Doing your annual bearing inspection will keep your trailer running at its best! Here’s what to do if you discover you need to install new bearings this time.
Let’s get started. Before you start…
Grab a tube of grease
And a bearing kit if you need one!
Remove Hub and Wheel
Take the tire and wheel off the trailer. Take off the grease cap with a flathead screwdriver. Prying in a circle motion should work well. You may or may not have bearing protectors that can be removed by tapping the cover as you spin the hub.
Take the Castle Nut Off the Spindle
You should be able to see the castle nut now that you’ve taken the spindle cap off. The castle nut is used to keep the hub and bearings secured. If you’ve got a cotter pin, pull it out. If you see a “tang washer” wipe grease off the nut and find the tab that notches the castle nut. Use your screwdriver to push the tab back to the spindle. If you see a flat spot on the spindle, that means you likely have a tang washer to remove. At this point, you might see a cage on the nut that has to be removed too. This can be done with a screwdriver.
Take the Hub Off
A hub in good shape should slide off easily, but grab your PB Blaster if it doesn’t. Use a paper towel to hold the outer bearing when you pull the hub away. If the hub is stuck, remove it with a gentle rocking motion. You might need a few controlled taps with a rubber mallet. If you’re working in winter, you might need force to break ice. Don’t hit the surface of the spindle, particularly not where the seal rides. Even a tiny nick can wear down the bearing and seals so fast.
Take Apart the Hub
Remove the outer bearing and spindle washer, adn set the bearing aside. Now you need to remove the inner bearing and seal, clean and inspect the bearings, and check the seal. You’ll almost certainly need new grease, so be sure to grab some of that before you begin your work.
Do your reassembly, then it’s time to repack your trailer bearings.
Repacking Trailer Bearings
Your next step is to repack the trailer bearings with grease. Completely fill every space of the bearing with grease. It’s so worth it to have a bearing packer at this point in the job, but you can pack the bearings in grease by hand, too.
Put Bearing and Seal Back in Place
Position the hub so that the wheel studs are facing down, then put the inner bearing in the hub and secure the seal on top. Gently tap the seal until it sits flush then apply grease to the spindle. Slide the hub into place, and make sure the seal is sitting correctly. Reinstall the washer and nut, install the castle nut and tighten till snug. Rock the hub into place.
Final Castle Nut Work
You need to make sure the hub is sitting well, so back off the castle nut until it’s loose, then tighten it until it’s snug. Check to see where the cotter pin holes line up with the notches. You can do this by eyesight if you have a tang washer. Lock the hub using your tang washer or cage. Replace the cotter pin and rock the hub. It should move gently back and forth.
Contact The Trailer Parts Outlet with Questions
We know this job comes with a lot of details, so contact The Trailer Parts Outlet if you have any questions. Call us or write us if you have any questions.