First off we will go ahead and take off the dust cap. In this case it is a bearing buddy. Next is taking out the locking pin, the cotter pin that goes through the center here. Once you have that lock washer off, just go ahead and take off the nut and pull your whole hub off. Now we are going to go ahead and inspect the hub and bearings here.
Take off the bearings on the outside and just wipe them down really good to clean them up. When you get down the the rollers here you want to make sure there are not any chips or discoloration. Wear marks are fine as long as they are slight, but you do not want any discoloration what so ever. When that is all good take a look at the outside cage itself, make sure it is not dented up or anything like that. When you them they can get dented up pretty easy and you will need to get a new bearing. Clean them up really good, get all the grease out of it, you do not want to mix two different types of greases together. What happens is that the grease can deteriorate faster than normal or not have the same wear properties as pure grease, so it is always good idea to get as much out of there and start with fresh grease.
As you can see all the rollers are nice and shiny with hardly any wear marks so that means it has been sitting there just fine, had plenty of grease so we will go ahead and put some more grease in and put it back together. Taking out a seal, there is no real good way of doing it. One way is using a small chisel or old screw driver and just getting behind the seal here, getting an edge behind it and popping it out. This is one of the best ways to get it out. Push it up on one side and pop it out. Make sure when you go through you do not damage the the bearing, we will check that out once you clean that one up too. As you can see here we have our bearing cleaned up here. And again there is a little bit of wear, you can see it but you cant touch or feel it with your fingernail or anything like that so chances are you are good to go. You can check the cage around the bearing, that is nice. As long as it stays round they are good. Clean grease from race and hubs. Now since grease contaminated this one, we are going to clean out the whole inside of the drum itself and also get down to the races and inspect those next Same procedure as the bearings, go ahead and get those cleared off as good as you can. And again wear is okay but gouges are not so you can just run your finger over it, try to catch something on your fingernail. Again if you do not feel anything you are in pretty good shape. Make sure there is no discoloration, so that is fine. Chances are if the bearings look good the race is going to look good too. You only have to take these out. So we do the same thing, flip it over and check the other side.
Alright next we will start repacking the hub, just take a little bit of grease and put it right where the race is, the bearing will ride on the surface. In a way too much is never enough, but on the same token if it does not fit on the raceway it is being wasted. Next thing you will do is pack your bearing, palm of your hand and just pack the bearing that way. Do it until you have everything packed inside there, roll the rollers a bit to get it all worked in there, and go ahead and put it in your hub. Basically what happens is the seal sits inside here and gets driven down equally all the way around so this top half is flush with the bottom half. So basically you can use an over sized socket. I will flip it over for the outside bearing and basically do the same thing over again. It is also a good idea to put a light coat of grease on the spindle to help ease the bearings back on. Put it on as far as it will go. Then we will reinstall. Put our flat washer on there, then put our castle nut back on. Just gong to take our channel locks here and just run it down until it stops and back it off a few times. Just get a feel for it and make sure the hub spins okay. If one of these pins covers up the hole then go ahead and back it off one and that is the proper adjustment. And when you have it adjusted go ahead and install your cotter pin and bring it around and bring this one around too. Then you can put your dust cap back on. When you get started you can use a wooden block to drive the rest of it in.
First off, we will take off the hub, then take off the nut on the inside, and we will pop the whole hub off and take it to the workbench and clean it up from there. You can see there is a lot of rust in there, there is a lot of condensation. Basically water got in there through either condensation or a seal leak. We definitely need to take it apart and clean it up. This has whats called a tang washer. Instead of a regular cotter pin that goes up and down, it has a little piece of metal that goes between the notches here and you have to push this back, flat, so you can take off the nut. And the whole thing just slides off. Sometimes if it gets caught on the hub here you can beat it to get it to come loose. We will go ahead and clean this spindle off here, and then we will put our hub back on. Give it a test fit first to make sure it all slides on pretty good and then go ahead and take it back off. What is good is to take a thin layer, it doesnt have to be much just a little bit, to kind of help the parts slide on a little bit more than they used to.
We get many many questions on how to make sure trailer hubs and brakes are safe for travel. Here Joe addresses some of those questions demonstrating how to thoroughly inspect the hubs, breaks and bearings. I know many of us take the performance of these assemblies for granted but if you are planning a long trip or just make short trips around town you should be aware of their condition. I like to say it is time well spent when it avoids break downs on the side of the highway.