Snowbear Trailers Suck

Discussion in 'Trailer Tech' started by boutym, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. boutym


    A few years ago I bought a Snowbear 5x10 landscape type trailer. While it turns out this was a mistake because this is one whack-ass trailer, I'm determined to make lemonade out of lemons. Short story is the left inner wheel bearing grenaded and took out the outer in the process (yes, it had grease and wasn't overloaded). The spindle was toast and I never really cared for hubs that didn't have the lugs in them. So, I decided I was going to swap out the axle for nicer one with hubs with lugs.

    First thing I noticed when pulling the original axle was that the spring seats were flat pieces of steel with the relief hole for the spring offset about 2 inches from the center of the axle. The trailer dealer where I got the new axle said he had never seen this before. The other interesting thing is that there is no shackle on the rear of the springs. Springs are bolted directly to the hangers front and back. Not sure how this arrangement is supposed to work without stressing the spring hangers.

    I also noticed that the springs themselves don't have the bolt that holds the leaves together centered. It is offset to the front of the spring the same amount that the axle was offset to the rear. I've never seen something like this and what I have now is nice sturdy axle with proper spring seats. I installed the new axle and it looks ok except my tires are a few inches forward of the original position. This puts the tire sidewall about 1/4" from the front fender bracket bolt. The nut is on the outside, so I can get more clearance by flipping the bolt around and putting the nut inside.

    Anyway, long post just to say I just don't get why this thing was designed the way it was. I do know I'm not buying another Snowbear anything because their customer service absolutely sucks and after seeing how this trailer was built not so sure about their design abilities either.
  2. boutym


    I stand corrected. Just looked again and turns out it's a slipper spring in use, hence no shackle on the rear. But, this still begs the question of why they would use a spring with an offset pin and then offset the axle to correct for it?

    Sounds like they may have had a bunch of springs lying around with the offset for whatever reason and needed a way to use up the stock. A little half-ass if you ask me.
  3. boutym


    Got a new and improved axle installed with new and better hubs. Now the trailer is as it should have been built in the first place. Don't buy Snowbear!!! You'll spend more money after you buy the trailer to make it what it should be.

    All told between putting quality lighting and replacing the axle with one better suited to the application I've spent around $500 making this trailer worth owning. That doesn't include the downtime and the time I spent transforming the trailer into what it should have been from the factory.

    Then there's Snowbear customer service. You may as well be talking to a wall than to deal with these people. Snowbear is a Canadian company, so be prepared for Canadian attitude when dealing with them.

    They were completely unwilling to help with my premature bearing failure and instead kept lying about what should and shouldn't be. They changed their story twice on what the manual stated for maintenance. Apparently they make it up as they go to avoid having to stand behind their product. Either this, or they themselves don't really know what kind of maintenance should be done on their trailers. Either way, a bad company to do business with if you want to save yourself a major headache. We won't even speak of the safety implications.

    Once again, I urge anyone considering a Snowbear trailer to do their homework and you'll find there are much better brands to be had.

    I've been proudly pulling my trailer around with "DON'T BUY SNOWBEAR TRAILERS!" painted on it and can proudly say I kill at least 1 Snowbear sale a week. If I'm driving by a Snowbear dealer and see someone looking at a trailer I make it a point to stop and let them know of my experience with Snowbear. More often than not they thank me for the heads up and move on. It feels good to put the screws to a company that doesn't want to take care of their customers.

  4. 70sguy


    Greendale B.C Canada
    Maybe I got lucky with my 4x8 Snowbear..
    Maybe the quality has gone down hill since I got it.. I don't know.
    In 8 years of ownership so far I have only had to do the wheelbearings 1x, and I replaced the lights with an LED kit so I could back it into the lake with the boat.
    Yes, I use it.. I have absolutely tortured the thing hauling Boat, Cruiser motors, roofing waste, yard waste well beyond it's rating. Many camping/road trips covering 2000 plus miles at a time with it.. not a single issue.

    I am a firm believer in "you get what you pay for".. so for $500 new I wasn't expecting a lot..and it has held up better than anticipated. My Snowbear doesn't owe me one cent and continues to deliver.
  5. i have a 5 x10 snow bear, and i hate to say it gets frequent use, and frequent overloading use, and i have not had a problem yet, i have owned it for 5 years or more.
  6. also i have to say my stock springs on my 84 4runner, collapsed while hauling wood with that trailer. and my new tough country, or rough country what ever they were collapsed the first time i hauled wood with the trailer.
    although the dog does seem to like eating the wires off that trailer.
  7. boutym


    Some people could have decent luck with their trailers. Snowbear doesn't make the axles or hubs, but the real reason I've launched my smear campaign against Snowbear is because they wouldn't address the premature bearing failure. Each time I would counter their bull**** comment on what maintenance is required or some other equally bull**** reason for the failure they would shift to a different bull**** excuse. Never once did they approach the problem in a way that would lead one to believe they give a **** about their customers.

    The other thing that bothers me is the manner in which the original axle was installed. It looked like the whole thing was an afterthought. The dealer I bought the replacement axle from said he has never seen anything like it.

    So, whether or not anyone else has had good luck, I didn't and Snowbear chose to blow me off. So, my campaign continues until they pull their heads out of their collective asses.
  8. since i have not dealt with them, i see your point.
    i also bought mine from home depot.
  9. I put mudflaps on mine to stop the tires throwing cr*p and water into the back of the tail lights. Stainless screws in the lights and lots of "di-electric" grease over the contacts. Not a good design from factory.

    The paint sucks and the damn thing rusts worse than my 60.

    Now the wheel bearings are going crunchy even with seasonal greasing.

    I guess you get what you pay for and these things are cheap.
  10. jrock24


    Maybe the axle set up was like that because they use some of the same parts on different trailers?
  11. well here is a pick of mine, with a load of wood, it see regular loads like this, and i have never messed with the bearings yet.


  12. yycranger4x4


    Calgary, Ab.
    I understand that you've had a bad experience with a company based in Canada, but be careful who you are putting down with your campaign. Do you mind if I ask what you mean by Canadian Attitude? I'm not trying to be an ass and pick apart your posts, but I could just as easily say the same thing about US citizens based on companies that I've had some bad dealings with.

    It's good to see that you've been able to put a better axle into your trailer, and I hope you luck with it.

    *EDIT* I must apologize. I hope that this post doesn't come across as being a shot at you or anyone else. It was a long week at work, and I surfing the net way too soon after getting home. After crashing for a couple hours, I'm going over a couple posts again. I understand your frustration as the product that you bought did not stand up as expected. I hope that the company can make good one their product. *EDIT*
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2010
  13. ok so after talking how great my snowbear was doing, after a few loads of wood like this...



    i noticed that the floor is sagging in the middle, so i guess i will have to beef it up here soon.
  14. both my dad and myself have 4x8 snow bear trailers and they have been excellent.. i actually bought mine because i was using his way too much and felt bad.. it had my sled on it for two full winters in a row and has seen constant use during the summers for hauling scrap steel, lumber,etc... my dads trailer is a 2006 model year trailer and mine is a 2007..

    if i have one complaint about these trailers its the crappy lights that they come with.. they are good for the first couple of years but the wire connections for the back lights are just a push in type connectors and corrode quite badly sinse where the wiring goes into the light fixtures is exposed somewhat and gets all the road spray from the tires..

    both my dads trailer and now mine have been upgraded to led lights... its what they should have come with in the beginning but oh well.. both backup lights including wiring and the two side markers were about 85 bucks...

    we try to wash our trailers after being out on the highway if there is salt and gravel on the roads and that really helps with any corrosion buildup...

    as far as wheel bearing problems, it sounds like you may have ended up with a bad bearing perhaps right from the get go....
  15. cpo1


    Satisfied Snowbear Trailer Owner

    I've owned a snowbear utility trailer for about 7 or 8 years now and I have put this trailer through the paces. I also haul my ATV with it on a fairly frequent basis. I've had several compliments on the design of this trailer, including some from the racing world folks. This summer, I'm going to refinish the trailer since it's starting to show some wear now and I don't like rust. When I refinish it, I'll look at some of the issues that have been mentioned and I appreciate hearing about the issues. The only thing I've done to the trailer is add LED lights and add a few reinforcement welds. I also welded a center pull slot on the front of the trailer so I can winch a deer onto the trailer from my ATV. For the money that I paid for this trailer when new, I believe I got far more than my money's worth and I continue to enjoy using this trailer today. My .02 worth.
  16. The Adam Blaster

    The Adam Blaster

    I owned a Snowbear 4x8 for about 4 years.
    I abused the H#$L out of it for those years, I remodelled a house and a duplex using the trailer to haul many, MANY loads to the dump, and building supplies from Home Depot etc.
    I also hauled several loads of gravel, dirt, mulch etc. for my properties and my friends.
    It had a pretty solid history of riding on the bump stops. lol
    I am terrible with maintenance, that means I generally don't do it, and I didn't do anything to the trailer for those years, just spot spray-painted a couple spots where the paints were worn down.
    I drove it filled with a bunch of my possessions from Ontario to AB where I now live. Then I sold it to my buddy who re-wired the lights because of damage he caused. He still has the trailer and he's going to bring it by my place this weekend to move a bunch of my stuff to a storage unit.
    It's about 8 years old now, still works just fine and has had minor maintenance over that whole time.
    I'd say for my original $650.00 investment, it has served me and my buddy pretty darn well.

    As for the OP, I'm always a touch suspicious when someone signs up on a forum for the sole purpose of bashing a particular product... But that's probably just my Canadian attitude. :D
    Glad to hear that these trailers seem to have served lots of others with generally good service. ;)
  17. boutym


    I didn't sign up just to bash a product or manufacturer. In fact, I've signed up on forums to praise products and manufacturers. Be as skeptical as you want, but I'm here to tell you that while some have good luck with their trailers, I did not. It's not that there was a premature failure. I understand these things happen. It's the manner in which Snowbear handled the situation. They couldn't come up with a straight story to save their lives. They would counter their own maintenance instructions when discussing the problem with my trailer and then keep switching their story when what they were saying didn't make sense.

    I beat hell out of my trailer now and it's been doing a great job, but consider that to get this level of service I had to change to different axle, lights and other mods to make it the trailer it should have been from the start.
  18. dirt bike girl

    dirt bike girl

    Getting in contact with Snowbear

    So I have run into the issue where we allowed a friend to borrow our snowbear trailer and in the process he managed to not only lose the tailgate-but also broke a tail light. I have tried with out success repeatedly to contact Snowbear to order replacement parts. I was able to reach them during winter, but they informed me they were in plow production mode and wouldn't switch back to trailer mode until the thaw. Am I too early?.... Has it not started to thaw yet up in the Guelph neck of the woods they are located? I have been trying to reach them now for almost a month-and all I get is an automated message that no one is available-I have left messages-also to no avail. I never thought it could be this difficult to give a business your money!! Any suggestions-aside from junk punching my friend? (as that is already on my to-do list)! Thanks to any and all~
  19. navylife59


    Came to this forum looking for where to get replacement bearings for my snowbear utility trailer that was sold at Home Despot here in the States. The bearings are cheap arse ones from China. None of the retail stores where I am at sells (aka Reese) the stepped sized bearing set on my small Snowbear Ultilty trailer type TRA/REM (5x10 or 4x9). They had plenty of grease, not burned out and did not spin on the spindle. The cage was very loos and the rollers had a line worn on them. The races were concial so are worn out. Does anyone know what bearings and were to locate them. Prefer no the weak Chinese crap in the retail stores.
    The trailer had performed admirably for an inexpensive unit sold at a home improvement store. It does has some flaws, such as, failing paint, and cheap lights that everyone else has experirenced in some for or another. In addition, the latch pins for the loading ramp/gate are almost worn thru and the vertical rails that the pins secure into to lock the gate are elongated. The Navy calls this fretting corrosion. This causes the gate to bounch back for with a tremendous racket and soon will fail completely. Also, the axle is tubular with no spring perches only to be held by the clamping force fo the u-bolts. The axle will slide latitudinally if the trailer hits a curb, bump, pothole, etc. when heavily loaded (still within gross rated capacity).
    Other than those problems, it has been a decent trailer for the money. I have upgraded to full LED lighting. I added a cargo light for when we are camping. I also fully boxed in the bed with 3/8" pressure treated lumber and some 1x2 lumber that I picked up from the Home Despot that was used to bundled their lumber for shipment. All it needs is a top but that would be adding more weight and lessening the load capacity so it is time to trade up. Any suggestions for manufacturers of quality fully enclosed trailers?
  20. steelynorm


    snowbear get what you pay for.

    To the original poster,
    I bought my snowbear from costco.
    bearings went out lights went out.
    this is a $500 trailer. It has served me admirably.
    if i had paid twice the price for another trailer, i would be as irritated as you are.
    But I did not and hopefully you didn't.

    I have used to make trips to the dump for a year during our home construction, used it as a landscape trailer for front yard and backyard installation.

    And for the last few years i have been using it as my jetski trailer for my 2 stand up jetskis, and as my camping trailer to load all my camping items in there.

    In the end it will probablly be a $1000 dollar trailer if i upgrade the axles, but it served me well.

    Have you seen the prices for used utility trailers.
    you probablly could have sold it for a $200 and only been out 300 for several years of abuse. Not a bad purchase in my opinion.

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