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Can Hub and Brake Drum Be Replaced with Idler Hub on Tandem Axle Trailer

Question:

I have a tandem Lamar trailer with one brake axle and one idler axle. I don’t need the brakes as the wires were cut and disabled before I bought the trailer. Im doing the wheel bearings maintenance and the brake back plates rattle from loose parts. Can I replace the entire hub assembly with an idler hub or can I remove the back plates and re-use the brake drum hub on the same axle ? Or does the back plate have to remain ?

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Expert Reply:

The short answer to both of your questions is yes. You can remove the backing plate or brake assembly and use the existing hub with integrated drum by itself, or, you can simply replace it with an idler hub.

Based on the photos, I would suggest carefully inspecting your hubs/drums, looking for any scoring both the armature and the shoe surface. I've linked a video at the bottom of the page that will show you the process in detail. If you find any abnormalities, your best bet is to replace the hub. You'll need to either find the inner and outer bearing and seal numbers or measure the portion of the spindle on which they ride. This is the information needed to identify a compatible replacement hub.

The most commonly seen spindle on a 3,500 lb axle is a #84 spindle which uses a hub like # 84545BX, with an L68149 inner bearing, L44649 outer bearing, and 58846 seal.

There is nothing that would prevent you from replacing a hub/drum assembly with an idler hub assembly and vice versa. However, if the trailer was once equipped with electric brakes, there is a good reason for it. In the US, brakes are required on all wheels for all trailers with a gross weight over 3,000 pounds - check your local laws as regulations can vary from state to state.

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