Maintaining Your Trailer Hub Bearings

Hubs-Drums

While servicing hub bearings isn’t always fun, it can prevent the loss of valuable time while towing your trailer. The most effective way to keep your rig rolling is vigilance. Not only must the bearings be kept greased, they should be taken apart to be serviced at least once per year. Here are a few tips for maintaining your trailer hub bearings.

Removing Trailer Hub Bearings

Trailer hub bearings can be removed by prying off the dust caps with a screwdriver by tapping the blade under the lip and rotating the hub as you pry off the cap. If so equipped, bearing protectors have no lip to pry under, so tap the protector as you rotate the hub, using a plastic mallet so you won’t dent the protector.

Cleaning Trailer Hub Bearings

Trailer hub bearings can be cleaned by washing the parts in a solvent after manually removing as much grease as possible. Then, blow-dry the parts with compressed air, if available. The bearings should not be spun at high speed with compressed air, as this can cause them to literally explode in your hand.

Inspecting Trailer Hub Bearings

If the the trailer hub bearings are pitted, colored blue or black, scored, galled or rusted, they should be replaced. If you are unsure, replace them anyway to be safe. The bearing races should be replaced as well since these are matched to the bearings. They can be removed or installed with a hammer and punch.

Repacking Trailer Hub Bearings

A bearing packer makes loading grease neater. If you are doing this by hand, place a dollop of grease in your palm and smush the hub bearings into it with your other hand. The grease should be firmly worked into the bearing until it begins to appear on the other side. Rotate the bearing as you go to ensure that it is filled.

Sealing Trailer Hub Bearings

For the rear seal, with the inner bore of the hub completely clean, wipe a film of grease into the bearing races. The greased inner bearing should be placed into the race. Then, coat the outer edge of the seal with liquid sealant, and tap it into the hub until flush with the end of the bore, using a mallet and a socket of equivalent diameter as an installation tool.

Checking Trailer Hub Bearings

You will need a new axle if there is deep scoring, pitting or rust on the axle shaft where the bearings ride. If the area where the seal rides is scored or pitted, the grease leakage problem this causes can be solved by fitting the axle with a spindle seal. The seal comes in a kit, generally available from dedicated trailer retailers.

 

These are just a few tips for maintaining trailer hub bearings. Contact Gooseneck Trailers with the link below for more information!

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