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Bearings, don’t wait till it’s too late

b Bearing Maintenance 

Bearing maintenance is a very critical part of duck season preparation that is often over looked. A trailer is only as good as the hubs and bearings it is riding on. Whether it’s a decoy trailer or a boat trailer, follow these steps to ensure you’re not stranded on the side of the road in the middle of the night.

Materials

  • needle nose pliers
  • hammer
  • jack
  • flathead screwdriver
  • ratchet set
  • plenty of rags
  • new bearings “appropriate size”
  • new races “appropriate size”
  • new seals “appropriate size”
  • marine grease

Berring 1

  • Jack up the trailer and remove the tire
  • Use a hammer to tap the buddy bearing or grease cap off the hub

b 2

  • Wipe off grease to expose the castle nut and cotter pin
  • With a pair of needle nose pliers remover the cotter pin

b 3

  • Remove the castle nut
  • Placing pieces in a small container of gasoline will help remove the excess grease

b 4

  • With a flathead screwdriver remove the washer
  • Pull the hub off the spindle

b 5

  • Check the spindle for any damage
  • Use the screwdriver to pop off the rear grease seal from the hub

b 6

  • Remove both bearings from hub, and check for discoloration and wear spots
  • Check the races for discoloration or wear
  • If the bearings need to be replaced odds are the races do to

b 7

  • To remove the races I use the largest socket I have and an extension. I place the socket on the lip of the race and tap it out with a hammer

b 8

  • Once the old races are out, its time put the new ones in

B 9

  • To get the new races in, use the same method you used to get the old ones out “slowly tap it in an rotate to keep it going in even”
  • Now the new bearings need to be packed with grease
  • Use a grease that is suitable for boat trailers. We used Lucas Red N Tacky #2
  • Get a gob of grease in the palm or heel of your hand and press the bottom of the bearing into the grease. This forces the grease into the bottom of the bearing and out of the top end. Rotate the bearing and continue this process until the entire bearing is well coated in grease, “make sure you get grease in every gap”.

b 10

  • Once the bearings are good and coated in grease drop the rear bearing into the back of the hub as shown
  • Make sure there is an adequate amount of grease “not overflowing”
  • Get the new rear grease seal and tap it into place ” a flat piece of wood can be helpful to make it go in straight and flush”

b 11

  • Drop the greased front bearing into position
  • Slide the hub assembly back onto the spindle

b 12

  • Replace the washer and castle nut
  • You want the nut to be securely on, but not too tight, ” hand tighten it as tight as you can then back it off about a quarter turn”
  • Replace the cotter pin and bend it, so that the nut stays put
  • Fill the buddy bearing or dust cap about halfway, to 3/4 of the way full and tap it back onto the hub
  • Replace the tire and your good to go
  • I recommend checking the condition of your bearings and repacking with new grease before each season, especially if you do a good bit of traveling.