So we’ve finally made it out to the shed by ducking and weaving our way past the house chores and only after doing a quick goose side step past the misses but where do we start in replacing these wheel bearings? And what tools will we need?
I was fortunate enough to be raised in the shed from a very young age helping my dad to build and restore all manner of vehicles but for those of us that probably haven’t tackled many mechanical things before a word of warning – SAFETY FIRST!
Whilst your average tinnie or run about sitting on a trailer may not weigh much it will quiet easily maim or kill someone if it were to fall from a jacking device. So always use a safety stand when working on your trailer or at least place the wheel that you are removing on the ground under the axle when the trailer is jacked up in the air as a simple safety precaution.
The other advantage to using a stand is that once you have removed the wheel you can lower the jacking device and allow all the weight off the sping set and axle and check the spring shackle bushes for excessive wear and tear. I usually set the jack under the centre of the spring and just take up enough weight to check the up and down movement in the shackle pin that holds the leaf spring to the trailer.
While your at this stage most quality shackle pins will have a grease nipple on them, so a quick squirt of grease will ensure that the pin will be good to go until next bearing repack.
Prior to jacking the trailer its a good idea to “crack” the wheel nuts just slightly loosening them but not undoing more than a full turn otherwise you run the risk of damging either the the wheel nut studs or the rim itself.
Jack up the trailer and now loosen all the wheel nuts in a sequential order so that they are removed evenly to prevent damage to the stud threads or the rim itself.
At this point I normally remove the outer dust cover (or bearing buddy if fitted), its only a matter of a couple short sharp knocks from side to side with a nylon faced hammer and the cap should move enough for it to pop out of place.
With the cap removed we need to take a bit of rag and wipe away the excess grease and remove the split pin. I normally straighten the split pin as much as possible with a pair of long nose pliars first.
When we look at the pin we should see one end that is closed and one end that is split, take a pair of side cutting pliers and grip the closed end like you want to clip it with the cutters but gripping it well with jaws of the side cutter. Now using the castle nut as a fulcrum point, push down on the handles of the side cutting pliers so that the pin is drawn up from the hole in the axle via the jaw of the plier.
(Note that the colour and consistency of this grease, in this case it has been permeated with salt water from a the faulty seal)Remove the nut and the thrust washer that sits between the nut and the bearing, then slip the wheel hub off the axle being midful that the small bearing that sits beind the thrust washer will probably fall out as you slip the hub off.
Hub now removed, showing bearing seal.
In the third and final installment we will remove the bearings inspect repack and replace. Till then keep on rolling.