Well everything went very well yesterday, so I thought I would share. This is a write-up of how to replace your front wheel bearings with the Harbor freight Tool set "66829 Front Wheel Bearing Adapters" $89.99.
FYI: This tool kit has been recently updated!
I opened up 2 kits at the store today, and found out they have changed the main forcing bolt. The older kit from 11/2010 had the 2 piece bolt where the hex-head has clearly been welded on. This is obvious because if you inspect the bolt where the hex-head meets the threads, you can clearly see the threads are machined all the way up to, and continue underneath, the bolt head. The updated kit (with 08/2011 on the box) has a 1 piece bolt where you can clearly see the chamfer at the base of the bolt head leading to the shaft. In addition, the threads are not cut all the way up to the bolt head (they stop just short). It looks as though US General may have listened to the complaints of broken bolts on the HF website.
The updated kit can also be easily identified because it has a black-oxide coating on it, instead of the old shiny black-painted finish. Of course the black-oxide coating comes with considerable surface rust and crunch white grit. It was this nasty-ness that prompted me to open up the next kit below and find the differences. Definitely use the ugly updated kit!
The new style bolt performed flawlessly on my nearly 18 year old junkyard knuckles. No sign of stretch or failure in the bolt head.
This first picture shows everything I was using to make it work.
- Harbor Freight kit
- 1/2" ratchet
- 36mm socket
- jack-handle (cheater bar)
- extreme-pressure moly grease (or any grease on hand)
In addition to these tools, I also used:
- pair of vice grips
- towel to protect the bolt head from said grips
In each segment, you can put the screw & bolt on either side to make it work.
It's all up to you. Probably makes a big difference weather or not your knuckles are still on the car, and what size sockets you have available to you.
My hub had already been hammered out with a socket and 5lb dumbell before this point. I used the method shown bellow of placing the knuckle on some wood blocks and pounding it downward from the back side (pic stolen from N3va3vaSatisfi3d's thread). Once it starts moving, it comes out pretty easy. One of the bearing races will come out with the hub, but we'll deal with that later:
Be sure to remove the large Cir-clip holding the bearing in before you start (this is a bitch). Mine was already out, so I don't have a picture. I've setup the tool with the largest size disk on the back side that wouldn't hang up on the knuckle while pressing out the bearing. I took these pictures after the bearing started moving out, so your disk won't sit as deep when you first mount it. I didn't have a socket big enough to fit the head of the bolt, but my 32mm hub socket fit perfectly onto the kits provided nut (yay!).
Surprisingly, at this stage the bolt never even tried to turn on it's own as I pressed out the bearing. Therefore I didn't have to put another wrench on it to hold it steady.
Grease up your screw and nut for this step.
Now these pictures show how I set it up to press the new bearing in. You definitely want the discs facing as I've shown so you are ONLY pressing on the outer race of the bearing. The inner race of the bearing DEFINITELY DOES stick out further than the outer race, and you DO NOT WANT TO PRESS THE INNER RACE! If you do, you could flat-spot the ***** inside.
This time the bolt did want to spin as I turned the nut. Since I don't have a socket big enough, I just put the vice grips on the head of the bolt (which I covered with a rag), and started wrenching. Worked perfectly. Pace yourself; it takes forever.
Grease up the Inside of the knuckle (very thin layer), the outside of the bearing (very thin layer), the screw, the nut and the washer that the nut is pressing against.
Hub & Inner Race Separation:
Sorry I didn't take any pics of this, I had already removed the inner race before I got this tool. To make it happen, cut a deep V-shaped groove across the race with your dremel kinda at a 45* angle. Once your almost through, hit it with a chisel and hammer and it will crack all the way across (I actually managed this with a flat-blade screwdriver). Then it will slide right off with a little help from a screwdriver and the head of a hammer. This video is where I learned the technique. Skip to 4:28 to see:
You can also use a bearing separator like they show in the other wheel-bearing threads in the FAQ, but I wanted to use what I already had on hand.
Here you can see I've setup the tool to press the hub (I didn't actually do this yet as I'm going to order a new dust shield). The key is to make sure your only pulling against the inner race of the bearing for this one. Otherwise you know what will happen. I also found it very helpful to orient the discs as I've shown to help center them on the hub and bearing. Don't forget to install your cir-clip and dust shield BEFORE this step.
Otherwise you'll be buying another bearing.
I'm starting to wonder if a 32mm hub-nut will thread onto this bolt...
Grease inside the bearing (thin layer), outside the hub (thin layer), your screw, nut and washer. Now go to town!
I hope this helps some folks out. You can always sell this kit when your done. And if it breaks on you, you can simply return it for a refund (within 90 days) and take your hubs to a machine shop. Not too much to loose on this one.
BTW: Here is someone who rigged up something similar from stuff around his shop: Write-Up: DIY Front Wheel Bearing Replacement