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Old 11-02-2014, 05:43 PM   #1
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Trailer Brakes -- seal and inner bearing

I have a 1981 15.5 SB, and today I started getting into the brakes. As you can see from the first image (brake.jpg), there was a lot of grease everywhere. I think the reason is that the inner seal was damaged. There's a section where material is missing (between the two red arrows indicated by the red arc in second image - BearingSeal2.jpg).

Question #1: Does anyone know of a source for replacement seals that would fit?

Question #2: Are you supposed to be able to remove the inner bearing?

There's a thin, metal ring (where the seal goes) that is keeping that bearing from dropping out. (See third image, Drum.jpg.) I can't seem to remove this ring, and the bearing won't come out with that ring there.

Question #3: Does the polarity of the lead wires from the magnet matter?

Question #4: Other than the grease for the bearings, and some lithium grease for pivot points for the shoes and the lever, etc., should there be any lubrication between the face of the magnet and the inner face of the drum?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

Jay
Attached Images
File Type: jpg brake.jpg (157.7 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg BearingSeal2.jpg (52.5 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg Drum.jpg (147.1 KB, 8 views)
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:08 PM   #2
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Oh yes. The seals you should be able to find at a local parts store you have a National part number and the bearings are pretty standard the seals should match the bearing size.
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Old 11-03-2014, 06:39 AM   #3
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That thin metal ring holding the bearing is part of the seal. The rubber seal separated from it's retainer.
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Old 11-03-2014, 07:24 AM   #4
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Thanks. So I should be able to remove it? This is my first time dealing with wheel bearings on a trailer. It doesn't seem like I'll be able to remove it without bending it, which makes me wonder how I'll get the new seal in.

Unless...is that "ring" with the words "USA" and "NATIONAL" pressed in? Does that hold the seal in and does it pry off?
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Old 11-03-2014, 09:26 AM   #5
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The entire seal comes out then the bearing. The new seal can easily be installed with a small hammer and a block of wood. There is a good chance that the bearing will be bad if it has run a long time with little grease. The best way to check a bearing is use a clean rag and wipe the bearing off if any shinny flecks show up on the rag the bearing and race need to be replaced. This is a bit more complex the bearing race is a pressed fit it can be done with a hammer and a punch but it maybe in your best interest to take the hubs to a shop and have them replace the race.
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Old 11-03-2014, 11:14 AM   #6
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Got it now; thanks!
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Old 11-03-2014, 05:45 PM   #7
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here is a step by step article on repacking wheel bearings

Replacing the Bearing, Races and Seals on a Trailer Hub | etrailer.com
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Old 11-04-2014, 08:03 AM   #8
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Jim's link is right on the money.
If this is your first time doing bearings, your first objective is to do things slowly making sure you following the proper way to do them.

If by chance your old bearings and races are still good, then removing them slowly and carefully gives them a chance to be reused. If you damage them when removing, then consider replacing.. A small scratch on the surface is considered damage. If you see any bluing it's possible they overheated at some point. time to replace.

If yours is an 1981 and if they're the original there are those possibilities that there might be some wear or damage. Just be prepared for that. Who knows what any of the previous owners did for maintenance. Expect the worst and hope for the best when dealing with bearings and races.

When re-greasing the bearings only use a proper bearing grease. Actual bearing grease has qualities that deals and works with centrifugal force. That's the natural force that wants to throw the grease away from the bearing. Years ago we used to use fiber grease but I'm sure today's chemical engineers have perfected better products. Any trusted brand name is good.

What's important to remember, especially for your first time doing bearings, is when you install the used or new components.
When installing bearing 'races' (new or used) make sure they sit flat and square to its intended hole. Drive it in slowly and evenly around the edge so to make sure it gets inserted in THAT true, square fashion. You do not want those races to end up cockeyed...take your time. Start off by using a piece of wood to start the sinking of pieces into their target. Laying the wood on top of the race allows for a softer blow and still permits the race to sink into place. Once the race is now flush to the hub you'll need to start sinking it further to bottom out inside the hub and now with a socket or piece of pipe. This is where size matters. Too big it won't work. Too small it/you could misfire and the edge of the socket or pipe could slip and scratch the race's surface If you're lucky enough to have a larger socket or a cut off piece of pipe that is virtually the same diameter you can use that to dive it in. A friend or neighbor that has tools? Make sure the surface of that is square and true.
Wipe everything off with a clean cloth. Knowing that your bearing is now greased. I usually kneed the bearing with fresh grease; then set it in on the race and then the seal...

The same goes for the seal. I always used a 1x2 or a short piece of 2x4 and tap on the wood to dampen and sharp hits that will end up on the seal. Have your hub on a bench and lower your self to see things ate ye level, watching the process for square. Again, tap it evenly around the perimeter of the seal to assure a true & square inserting. Take a small dab and smear some grease around the inside portion of the seal so when it mates onto the spindle it's not a dry fit.

Tada, ready to replace on spindle. You can also find bearing greasing removal and reinstallations on you-tube. Watch it several times so you feel comfy-cozy when it comes to your turn.
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Old 11-04-2014, 09:18 PM   #9
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Hi Jay

Here is another picture link which may be helpful. One of these days I'll get to redoing it here on the SOC.
Annual Brake Inspection and Axle Re-Lube W pics

I'll pass along this tip if you have not bought the seals yet. When at the parts counter (NAPA etc) tell them you want to make sure to get the same seal size, OD and bore but you want to make sure it is a double lip seal in place of a single lip seal. Double lip seal means it has an outer wiper seal and an inner seal with the garter spring. They only cost a little bit more but has much more better ability to keep dirt out and grease in.

Most trailers have the single seal just the outside wiper seal unless some one upgraded it. In a brake application I have no idea why they actually even think of using the single seal, but many times they do if your not knowing to ask.

The easy way to see if it is a double lip seal is the garter spring inside and a wiper on the outside. The single only has the outside wiper, no garter spring

Looks like this. Double lip seal. It wil still have a metal outside, just I coud not find a metal outside cross section pic


Hope this helps and good luck

John
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Old 11-05-2014, 06:57 AM   #10
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Bearing Buddies

Another thing I'd like to mention. I'm sure that most members here might know this as second nature but for the sake of newbies, I'm reposting.

It was talked about before but I can't find the link/thread. Avoid using Bearing Buddies. For any utility trailer or boat trailers without brakes Bearing Buddies are ideal.
But, when you're dealing with brakes avoid the bearing buddies. When pumping grease in after the fact no one really knows how much grease is going into the bearings at any given time or when enough is enough. Hence if you have a bad seal grease could easily ooze out, heat up and centrifugally splatter onto the shoes. Lubricated brake shoes? Nah ...

I suppose we could say that using bearing buddies is the easy way or the lazy man's way out. I have them on my utility trailer. When you think you might need grease or due for that top-up it's probably a better idea to remove all bearings and INSPECT pieces before re-greasing.
Bearing Buddies are great but like a lot of things they, too, have their place.
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Old 11-05-2014, 08:40 AM   #11
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Thanks for all of the helpful information. The bearings and races appear to be in good shape (definitely not original), so I'll get new grease seals (double lip seal) and put it back together. I did read somewhere that the polarity doesn't matter when connecting the wires to the magnet.
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Old 11-05-2014, 09:24 AM   #12
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Yeah the bearing buddies are meant for boat trailers, the ideal is to push the water out with the grease this is not some thing you want on your brakes. As far as the bearing races there is no need to remove them unless you are going to replace them it probably is not a good ideal to re install used races because they will never go back in exactly the way they came out. Not really on the magnets as that is all it is there is nothing more than a long coil of wire.
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