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Replacement hubs/bearings for Harbor Freight trailers


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jscherb

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#1
The spec for the HF bearings is 30205 Taper Wheel Bearings, 25mm i.d. x 52mm o. d. x 16.25mm thick. Here's a link to replacement bearings on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/30205-Taper-Wheel-...ords=30205

Many/maybe most 2000-lb. or less trailer axles have 1" spindles. I have a pair of spare Dexter 1250-lb. (each) hubs here, the bearings are 1" I.D. The spindles that came with the Dexter hubs measure 0.980 O.D.

The Harbor Freight spindle measures 0.979, which is only 0.001 less than the Dexter spindle. (25mm is 0.984 BTW). Because trailer bearings/spindles are designed for an easy slip fit, and because there's only one thousandth of an inch difference in the spindle diameters, hubs designed for 1" axles will fit very nicely on the Harbor Freight axles. In the photo below a Dexter hub with 1" I.D. bearings is on the HF axle; the HF hub in on the floor. It's a very good fit, if you didn't know the Dexter bearings were 1" and the HF axle was 25mm, you'd never be able to tell when you installed the Dexter hub on the HF axle.

[Image: DexterHubs_zpsaf28bc0f.jpg]

1250-lb. hubs can be bought complete with bearings/seal/cap/lug nuts for around $35, here's one: http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/p..._200442391. I wouldn't hesitate to use one of those hubs on a Harbor Freight axle based on my fit test.

Swapping to the US-spec hubs has another benefit, it would get you 1/2x20 lugs, which are the same as the Wrangler. The HF hubs have 12.5mm lugs.

And another benefit would be that you'd be able to pick up replacement bearings for the US-spec hubs anywhere, the metric bearings can be harder to find (and the metric outside diameter of the bearing is important for fitting it into the hub, US-spec 1" I.D. trailer bearings won't fit properly in HF hubs.


BTW, the HF 4-on-4 hubs and the 4-on-5.5 hubs both have bearings with 25mm I.D. This means that the hubs I linked to above could be used to upgrade a 4-on-4 HF axle to a 4-on-5.5. Be careful about larger tires though, because the lighter capacity HF frames have sheet metal u-channel axles, while the 1720-lb. capacity HF frame has a much stronger tube axle.

Edit: One more thing about putting US-spec hubs on the HF axles - the inner oil seals on the US hubs may not seal well enough on the HF axles, so you should check them when you're installing the hubs. Most US-spec 1" O.D. axle spindles have 1.25" O.D. sections for the oil seals, and the HF axles are 1.18" where the oil seals run (30mm), so the US-spec seals may or may seal well enough, depends on the particular seals.

Most U.S.-spec 1.25" I.D. trailer seals are 1.98" OD, which right about 50mm, so you might want to replace the US-spec oil seal with a 50mm O.D./30mm I/D. metric one for a better fit. Here's one: http://www.amazon.com/Amico-Spring-Loade...m+oil+seal

galerdude

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#2
Once again, great info!
And once again, thank you kindly for sharing!
Thanks All & Cheers!
Gale
Link to my modified Explorer Box Build Journal.

jscherb

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#3
One other thing about switching to the U.S.-spec hubs, if you wanted to run something like Bearing Buddies, they fit the US hubs but they don't fit the HF hubs (http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/N...27791&mt=b).

Southerncomfort

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#4
Those are the hubs I used on my trailer after my mishap with the lugs coming off the HF trailer. I didn't use the bearing buddies though.

Scott

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#5
Great info, thanks.

On a side note; have a thread with other info on How-to enhance a Harbor Freight frame for use under a DIY Camping Trailer
Scott Chaney - Owner of Compact Camping Concepts
Home of the DIY Explorer Box and Dinoot trailers, also Tent Topped camping

Jeepinjk98

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#6
Great info...I am in process of putting my HF trailer together now, using specs for extended Dinoot (4 x 6), would it be a good idea to upgrade hubs now and include bearing buddies and oil seals ?? Sounds like it may help reduce issues down the road.
Jeff K

Scott

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#7
If you plan on carrying backup hub(s), carry the HF as spares and use Dexter ones on it. Personally, I do not use bearing buddies.
Scott Chaney - Owner of Compact Camping Concepts
Home of the DIY Explorer Box and Dinoot trailers, also Tent Topped camping

jscherb

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#8
(07-30-2013, 01:53 PM) Jeepinjk98 Wrote: Great info...I am in process of putting my HF trailer together now, using specs for extended Dinoot (4 x 6), would it be a good idea to upgrade hubs now and include bearing buddies and oil seals ?? Sounds like it may help reduce issues down the road.
Jeff K


There's nothing wrong with the Harbor Freight hubs; installed properly (cleaned and packed with grease before use according to the instructions), they'll give years and many miles of good service.

Here's some plusses and minuses:

HF hubs:

- The metric bearings and seals are unlikely to be in stock in most places, and expensive if they are, so if one goes bad on the road it could be more of a problem than with the US-spec hub. However, you can get the proper metric bearings online very reasonably, so there's no reason not to have a few spares on hand.

- The grease cap is also metric, spares are very unlikely to be available locally. But they're a stock item at the HF store for $2.49 (on sale for $1.49 right now), so there's no reason not to have spares.

- Replacement hubs can be ordered from HF for less than $20, I don't think they come with bearings/seal/cap, and I'm not sure if they come with lugs (I'm guessing they do, although you'd have to check with HF).

- Price - the HF hubs obviously come with the trailer kit, so you don't have to spend money on new hubs.

US-spec hubs:

- Bearings are readily available in all places that sell trailer parts and many places that sell auto parts, as are the grease caps.

- If you switch to a metric seal to better seal against the HF spindle, those seals aren't likely to be in most stores, but they're also available inexpensively online so you could get some spares.

- US-spec hubs will have 1/2-20 lugs, the same as many US vehicles, such as the Wrangler. However, if you have an Asian vehicle, the HF hubs with their 12.5mm lugs might match that vehicle. Depends on your tow vehicle.

- Bearing Buddies - if you're inclined to use them, they're available for US-spec hubs but as far as I know not for the HF hubs. Like Scott, I prefer to clean/repack my bearings by hand.

- The US-spec hubs have a larger wheel-mounting surface diameter than the HF hubs, meaning more support for the wheel, although at the low loading these trailers typically run at, I really don't think it matters.

- Price. Hubs are going to run you $30+ each, plus optionally the metric seals if you decide you need them.

And finally, if you're planning on running Jeep alloy wheels on these hubs, you'll need a spacer in both cases because the center hole in the Jeep wheels is only 1.8". However, due to the smaller grease cap on the HF hubs, 1.25"-thick spacers are sufficient to run those wheels on HF hubs; 2" spacers will be required to run Jeep alloy wheels on US-spec hubs.

I think that pretty much covers it, if one or more of those items makes a difference to you then you can use that to decide which hubs to run.

Daft314

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#9
Hi there, I know this is an older thread, but I want to add some pertinent info as I tried the above-mentioned hub upgrade to my harbor freight trailer. It was a super duty folding trailer ~1200lb capacity with 4-bolt hubs. Bought the corresponding ultra tow hubs and 50x30x10 seals in order to fit snug onto the axle.

However there are two problems with this setup.

First, while the 50x30x10 fits well on the axle, it is only snug into the hub. Therefore, I have found the seal walks out after a few miles. Unfortunately it appears a 51mm seal is really what's needed. I think I may try using a few dabs of RTV sealant to hold the seal in place. What do you all think of this?

Second, the distance between the outer bearing races in the ultra tow hubs is slightly greater than the HF hubs. Therefore, the castle nuts are a turn or two less on the axles and it is a PITA to get a cotter pin in it. It just barely works with a smaller pin.

jscherb

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#10
(01-13-2017, 08:32 AM) Daft314 Wrote: Hi there, I know this is an older thread, but I want to add some pertinent info as I tried the above-mentioned hub upgrade to my harbor freight trailer.  It was a super duty folding trailer ~1200lb capacity with 4-bolt hubs.  Bought the corresponding ultra tow hubs and 50x30x10 seals in order to fit snug onto the axle.

However there are two problems with this setup.  

First, while the 50x30x10 fits well on the axle, it is only snug into the hub.  Therefore, I have found the seal walks out after a few miles.  Unfortunately it appears a 51mm seal is really what's needed.  I think I may try using a few dabs of RTV sealant to hold the seal in place.  What do you all think of this?

Second, the  distance between the outer bearing races in the ultra tow hubs is slightly greater than the HF hubs. Therefore, the castle nuts are a turn or two less on the axles and it is a PITA to get a cotter pin in it. It just barely works with a smaller pin.


When I did this 3 of my castle nuts were fine (a little tight but not a real problem) and the cotter pin in the fourth was a bit too tight.  A few swipes with a file in the castle grooves took care of that.

Silicone would be fine, but I would first try wrapping the outside of the seal with several layers of teflon tape of the type that's used to seal a pipe joint.  It's very strong, designed for sealing, and when you remove the seal for service you won't have any silicone to clean off of anything.
 
 
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