I did some research and it looks like I need 1/2" precision bearings to upgrade these babies. A hammer and screw driver popped out the bearings and new ones are on the way. My guess is that the binding is a by product of the lumpy bearings causing the cartridge to wedge against the nut and axle spacer.
New ones should do the trick. This really turned out to be easy and I'll add photos of the fix.
biking where I'm going
I've seen bearings like the ones original to your wheels in many hardware stores. They are usually pretty inexpensive, and work for a good while. Yes, nicer bearings will roll better for longer. Whether enough of both to justify the price is a decision I cannot make for you.
Also: Smear some bearing grease on the axle just before you reassemble things, to improve the odds that the new bearings won't corrode to the axle over time.
Getting where I'm going--by bicycle!
1996 Ryan Vanguard
2010 Globe Vienna 3 Disc
2012 Surly Big Dummy
Thank you sir. I will put some grease on there. That is a good suggestion.
I figured out that these were cheap lawn-mower bearings and found some better quality sealed cartridge bearings that will fit nicely.
Cost is $14/wheel vs. $5/wheel for the lawn-mower bearings. So, I figure the upgrade is worth it considering what a paid for the trailer and the cost of a new one. These original bearings are so rough that I imagine a few exposures to rain could wreck them pretty bad. Also, I learned an awful lot about roller bearings in the process. You have to measure carefully!
I will update with some photos and the exact specs of the bearings I used in the unlikley event someone else finds one of these older Burley trailers with the plastic wheels. i hope to be a cargo biker by next weekend.
Update: Trailer is up and running. I am officially a member of the cargo bike club.
If anyone reading this finds themselves with the same nylon Burley wheels, not the newer spoked wheels, here's a guide to upgrading the bearings.
1. Remove the old, cheap bearings. Put the wheel on a bucket, insert a screwdriver and tap the bearing out of each side. Don't lose the axle spacer. Hopefully it landed in the bucket.
2. The bearings you removed had a model number on them. Don't bother looking for these. If you must, just google that model number and get the same exact bearing. They are easy to find online.
Instead, purchase "precision" radial bearings with the following model number: 1616-2RS-SS This is a standard number used by most bearing manufacturers.
-2RS means two rubber seals
-SS means stainless
-1616 means the Inner diameter is 1/2", outer diameter is 1 1/8" and width is 3/8". This means each bearing will be 1/16" narrower and will push the wheel a total of 1/8" inboard (i.e. two bearings per axle) on the axle. In my experience, this had no effect.
3. Tap the bearings in place with a 1/2" socket or block of wood. Don't forget to insert the spacer before you tap in the second bearing.
4. Reinstall wheel. Just make sure the nut and washer don't bind the bearings or push against the seals. I had no issues with that.
The improvement was tremendous!
Those are lawn mower wheel bearings (standard on kiddie trailers). I use a converted kiddie trailer for a grocery getter.
The bearings are so cheap, I don't see a reason to replace them with anything better. Just buy extras and replace them when they wear out. You can buy two sets (8 bearings) for less than $20 including shipping.
Shopping Cart | MFG Supply
9-324 - 1/2" X 1-1/8" Bearing $1.45 $11.60
Shipping & Handling (Shipping - Standard Shipping)
Grand Total $18.59
See my post on this forum for a picture.
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