A boat may be one of the more high-maintenance signs of luxury, but so are their trailers. Like the boats they carry, trailers too require the same dedication from their operators, especially for their bearings. A post on the Sailing Texas website reads:
“Repacking wheel bearings on boat trailers is a regular maintenance project. Overlook this task and you will be stranded beside the road when your wheel falls off! It is not hard to repack the bearings on a small trailer with no brakes, as you don’t need to back off the shoes or bleed the caliper.”
People in the country’s maritime regions have a natural affinity for the water, this finds an outlet in sailing in all manner of marine craft. Stowing them, however, requires owners to be meticulous about keeping the hull clean and safe and the wheels rolling. A boat trailer parts store such as Champion Trailers is the right place to go when you need some support.
There’s much to do when dealing with the wheels, starting with the wheel coverings protecting them. You need to raise up the trailer while it’s still connected to the towing vehicle. Once it’s raised high enough to have sufficient ground clearance, pry the hub caps open and remove the cotter pin.
The removal of the cotter pin enables the user to safely dislodge the wheel hub from the main axle and set it aside. Tap on the unit lightly with the inner side facing down to gradually remove the inner bearing and the grease seal, which may have to be replaced.
When the bearings have been removed, set the hub aside and clean the bearings immediately. Inspect the bearing rug for pits or scars; finding either or both on the bearings will warrant fast replacement. A company like Champion Trailers will have a hefty supply of boat trailer bearings in stock, but you must ask if their bearings are of the same size as yours.
The replacement bearings should be thoroughly smeared in grease before you put them in along with the new seals; the blog post states that you can do this by putting a glop of grease in your hand and running the bearings in them. At the same time, the hub must be fully rinsed of dirt and old grease, as well as the spot in the axle where the grease seal will be. Only then can you thread the hub back into the axle and retighten the nuts, plus reattach the cotter pin.
A trailer with repacked bearings will provide additional miles of support for your trailer. Remember these instructions and you’ll be on your way to safer, more enjoyable trips.
(Source: How to repack trailer wheel bearings, Sailing Texas)