Adding Nev-R-Adjust Brakes, Replacing the Hub, Drum, and Bearings

I decided to rebuild the brakes and bearings on my Trailmanor. I wanted nev-r-adjust brakes, and I had no idea of the state of the bearings and axle after I purchased the trailer.

On this trailer the hub and drum are a single piece, which I found out only after fruitlessly trying to dismount the drum from the hub.

I raised the trailer on the stabilizers until the tires cleared the ground. I used some axle stands under the frame for safety, but they were under the frame rather than the axle. Never support trailers by the axle.
The first step was to disconnect the two brake magnet wires (it’s electric rather than hydraulic like your car brakes), and remove the old hub, bearings, and brake. I wiped off all of the old grease, cleaned the axle with brake cleaner, removed the zerk fitting and cleaned it, sprayed brake cleaner inside of the ez-lube duct to remaining remove old grease from that, sprayed protectant oil on the axle, replaced the zerk fitting and wrapped the axle in plastic wrap so that it wouldn’t rust while I did the shop part of the job.
I got a new hub/drum from eTrailer.com. It might have been possible to have a machine shop cut the old brake drum for reuse, but this is complicated because electric brakes require that the flat drum face be cut as well because the magnet clamps to that face, not just the inside of the cylinder where the brake shoes will press. Folks on the Trailmanorowners forum said they’d never found a machinist who would cut the drum face for electric brakes, and a new drum turned out to be cheaper than the machine shop work would have been. Dexter (the manufacturer of the brakes and drum/hubs) has realized this. Their new drums aren’t as thick as the old ones, because they aren’t made to be cut.

Here’s the new nev-r-adjust brake mounted, with the wires reconnected, and with the clean axle. Before mounting the brake, I shot red lithium grease into the zerk of the clean axle, until clean grease flowed out of the ez-lube duct

The new nev-r-ajust brake and the clean axle
The new nev-r-ajust brake and the clean axle

In my shop, I packed the bearings with red lithium grease, and installed them and the seal in the hub, so that I’d only have to mount the hub/drum in the trailer storage yard. I wrapped the hub/drum in plastic to keep dust out of the bearings, and put down a dropcloth under the axle I was working on to keep any dropped parts out of the dirt. Here are some shots of the hub/drum with the bearings and seal installed.

The drum-hub inside
The drum-hub inside
The drum-hub outside
The drum-hub outside

The way the brake works is interesting. 12 volts from the brake controller to the brake magnet energizes the magnet, and the magnet grips the face of the brake drum. This does not apply the brakes. As the wheel turns forward, the magnet is moved by the drum and pushes on a lever that causes the brake shoes to be applied to the inside of the drum cylinder. The wheel has to roll forward a foot or so for this to happen. It doesn’t work in reverse. Trailer brakes are only for supplementing the tow vehicle brakes and tires in stopping the heavier load of the trailer, and for helping to keep the trailer from jack-knifing.

The brake magnet
The brake magnet