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etrailer Trailer Idler Hub Assembly Review and Installation

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Review and How to Install the etrailer Trailer Idler Hub Assembly

Hi there, trailer owners. Today we're going to be taking a look and showing you how to replace etrailer's line of idler hubs.This is what a typical idler hub looks like when it's installed. One of the things you'll notice about the idler hub is that there's no braking components on it. That's why it's called an idler. This is just a place for you to install your wheel onto, so that way when you're hauling your trailer it can rotate on the spindle here and give you additional load-carrying capacity on your trailer because you've got another axle there supporting the weight. Oftentimes with your axle head idler hubs, if there's more than one axle, there will be brakes on our other axle.

So you typically are only going to be replacing the idlers or have to replace the idlers on one of those axles. On your smaller trailers that don't have other brakes, you may just have idler hubs on it and that's it because you don't have any braking components.Included with your idler hub kit, you're going to receive the hub assembly, and inside the assembly, you'll have your races for your bearings preinstalled into it. Depending on if you've got the pre-greased or not, you're going to get bearings regardless, but your bearings may already be installed inside the hub if you've got the pre-greased version. If not, you'll receive bearings with it that you'll have to lubricate and install yourselves as well as the grease seal for the backside of the hub. Again, if it's pre-greased, that'll be pre-installed; if not, you'll have to install that seal.The pre-greased versions are going to be prepacked with marine grease, so they're ready to go out of the box for any of your trailer applications, whether you're putting it on just a utility trailer or if you're going to be putting it on a boat or jet ski trailer.

And lastly, you'll receive a dust cap. The dust cap comes in two different styles depending on the kit you got. You can either get the E-Z Lube version, which is what we have here, that has a removable rubber center so you can lubricate a Zerk fitting behind it for your bearings. And then there's just a regular dust cap version that is a solid metal cover. There's also two different finishes we can get our hub in.

You can either get the black powder coat finish, like you see here, or you could get the galvanized finished, whichever one you would prefer. The galvanized finished is zinc plated, and both of them are going to offer protection against rust and corrosion.Now you're probably wondering how do you know which hub kit am I going to need for my trailer These kits are set up for the most common sizes and the starting point that you'll want to use to determine which hub you're going want is your axle's weight rating. So if you've got a 2000 pound axle or 3,500 pound, you'll want to verify that first and then you'll want to verify your bolt pattern. If you look down below in the product description on any of the pages for our bearing kits here, we'll have a chart that will assist you in measuring your bolt pattern to help you get the right one, because it does vary depending upon whether you have an even or uneven amount of studs.If you have an even amount of, it's pretty easy. You can just pick opposite studs and measure across them to get the bolt pattern number.

But when you have an uneven amount like this, it can be a little more difficult because you would measure from one stud directly across, which would be in the middle of two studs, and it can be a little bit more difficult there. In that chart, you'll also find measurements for measuring from one stud to the other, and that can be really useful if you have an uneven amount. So you can have two different measurements to verify you've got the correct bolt pattern. And with just those two piece of information, that should get you to the product page that is the most likely fit for your trailer.But the bearings that come included with it are prepackaged on our kits to be the most common sizes, but the best way to ensure that they are going to be correct for your trailer is to disassemble your old hub and get the numbers off of your bearing. You'll also want to measure the diameter of the seal seat. Where it is, just at the backside of your spindle where it's raised where the rubber portion of your grease seal sits, you want to measure that diameter as well to ensure you're getting the correct grease seal.I've got one of the old bearings here to show you where you could determine the number on it. It's going to be found on the backside of our bearing on the inner race portion of our bearing, and you can kind of see the number. It's pretty worn off there, but if we look real close, we can see that it says L44649. We can then take this number and go to the chart located further down on the product page for the hub kit that you're looking at. And if we check for the ones we just replaced here on that product page, this is the exact number that matches for the outer bearing. So we know that when we get this kit, it's definitely going to work with our trailer here.Next to the bearing numbers on the product page, right below that you'll see the grease seal measurements for the inner and outer diameter. You'll want to measure your old one as well to verify that you're getting the correct one there. Because in most cases, these bearings are the most common size, and so is the grease seal, but the grease seal is going to be more common to be slightly different than the bearings are. In the unlikely scenario where everything matches up with but that grease seal, we've got plenty of different sized grease seals available here at, so you can ensure that you match up the same size for the new grease seal as your old one was. In addition to the new hubs, you'll also receive new lug nuts to go with it, so you can ensure that you'll be able to reattach your wheel, because nothing sucks more than buying a new hub to find out that the thread pitch was different and your old lug nuts won't work. We've got you covered there.So you're here looking for a hub because you know one of them is bad because maybe you got some noise coming from it or something else. But how do you know if the rest of yours are bad One of the easiest ways to determine if you have a faulty bearing is to check it for play. You'll grab the wheel at the top and the bottom, and you're going to just push in and out, top and bottom, trying to rock it back and forth like this. If it's nice and solid, then your wheel bearings are likely okay, especially if you can rotate it and everything is nice and smooth, we don't hear anything.If we have play in it here, then it doesn't necessarily mean that your bearings are bad. They may just need to be readjusted. You can adjust the nut on the inside to tighten them up a little bit to remove that play, and then, again, you'll want to check for smoothness. But in most cases, if you do have that play in there, you likely have some wear on your bearings. You can try to adjust it out. But if you adjust it out and it still doesn't feel quite right, then you'll want to replace it. Now we don't have any play here because we just got done replacing this side, but it is something that you will commonly feel with old and worn out bearings.We'll begin our installation by getting our tires out of the way. We're just working on the back axle for this one, so we don't need to remove our front. But depending on what all you're doing, you may need to remove yours as well. When removing your wheels, you want to make sure you got your trailer supported on the frame by jack stands. You can use just a regular floor jack to lift it up. Once you've got all your tires out of the way for the area you're going to be working in, we can start removing our old hub.To do this, we need to take off the cap on the outside first, and usually the easiest way to do that is just with a rubber mallet. Just kind of tap on it, kind of working your way around, and you'll see it starts to walk out once you're going. Then we can just tap it off and set it aside. Underneath here, we have our nut and pin that we'll need to remove. Now there's quite a bit of grease on it, but if we feel around with our needle nose here, we're going to find the pin. Your pin will have bent over ends that you'll need to bend straight. I'm just going to take both of these here, inaudible 00:07:58 pull them back out to where they're straight, and then we can push the pin through and pull it out on the other side. If possible, you do want to save this pin because we will be reusing it. We're just going to set that down.And then we can use a pair of adjustable pliers here to grab our nut, and then we're just going to start unthreading the nut. We'll then set our nut aside. We'll have a bearing with a washer on it behind the nut. To get those off, I'll just take my screwdriver and just poke it into the edge of the spindle there and then slide out on the hub assembly, and you'll get your bearing with the washer. We can just set that aside, and now we can slide our entire hub assembly off. We can go ahead and clean off the old grease that we had on there. I'm just going to wipe all that off, and we also want to make sure we're wiping off the sealing surface for our grease seal here at the top. Get all that dirt and debris and everything off of there.Now, if you purchased pre-greased hubs and bearings from us, then you're ready to take the new hub and slide it on and then just bolt it back down. If you purchased the non pre-greased versions, we'll need to grease our bearings and prepare our hub to be installed on the trailer. We're going to go ahead and grease them. There's a few different ways you can grease your bearings. We do have bearing packers available here at that you can just drop your bearing down into the pack.The other way that you can grease it is you can actually just do it by hand if you don't want to buy a packer. You can just take the grease, usually the easiest way to do it is to put it on your palm and then take the back of the bearing and smoosh that grease out inside of there. You'll just repeat this over and over until you've got grease all the way around, packed inside the bearings where you see it coming out the other side. Some people do find wheel bearing grease to be irritating, so you may want to wear gloves when doing this if you have sensitive skin. If you need some grease, we've got plenty available here at I recommend that you try to match the same type of grease that you removed from your trailer originally.Now we've got our bearing all the way packed. We can place it down in the hub and then we'll drive our grease seal in to hold it in place. We'll take our grease seal and just slide it in the back of the hub here. Now, it's not going to go in that far. We're just trying to get it to where it's started in there, and then we want to hammer it in until it's flush. You can use a seal driver, which we have kits available here at, or if you just have a block of wood laying around, that works pretty good too. Just need to make sure it's long enough to go all the way across the bearing so we can hammer it in evenly. We're just going to start tapping it in. We want to try to make it go in evenly. So if it starts to get a little higher on one side than the other, just kind of work it back and forth going down as even as possible.Next, you'll want to check your spindle on your trailer. If you have a grease fitting on the end of your spindle on your trailer, you can just pack your outer bearing. We can assemble it, and then you can finish greasing with that Zerk fitting there. But if you don't have one on your trailer, then you'll want to pre-pack this hub full of grease. Since we don't have any kind of lubrication on our trailer to be able to lubricate this after we put it on, we're going to fill this cavity all the way up. Now, there's going to be a hole. Now we're just filling in all the edges all the way around, making sure that it's all the way filled. Now that we've got the hub full, we can move on and pack our outer bearing. Your outer bearing packs exactly the same way as your inner bearing.We can now slide our hub into place being careful not to nick the grease seal as we're sliding it on. Once you've got it slid all the way on, we can take our outer bearing that we packed and we can slide it on. We'll then follow that up with our washer and our nut. If you're wondering where the washer is, if you took yours apart, check the backside of your old outer bearing. A lot of the times it sticks to the backside of that bearing when you're taking it apart. We can now just thread it back together. Now this does need to be sent to a certain amount of preload. We want to eliminate any play in the system if we can. It's okay to have just a slight touch a play if you've got it adjusted properly, but for the most part we want to try to eliminate most of that. But we don't want to over-tighten it either.Now, what I'm going to do though is I am going to over-tighten it to start just to make sure that my bearing is fully seated, and then I'll loosen it back up and re-tighten it. So I like to spin the hub while I'm tightening it just to make sure that everything is going in the way it's supposed to and everything's fully seated, and the grease is going to be getting worked around as well. And one of the things you should notice is that it should be getting harder to turn as you're really snugging it down. We don't want that in our final product, but it's something you'll notice just when you're getting it seated. That's pretty darn tight and it's pretty hard to turn. So now we're just going to back it up until it gets loose, and then we're just going to bring it up until we feel a little bit of pressure. Check for any kind of play and make sure it feels nice and smooth. It shouldn't feel rough anymore.And then we want to check our holes for our Cotter pin. Our Cotter pin originally came out of this side here. It looks like we've got our nut covering up the hole, so we're going to start by just backing it up just a smidge just to see if our hole is there. There's our hole there. I'm going to see if we can't get it to go in. Sometimes these old Cotter pins can fight you because they're not really very straight on the end. You can take your pliers and stuff and try to straighten them out a bit to make them slide in a little easier, or you could replace them. We do have Cotter pins available here at, which can make the installation a bit easier, especially if you have a very damaged Cotter pin that's really bent or maybe is rusted up. Maybe one of the ends broke off on it.So we'll straighten it out just a little bit there, and there we go. We got it to slide in. Now we did loosen it ever so slightly when we we're lining that Cotter pin up, so we do want to double check ourselves, make sure we don't have any play. That feels nice and solid. Once you get the wheel back on, you can check yourself again, but that feels pretty good. So we need to get our Cotter pin in all the way now, and just like it was before, we're going to bend those ears out and wrap them around.Now that we've got everything reassembled here with our new hub, we can put the cap on. This just goes on the outside. I did find that these new caps are very tight inside the hub, so you are going to have to tap on it quite a bit. It just barely wants to fit in there, which is good. We want it to be snug. We don't want our cap to fall out. We're just going to tap around it with our rubber mallet until we get it all the way in.Now these hubs also do come with two different style of cap. There is the E-Z Lube version, which is what you're looking at here, that has a hole in the center, and then there's just the standard version. The only difference between them is if it has this hole here in the center, and the main purpose of that hole there is if you do have a Zerk fitting in the end of your spindle, you can use that to fill your hub up with grease. We don't have that on this one, so the EZ-Lube doesn't really benefit us any. But it doesn't hurt to have it there because we do also receive a rubber cap that can be placed on the outside to seal it all up.Now, before I put the cap on though, I am going to just go ahead and finish filling in the area there with some grease just to make sure we do have this thing all the way full. And then the little cap is rubber so it just pushes right into place. We've completed on this side so we can go ahead and put the wheel back on here. If you have another hub for the other side that you're replacing, you can go ahead and do that in the exact same way that we installed this up. Now that we've got our wheel back on, we can torque it to the manufacturer's specifications and we're ready to hit the road. That completes our look at etrailer's line of idler hubs.

Info for these parts were:

Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T

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