How to Change Trailer Wheel Bearings
You want to change the wheel bearings on your trailer before wheel noises, wheel looseness, front-suspension looseness or wheel-rotation restrictions start to occur, which could be indicative of rust, wear and tear as well as other damage. It's important that you install new trailer wheel bearings to keep your trailer in good working condition.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Things You’ll Need:
- Lug nut wrench
- Flathead screwdriver
- Cloth or paper towels
- Bearing grease
Use a jack to raise the travel trailer off the ground. Using a lug nut wrench to remove the lug nuts, which secure the wheel in place on the axle. Slide the wheel off.
Use a flathead screwdriver to pry the grease cap and the castle nut from the spindle, which is a long, metal wormlike tool on which the grease cap and the castle nut fit. The castle nut is named for its castlelike shape. The grease cap is a cap that is used to keep packed grease from spilling out.
Pull out by hand the cotter pin that locks the nut into place. Then remove the tang washer, which is a piece of metal that fits between the notches of the nut.
Use a towel to wipe away excess grease from the nut. Reach inside the notches of the castle nut and press back the flap inside, toward the spindle. Snap off the "cage" sheathed around the nut with a screwdriver.
Wrap the hub with a cloth and ease it off the spindle. You may need to gently rock the hub back and forth to remove it.
Slide out the outer bearing and spindle washer from the hub by hand. Lift the outer bearing from the hub along with the spindle washer, which is a metal flat ring with a piece on the end.
Slide off the inner bearing by hand. Discard it. Pry out the grease seal using the flathead screwdriver. Discard it. The seal is a thin ring that fits snugly inside the bearing.
Use a flathead screwdriver and a mallet to drive out the race, which is circular with grooves on the end. Wipe away any muck from the inner part of the hub and the spindle.
Reassemble the hub. Attach the new race, forcing it back until it is flush with the hub. Coat the race with grease.
Pack the inner and outer bearings with grease. Coat every part with grease.
Attach the inner bearing and seal. Slide the seal on first.
Lubricate the spindles with grease. Slide the hub back on.
Add the outer bearing. It must be flush with the race.
Attach and tighten the spindle washer, tang washer and castle nut.
Add the cotter pin. Align it with the castle nut. The hub should not move. Tighten if there is movement.
Fasten the cotter pin by pressing the pin through the hole of the spindle and notches on the nut. Splice the pin to the left and right.
Tips & Warnings
Sizing information is printed in the rubber part of the seal.
Sizing information is located on the side of the bearing.
Article Written By Charlie Gaston
Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.
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