, which is a bit of a shame because as I said, it was well outfitted and complete. I'm sure it could be brought back with enough time/money.

What is the core on these decks BTW?

And so, the search continues...and an E25 remains high on my list.
Thanks for all the helpful information and feedback.

Jeremy
 
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gabriel

Live free or die hard
The core is mostly balsa with a little plywood in critical areas...

Shame on the boat, that trailer looked fine.

You can be too safe:

 

Mblace

Member II
The core is mostly balsa with a little plywood in critical areas...

Shame on the boat, that trailer looked fine.

You can be too safe:

LOL! And definitely insightful. I’m an aerobatic, power, and glider, pilot. Plus a retired Coastie (my operational specialty was coastal search and rescue). So for me safety is about managing risk ‘cuz I don’t want to die (or break any more bones)…. I’ve seen just about everything in the world of boats and airplanes over the years - all things are definitely NOT equal when it comes to reducing risk - but it does take a very deliberate attitude about safety and a clear-headed understanding of risk factors to be able to explore the limits when doing dangerous things. Am I obsessed with safety? Maybe just a little, but in a good way.
 

goldenstate

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
@JeremyK

Just remember:

There will be many more owners of barely-trailerable 40 year old sailboats looking to part with them.
There is no rush. Buy a good one. Look at a lot of them and buy the nicest one you can.

I fixed up a trailer for a much smaller boat. It isn't complicated, you just need to wade into the details. I had good luck with e-trailer too.

 
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