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stevasaurus

How To Grease Pack Trailer Bearings

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I know a lot of us have trailers, and I think one of the most neglected things on a trailer is the bearings.  This is a "how to" with pictures and a video of how I was taught how to do this.  Hope you enjoy this and that it helps you care for the bearings in your trailer. :)

 

The bearing that volunteered for this project. 

 

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A little blurry, but using a screwdriver to drive off the dust cap.

 

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Once loose, you can work the dust cover off with a pair of channel locks

 

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Using a side cutters to grab the catter pin and remove it.

 

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Remove the castle nut.

 

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Pull off the hub with the inner and outer bearings.

 

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Use a punch to tap out the inner bearing and seal.

 

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Click on the video to see how to pack the bearings.

 

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Thanks for taking a look.

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Very nice write up.  My little trailer has bearings which I should probably pack.  My 5th wheel has ez-lube bearings with a zerk on the cap to plug in the grease gun and pump it up!

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You're right, that is something that's always neglected so thanks for the reminder. I might just cheat and go pick up some Bearing Buddys like Karl is talking about. There's a set on my boat trailer but not the utility trailer.

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Thanks Karl...was hoping that was what you were looking for.  Those bearings have basically set for almost 30 years and needed to be looked at.  I have the compression hubs on my new boat trailer, but I still like to jack it up and spin a tire and listen to it.  Those hubs you have should probably have a squirt of grease once a year, but you do not want to push it out the back side.  I used to pack my old boat bearings in the fall when I put it away (always had some water in there) and I always checked them before and after a trip of about 350 miles.  Does not take long to jack up a trailer...spin a tire and listen to how it sounds.  I always carry at least one change of bearings in the truck tool box...just in case.  I've seen a lot of trailers on the side of the road with a tire off in my travels...it is a lot easier to check it before the trip.  Taking care of a bad bearing on the side of the road...just not safe, and you just lost all the time you were trying to save for vacation.  A little preventive maintainance goes a long way.  Spend a few minutes, and save yourself a lot of greef.  At least jack up the trailer, spin the tire and listen to what it tells you. :)  One other tip...after traveling about 50 miles...stop, do a walk around, check the lights, feel the tires for heat (should feel cool), feel the hub for heat also (should feel cool) and check the load.

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I have never used Bearing buddies before. My question is does it only grease the front bearing? I have on my camper and tandem utility flatbed greasable spindles. In other words on the end of the spindle is a grease Zerk. The grease is sent through the spindle to the back bearing and also has holes to lube the front bearing. Does the bearing buddy just let you pump in grease? I have always wondered how the Buddy worked.

 

Ok I just watched the prior video on greasing. That is how my trailers work. So does the Bearing buddy just pump grease in and you hope it gets back to the back bearing?

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My understanding is that it pumps it to the back first then forces the old grease out the front, so the back gets lubed.  Doing mine next week.

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I understand about the pumping grease to the back first then forcing out to the front, but my understanding is a grease buddy is nothing more than a outer cap with a grease fitting on it. To me the only way to get the grease to the back first would be a drilled out spindle like the one in the video. Gona have to dig into some more investigating. My thick head just cannot wrap around how the grease gets to the back bearing with a Grease Buddy.

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There really is no substitute for doing them by hand.  It takes just about 20 minutes to do one side, and you know the bearing is good, it has grease packed in it and the races are OK.  I have the Bearing Buddies on my boat trailer, but if you back a warm bearinng in the water, you will probably get some water in the hub. Even with the Buddies, it is still a good idea to open it up and make sure...boat trailers in the fall (water freezes)...other trailers (at least jack up the wheel and give it a spin and a good listen.) :)

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Not to get too off-topic, but this is what's on my camper.

 

EZLUBE_line.jpg

 

It's the entire axle, not just a cap.  The grease from the zerk flows through the axle and exit's behind the rear bearing, then pushes forward.  You do this by spinning the wheel, when the grease comes out the front both bearings got lubed.

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That is what's on my 5th wheel camper and my tandam flat bed trailer. My understanding is the bearing buddies are only a cap with a grease fitting in it. So in my mind when you grease the buddies all your doing is filling up the front part of the grease cap in hopes that you might get some to the back bearing. I agree with steveasauras that repacking by hand is the best way. To me using a grease buddie just gives you a false sense of security that you have grease in there. I have seen my share of burn up wheels out on the highway. Everything from Semi trailers to little 2 wheel trailers. I would hate to think of what would happen to my 36ft 5th wheel camper when my wife has it fully loaded when we go out for two weeks at a time.

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We receintly took a trip from Chicago, Il. to the Gettysburg, Penn. area...about 700 miles.  I counted 5 small trailers on the side of the road with wheels off.  Unreal. :ph34r:

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