I set the Highlift Jack just in front of the right front tire. I slowly jacked up the livestock trailer until the front wheel flopped down. At least I knew it wasn’t a bent axle. But this was going to take more than a little grease. This was going to take some elbow grease and a new set of bearings and races.
I think we all know what bearings are. Maybe everyone doesn’t know what the races are. The bearings are built with the inside races attached. The inside race is what fits snugly onto the axle. It holds the rollers and a cage that keeps the rollers separated from each other and evenly spaced around the race. The outer races come separately and are machined to match the rollers of the bearings. They are pressed into the wheel hub near the inner and outer openings.
Another separate machining immediately outside of the race place is for the hub cap and the dirt/grease seal, depending on which end of the wheel hub you’re looking at. The inner holds the seal, the outer holds the hub. Both are pressed in. Beneath the hubcap on the end of the axle is the threaded crown nut that holds the bearings together and the hub on, allowing the hub to spin on the axle.
When I removed the chrome moon hub cap from the rim the hub’s hub cap was tumbling around in it along with old rollers from the ruined bearings. I straitened the cotter key and pulled it out of the axle so the crown nut could spin off. I removed the hub. I used a pulley puller to work two the old inner races off the axle. I used a hammer and punch to remove the two old outer races from inside the hub. There wasn’t much left of the seal but it came out easily. I cleaned up and headed to Neola’s NAPA store to get a new bearing kit.
The gentleman working the parts counter convinced me that the hub was shot and sold me a new replacement hub kit instead. The only catch was they didn’t have it in stock so I would have to drive into Omaha and pick it up myself if I wanted it today. (that day) No biggie. I was off to the races. When I’d returned home I decided to check to see if the new hub would fit the old rim. It didn’t even come close. I don’t know why I hadn’t checked up in Omaha. I’m glad I hadn’t attached it to the axle first.
I headed back to Neola for the bearing kit or to see if they carried the right hub. I decided on the kit. He never said if they had the right hub. Back home to reassemble the mess. To make the hub’s hub cap work I cut a short piece if wire and wrapped it around the cap where it slips into the machined area. The machining had been worn and the cap no longer fit tight. The wire made it fit tight. I re-greased the other three wheels and tightened their crown nuts to snug up their bearings.
I think I’m ready to resume hauling cattle. A day later than I thought. A dollar shorter than I thought. But ready again just the same. I know the cows are ready. This farm is out of pasture and they don’t seem willing to go back on pasture hay, their only other option. After two days on hay they are still bellowing at me each time I walk by the barn yard. I guess it sucks being a cow.
So it was off to the races. Then the races had to come off. Then I was off to get new races. And bearings. Then it was off to get a new hub with new races already attached. Then it was back off to get new races again. Now installed it’s off to the races again. I don’t know about you but I think I’m getting dizzy. Glad I have no horse in this race. Only cows. On your mark ……. get set ……. Go!