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Old 05-04-2011, 06:08 PM   #1
GingerGSR
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Default Front Wheel Bearing/Balljoint Replacement How-To

I've been a lurker on this forum for years. It's a great source of info.

Over the winter of '10-'11 I replaced the front wheel bearings, wheel studs and ball joints on my EJ Civic. I decided to document the process for my own memory banks as well as for some of the people I race with. It was suggested I post it here too. I did this with my brother who is an Acura/Honda tech. We used his Honda tools to do two sets of front knuckles. Once I'd done it four times, I fiddled around with all the tools using old parts to document to job.

We started with a couple 4x4’s, BFH, press plates, hub tool and bearing separator…
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You lay the plates across the 4x4’s to support the knuckle…
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Insert the hub tool…
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Smack with BFH…
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The hub pops right out of the bearing…
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The inner race now needs to be removed from the hub using the bearing separator and the BFH. First remove the studs if they’re getting changed out. Then place the separator on the hub at the seam with the race…
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Tighten the bolts and then smack with the BFH, tighten the bolts & smack w/BFH. Keep an eye on where the separator is lining up. It may need to be repositioned into the gap. Tighten the bolts and then smack with the BFH...
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This gets the race broke free and then you can go back to the 4x4”s and plates to remove it the rest of the way. It comes off pretty easy if the hub is clean.
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Now you remove the remainder of the bearing from the knuckle. First you remove the monster C clip...
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This is where having the right tools makes it easy. There’s a receiver cup for the bearing to press into and another cup for the press side…
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Big one on the bottom, small one on the bearing, insert in press and it comes right out…
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Once the bearing breaks loose, you may need to release pressure and re-align the bottom cup then finish pressing it out.

If you’re going to do the ball joint too, now’s the time to remove it. It’s really easy. Remove the mud guard and then just rip the boot off and clean off the grease. I used my air-hammer with a bit I ground down square to drive the old one out. Use the outer edge until it’s loose then just tap the ball joint’s stud w/BFH to drive it out the rest of the way…
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Putting one in is just as easy. I put the new ball joint in place and tapped it with a LFH so it was held in place. Then I used this tool to press it in...
Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

There’s a small cup for the “top” of the ball joint to fit in and a deep cup that fits over the entire boot and stud. You just tighten the screw and the joint presses right in. Make sure it bottoms out in the knuckle…
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That done, you can press in the new bearing. It’s just as easy as the ball joint if you have the right tools. I found that the outer race from the old bearings make a good base for pressing in the new bearing. The actual tool I’m using as an additional spacer…
Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

Make sure the bearing is bottomed out and the groove for the C clip is clean then install the C clip.

Now for the hub. I didn’t bother putting in the lugs for this pic, but this is the time to change them out. I hammered ‘em out, pressed ‘em in. No big deal. Replace the mud guard if it was removed to do the ball joint. Then press the knuckle onto the hub.

Using the large cup as a base, set the hub face down into it. Place the knuckle over the hub with the small cup on the inner race of the bearing and press the knuckle onto the hub until it bottoms out.
Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

You should have something that looks like these when done…
Click the image to open in full size.

All the tools and their part numbers are in the Helms manual. I asked HPD and looked on the web and they all are still available out there. Using just what is absolutely necessary, they would be around $150-$175 not including the press.
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Old 05-04-2011, 06:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: Front Wheel Bearing/Balljoint Replacement How-To

Welcome and outstanding! -- Link added to FAQs sticky.
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: Front Wheel Bearing/Balljoint Replacement How-To

This was very helpful as I am about to replace my lower ball joints. I noticed that you just drove yours out and replaced doing the opposite. My new ball joints came with cir-clips, do you know what those might be for?
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Old 01-22-2012, 05:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: Front Wheel Bearing/Balljoint Replacement How-To

ok say you dont have a hydraulic press. can this be done without one?
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Old 01-22-2012, 05:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: Front Wheel Bearing/Balljoint Replacement How-To

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyBoy-TAN View Post
ok say you dont have a hydraulic press. can this be done without one?

Would be a PITA!!

I had to do this on my coupe before I sold it....I just took the assembly off and took it to a shop down the road and had them press the old out and the new in.

They only charged me 35 bucks + 25 bucks for new bearing off ebay.
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:13 AM   #6
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Default Re: Front Wheel Bearing/Balljoint Replacement How-To

I did mine without a press. Just used a BFH to bang out the old ball joints and did the same for the new one (but I put something in between for installation so I wouldn't ruin the new one). It only took a couple of minutes each to remove. For the bearings I went out and purchased a bearing puller, basically a reversed jawed puller with a slide hammer as the handle. Worked really easily.
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