My other trailer said it needed a vacation, so it is off to follow my cousins motor home all over the west. I think I repacked the bearings the last time in 1995 so... Here are some pics.
first remove dust cap
Then jack the tyre off the ground. USE A JACK STAND!!!!
Remove the cotter pin retaining the castle nut, the castle nut, a washer, and the outer bearing.
Next reinstall just the castle nut. (not the washer or outer bearing)
Jerk the wheel and hub strait out.
You should be left with the castle nut, inner bearing, and seal on the spindle of the axle.
Next clean both bearing races in the hub and inspect for damage.
Clean both bearings. My favorite thing to use is solvent, but brake clean will work and will dry quickly. (the use of gas for a cleaner is NOT recommended) (resist the urge to dry the bearings by spinning them with air, it is not recommended and dangerous I am told.) Inspect the bearing rollers for uneven wear. If any of the bearings or races are bad they will need to be replaced as a set (both race and bearing). This is a subject of another thread (not made yet). Pack with grease. Reinstall inner bearing and tap seal on (if you reuse the old seal make sure the rubber seal is still flexible). Reinstall the hub and wheel back on the spindle, followed by the outer bearing (you did grease it right), the washer and castle nut. Tighten the castle nut by spinning the wheel and tightening the nut till the wheel shows resistance. Back off the nut about an eighth of a turn, lining up the hole for a cotter pin. The resistance should have gone away. Install a cotter pin, then the dust cap. repeat on other side. Note; remove jack stand before driving away.
The pics I was not able to get was hand packing the bearings with grease, I do not have three arms sorry. If someone has a pic I can use let me know. If anyone has something to add I will gladly edit my post to make it more clear.
Thanks much for the tip on removing the inner bearing race & the grease seal using the washer & castellated nut as a tool. All this time I've been hammering the race out from the inside. How do you re-install the inner race?
artfd wrote:Thanks much for the tip on removing the inner bearing race & the grease seal using the washer & castellated nut as a tool. All this time I've been hammering the race out from the inside. How do you re-install the inner race?
The inner and outer races (the two bits pressed in the hub) I do not take out, unless they need replaced. I remove the inner caged bearing, and seal, clean, inspect, and grease.
Ron Dickey wrote:I put on new ones when I started my trailer and don't have that many miles on to redo it yet but I remember that I should retighten the nut after a period of time.
Question 1. how often should one repack them Question 2. how many miles should one go before tighening the nut one or 2 more turns?
1 Opinions will vary, and so will the quality of the bearings. Every couple of years (once a year for Chinese bearings), Note this is for normal use, more often for overloaded or offroad use.
2. After a hundred miles (first outing) recheck the tightness (do not tighten just to tighten). To tight a bearing load is just as bad as too loose.
one thing to remember when repacking bearings....make sure you don't drop them on the floor when they are out. It's very easy to bend them and then they are not worth anything.
Great write up and you can never re-pack them too often and resist the urge to buy the caps with grease nipples and just pump them 10 times in the spring....the caps are good but you should re-pack them every year.
Bearing care is important on our trailers. The need for it to be done on a regular basis is critical to the longevity of the axle/bearing/hub. I trust no one other than myself and a local mechanic I know well to do this properly. A factory grease job, to me, is as good as un-greased. (I've witnessed bad experiences with several manufacturers.) How often depends on use, my tandem flat bed (which sees a lot of use) gets packed every spring, the TTT on even years of the calendar (every other spring and it probably only sees a few thousand miles between packs.) The elderly neighbor with the boat trailer next door (almost daily in/out of the water) gets re-packed several times a season because of the water issues. Grease degrades with age as well as with use, so just not having many miles is no excuse to not giving them a quick pack. In fact, I wouldn't recommend going over four years even if it doesn't go anywhere. Some greases contain volatile compounds that evaporate out if not in a sealed container. Use any quality grease that states for wheel bearings on the package. If you change grease formulations (there are thousands), make double sure to remove ALL of the old grease.
The first step is to remove the hub, then remove the seal on the back and the bearings. Keep track of the order of the parts on the hub as it is important to put it back together the same way. Different hubs will have washers, shims, keyed washers, spacers, etc. to make them perform properly. Clean it all thoroughly inside and out. If you have brakes, now is an excellent time to check them thoroughly as well. I wipe everything off, rinse in stoddard solvent and wipe dry. I keep a quart paint can 1/2 full of solvent and use it over and over. If you wipe off most of the grease it will last for quite a few bearings. You can blow them dry with compressed air, but please don't let a bearing spin freely on your fingers. Without the races constraining them, they may come apart causing serious injury as the inside of the cage is often razor sharp. Inspect the bearings AND races closely, twist each bearing in the cage so you see all the way around. Any pitting, marks, or discoloration can indicate wear, damage, and/or corrosion. If I was doing a whole lot of bearings on a daily basis, I would purchase a bearing packer. However, it is really quite easy to do by hand, it just takes a few minutes. This video is the closest I've seen to the technique that I use...
... It is very important that the bearings are completely packed with grease. If you flip the bearing over and do this from both sides, you can trap air and then there won't be enough grease within the bearing. Place the back bearing in the back race and install a new seal. Seals are inexpensive and even though I sometimes re-use one, I can't with good conscience recommend it. I then put a generous dollop of grease in the hub and re-install on the axle. Make sure all of the parts are re-installed in the right order. I tighten until the hub just starts to drag and loosen at least one flat (1/6 turn) until the castellated nut lines up with the hole for the cotter key. Don't forget a NEW cotter key of the correct size. It should fit snugly in the hole and bend both ends in opposite directions around the nut. Then re-install the outer hub seal.
I would also recommend checking the temperature of your hubs on a regular basis when you travel. Each time you stop, walk around and cautiously touch each hub. Without brakes, they should only be warm. With brakes they can be quite warm depending on how hard you braked recently, but should not be so hot that it would burn. The hubs should be roughly the same temperature, and experience is the best way to tell you what temperature that they should be.
Corwin If I am unwilling to stand up straight before the world and admit what I have accomplished during the day, without excuses, in complete and honest detail, then I can do better ... and no one should be expected to accept anything less. -- myself