PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE PROCESS BEFORE YOU BEGIN OR YOU WILL BE SORRY!!!
The purpose of this write-up is to make Front Wheel Bearings relatively simple to change out with the basic tools one might have at home. To keep it slow connection & phone compatible I will try to limit the amount of pictures showing multiple angles. Keep in mind that some parts to make the tool may have to be purchased; once you have them though you will never have to purchase them again. My local shop charges around $30 ~ $40 a bearing to be pressed out (had to call them and ask them). You can probably purchase everything to do this (tool wise) for around $20.
I am not going to list part numbers or prices for anything because everything costs different amounts in different areas. All TEXT captions for the pictures will be ABOVE the picture as it should be in a write-up.
I am making this to HELP you help YOURSELF. I am not responsible if you do not do it right or have problems doing it. If you break things then it is your own tough luck, it is not my fault. The way I am showing you, I did it myself to be SURE that it does and will work. The car I did this on has been driving around now (1/1/2012) for about 40,000 miles with out issue as of this posting. Sorry for the crappy cell phone pictures, when the iPhone has a better camera to keep up with the rest of the world I may update these pictures.
Well here we go…
The first step is to pull the spindle completely out of the car and take off everything for the brakes (caliper bracket and rotor). I am sorry but if you can not do this, then I do believe replacing a wheel bearing is too much for you. If you want to replace wheel studs then you should do it at this time as well.
So, with that out of the way you will need to gather your tools. I will get into specifics and reasoning as we go along.
1.) 3 LB and 6 LB hammer (at least a 3 LB and something big to hit the bearing out)
2.) 12” Adjustable Wrench or correct Combination Wrench (Depending on what size bolt you use of course)
3.) Chisel (maybe a ball peen hammer to go with it)
4.) Socket or Metal sized correctly to hammer out Hub
5.) Socket or Metal sized correctly to hammer out Bearing (if you don’t have a 6 LB)
6.) Channel Lock Pliers
7.) Needle Nose Pliers
8.) ½” Impact with correct socket for the bolt you are using
9.) 4” Angle Grinder (or a die grinder, dremel, or something to cut metal with!!!)
10.) Anti-Seize (it is your friend)
11.) Assortment of washers/steel plate sized correctly
12.) Some blocks of wood to support the spindle (preferably some 4”x4”s)
13.) Some type of Bolt or Threaded Round Stock to use as the compression device. A 6” piece/ bolt will do. (This should preferably be 7/8”. You could use 1” or you could use ¾” or even smaller if need be. I say 7/8” because the washer fits perfectly in the front side of the Hub.)
14.) If you are not good with a cutoff tool then a file or at least some emery cloth.
If you go the stackable washer way they you will need two of each of the following: 7/8”, 1-1/4”, 1-3/4”… and only one 1” washer.
If you go the metal plate way, you will need a 3” round piece, 2-3/4” round piece, 2” round piece, and a 1-3/4” round piece. (You might be better off just getting the washers…)
This should all be able to be found at your local home building store or even a hardware store.
To skip #11 and #13 in the tools list there is a special tool kit specificly designed for this. It is somewhat pricey, but it works none the less. You can purchase it from Harbor Freight at the following link...
Step 1.) Set up your spindle in a fashion you can pound out the Hub. As you see in the picture below the Hub is defined by a red/brown ring of rust. The rest of it is the bearing then the spindle. The picture is of the back side of the spindle.
Step 2.) Set up your socket how it is in the picture below and get your 3 LB hammer ready (or whatever you are going to use that is about 1-3/8” Outer Diameter). Pound out the Hub (don’t worry part of the wheel bearing inner race will come with it).
Step 3.) After you have hammered out the Hub you should have half of the inner wheel bearing race stuck on it if you are unlucky. The next object is to get the Hub on the left to look like the one on the right in the picture below.
Step 4.) Now to remove the inner race from the Hub with out special tools is a delicate task. You could use a bearing puller and a gear puller or a press but those are all special tools most don’t have. Take your grinder and buzz off the material as seen in the picture. When you get close to the Hub shaft it will start to discolor, turning black/ blue/ purple. The part of the wheel bearing race that is more towards the wheel studs is thicker. Be sure you understand where the separation is; THERE IS A GAP BETWEEN THE HUB FACE AND THE BEARING RACE! If you nick a little bit of the Hub shaft don’t worry. Just don’t gouge it severely. You can get it close then use the chisel to break it through the rest of the way. After you get a gap take your Channel Locks and “walk it off” by turning it back and forth. Be sure to take a file or some emery cloth if you nick up the surface. You don’t want the bearing “hanging up or sticking” on an imperfection.
Step 5.) There is an internal snap ring on the front side of the wheel bearing you have to remove. This can be done with a pair of needle nose pliers (if you have a snap ring tool then great, use that instead). I like to take a hammer and screwdriver to sort of “pop” the ring out of its rusted seat; then use the pliers to easily pull it out. (Sorry, I forgot to snap a picture BEFORE I took it out so I had to take one after I put the new one in.)
Step 6.) Now is time to pound out the wheel bearing. I like to spray it down with some PB Blaster or WD-40 on both sides before I start. You don’t have to, but can if you have the stuff. I like using the 6 LB hammer sitting on the wheel bearing and hitting it with the 3 LB. You can use a socket if you like but it has to be about 2-1/4” OD to work right.
Step 7.) Now wipe out the spindle and the shaft of the Hub. You don’t have to use Anti-Seize if you don’t want to but you will want to use some type of lubricant like oil. I am in love with anti-seize and use it on everything possible. I hate trying to fight stuff if I ever have to pull it back apart. Anti-seize the Hub shaft and the inside of the spindle where the bearing sits.
Step 8 - A.) Now for the good stuff. If you take your new wheel bearing (if you haven’t figured it out yet) the outside race is one piece and the inside race is two pieces. This poses a problem when you are putting in the Hub, but we will get to that later as it is easily overcame.
If you put the wheel bearing into the hole you will notice it goes in a little bit, around 1/4” to 3/8”. This will help you get it aligned correctly. Now when I talked about earlier it all depends on what type of setup you use… this is where that all kicks in. I used 7/8” Threaded Stock. The 7/8” washer fits perfectly in the front side for pressing the Hub in. See back to the top if you are confused on what you should use. (Arranging your washers/ plates accordingly to get the desired effect.) You need the 3” diameter piece to go on the backside of the spindle and rest on the edge. On the front side you will need the 2-3/4” diameter to go on the bearing and be sure to center the washer so it does not hang up on the spindle edge while the bearing is being pressed in.
Step 8 – B.) Now get your ½” impact ready (you don’t technically need one but you will be one tired Mother EF’er when you are done if you don’t have one). Use your combination or adjustable on the other side as shown in the picture and press her in until the socket stops turning. Be sure to install your internal snap ring for the bearing. It never hurts to install a new one; depending on the condition of your old one you can reuse it.
Step 9.) --Optional Step-- Now is a good time to replace your wheel studs if you have the funds. It is practically impossible to do it after the Hub is installed in the knuckle. All you need to do is hammer them out and press the new ones in with a lug nut and some washers.
Step 10.) Take out your bolt setup and get ready for the next piece, the Hub. Doing the same with arranging the washers/plates to get the desired effect; you will need 2” to go on the backside of the bearing (keeping the inner race from falling out) and a 1-3/4” to go in the “cup” of the front of the Hub. Some say you can use the axle to do this but I looked at it and there is practically NO WAY to do it with the axle… Now take the Hub and line it up, put your assembly together and push her in like the wheel bearing. You will go until it stops.
Step 11.) Pat yourself on the back because you just did your own wheel bearing!!!
If you have any questions I will try and answer them and update this write-up as needed.