Category Archives: Trailer Hubs

How to Preload Trailer Bearings

When installing new hubs or new bearings into an old hub, it is necessary to pre-load the bearings. This prevents potential swerving from a wobbly hub. You want to be sure that the races in the hubs are 100% in place against their machined stop points.

First, install the spindle washer and spindle nut onto the spindle with the hub and bearings in place. Tighten the spindle nut finger tight, then tighten it another quarter turn with channel lock pliers or a crescent wrench. This will fully seat the races. Next, loosen the spindle nut until it is very loose, then re-tighten to finger tight to engage the nut retaining device. Some reverse lubricating spindles use a tab washer for the retaining device. It is very important to not run your spindle nut too tight nor too loose. A nut that is too tight will cause your bearings to overheat, while a nut that is too loose can cause individual rollers to come apart in the bearing and then cause the hub to fracture.

After 20 to 40 miles of highway travel, check to see if the hub is loose on the spindle. Pull the tire in and out a few times. If the hub is loose, you will need to re-tighten the spindle nut and re-engage the nut retaining cotter pin or tab washer. Never reuse the same tab on the tab washer. They are designed to be used only once.

You are now ready to install your dustcap and complete the hub installation.

Lose That Leak: How to Replace an Oil Seal

One of the worst things that can happen to a boater on the road is an oil seal leak. A leaky trailer hub can quickly lead to an expensive towing, so make sure to take care the issue as soon as you find it. While the mechanic in this video is a bit tight-lipped, he gives a good demonstration on how to replace an oil seal. The mechanic goes a little fast at times, so we will go through it here.

After removing the tire, remove the hub by tapping it with a with a rubber mallet, spinning it as you go. Make sure to place a bin under the hub to catch the leaking oil.

Next remove the oil cap and drain it. Clean it off for further inspection. Disassemble it and inspect the seals and O-rings for damage.

Then reassemble your cleaned cap with new O-rings. Make sure the seal is secure.

Reinstall the cap to the hub with your mallet, using the tap and turn technique.

Locate and remove the drain plug. Then refill your hub with the appropriate oil.

Make sure to use a sealant on the drain plug when you replace it.

Finally, reinstall the wheel and check that your lug nuts are secure. As always, check all the parts of your hub and trailer before you start driving!

View the full video here

What Our Customers Are Saying About Our Trailer Hubs

ReviewsWe know our trailer hubs are great, but the proof is in the pudding! Check out our customer reviews to see how people just like you love our trailer hubs.

Saved the day
Hard to find product, but they had them in stock and shipped the next day. Good quality, exactly as described. I called before placing my order and they were knowledgeable and able to answer my question.
John D.

Happy customer
Just needed some galvanized hubs form my boat trailer and Champion had them at the best price on the internet. Shipping was fast, too. Not much else to say except I am a very satisfeied customer!
Edward L.

Fast Service
These folks are very quick to get your order to you. My two different orders came within two days each. While their website is very informative and full of details, their staff is even more helpful and informative. If you have any doubts about what you need give them a call to confirm your product requirements!
Jeff S.

Great Company
Parts cam[e] on time and very easy ordering.
Jeremiah D.

Trailer Parts
Your website is easy to navigate, making it simple to find the right parts quickly. Parts are shipped quickly minimizing downtime when doing trailer repairs.
Ron A.

As advertised. Great hubs for my old trailer!
Champion is the only place I could find these specific hubs and they are exactly what I was looking for.
Mathew A.

The Best Service and Selection
There are several trailer or trailer part stores where I live, but I buy everything I need on-line from Champion even though it’s over 150 miles away because of the the selection, service, and convenience. I’ve never been disappointed.
Chris D.

Champion Axle and Hubs
I purchased a replacement axle and two hubs for my boat trailer and sent three dimensions. The units came exactly as ordered and when it was scheduled. They were easy to install and fit perfectly and are performing well. I would highly recommend using this fine company for purchases and I will do so in the future.
Charles P.

Great Product Right Price
All the correct parts, great price. Even a few tips on the web site. A ++ from a [DYI] guy.
Christopher B.

Misc Trailer Hardware
Very pleased with my order again! Parts delivered fast, well packed, no problems! Will order again…
Tim G.

Great Price
Great product and price. Fit perfect, very pleased with quick delivery!
Charles L.

Sizing Up the Circle: How to Measure Your Trailer Hubs

With the multitude of components that make up your boat trailer, trailer hubs can sometimes get overlooked as a means to an end. They may just seem like a metal façade that holds the bearings and protects the seal, but your hubs are in fact an integral part of your trailer.

Because they are submerged in water so often, your hubs need to be routinely checked for erosion and rust. When a warm hub is submerged in cold water, the air inside the hub contracts and draws water in through the best of seals. Once parked, the water will settle at the lowest point in the hub. This is where corrosion and rust begin.

How to Measure Your HubsMost hubs come in a 4, 5, or 6 bolt pattern. If you need to replace your hubs, it’s important to measure the pattern in order to make sure you get the right size. A very common designation for boat trailer hubs would be 5 on 4.5 or 545 for short. This means that the hub has 5 bolts spaced evenly on a 4.5″ circle. To determine your bolt pattern, first count the number of bolts per hub. Then measure from the center of the hub to the center of one bolt and multiply that number by two. The result is your bolt circle. The pattern is written as “number lug on distance” or, for example, “5 lug on 4.5””. Most boat trailers hubs have this lug bolt pattern. It is also known as the small Ford bolt pattern. “5 lug on 4.75” is an old Chrysler product that may be difficult to find. “5 lug on 5” is the standard Chevy/GM lug bolt pattern and is commonly found on many utility trailers. “5 lug on 5.5” is also known as the “big” Ford bolt pattern and is used more recently on many Ford trucks. Once you have determined your hub pattern, you can confidently purchase new hubs.

What’s All the Hubbub with My Trailer Hub?

Trailer HubIn order to safely drive your trailer, it is important to make sure all the components are working and to replace them if they are not. In particular, a worn or damaged trailer hub can ruin your trip before your boat even hits the water. Make sure to check your hubs before you leave, and purchase replacement parts if necessary at a trailer retailer such as Champion Trailers.

Exposing the Trailer Hub

Make sure you have the following tools before dismantling your hub: flathead screwdriver, mallet, 1” wooden dowel, heavy-duty degreaser or low suds dish detergent, hollow cinder block or several 2x4s, and a roll of paper towels. You may also need a chisel. When inspecting your hub first remove the tire itself from the trailer. Once the hub is exposed, you will need to remove the grease cap. Use your flathead screwdriver and pry the cap off in a circular motion.

Removing the grease cap will reveal the castle nut. This is what holds the trailer hub and bearings in place. It will be connected to the spindle by one of three devices. Usually you will find a cotter pin which you can simply bend and pull out. You may find a “tab” on the castle nut. This is the tang washer. Use your screwdriver to push the tab back towards the spindle. If the spindle is D-shaped you have an EZ lube spindle, in which case it will almost certainly have a tang washer. Gently pry off the cage by using a circular motion with your screwdriver.

Removing the Trailer Hub

Trailer BearingYou are finally ready to remove the hub itself. A trailer hub that is in good condition should slide right off the spindle. Make sure to hold in the outer bearing with a paper towel when you remove it. If it is difficult to remove, rock the hub in a circular motion or use a mallet to tap the back of the hub in a few places. During the colder months you may find the hub froze to the spindle. Use a little more force to knock it loose. The bearing and seal may stay attached to the spindle. Use a chisel to break it loose, but be careful not to damage the spindle. The bearings and seal are easily damaged.

Disassembling the Trailer Hub

Trailer SealNow that the hub is no longer attached to the spindle, it is time to take it apart and inspect its parts. First remove the outer bearing and spindle washer. It is closest to the outside of the hub and may have even fallen off when you removed the hub from the spindle. Next, place the hub with the wheel studs up on the cinder block or 2x4s. Insert the dowel rod into the center of the hub and knock out the inner bearing with the mallet. The rod will protect the bearing and race from nicks. The grease seal will be pushed out when the bearing is removed.

Find your bearings and check for nicks, dents, lines, spots, or discoloration in the metal. Any of these issues calls for getting replacements. Check the sides or ends to find the stamped number you will need to purchase replacements. If they are not damaged, clean them with degreaser or detergent and a paper towel and allow them to dry. Because the seal was removed from the hub it will need to be replaced. If the seal does not sit well in the hub or is no longer round it will not work correctly. Find the numbers stamped on the rubber part of the seal to order your replacement.

Trailer RaceNext check the race. Check the surface and look for nicks and discoloration. Run your fingernail over it to find any indentations. Generally, if you replace the bearings you should also replace the races. You can find the identification number stamped on one end. In the center of the hub you can see the race sticking out. Work in a circular motion from the inside out and knock out the race with your screwdriver and mallet. This will probably take some time; however, if it comes out after a few whacks you will probably need to replace the hub too.

Make sure to clean out the hub before you begin reassembly. The cleaner it is, the easier it will be. Check your spindle too for any damage. Use the fingernail test and pay special attention to where the seal rides against it. Now that you have checked the condition of your trailer hub and its components you are ready to reassemble and hit the waves!

Galvanized Or Painted Trailer Hubs – What’s Best For You?

Championtrailers.com offers trailer hubs in a black painted finish or hot dip galvanized for maximum corrosion resistance. You’ll need to ensure that your hubs can withstand any substance or chemical they may be exposed to. This is especially important if you’re planning to use your trailer for marine purposes. Salt water can wreak havoc on hubs, causing them to corrode. Choosing the correct finish for you trailer hubs is more than a matter of visual appearance but one of durability.

Why Galvanized Trailer Hubs?

Galvanization is the process of applying a protective zinc coating to steel or iron, to prevent rusting. The most common method is hot-dip galvanization, in which parts are submerged in a bath of molten zinc.

Galvanizing protects in two ways:

  • It forms a coating of corrosion-resistant zinc which prevents corrosive substances from reaching the more delicate part of the metal.
  • The zinc serves as a sacrificial anode so that even if the coating is scratched, the exposed steel will still be protected by the remaining zinc.

The galvanization process makes galvanized trailer hubs perfect for boat trailers that are being used in saltwater. Saltwater is extremely corrosive and will destroy your trailer parts if they aren’t protected.

Why Painted Trailer Hubs?

Painted Trailer HubIf you do must of your boating in fresh water or you need new hubs for your utility trailer, then painted trailer hubs are the way to go. Fresh water will not damage your trailer parts like saltwater. Paint is sufficient protection against the elements. You don’t need to spend the extra money for galvanized trailer hubs.

Whether you use galvanized or painted trailer hubs, make sure you check them often for wear and damage. When need to replace your trailer hubs or any other trailer part, check ChampionTrailers.com first for the best selection and customer service.

How to Correctly Pre-Load New Trailer Hubs

Whenever you install new hubs or new bearings and races into an old hub, you should pre-load the trailer bearings.  It is very important that this is done to avoid catastrophic damage to the hub or trailer.  When a hub is not preloaded the races are not seated properly in their machined stop points in the hub. This will allow the trailer hub to move around on the spindle after a few miles and scar the spindle and/or the hub may even come off the trailer completely.

To help with the pre-loading procedure for new trailer hubs or newly installed trailer races Champion Trailers has provided a “How To” for the everyday trailer owner to follow.

Please feel free to contact our technical department at 1.800.229.6690 or generalsales@championtrailers.com if you have and questions or concerns. 

Pre-Loading Trailer Hub and Bearings 101

Step 1:  To pre-load the trailer hub, install the spindle washer and spindle nut onto the spindle with the hub and bearings in place after the trailer hub has been packed with grease.

Step 2:  Tighten the spindle nut finger tight (until snug) and then with channel-lock pliers or a crescent wrench, tighten the spindle nut another 1/4 turn or about 15 to 20 ft pounds of torque.

Step 3:  Now turn the hub ten to 15 revolutions. This will fully seat the races to their machined stop points in the trailer hub

Step 4:  Now loosen the spindle nut very loose, and then re-snug to finger tight, and engage the nut retaining device (some reverse lubricating spindles use a tab washer for the retaining device).

 

Be aware that the nut retaining device (tang washer, tab lock washer, or cotter pin) are a one time use device.  Never reuse these items!  All retaining devices can be purchased at http://www.championtrailers.com/trailer-spindle-accessories/

* Champion Trailers will not be held liable for incorrect preloading or installed trailer races or hubs*

In Need of New Trailer Hubs?

Champion Trailer Parts & Repair offers discounted prices on standard idler hub kits, replacement hub kits for boat and utility trailer use, and trailer hub drums for electric trailer brakes. All trailer hubs and hub drums have the races installed and include the inner and outer bearings, double lip wheel seal, zinc lug nuts, standard hub cap, cotter pin, and tab lock or tang washer. Trailer hubs are available in a black painted finish or hot dip galvanized for maximum corrosion resistance. Replacement trailer hubs are available in axle capacities of 1,000 pounds to 8,000 pounds.

Check out our wide selection of trailer hubs here.