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Who re-packs their own bearings on the trailer?

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by thefed, Nov 18, 2007.

  1. thefed

    thefed LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 350

    I just got a great link to a Dexter Axle "how-to" re-pack bearings.

    I have never seen the inside of a hub, let alone repack a bearing. The only concept I have of what's going on in there is the pics on the Dexter website.

    I do have some mechanical ability...I was able to build a small block chevy from a bare block, with the assistance of a few books and the internet....so I think I can get this...

    What's hard about doing bearings? some people on here state" oh, i wouldnt want to tear into those...no way." why so? is it difficult, or just a PITA

    I would much rather spend $15 per wheel on parts than $65 with labor....so if I can do it I will.

    Any tips or things to look out for?


  2. mattfromNY

    mattfromNY LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Central NY
    Messages: 1,582

    Are you talking about wheel bearings?? I pull them off, sometimes have to press or drive them off the spindles, clean them up with brake cleaner to remove all the old grease, dry 'em up, then repack them by putting a wad of grease into the palm of one hand, then 'rolling' the bearings into the grease with the other hand. You just want to try and pack in as much grease between the rollers and the housing on the bearing. This may not be how Dexter tells you to do it, but this is how I learned from the mechanics at a farm equipment dealership I used to work at. Then install some 'bearing buddies', and grease them regularly with a grease gun.
  3. thefed

    thefed LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 350

    That IS actually how Dexter explains the process....

    So let me ask this, while I'm at it. One or 2 of the wheels on the trailer have a little play in them...as in you can 'wobble' the wheel maybe 1/8" or so by pushing hard on the top of the tire, in an inward direction..it's basically 1/8" of 'slop'.

    Would this indicate bad bearings? I just want to be sure I have all the parts on hand that I need when I do this...
  4. LushGreenLawn

    LushGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,120

    I had never packed a wheel bearing in my life, and while I have some mechanical ability, I am by no means a mechanic. I was nervous to do them myself, but I did it anyway, because I knew I had people that could help if I got myself into trouble, and I found it extremley easy. The hardest part was getting the seals out, but you can tap them out with a large socket if you have one, or a large pipe.
  5. dfor

    dfor LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 829

    If you could build a big block engine, this will be easy. I was leary when I first did mine. I replace the bearing on my trailer every 2 years, in the winter in case of something unforeseen. And I don't really like doing mechanical work.
  6. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    It's so easy a caveman can do it.

    1: Remove dust cap and cotter pin
    2: Remove nut
    3: Remove small outer bearing by pulling the hub towards you
    4: Put the nut back on the axle and thread in on until you see threads come out of it
    5: Pull the hub towards you with some force, the nut should yank the bearing and seal right out of the hub
    6: Clean and grease the bearings
    7: Put the big bearing into the back of the hub and reinstall the grease seal
    8: Put the hub back on and reinstall the small bearing and the nut
    9: Tighten the nut by hand until you can't turn it any further
    10: Back the nut off until you can get a new cotter pin throught the castle nut. There can and should be a small amount of play. If you get the bearings too tight it will burn them up
    11: Put the dust cap back on
  7. mowerman90

    mowerman90 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,491

  8. Breezmeister

    Breezmeister LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from South Jersey
    Messages: 1,784

    If you are going to to it, get the right tools,,,,I use Lisle tools and the link is below. I have the .....

    12800 Bearing race and seal driver set

    34550 Handy packer

    56750 Seal puller.

    I use a pair of Linemans pliers to pull the cotter pin and the right size socket to remove the nut,( 1 and a 1/2 I think, but I won't know until I go into work on Monday, but a good pair of slip joints pliers will do) most times I can turn them by hand, it just helps to keep my hands clean. A long tapered punch and a hammer if need be to remove the seals and races.
    Just work clean, get all the old grease out of the hub, I have a parts washer at work, but break clean will do just fine with alot of paper towels or rags


    When I install everything and put the hub on, I run the nut up as far as it will go and put the tire back on. I then spin it to see if I have any resistance, If I do feel any resistance, I back the nut off until I feel no resistance and the tire spins freely. There should be no wobble......
    A hub buddy is a good idea....But in the kits I get, there is a new dust cap and what I have done in the past is drill and tap the dust cap so I can install a grease fitting. 1/4-28 tap and a # 3 drill bit if you want to go that far. Some of the guys I've worked for are frugal :rolleyes:
    ericg likes this.
  9. yardmanlee

    yardmanlee LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 898

    you forgot to inspect the bearings and races for pits and damage after cleaning and before repacking w/ grease
  10. outlaw1960

    outlaw1960 LawnSite Senior Member
    from denver
    Messages: 307

    I think the above posts should put you on the right track, make sure you have no pitting or scarring, if you do you should replace them very soon, also look closely at the grease seal, any distorsion or cracks and they should be replaced asap...hth

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