Originally Posted by Muskie
Does the pic give you any indication of needing replacement? Can you by glance know if it would be a no-brainer to replace, or if seemingly solid just be replaced using the precautionary principle?
I am very new to trailers and have little mechanic experience.
The axle itself has no moving parts and never wears out. It could be bent in an accident.
The wear parts are the brakes, the bearings and the springs.
You can visually inspect the axle to see if it is bent or the wheels are cockeyed.
Inspect the springs for broken leaves. They should have a slight curve to them. If they are not broken, bent, or flattened out they are ok. Although, they will work smoother if you take them apart, clean out the rust and put some grease in between.
You have to remove the brake drum to inspect the brakes. This is best done by taking off the wheel, drum and hub as an assembly. Clean the bearings and inspect for wear, rust or galling. If everything is smooth and shiny they can be packed with fresh grease and reused. You should put in a new grease seal when you repack the bearings. New bearings and seals can be bought from Peterborough Bearing or any bearing supply place. The hub and bearing is basically the same as the front wheel on a rear drive car or pickup truck. Any auto mechanic should be familiar with them.
Drum brakes are the same as used on cars except they are electrically actuated. Inspect shoes for wear, or for lining separating from the shoe. The parts, springs etc should be free to move and not too rusty. Brake drums can get worn and rutted, if the shoes are good slight scoring is nothing to worry about but if you replace the shoes the drums should be turned if they are not smooth.
There is an electromagnet on a lever. It wears against a flat plate in the drum. If the magnet is worn down too far it must be replaced. Inspect the wire for wear, fraying, or cracking insulation. If you apply 12volts to the brakes they should lock up and skid the tires. For proper use you need a brake controller in your tow vehicle.
It may be possible to clean, inspect and lube the brakes and bearings. If they are in good shape go ahead and use them. But if the brakes and bearings are worn out it is better and cheaper to buy a whole new brake assembly, about $80.
Any good auto mechanic can service inspect and repair your brakes and bearings.