Trailer – Wheel Bearings

3 min read

While rebuilding the trailer deck, we noticed the near side wheel was somewhat wobbly! The trailer hasn’t seen much use over the last 5 years, but I have no idea how old the bearings were so it seemed like a good place to start.

Identifying the Bearings

There is a multitude of guides online for the process of replacing trailer wheel bearings. I won’t be going into great detail here, but one thing I did initially struggle with was identifying the bearing. With the bearing cap removed I could make out the lettering on the outer bearing.

Bearing part number on the outer face

With the number in hand, I ran a quick Google search for ‘l44610 bearing kit‘ which brought back a huge number of results. Always a good sign. Most kits had two open bearing and two sealed bearings. On checking the rearmost bearing face I found this was the kit for me.

Ordering Bearings

Over the many years of playing with cars, I’ve changed a good few bearings. One thing I’ve found with high load bearings is that quality really does matter. More than once I’ve had to change wheel bearings multiple times in a few years because of cheap parts. I’d much rather buy decent bearings once, even at twice the price.

Bearing kit from Bearing Options
Bearing kit from Bearing Options

My normal place for bearings went out of business a few years ago so I was back to Google to search for somewhere new. Ultimately I settled on Bearing Options who stock a kit for the trailer. The kit comprised of 4x L44610 bearings, 2 sealed on one side, 2 open. Dunlop branded, these where cheaper than a lot of the no-name bearings on eBay. Delivery was up to 5 days, but they actually arrived next working day!

Packing Bearings

I’ve never had to pack bearings before, I guess I’ve always used sealed bearings. Looking at my garage stock that certainly seems to be true. I’d run out of the Castrol LHX grease that I generically throw at everything. I was also down to my last tube of grease, a 400g tube of “Mobil XHP 222”. A quick check of the spec sheet and this was clearly going to be overkill.

Packing bearings
Packing the trailer bearings

This was the easiest bearing job I’ve ever undertaken, by a margin. Old bearings came out easily, along with their races. New bearings were easy to press in, it turns out the socket I have for Citroen AX rear hubs was a perfect fit! Packing the bearings was incredibly satisfying, the blue grease may have helped.

Finished Job

New bearings installed, correctly this time.
New bearings installed, correctly this time.

So it turns out there was absolutely nothing wrong with the old bearings, save for some poor installation. The play was a result of the near side castellated nut not having been done up. I managed a full 360-degree rotation just to get it to touch the bearing. I suspect that the bearings weren’t preloaded on installation.

Ultimately it may have been an unrequired job, five minutes with a socket may have resolved the wobble on the original bearings. However, now I know the bearings a good, branded and correctly installed. It was also a very rewarding job, straight forward and for once, no swearing!

I just have to tackle the electrics next!

M

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