Buying a Trailer Hub Cap
Buying a trailer hub cap is one of the easiest and most economical ways to upgrade your boat trailer's appearance. A new hubcap also keeps dust and dirt away from the bearings, which helps keep them cool. You can buy a dust cap at most hardware stores and trailer parts outlets, as well as at online retailers such as Aircraft Spruce. The company's hub caps are designed to meet the demands of road use, helping extend the seal and bearing life.
You may notice that your trailer hubs are unusually hot to the touch or that grease is leaking from the bearing. These signs may mean that the hubs need to be replaced. In most cases, it's easy to replace a trailer hub, even for novice mechanics. If your bearings are excessively hot, you should consider replacing the entire axle hub. The process is simple enough that most anyone can do it, and you can find replacement trailer hubs at many boating supply outlets and tractor-trailer parts suppliers as pointed out in this helpful article.
The first step in replacing a trailer hub is identifying the type that you have. Most trailers have either a Dana Spicer or Rockwell hub, and they come in various sizes. If you have a Spicer hub, it has eight 5/8'' studs; a Rockwell hub has 8'' or 10'' studs. If you have a 10'' hub, it has two different size bearings and is a narrow spindle.
Next, if you're not using a hub with a dust cap, you need to remove the existing one. If you're not sure how to do this, ask the salesperson at your local trailer parts store for assistance. They should be able to tell you which kind of hub you have, and they can also help you locate the replacement.
Once you've removed the old hub, clean it with a ScotchBrite pad or a kitchen sponge with a scrubbing pad. You can also put a little bit of grease on the hub to keep it lubricated; however, experts recommend not adding too much. Too much grease puts too much pressure on the actual seal of the bearings and can cause them to blow off.
If you want to give your trailer a custom look, you can paint the hubodometer. A can of spray paint from your local hardware store should cost less than $5, and you'll need to follow the directions on the label. Apply several thin coats and wait the amount of time indicated by the label.
If you're not planning to reinstall the dust cap, it can be seated with a block of wood and a hammer. Experts suggest doing this before you start driving the trailer. The block of wood keeps the hammer from striking the inside of the hub and pushing off the dust cap. Some BoatUS Trailering readers have written about their dust caps coming off, which is often caused by a castle nut or cotter pin that's not set properly. Check out this post for more details related to this article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubcap.