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Repacking trailer bearings. Advice.


Tdub
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So, I have a 2004 Ramlin tandem trailer and I squirt grease into the bearings a couple times each summer. I would assume at some point I should have a professional re-pack the bearings. True? If so, what should I have the mechanic do? Any thoughts?

 

Thanks.

Tom

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It isn't crazy hard to do. I did it once myself with the help of a neighbor and had someone do it a second time. I would have them replace and them if you are going to the trouble of tearing it apart. The bearings themselves aren't that expensive and if the trailer is 15 years old they are probably due.
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It's not hard. Or rather it's the same difficulty as setting bearing preload but messy.

 

To clean them I use kerosene in a zip lock bag set in a bucket. Then I agitate by hand the bag then brush them off and flush with a bit of clean kerosene.

 

Then you inspect and put on clean gloves/get a clean rag. Put a blob of grease in your non dominant gloves hand and start forcing grease into the area behind the roller cage. Assemble adjust preload and pump in some grease.

 

For press fit bearings I just use the bucket of kerosene and a brush and clean in place.

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The bearings, races, and seals are usually really standard parts used on millions of trailers so getting parts kits should be easy. Etrailer is great.

 

Other than the mess, the biggest PITA of this job is getting the races out of the old hub. The job is transformed into a 10 second job with the addition of an air chisel. The air chisel blasts them out with hilarious ease.

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Jhughes is right, the only difficult part is pressing out the races.

IMO, if the wheel spins quietly and does not "roar", the bearing are ok. I like to place the axle on a jackstand on concrete in a quiet space, so the noise/vibration is transmitted sufficiently to hear.

 

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2004 Ramlin should have brakes. Bearings, races, seals=$30.

New DRUM hubs=$120?

 

I would just go to etrailer and get bearing kits. Call them if you’re unsure. Their customer service is on same superior level as SkiDim, they’re not afraid to answer the phone and honestly help a customer.

 

Use an air chisel. Even if you take trailer to trailer shop to have bearings redone, by all means make sure you buy an airchisel if don’t have already have one. I might loan a $500 laser level out to a crackhead but I won’t let my handy dandy air chisel out of my sight.

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The old bearings and races should have numbers on them but bring them with you so that your dude can measure them all.

Use a hammer and a flat nosed chisel to remove the old races, save them and use them to get the new ones started straight then finish them off with the punch. Try not to slip and scratch the inside of the new races. Be sure to leave the new races in the freezer overnight to shrink them for easier install, do them one at a time so the races don't warm up and expand. Pack the new bearings with synthetic/water proof grease from the big side to the small (should be on youtube somewhere).

Actually, this should all be on youtube somewhere.

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Having now run a repair business for nearly 15 years I have found that bang for the buck and for most applications I can better serve my customers by just replacing complete hub assy on trailers rather then break them down, clean them, repack and assemble.

 

Single axle,

Repack: Two hours in the shop utilizing old worn bearings, new seals and materials $350

Complete hub replacement: .50 hours in shop new hub assy comes with new bearings, seals and pre packed along with new grease caps. $250

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@Jody_Seal - makes perfect sense when you are paying someone to do the work for you, labor costs more than parts. As a DIY job, a full set of new bearings, seals and marine grease costs under $15 a wheel. Leaves a lot of money left over for beer.
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HOLY COW! Not in Canada, $15.00 won't even get a 12 pack.

Races, bearings, seals etc. will run close to if not more than $200.00. Quality stuff of course as A) you don't want to redo them often and B) you don't want to be sitting on the side of the road.

Yes, $200.00, I just did mine last summer and parts from napa.

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Thanks to all! Since I only pull the boat to our lake about 8 miles away, I think I will check all of the bearings by jacking the trailer up and see how they spin and sound. I will grease them and hope for the best. If I need to replace one, so be it. Since it is a tandem I am not going to replace them all as a preventative measure. That is indeed a lot of beer money.
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Jack them up, spin and see how they sound then wiggle them to make sure they aren’t loose. Run them to the lake and when you get there touch the hubs with your bare hands. In 8 miles they should only be warm to the touch. If you blister your hand you got problems?
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