HOW TO REMOVE AND REPLACE TRAILER WHEEL BEARINGS For more info see Dexter's article "Hubs, Drums, & Bearings" HERE.


0. Remove old hub/drum.
a) Jack up wheel. On the INSIDE of the backing plate, take off the oval shaped plug. Inside you should see a star nut. Using a screwdriver, turn this DOWN (from top to bottom). Do it until the wheel spins relatively freely. This will loosen up the brake pads from rubbing against the drum, allowing you to get the drum off more easily.
b) Back to the outside of the wheel, take off cap on end of spindle. Usually a screw driver will do the trick.
c) Take out the cotter pin
d) Unbolt the large spindle nut. On my 7000 lbs axle it is a 1 7/8" (?) nut. Take out the washer and the nut and set aside.
e) Grab the drum and pull it straight off. Take care not to drop the outer bearing into the dirt.

1. Make sure that your brakes are good. I just installed new backing plates and brakes and hardware.Cost is about $50 per wheel. Note that with torsion axles, the brake backing plate studs are pressed into the flange and then welded onto the axle housing (You can't put new studs on without removing the flange and welding it back on!) Since these were 11 year old very rusty studs, I ground them down, then punched them out, then installed a 7/8" Grade 8 bolt and special thin Grade 8 nuts. I was JUST barely able to use a flat washer on the head side and a lock washer on the nut side.

2. Using fine sandpaper, sand down the spindle and clean off the threads on the spindle. The fit of the bearing onto the spindle is precision machined, so if there is rust or crap built up on there, it will not go on very easily.

3. Apply a thing layer of grease onto the spindle.

4. Below is a picture of the inner bearing. Grease this. You can do it by hand or with a bearing packer. I saw an idea that I would like to use next time. Someone suggested using a zip lock bag. Put grease in the bag, then the bearing into the bag. Seal it and kneed the grease into the bearing. Not only does this not get your hands greasy, but it doesn't get dirt, leaves, grime etc. into the bearing. Also, I would highly suggest using synthetic grease.

5. Apply thin layer of grease onto inner bearing race and then drop the inner bearing into new hub/drum assembly. It only goes 1 way and it should be pretty obvious as it is a cone shape. If you were re-using your old hub/drums, you would need to tap the old bearing race out and tap the new one in.

6. Tap inner bearing seal on - I used a wooden block and a hammer to try to get it even. You can see it is a little bit banged out of shape but it should do the job.

7. Slide hub/drum assembly onto spindle as evenly as possible. If it doesn't go on, try putting the outter bearing in to make it go in evenly and straight. This may require a little bit of force but not much (no kicking).

8. Outer bearing - same process as inner bearing.

9. Put on spindle washer and spindle nut. Tighten to 50 lb/ft WHILE spinning hub/drum.
10. Loosen spindle nut (Don't spin hub/drum while loosening). Hand tighten spindle nut. Insert cotter pin. Spindle nut should be free to move with only cotter pin stopping it.

11. Put wheel back on.
12. Hammer on end cap.
13. Tighten lug nuts.
14. Do the opposite of Step 0a., tightening the star nut by moving it upwards until you cannot move the wheel at all. Now, back off a few turns into it can turn freely. Remember to put the oval plug back.