Packing wheel bearings is easy. Having said that it is also an easy way to cause a bearing failure if it is done incorrectly.
Here is a list of the tools you will need:
1. Big flat blade screwdriver
2. Wrench that fits your axle
4. Jack capable of safely lifting the trailer
5. Jack stand
6. Lug nut wrench (I recommend using a torque wrench for tightening)
Here is a list of other things you will need:
2. Solvent to clean bearings (mineral spirits or brake cleaner or both)
3. New grease seals
4. Clean rags or paper towels
5. Plastic gloves if you want to try to keep from getting your hands dirty
*6. New bearings if defects or damage is found
OK - I think we are ready to start.
* Important Note - ALWAYS THINK SAFETY - Take your time - Be careful
1. Position the trailer on a solid level surface (concrete is best) with plenty of room around each wheel ( I hate feeling cramped)
2. Chock the wheel(s) on the other side of the trailer both front and rear
3. Loosen the lug nuts 1/2 turn on the wheel you will do first. They may be very tight so be careful. Do not remove them yet just break them free.
4. Position the jack under the axle
or near the axle on the frame. Make sure it is positioned so that it will not slip off.
5. Slowly lift the trailer until the tire is free to spin.
6. Immediately position the jack stand where it will support the axle and still allow the wheel to spin. Lower the jack until the weight
is on the jack stand and the wheel still spin freely. *Make sure the weight
of the trailer is safely supported before you take the wheel off.
7. Remove the lug nuts and the wheel and tire.
8. Remove the center hub cap with the large flat screwdriver. There is a lip on the cap where you can pry fist one side and then the other a little at a time until the cap comes off.
9. Wipe the excess grease off the axle nut. There will be either a cotter pin or a retainer clip that keeps the axle nut from loosening. If it is a cotter pin use your pliers to straighten the prongs and pull the pin. If it is a retainer clip you can pry it off with the screwdriver.
10. As you remove items from the axle, line them up on a rag or paper in the order you remove them so you can put them back on in the same order.
11. Remove the axle nut by turning it counter clockwise.
12. Remove the washer next.
13. Remove the outer bearing.
14. Grab both sides of the brake drum or spindle and pull it off the axle. *Be careful it may be heavy.
15. CAUTION Brake dust may contain asbestos - no not breath the dust.
This is a good time to inspect your brakes
if you have them!
16. The inner bearing will be held inside the brake drum by the grease seal. To remove the seal you will have to knock it out from the inside. I use a brass rod so that I don't damage the brake drum or bearing. Tap around the diameter of the seal a little at a time until it falls out. Discard the removed seal and put the inner bearing on your rag.
17. Clean the bearings THOROUGHLY! Remove all grease and dirt. You can use mineral spirits or I like brake parts cleaner in the aerosol can.
18. Carefully remove all solvent from the bearings. If any remains it will break down your grease and lead to a lubrication failure. Repeat - remove all solvent!
19. Closely inspect the bearings for wear or damage. You should look for chipping, cracking or wear on the bearings. Use a magnifying glass if you have one to inspect. Replace the bearings if any abnormalities are detected.
20. Clean all of the rest of the parts removed and make sure they are clean and dry - NO REMAINING SOLVENT
21. Inspect all parts for wear or damage. Pay close attention to the bearing race where the bearing seats for wear or cracking.
22. Pack the bearings with grease. You must fill all of the voids in the bearings with grease. As a young man I was taught to put a glob of grease in the palm of my hand and press the bearing into the grease until it squeezed through the bearing. PACK IT FULL
23. Install the inner bearing into the brake drum and then carefully tap the new seal back into the brake drum. I like to use a small block of wood and be careful to tap it in straight.
24. Wipe a little grease on the new seal and carefully slide the drum, bearing and seal back onto the axle. Take care not to damage the new seal during reassembly.
25. With the drum in place fill the bearing cavity with grease and install the packed outer bearing, washer and axle nut. Do not tighten the nut yet!
26. Important step - tightening the axle nut - over or under tightening can result in premature bearing failure. Hand tighten or use a wrench with LIGHT
pressure while turning the drum. You want to tighten enough to fully seat the bearings so keep turning the drum while you tighten until the axle nut is tight without a lot of force. Back the nut a little bit (maybe 1/16th of a turn) until you feel a small about of play in the brake drum - not too much.
27. Spin the drum to make sure you have the correct axle nut tightness. Reinstall the cotter pin and spread the prongs or press the nut retaining clip on over the nut.
28. Reinstall the cap over the end of the axle by tapping it until it is fully seated.
29. Reinstall the wheel and tire and lightly tighten the lug nuts.
30. Raise the jack and remove the jack stand.
31. Lower the jack until there is weight
on the tire.
32. Tighten the lug nut in a star pattern until tight. ( I recommend using a torque wrench to 90 Foot pounds )
33. Remove the jack and take a break you are half done.
34. Repeat from step 1. on the other side.
And that is how easy it is to repack your wheel bearings. If you have never done this before I would recommend you ask around and try to find someone that has done it and is willing to help you or at least let you watch the first time. Usually a friend will do it for a nice dinner or a 6 pack (after completion)
Disclaimer: The process for repacking your wheel bearings is based on my personal experience and is intended to give you an idea of what is involved in doing it yourself. I am in no way responsible for the results of your work or any damage or injury resulting from following these steps.