Repacking the wheel bearings is an important annual maintenance task for a fifth wheel trailer, especially one that is lived in full-time like ours. This is also a good time to inspect the bearings and brakes.
The first step is to jack up the trailer and remove the wheels.
After jacking up the trailer, remove the wheels.
A few years ago we did a disk brake conversion on our fifth wheel trailer, upgrading from the factory installed electric drum brakes to electric over hydraulic disk brakes (you can read the details about what was involved in doing this phenomenal and highly recommended upgrade here). So, behind each of our wheels is the disk brake rotor and brake caliper.
Inspect the rotor and disc brake pads.
The first step for repacking the wheel bearings was to remove the brake caliper and inspect the brake pads and check out the braking surface on the rotor. All looked good. Then the brake caliper was moved out of the way.
Next, the grease cap and cotter pin were removed. Then the castle nut holding the bearings and the disk rotor in place was unscrewed. Gently pulling the rotor out about an inch and then pushing it back in released the outer bearing so it could be removed. Then the rotor was pulled off the axle spindle which revealed the inner bearing, allowing it to be slid off the axle spindle.
Remove the cotter pin and castle nut, then the inner and outer wheel bearings and then pull the rotor off the axle spindle.
The axle spindle is full of grease.
Using shop towels, the grease was wiped off the axle spindle.
Wipe the old grease off the axle spindle.
The inner and outer bearings, D-shaped spindle washer, castle nut and grease cap were then wiped clean of grease.
Wipe off and inspect the outer and inner bearings, the D-shaped spindle washer, the castle nut and the grease cap.
It turned out that one of our wheel bearings was slightly scored, showing early signs of wear. We decided to replace it. Wheel bearings come in a bearing and race assembly, so the race would be replaced too.
Finding worn parts before they become a problem is one of the reasons that greasing the wheel bearings is an important annual task. Even if a trailer has EZ-Lube bearings, it is still important to remove the bearings periodically to inspect them so they can be replaced before they fail on the road.
One of our wheel bearings showed signs of wear — light scoring marks on each bearing.
First, the grease needed to be removed from the inside of the hub. It was scraped out and then wiped out with a shop towel.
Remove the old grease from the rotor.
After scraping the grease out, wipe the area down with a shop cloth.
Then the old race was knocked out and the new race was set in place.
Knock out the old bearing race.
Set the new race in place.
The race was lightly tapped in place to make sure it was square. Then, using a race setter, the race was tapped securely into place.
Tap in the new race.
Next, the rotor with the greased inner bearing was mounted back on the spindle.
Place the rotor back on the axle spindle.
Newly greased bearings and spindle.
Then the castle nut was screwed on and hand-tightened.
Hand-tighten the castle nut.
Adjust the castle nut.
A new cotter pin was put in place and bent over to hold everything securely.
Put a new cotter pin in place and bend it over.
Then the grease cap was screwed back on.
Screw in the grease cap.
Presto. Three more wheels to go!
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