Electric to Disc Brake Conversion

It has taken the trailer industry a while to catch up to the automotive industry, but we woke up! Disc brake conversion can bring any trailer into the current century.

When a Disc brake conversion is completed, the owner eliminates the inherent deficiencies of electric drum brakes. Drum brakes are difficult to control and are not accurate as they are prone to brake fading. Stopping a heavy trailer can be a challenge. By converting to Disc brakes, stopping time is improved by 50%.


2015 Ford F-150

For those of you considering the purchase of a 2015 Ford F-150, please be advised that the new beds are aluminum. While this does lighten the truck by 700 pounds, creating better gas mileage, the aluminum beds have posed a problem in the towing industry for those folks using Goosenecks and 5th Wheels. All towing products are steel and when used on an aluminum bed it can, in time, cause a reaction called galvanic corrosion.

The e-coating on the bed itself as well as the towing product will help avoid rapid deterioration. Portsmouth Trailer Supply has gone a step further by adding a polypropylene tape which will help create an extra barrier between the hitch rails and the bed of the truck.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 757-487-2934, email us at cs@ptrailerusa.com, or stop by and see us at 3227 South Military Highway, Chesapeake, Virginia 23323


How to Select a Brake Control

The brake control is one of the most important inventions to come to the towing industry. It allows the driver to safely traverse the countryside, towing a large trailer load, without having to worry about being pushed down the side of a mountain by the weight of his or her trailer.

Inertia- and Time-Based Brake Controls

There are many different brake controls available on the market, but all can be classified into two activation types: inertia-based activation and time-based activation. CURT offer two of each type. Th Triflex and Reflex are inertia-activated controls, while the Discovery and the Venturer are time-activated controls. Knowing the difference between inertia-based and time-based brake controls is key for best meeting your customer's needs.

Inertia-based activation

Inertia-activated brake controls use accelerometers to measure the change in velocity of the tow vehicle when braking on multiple grades. An accelerometer is basically a highly accurate digital version of a pendulum that can measure inertia on more than one axis. The advantage of inertia-based activation is that once calibrated, the control can output the perfect amount of power needed to come to a smooth stop in any towing situation.

Time-based activation

Time-activated brake controls measure the amount of time the driver's foot is on the brake pedal and apply brake pressure to the trailer brakes accordingly. The longer the brake pedal is pressed, the stronger the signal will be that is sent to the trailer brakes. The advantage of time-based activation is that there is little calibration needed during the initial setup of the control.


Bearing Protectors vs. Posi-Lube Caps vs. Standard Dust Caps

There are 3 types of “caps” for your hubs; bearing protectors, posi-lube caps, and standard dust caps. Here are the features of each to help you choose what is best for your situation.

Bearing Protectors

Even with a newly or “perfectly” lubricated hub, friction causes the hubs to become hot. With all trailers, this can cause major issues. For boat trailers, the rapid change in temperature from hot to cool during launching and loading of your boat causes a suction that draws water and debris into the hub where it will corrode your bearings and potentially cause irreparable damage to the entire hub. There is a similar issue with other types of trailers, but mainly with the ones that are rarely used. When a trailer sits unused, moisture that has built up during the “cool down” period, sits inside the hubs causing rust and pitting.

When grease is pumped into the bearing protector using a grease gun, the spring-loaded piston will move outward to indicate when to stop filling. Due to the constant pressure provided by this piston feature, there is nowhere for water and debris to go when the hubs are submerged, ensuring a longer bearing life.

Before using bearing protectors for the first time, we suggest that you do a complete inspection of your hubs and all of its components. You will want to remove the hubs and check both bearings, races, and seals. You will want to look for pitting, rust, or anything that look suspicious. Check the seals for dry-rot. If you are unsure, it is best to simply replace the seals. Clean the hubs and all components of all the old grease.
Bearing Protector

When purchasing bearing protectors, it is suggested that you also purchase a cover. The cover slips over the protector and keeps any grease that is expelled from the protector during from getting all over your tires, wheels, or trailer.

Posi-lube cap

Spindle with
Zerk Fitting
A posi-lube caps are the option directly between bearing protectors and standard dust caps because they have slight features of each. A posi-lube cap is used when the spindle on your axle has a zerk fitting. This fitting connects to a channel that runs from the front of the hub to the grease seal in the back. When grease is pumped into the fitting, it flows all the way from front to back ensuring the best coverage and protection. This type of spindle is the recommended option and is the only option we offer in all of our on-site custom made axles.
Posi-lube Cap
and Plug

The posi-lube cap has a removable rubber plug that when “popped”
out allows for access to the zerk fitting without having to remove
the cap each time.

Dust Cap

Standard Dust Caps

These dust caps offer basic protection, but can become quite frustrating after having to remove them each time to perform maintenance on your hubs. During removal you run the risk of denting or damaging the dust cap and having to replace them each time.

Installation and Removal

Before installation, make sure that your hub is not damaged or “welled out”. To install any of the options above, hold the cap in place by a small block of wood placed flat against the cap. Gently tap around the block of wood with a hammer in a circular motion evenly along the circumference of the cap. If you notice any issues during this process stop immediately as to not cause damage. Removal is a similar process. Take your block of wood and place it against the side of your cap or protector and gently tap the block with a hammer. Continue this process switching sides of the cap, creating a “walking” action, until the cap can be easily removed.


Maintaining Your Hubs

From our friends over at Dexter Axle, here are a few tips for maintaining your hubs and bearings.

Hub Removal - Standard Bearings

Whenever the hub equipment on your axle must be removed for inspection or maintenance the following procedure should be utilized.
  1. Elevate and support the trailer unit per manufacturers’ instructions.
  2. Remove the wheel.
  3. Remove the grease cap by carefully prying progressively around the flange of the cap. If the hub is an oil lube type, then the cap can be removed by unscrewing it counterclockwise while holding the hub stationary.
  4. Remove the cotter pin from the spindle nut or, bend the locking tang to the free position. Gently pry off retainer from the nut and set aside.
  5. Unscrew the spindle nut (counterclockwise) and remove the spindle washer.
  6. Remove the hub from the spindle, being careful not to allow the outer bearing cone to fall out. The inner bearing cone will be retained by the seal.
  7. For 7,200 lb. and 8,000 lb. axles, a hub puller should be used to assist in drum removal.

Bearing Lubrication - Grease

Along with bearing adjustment, proper lubrication is essential to the proper function and reliability of your trailer axle. Bearings should be lubricated every 12 months or 12,000 miles. The method to repack bearing cones is as follows:
  1. Place a quantity of grease into the palm of your hand.
  2. Press a section of the widest end of the bearing into the outer edge of the grease pile closest to the thumb forcing grease into the interior of the bearing.
  3. Repeat this while rotating the bearing from roller to roller.
  4. Continue this process until you have the entire bearing completely filled with grease.
  5. Before reinstalling, apply a light coat of grease on the bearing cup.

Bearing Lubrication - Oil

If your axles are equipped with oil lubricated hubs, periodically check and refill the hub as necessary with a high quality hypoid gear oil to the level indicated on the clear plastic oil cap. The oil can be filled from either the oil fill hole, if present, in the hub or through the rubber plug hole in the cap itself.

Bearing Adjustment and Hub Replacement

If the hub has been removed or bearing adjustment is required, the following adjustment procedure must be followed:
  1. After placing the hub, bearings, washers, and spindle nut back on the axle spindle in reverse order as detailed in the previous section on hub removal, rotate the hub assembly slowly while tightening the spindle nut to approximately 50 lbs.-ft (12" wrench or pliers with full hand force).
  2. Then loosen the spindle nut to remove the torque. Do not rotate the hub.
  3. Finger tighten the spindle nut until just snug.
  4. Back the spindle nut out slightly until the first castellation lines up with the cotter key hole and insert the cotter pin (or locking tang).
  5. Bend over the cotter pin legs to secure the nut (or locking tang).
  6. Nut should be free to move with only restraint being the cotter pin (or locking tang).
For axles using the new nut retainer:
  1. Finger tighten the nut until just snug, align the retainer to the machined flat on the spindle and press the retainer onto the nut. The retainer should snap into place. Once in place, the retainer/nut assembly should be free to move slightly.
  2. If the nut is too tight, remove the retainer and back the nut off approximately one twelfth of a turn and reinstall the retainer. The nut should now be free to move slightly.
  3. Reinstall grease cap.

Zerk Fitting Lubrication

The procedure is as follows:
Spindle with Zerk Fitting
  1. Remove the rubber plug from the end of the grease cap.
  2. Place a standard grease gun onto the grease fitting located in the end of the spindle. Make sure the grease gun nozzle is fully engaged on the fitting.
  3. Pump grease into the fitting. The old displaced grease will begin to flow back out the cap around the grease gun nozzle.
  4. When the new clean grease is observed, remove the grease gun, wipe off any excess, and replace the rubber plug in the cap.
  5. Rotate hub or drum while adding grease.