Ding ding ding, Bansil takes this one. You win 10 points! Points are redeemable for snarky comments, useless trivia, and free advice. Cash value $0.0001.
I had a very lucky day yesterday - if you can count disasters as lucky. I had a bearing seize on my trailer, which is super dangerous because the OUTER bearing is pretty much the only thing holding the wheel on. I'm calling it lucky because it was the inner bearing that went, and I pay real close attention to my loads while towing so I caught it almost instantly.
As you can see, that's the bearing race with no bearings in it. When this came apart, the wheel fell inward toward the trailer and obviously wasn't drivable. I was about 10 miles from home and didn't have much in the way of tools with me - I certainly didn't have a bearing kit in the trunk! But I didn't want to get a tow and it was only 10 miles...
I still had a good outer bearing, so the trick was to keep the wheel pressed against it so it wasn't riding on the axle itself (which would destroy it and/or the wheel). The only thing I had with me was rope, but it couldn't have been a better thing to have. It was good cotton clothesline rope so it held grease well. I wrapped it tightly around the inner side of the axle for 2-3 layers to force the wheel to stay pressed "out" against the outer bearing, greased it, and made my way home at 5mph the whole way. Luckily I made it without burning anything else up. (Remember, the trailer was still loaded!)
The axle is in pretty good shape, considering. It was hot to the touch when I pulled over but not too hot to hold my hand on so I figure it was mid-100s and I probably didn't anneal it. Its surface isn't terrible either. The hub is also usable, at least for now. Unfortunately the auto parts store didn't have a perfect match for the bearing kit - the bearing is fine but the rear oil seal is only a partial match.
Given all this, I'm going to risk another trip or two and keep a super close eye on it. I don't really have a choice - we have to be out of here in a week. Then I'll put a replacement axle kit on it. They don't cost much more than the parts to replace the hubs and bearings and then I'll know it's good to go for another long while. This trailer is 12 years old and I got it for $100, so I figure I'm still ahead of the game!