Many ways are available on how to replace boat trailer bearings but anticipating when it will occur seems daunting. You can avoid using fancy presses or tools, instead learn effective boat trailer wheel bearing replacement methods from this tutorial.
Take time to learn from these simplified tutorial tips on how to change wheel bearings on a boat trailer:
- Essentials of things to consider in servicing boat trailer wheel bearings, and
- Step-by-step instructions to pack or change boat trailer bearings
Read on to know the practical tips on changing boat trailer bearings for the safety and convenience of your trips.
Table of Contents
- Essentials Considerations in Servicing Boat Trailer Bearings
- Step-by-step Guide to Service Boat Trailer Bearings
Essentials Considerations in Servicing Boat Trailer Bearings
1. Frequency of Servicing
- Lots of leading trailer brands and manufacturers recommend maintenance services at least once a year. It does not imply replacing the trailer bearings under normal use as each bearing is specific to its spindle. Each spindle that is installed on the trailer wheel axle has its specific wheel bearing specifications. Remove the wheel hub to know the correct bearing part replacements for the spindle of your trailer.
- Most small-boat trailer owners do bearing maintenance every 2,000 or 6,000 miles, or 6 months whichever comes first. For larger trailer owners, servicing is done at 10,000 or 20,000 miles or once a year.
- Checking your trailer bearings before and after each use will help you know when to service your wheels for noise and looseness. Check by yourself or have someone listen on each side of the trailer while towing at 20 to 25 mph.
- Follow or plot a servicing pattern or maintenance plan for your boat trailer wheel bearings. It will depend on the size of your trailer and trailer load. The frequently you apply grease, the better for the life of your bearings.
2. Tools and Equipment
When you plan to service the bearings of your boat trailer, ensure that you have at hand these basic tools and equipment:
- Small tools – simple tools vary from wrenches, car jack, screwdriver, socket set, jack stands, wheel chocks and grease gun. Make sure you have the right tools specification that match the removal and reloading tasks for your bearing parts. Removing and putting back your bearing takes time when you lack the right items or alternatives for the actual circumstances.
- Jack lifter – to jack up the trailer, choose one according to your trailer weight. Having a spare car jack helps ease the lift for best greasing or servicing.
- Ingenious tools can also be a consideration when the actual job goes on in repacking or changing your wheel bearings. Using a long flat stick or thin wood to tap out and in the seal ring is a good alternative. A workbench is also helpful and accessible instead of using specialized mats for a secured job.
Aside from the tools and equipment, know the needed materials or their types to ease the servicing job.
- Make sure your servicing materials, especially grease and bearings (if need to be replaced), are available on hand. It will make the servicing smooth with less time spending on preparing the materials or part replacement. Use different grease colors found online for easy identification of the new grease and for the safe operation of your trailer.
- Our bearing parts replacement also depends on the specific spindle of your trailer wheel axle. Tap the wheel hub out to know the correct bearing part replacements for your trailer wheel spindle. Removing the wheel hub allows you to get the part specifications for each inner and outer bearings. These bearing specifications or part numbers will ensure the correct match.
- Your ball/ roller bearing parts should also have seal rings that match the specifications of your wheel bearing. Put into order all the items you need for the wheel bearing replacement or maintenance servicing tasks. Include rubber caps for your boat trailer wheel axle cover in case of wear and tear.
4. Precautionary measures
- Read the product information or user manuals for your boat trailer, wheel hub, bearing assembly and other parts’ specifications. It will help you maintain proper and timely servicing and wheel bearing replacement.
- Be attentive and keen to the movements and noise of your boat trailer wheels. When you hear a noise or feel a shaky trailer movement, it will not only cause damage to your vehicle. The worse scenario is it can cost more for other trailer part replacements or cause a wheel separation when running at a higher speed.
- Avoid over-greasing your bearing as it can slide-off the ball parts from the bearing assembly. Always keep your grease packed into the hub and clean excess amounts from the ball bearing surface.
- Rest assured your bearings will last for about a hundred thousand miles with correct timing, frequent and proper maintenance. Be keen enough to regularly check the wear and tear condition of your wheel bearing before they wear off.
Step-by-step Guide to Service Boat Trailer Bearings
Step 1: Prepare your trailer and servicing area
- Wash as needed to get rid of muds or dirt formation from the wheel hub of your boat trailer. Dust off the wheel hubs when the boat trailer is already kept dry in a stable area.
- Check for other signs of damage or tear-off that cause unsafe operations or sudden brake grabs of your boat trailer.
- You can place your hand or feel the surfaces of the wheel hubs for physical damages, hair-like cracks, and heat presence.
- Check for the instructions from the user manual and wheel bearing servicing charts of your boat trailer.
Step 2: Jack-up the boat trailer
- Jacking up the trailer doesn’t need to be high enough, it needs just a bit of clearance from the ground. This will allow easy checks, grease applications, part replacement and access to the wheel axle end.
- Using a car jack or jack stand will secure the stability of your boat trailer for unintentional movements during servicing. It will also ease up the actual job of packing or reloading by hand the bearings with the correct tension.
- Allow just enough clearance for easy wheel spinning and checking for greasing or changing of the bearing parts.
Step 3: Check the wheels
- Once done jacking up the trailer with enough ground clearance, check the wheels, wheel hub, axle, grease nipple, etc.
- Check for looseness, play and noise on the wheel, among other issues for servicing. Put your palm to feel the heat on the wheel hubs. When the wheel hubs are too hot, it indicates a bad bearing condition. This calls for immediate greasing service, or worse replacing the bearing in case of wear and tear.
- Now that you have found the issue, you can proceed to the servicing task. Either greasing or changing the wheel bearing as needed.
Step 4: Grease the bearings
- Start by unplugging the rubber cover from the axle end. Check the wheel bearing surface or pull the entire hub to see the inner part.
- Squeeze the grease using a grease gun into the zerk until the new grease appears on top. Avoid mixing grease or soap-based thickeners to prevent damages, become hard or acidic, and separate.
- Do the greasing every 6 months to extend your bearings’ lifespan. When the axle has a zerk at the end side, the use of a grease gun is recommended.
Step 5: Replace the bearings
- The same steps in greasing the bearing applies when replacing the torn bearings of your boat trailer. Pull the entire hub to see the inner part and easily change, repack, grease and reload the bearings to the hub.
- Check for a slight play in the wheel, which is about 1/8-inch or less and note for some noise or looseness before and after the task.
- Regularly do maintenance checks or replace your boat trailer bearings to ensure safe operations.
Check this Video by Mile High Campers and Tutorial by Prestige Worldwide Fishing on YouTube for the step-by-step servicing.
Now that you’ve gone through this tutorial on how to replace boat trailer bearings you can share it to help your fellows and share how it eased your servicing task. Use these effective methods to ensure great conditions of your boat trailer wheels. It will help you change or pack bearings or install new ones on your boat trailer easily and quickly.
Ease both safety and convenience of your boating efforts with a proactive mindset and as part of your diligent options. Enjoy safe boating trips from this tutorial without any professional help.