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Packing the wheel bearings

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  • Packing the wheel bearings

    Just got a used trailer and I want to do the wheel bearings. However the repair shop wants to charge me $99 an axel!!
    Does this sound right? or let's charge the horse girl way to much?
    How often do you do yours?
    It appears it would be fairly simple for me and my mechanicaly inclined SO to do.. am I off base? Or is it not worth it, pay the $200 and suck it up knowing my horse is safe in the back there.
    Between 4 new tires, registration, tax, and insurance, i keep wondering why?!
    Yet the pleasure of being able to go x-country schooling tonight will prove to be it's reward.

    Thanks for any advice!

  • #2
    If you've got the tools and skills to do the job then I say "do it!"

    I don't and I have it done annually. I think they charge me an hour of shop time plus any matterials. I usually have it done while getting any other minor stuff done at the beginning of the season in the spring.

    This is a preventative maintenance item that can save a lot of headaches while on the road.

    Good luck with your new unit!

    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


    • #3
      Got any mechanical friends to oversee the project?

      I have repacked the bearings on my VERY old trailer, years ago. It was not that hard, just messy and took time to do. With more modern trailers, they might have newer technology, be a touch more complicated, so this is where the friend is handy.

      I would say you could probably get the job done yourselves with not much trouble. You want to have your bearing cleaning stuff handy, a metal coffee can to dunk things in, along with a nice tub of heavy axle grease, Cotter pins, tools, stack of clean rags, so you do everything at once. No going off the get more of this or that. Leaving the scene is when things get misplaced or laid out in the wrong order of assembly. I always laid a clean rag down, to put the parts on, laid out in order of assembly, as they came off the axle.

      Perhaps you could find a blowup of the assembly, to have as a guide, make sure you have all the parts. Then your friend can give them a look over after removal, if bearings are worn or need replacing. Happens sometimes, got a little dry or wheel is not running straight.

      Then go ahead and do a wheel. See how it works for you, if you want to do all four. You learn by doing, even if it is only " I NEVER want to do this again!" I didn't think it was hard, just got out of it because I was so busy. And my guys don't charge that much! Newest trailer has HEAVY truck axles, oil-bath wheels. NOT going there, better to take it in.


      • #4
        It's a really messy stinky job. Do it if you are confident that you can tell when a bearing is too worn to be safe.
        ... _. ._ .._. .._


        • #5
          If you have to ask, you should not do it.

          There are several tricks to the job if you consider bearings only.

          Is the bearing worn? Can you tell?

          The nut must be tightened exactly so. Too tight or not tight enough...problems.

          But if you have electric brakes, more knowledge required.

          Magnets, shoes, drums...all need to be inspected and kept up to snuff.

          Mine is at the dealers right now. Drums worn (about 240,00 or so miles on them, lots of very very steep ....9% grade...)

          So I am having them put on new drums, magnets, shoes...

          On a 9% grade, you don't want the trailer pushing the truck down the mountain.

          If you don't have brakes, almost any farm boy or young fellow who maintains his own car can do the bearings for you. Get him to do it and show you how for the next time.

          I have mine done twice a year.

          I have a machine shop and two men that can do anything, but I still take it to the dealer and pay 3 or 4 times what I can do it for in my own shop but he has all of the parts.

          I also have it acid washed at the same time.

          There was a story on COTH a few months ago about a bad bearing causing the trailer to burn, killing a really top horse.

          I had a horse shipped from the west coast and the bearing seized on one wheel, wrung the axle off and the mess went under the trailer and broke the frame.

          Luckily the driver was within a couple of hours of here and it was easy to go get the horse.



          • #6
            Earlier this year I was wondering if I could do this myself too, and after watching these videos I figured I'd just rather pay somebody to do it. While I figured I could do it, I realized it would take me about 12 hours just to remove the wheels.


            If you feel comfortable doing it yourself, you could replace the full hub assemblies for about $200 in parts and know you're starting fresh.