The Moves to Replace the wheel bearings on a caravan or trailer axle (1)
Wheel bearings: they’re the components that keep your wheels turning, literally, and for that reason it’s vitally important to make sure they’re always in tip-top condition. Depending on towing conditions, that may mean changing them more frequently than you think you need to.
Wheel bearings: they’re the components that keep your wheels turning, literally, and for that reason it’s vitally important to make sure they’re always in tip-top condition. Depending on towing conditions, that may mean changing them more frequently than you think you need to. Following some simple steps, it’s a relatively simple DIY job. This is how you do it.
Many people put this job off because either they’re intimidated by it or they think that they can do ‘just one more journey’ before it’s necessary. Then a wheel comes off on your towing trip, with potentially disastrous consequences – consequences that would’ve been completely avoidable if a few simple maintenance steps had been followed.
The frequency with which you change your towable’s wheel bearings is dictated by the distance travelled and how arduous the journeys are; I allow 30 000 km for highway use and 15 000 km for off-road. If the towable in question is a boat trailer and you occasionally get your axle submerged, especially in the sea, then it’s advisable to remove, clean and inspect the bearings much more frequently, as salt and bearings definitely do not mix!
The task is well within the capabilities of any competent handyman; you will need the following to carry out the job:
· Wheel chocks
· Vehicle jack
· Two axle stands
· Wheel spanner
· Large flat screwdriver
· Long-nose pliers
· Ring spanner: somewhere between
· 17 and 24 mm (a shifter isn’t ideal)
· Large pin punch (6-8 mm diameter, with nice sharp edges)
· Your new bearings
· Two pieces of hardwood, say 50 x 50 x 100 mm each
· Wheel-bearing grease
· Two new 2.5 mm x 40 mm split pins
(Job duration: approximately two hours per wheel)
Step 1: Wheel and hub removal
Park the vehicle on a level, firm surface and place the wheel chocks firmly on either side of the wheel opposite the one you’re going to work on.
Place one of the axle stands under the drawbar coupling and retract the jockey wheel. This prevents the vehicle from swivelling about the chocked wheel, falling off the axle stand and injuring you.
Loosen the wheel nuts on the side you are working on, but do not remove them yet. Jack the axle until the wheel clears the floor by about 20 mm. Insert the second axle stand firmly under the axle. NEVER trust a jack when you (or even just parts of you) are under a vehicle.
Remove the wheel nuts and the wheel.
There will be a domed grease cover over the centre of the wheel hub. This can usually be removed by tapping a flat screwdriver into the groove behind the ridge on the dome and the edge of the hub. Work your way around the dome as you do so. Gentle radial taps using a small hammer may assist in getting it loose.
With the dome off, the retainer nut will be accessible. This will either be a castellated nut (a nut with the cut-outs all around the top) or have a hexagonal sleeve over it which reduces to a castellated centrepiece. There will be a split pin through one of the castles and through the hole in the stub axle, with the ends bent over the tip of the axle. Remove it.
Now, if you are working on the hub on the right side of the vehicle, the axle and nut will have a normal right-hand thread. But if you are on the left side of the vehicle, the thread may be left-handed. Remove the nut and the washer behind it. Sometimes the axle has a shallow keyway and the washer will have a tab which fits the keyway. (This stops the washer from spinning with the bearings.)
Once you have the nut and washer off, you should be able to remove the cone of the outer bearing. If it doesn’t oblige, just rock the edges of the hub until it eases out of the cup. (The cone is the caged assembly of rollers and the cup is the ring they run in.)
Once you have the cone off, the hub should slide off the stub axle quite easily. (If you have a braked trailer this is the time to check the brake shoe wear and the condition of the drum’s inner braking surface.)
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Olivia Tong is the freelance writer for e-commerce website tahiko.com and miparts.com offers the buyers around the world to find quality and discount auto parts. We try our best to aggregate leads in the business world, and let these leads benefit the entire business person.