• GUESTS

    If You  want access  to member only forums on FM, You will need to Sign-in or  Sign-Up now .

    This box will disappear once you are signed in as a member.

  • Join In - We Share Fishing Reports & Outdoor Information Here

     
      You know what we all love...

      The same things you do!!!! Share what you love & enjoy in the outdoors as well as thank those whose posts you 'appreciate.'

      Have Fun!!!

  • 0
Sign in to follow this  
Dave

Wheel Bearing Repacking - 101

Question

Dave

There have been a few questions about repacking wheel bearings so I thought I’d highlight the basic steps that I use. Feel free to throw in other hints, even corrections, as well.

Repacking wheel bearings is pretty easy, inexpensive, takes about an hour to do but, it could get messy. Have plenty of rags available. wink

First, loosen the lug nuts on the wheel you’ll be working on. Breaking free the lug nuts with a hand wrench, while the tire is off the ground, is very difficult to do. Now, jack up that side of the trailer so the wheel is off the ground. Make sure the trailer is supported securely and completely remove the lug nuts and wheel.

Next, remove the bearing buddy or dust cap. Do this by lightly tapping on the outer edge, alternately all the way around the perimeter, using a rubber mallet. Using a metal hammer and wood block also works well.

Now, remove the cotter pin, axle nut and washer. The hub assembly can now slide off the axle. Remember to catch the outside bearing as you slide the hub off the axle. Wipe off and discard old grease. Next, remove the bearing seal on the backside of the hub. Damaging this seal while removing it is unavoidable. Plus, a new seal should be installed anyway and is less than $3. After the seal is removed, remove the inner bearing. Wipe clean all bearings and the inside of the hub of old grease.

Inspect the bearings, race (this is the part in the hub where the bearings ride in) and the axle. ALL parts should be knick and pit-free. If the bearings or race are pitted, buy new ones! If the axle is pitted, it should be polished down to remove any pits or gouges. Steel wool might work well for this.

Axle clean

axlesmooth1cb.jpg

Bearing race is free from pits and scratches. (I happen to knock out this race from the hub while tapping out the seal. Usually, the race will stay inside the hub)

smoothrace9vh.jpg

Packing the bearings with grease the old fashioned way is easy but a little messy. Lay a glob of grease on the palm of one hand. With the bearing in the other hand, push the bottom side of the bearing into the outside edge of the pile of grease in the other hand. Think of it as slicing the pile of grease with the bottom edge of the bearing.

pack3qk.jpg

As you do this, new grease will be “packed” into the bearing and old grease will be pushed out of the top of the bearing. Continue packing new grease all the way around the bearing until you see new grease being forced out of the top of the bearing.

Old bearing grease being forced out the top of bearing while being "packed" with new grease.

packpushout7br.jpg

Installing the inside bearing first, spread some grease onto the race and set the packed bearing in.

This photo shows an unpacked bearing for clarity. Pack the bearing first.

bearingfit29qb.jpg

Next, align the new seal into the hub and gently tap it in, level with the hub.

alignseal7qh.jpg

tapsealin0mb.jpg

The inside bearing is done. Proceed to pack the outer bearing the same way.

Slide the hub assembly onto the axle. Push some grease into the hub housing. Install the outer bearing, washer and axle nut.

full-243-6003-bearing1.jpg

Firmly, but not aggressively, torque the axle nut until the bearings “seat” into its race and new grease. Loosen the axle nut only until the cotter pin slot on the axle nut matches up with the cotter pin hole in the axle. The hub should spin somewhat freely now. Make sure you install the cotter pin to hold the axle nut in place. If you forget, the axle nut would loosen and the whole hub and wheel assembly might pass you on the freeway someday. crazy

Reinstall the bearing buddy or dust cap by lightly tapping it into the hub.

bearingbuddy4ye.jpg

Reinstall wheel and you should be good to go, on one side. Now, go do the other hub. grin

Cost

Two new seals – $4 to $5

Grease (Marine wheel bearing)– less than $3

Time ~ 1 hour

I hope this helps somebody smile

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

  • 0
ChuckN

Excellent post, Dave.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
lawdog

Real good post and I think anybody should be able to follow this. Do it a couple times guys and you'll wonder why you EVER paid $75+ to have someone do it for you. I do think most people would benefit greatly by having a bearing packer to hook up to their grease gun as hand packing is a mess and I think lots of people don't do it right. I also clean out the bearing getting rid of the old grease before I pack in the new. That would be my only thoughts/additions. BIG REMINDER don't ever forget that pin in the nut or you WILL have problems.

One other thing to add I guess. I use the front nut and washer for removing the back seal/bearing. Just put it back on after the front bearing is removed and pull the hub to where the rear hits the washer and then a tug will pop that back seal off. Its an easy way to get that out without doing much damage. In a pinch I've even been able to reuse a seal doing it this way although I wouldn't recommend it...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
MuleSkinner

Very good post.

Only 2 comments I can add is, I don't take the wheels off. Suppose it makes for more clumsy sliding back on though, with the extra weight and bulk of the wheel and tire. Also, I soak the bearings and parts in mineral spirits and clean them with a brush and old toothbrush. This adds some drying time, but I use that time to go buy seals, and maybe to get another refreshment. grin.gif

(At least I don't spin dry the bearings with compressed air. My brother and I used to do this as kids on the farm, spinning the gasoline-soaked-cleaned tractor bearings til the bearings "whistled" and our fingers got hot... neither one of us made valedictorian...)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Borch

Very good post Dave.

Another tip is to pack and additional set of bearings/races and keep them packed in grease in a margerine container. Then add a set of seals, a couple cotter pins and nuts in a ziplock baggies in your boat or truck. It you have bearing trouble your set to go as they rarely go bad in a good place to get replacements. A person is usually back on the road within and hour or less.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
cabin boy

Good post! What type/brand grease do you use?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Dave

Great additions and tips, guys! Thanks.

Cabin Boy, I don't have the tube of grease with me here but it stated for Marine wheel bearings. Maybe some others will chime in if a particular brand is better than others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Tonka Boy

Great post Dave! Now I can just reference your post instead of explaining it to friends every Spring. cool.gif

BTW, any of you guys have an opinion on the bearing buddies? I've always thought they gave me a false sense of security. The one year I did use them my bearings blew - of course 100 miles from anywhere in NW Ontario!! crazy.gif It's been 7-8 years since with plain old dust caps and no probs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
carlcmc

Impressive. I need to do this myself and I think with this help that I can do it now. Am appreciative. Thanks so much.

Carl.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Kannibal

I won't use bearing buddies either. Seems like all that happens is you blow the seal. Besides, even though they tell you to change the grease periodically, it just makes it easier to shoot in more grease and let it go a little longer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Dave

Tonka Boy, I'm embarrassed to say, this trailer is a '95 model and it's the first time I've repacked the bearings by hand. I've always shot lube in though several times a year. I probably got lucky on this one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Dave

Kannibal, I looked closely at the "seal" before I removed one of them. While they were in perfect shape, I don't believe the seal is intended to be an airtight seal. In my opinion, I would choose to have the lube pumped into the Bearing Buddy to push out contamination instead of just letting it stay inside the hub area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Justfishing

Good post and timely. A couple of things I would add. Wash the bearing in solvent. You can not inpsect a grease covered bearing. Another poster mentioned not spinning bearing but you can still use compressed air to dry them just hold the bearing so it doesnt spin. Again look for pitting, roughness, or if the metal has turned blue form heat.

Wipe the grease from inside the hub with a rag and pack it full of grease then install the inside bearing and seal.

Tighten the bearing down snug and spin the wheel, this will seat the bearings. Then back the nut off slightly and install cotter key.

Bearing buddies are fine if used properly. They are not meant to replace repacking or a remady for bad seals. Grease should only be put in until the buddy moves slightly. If the buddy has moved to its outer limit the you have to much and you will compromise the seal.

lastly i should mention is monitoring your hubs. before, during, and after a trip get down and look at the back of the hub/seal. Look for signs of leakage. During a trip I check the tempature of the hub every time i stop at a rest area,gas, etc. if you every look at a failed bearing it has turned blue from heat. That much heat should make the hub hot though I have never had a bearing failure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Dave

Here's a photo of the cleaned bearing that I did not use solvent on.

cleanbearing1cf.jpg

Although I saw no hint of bearing problems, (pits, blued) using solvent may unmask a very small hidden problem. Great input guys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
lawdog

Borch had a great addition, I too have a spare set of bearings packed in a ziplock bag in my back seat of the pickup.

As to what grease I use, I just use regular grease and not brake grease or anything. I use the Slick 50 grease, its better grease than cheap stuff, but its still a general purpose grease. Its worked great for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
BigWadeS

Great post

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
countryboy9799

Another second for a great post.

I also wash my bearings out, I use gas though.

When I put my seal in I usually use a large chisel, a piece of flat iron or something would also work to pound it it.

When I tighten the spindle nut I tighten it a little beyond the point where it is starting to get tight. I turn the buy and then back it off and it ends up being just a little tighter than where it would wobble.

I also have one of these

Wheel bearing packer [Note from admin: Please read forum policy before posting again. Thank you.]

They are only 10 bucks, if you only do a few a year though I would stick with doing it the ole fashioned way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
8-Ball

I just wink.gif repacked mine today. I think I will buy the whole hub assembly to have on hand just in case. What do I look for when buying the new hub assembly-as far as what size? Is it just a 13" hub- the same size as my trailer tire? Also, do I have to take apart the new hub assembly and grease the bearings in there first, or is it good to go and greased upon purchase? Thanks, 8-Ball.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Dave

You'll be looking for axle size and wheel bolt pattern, I believe. I don't know if a new hub assembly is pre-packed however.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
G_man

What an excellent post! This is an example.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
8-Ball

I found the hubs at Northern. They are prepacked with grease and ready to go. Only about 10$ more than just buying bearing set, so I went this way...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Jeremy airjer W

Typically new hub assemblies are not packed with grease. I went this route myself. One hub assembly was the same price as a bearing kit. Pay twice as much but do half the work. You don't need to clean the old bearings and you don't have to replace the races when you use the new hub assemblies.

Eight ball, No kidding? I used to work at northern and never saw them prepacked! I guess you can find them either way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Phred52

DAVE!!!, That has got to be the BEST instructional I've seen!! Step by step, just the way it should be done. For you guys that aren't sure, put it on a disc! Airjer, Yes, Northern does carry pre-lubed hub sets in both the 4 bolt and 5 bolt hubs. I just bought the 5 bolt a week ago. Not a bad item to have behind your truck seat if you trailer any distance. Phred52

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Dave

Thank you, Phred52!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
hitthebricks

One thing to add for the people with Shorelander trailers and with disc brakes, you will need a 3/8ths ball end allen wrench to remove the brake caliper. HTB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
Blaze

Nice, Dave. Great pics. This should be a sticky in the Equipment forum, or the first sticky in a new How To forum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Answer this question...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this