Before being able to find the cost to pack wheel bearings on a trailer, it is important to know what exactly a wheel bearing is.
A wheel bearing can be described as a group of steel balls which are held together using a metal ring known as a race. These steel balls help the wheels spin faster whilst reducing friction. They re-utilised on a host of vehicles, from aircraft and bicycles to cars and RVs.
There are unfortunately times when the ball bearings become damaged and have to be replaced. A bright side to look on is that wheel bearings do not immediately fail.
They usually provide you with a bit of time before they have to be replaced. A catastrophic failure, however, would cause a wheel to lock up and that could stop the RV from moving.
Thankfully, just because one set of bearings fail on one side does not mean you have to replace the two sides of your RV. Wheel bearings are usually designed to last an extremely long time.
So, how much does it cost to pack wheel bearings on a trailer? Surprising little, expect to pay as little as $100 and at most $400. If you want to save some money you can do it yourself, but in my opinion, it’s not worth it unless you have ample experience and all the necessary tools.
Replacing wheel bearings
Replacing even just one wheel bearing set is quite expensive due to the intensive labour requires. There are quite a lot of parts that have to be removed before the wheel bearing can be accessed.
This is particularly true for front-wheel RVs. Some Class A RV owners have stated that it cost anything from $300 to $500 to replace the bearings. Depending on how much you use your trailer and how many miles you get on it, you can wait till about 20,000 miles before your wheel bearing has to be repacked.
That being said, packing your trailer’s wheel bearings can be an arduous task to do if you do not have a press.
This is because moving the bearings out and into the hub can be tight. To replace the entire bearing and hub as a whole would be less labour intensive, however, it would cost more to get parts.
Doing It Yourself
Choosing to repack your trailer’s wheel bearings by yourself can be a quick and seamless task. Doing it ahead of time can help avoid any chance of a breakdown which could cause you to be stranded on the side of the road.
Most RV users have come upon scenes where trailers are stuck on the edge of the road with a wheel up. If this is something you would like to avoid, then you should check your wheel bearings. Doing this can save you from paying a fortune on repairs
What you will need:
- Large adjustable wrench
- 2 Jack stands
- Lug nut wrench
- needle nose pliers
- bearing grease
- Clean rags
- Flathead screwdriver
- brake cleaner
- penetrating fluid
- small pan
The majority of trailer manufacturers tend to recommend wheel bearing maintenance each year or every 25,000 miles if the trailer gets average use.
what you will need to do is to loosen the selected wheel’s lug nuts and then raise the intended side using a jack.
The trailer should be supported using jack stands and the wheel should be spun. If it spins quietly and freely then you can continue with packing your wheel bearings.
In the event that you hear a growling like sound or friction then what you actually have is a bad spindle or bearing.
In this eventuality, you will have to take your trailer to a repair centre where the bearings can be replaced.
- The first step to repacking your wheel bearings would be to remove the wheel via the lug nuts. You must use jack stands to support the trailer. You should also ensure that the wheel on the other side is blocked.
- The second step would be to remove the dust cap. this can be done by prying it loose using the large screwdriver.
- The next step is to remove the cotter pin. Both ends have to be straightened and then pulled out using the needle-nose pliers.
- The hub can then be removed. To do this, one has to remove the washer and retaining nut. Once this is done, the hub can now be pulled from the spindle.
- One thing to note here is that the wheel bearings are going to come out alongside the hub. The bearings should be set on a clean newspaper.
- Remove the seal from the rear bearing. In order for you to remove the seal, you simply have to tap on the rim using a hammer and a piece of wood. In the event that the seal appears rusted to the hub’s back cover, you can use a bit of WD40 to help get rid of the rusted seal.
- Should the seal be damaged, you will have to replace it. The bearings should be cleaned and all grease removed from it. The same should be done to the seal and races. Cleaning the grease is done by using a brush dipped in kerosene.
- Once the bearings are clean, they should be inspected for any signs of wear and tear. The parts and the bearings would have to be dried. Once dry, they should be sprayed with brake cleaner.
- The spindle, as well as the hub’s inside, should be wiped using a clean rag. Doing this helps to get rid of every bit of grease. The inside of the hub and the spindle should also be cleaned using brake cleaner.
- Putting grease onto the bearings. The grease should be pushed into the bearings, moving from the large side in. Ensure that the grease is pushed into the roller making the rollers and the cage filled.
- Once this is done, you should use grease to coat the hub’s inside. The seal should be tapped back onto the hub using the same hammer and woodblock. After this, you can use the bearings and the hub onto the spindle.
- This is the final step and it involves reassembling the hub. The nut should be threaded back to the spindle and spun clockwise. the hub should be spun a couple of times as it is tightened. This helps to ensure that the bearings are properly seated. The nut should now be tightened firmly.
- Once the nut is tight, you should turn it counterclockwise till the hole located in the spindle perfectly aligns with the space found in the nut.
- Your new cotter pin should now be ushed in and the pin’s end should be bent away to ensure that it does not come out. The dust cap should now be put in place.
- The lug threads should be coated using an anti-seize compound. once this is done, the wheel should be reinstalled and the lug nuts tightened. This process should be done for your other wheels.
As seen from the above, the process involved in repacking your wheel bearings can be quite labour intensive.
If you do not know or you are not confident in your abilities you can simply take your trailer to a repair centre and have them do it for you for anything from $300 to $500.
If you can do it by yourself, you have to ensure that you follow every one of the steps intently.