Thursday, April 24, 2014

Greasing the trailer wheels

One thing that we are very conscious about maintaining is our trailer tires and wheels. Explanations can be found here and here. Recently I realized that I had not checked the condition of our trailer wheel grease and brakes. I did a quick check to see the condition of these items, and was happy to find out that the brakes are still in great condition, but the wheel hubs did need new grease applied to them. I did some quick research on how to DIY, and did not find much help. I quickly learned and figured out what I needed to do, and documented the process to hopefully be an aid to others (videos at end of post).

Starting off, I gathered the appropriate tools and material. I needed to purchase a grease gun and the grease itself. I didn't go with the cheapest grease gun, but still had some issues with it maintaining its prime, so I wonder if I should have gone with a more expensive model. The store did not have enough grease in the 14oz tubes that would fit straight into the grease gun, so I had to purchase bulk cans instead. I feel that the tubes would have been an easier way to go. Everything else I had on hand.

As you can see in the photo, I have gathered:

Grease gun
Grease (1 can or tube per wheel, plus extra)
Nitrile gloves
Rubber mallet
Flathead screwdriver
Paper towels
Putty knife
Trash bucket
Bottle jack
Impact to remove tires

Begin by securing the area. Chock opposite tires to prevent the trailer from moving while working on it. Jack up the wheel to be worked on and remove the tire.

The little rubber cap in the middle has been worn out on my tires, so I went to a local trailer supply store and purchased some replacements. I removed that part and discarded, then used the mallet and screwdriver to remove the metal dust cap. It may take a few hits to get it loose. It comes right off once it is loosened.

At this point, clean off the old grease from the quick lube port on the end of the hub, attach the filled and primed grease gun, and start pumping the new grease into the hub. It may take a few minutes to really get the grease moving, but once the new grease starts to push out the old grease, things move along quickly. You will need to stop every now and then to scrape off the old grease into a container. Slowly, the grease will change color from a dull gray to a purplish red. At this point, most of the old grease has been pushed out, and it is up to you how much more you want to pump through the hub.
Once any excess grease has been scraped/wiped away, replace the metal and rubber dust caps and reattach the tire. Move on to the next wheel.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3