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Pictorial wheel bearing guide. 4WD rear.


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25 replies to this topic

#1 987687

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 02:20 PM

You will need
for wheel bearing replacement:
- New wheel bearings
- BFH
- Breaker bar
- 36mm axle socket that fits on your breaker bar
- I believe I used every size between 10 and 17
- You'll also want at least a 17mm box end wrench
- Obviously a socket wrench
- A socket extension
- Wheel bearing grease
- Inner AND outer seals
- Jack stands
- Lug wrench (I really hope one of these lives in your car anyway...)
- 10mm flare wrench for brake lines

Additional bits if you're doing the brake upgrade:
- The brake parts (TheSubaruJunkie has a really nice swap thread here <http://www.ultimates...ad.php?t=49975> So I won't go into to much detail)
- Flare tool
- Flare nuts for the new brake line flares


Start by loosening the axle nut and the lug nuts before you jack up the car.
Take the cotter pin out of the axle nut.
The nut is 36mm and on there wicked tight. I had to literally jump on the breaker bar to break it loose.
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block up the car. I don't have jack stands but an old generator stator and some 2x4s work just fine...
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Take off the wheel, loosen, and take off the axle nut, the big washer, and the cone washer.
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Take off the hub, it should just pull off, but on the left side it needed a good amount of pounding to come loose. No idea why and I probably destroyed it. I converted to disc brakes anyway though
Here's what it looks like with the hub off
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At this point you can pound the axle through a little bit, you can't pound it all the way out, but loosening it will make it easier to get the suspension arm off.
Don't pound directly on the end of the stub shaft or you'll bugger it up. Put a block of wood between the shaft and your hammer
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Now you'll want to remove the strut. The nut is welded on so just unbolt it from the inside where the arrow is.
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Now remove the 3 bolts on the side of the suspension arm. You can see I'm using a box end wrench here. These bolts did NOT want to come out on either side. So I had to pound them around. Air tools would be awesome here...
The nuts on these are also welded on the back side
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Now you'll have to remove the last bolt on the suspension arm. The bold head is on the inside (red arrow) and the nut is not welded. So you'll have to put a wrench on it.
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Now you're here' all the bolts out. Just a little pounding left and the arm is off!
Before you take it off, you should disconnect the brake line at the red arrow, but most likely it won't come loose. So just be careful with it. If it doesn't come loose, however, you need to cut the mount with a hacksaw.
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Hacksawing the mount ...
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You'll have to disconnect the brake line from the old drum brake. I didn't want it leaking all day long so I plugged it up. A little ghetto, but it did the job
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With the brake line taken care of, safely out of the way, and everything unbolted the suspension arm falls to the ground. Plop!
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Next thing I did was take the drum brake off because it makes it easier. You don't have to, but I swapped to disc brakes. So it had to come off anyway.
After taking out the 3 bolts, and some pounding the brake is off!
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Now you're ready to start with the wheel bearing!! The part that I thought was the most fun. Putting new shiny bits in!
First we need to get the old one out.
Pull out the outer seal. Can be a real hassle to get out, but you're not going to hurt anything, so have at it!
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Then pull out the old bearing. YUCK! I can see why that was making awful noise.
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Now for the inner side. Here's what it looks like before taring it apart.
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Pull out the seal.
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Next you have to take out the ring. Unless you're really special and have the tool to do this, you need to pound it around.
I used a 1/4" punch and a hammer.
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The left side came out without TO much pounding, but the right side just wouldn't budge. After some closer inspection it seems the last person to change the bearings punched the side in to keep it from backing out.
It's a little hard to see because it's all gritty and rusty, so I circled it in red
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Edited by 987687, 23 April 2010 - 02:25 PM.


#2 987687

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 02:22 PM

After tapping that out, the ring pounded out with relative ease.
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Now you can remove the bearing just like you did for the outer end.
And you have no bearings left, and need to remove the race
Inside:
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Outside. Note the lip that stops the race from being pressed all the way out the other end:
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I should note here that some bearings are 2 part, and some are 3 parts. With the inner section being separate.
Also some of the races come out as one part, and some come out as 3 parts.
I had one of each on my car on each side
The 2 part bearing and 1 part race that came out. (like the new on I installed):
Posted Image


The multi-part one that came out of the other side:
Posted Image


Now you need to get out the old race, I found that my mallet fits perfectly in the race to pound it out. Just bang on it with a hammer and a few minutes of pounding later the race popped out!
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Now clean everything up really well! You don't want to contaminate your new bearing!!

Here's the new bearings, race, seals, and grease that are going in.
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Put in the new race. One side I put in, I barely had to tap it at all and it just went right in nice and easy. The other side I had to bring to a machine shop to have pressed as I didn't want to damage the new race. It only cost $5, so not a big deal.
You HAVE to put the race in from the back side. Press it in until it hits the lip and won't go further.
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Now that your new race is in, it's time to get the bearings greasy. Put on gloves and work as much grease as possible into the bearings.
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Grease up the race and pop in the new bearing, and then get it more greasy. I started with the inner side, no particular reason.
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Next you need to put the lock ring back in, again, make sure everything is spotless. You don't want any grit getting in the new bearing!
After the ring is in, make sure pounding didn't loose any grit into the grease, if it did, remove it.
(And yes, I realize I have the punch going in the wrong direction for the picture...)
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Now you'll want to grease up the inner seal (the smaller of the 2)
NOTE: the side of the seal that is facing up (it has the groove and the metal ring) is the INSIDE. It goes toward the bearing.
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Apparently I don't have a pic of putting it into the lock ring, but it just slides in the same way the old one came out. You can use a punch to tap it in. BUT VERY SLOW AND VERY CAREFULLY!! If you force them to hard you'll break them. I did this with an outer seal.


New you'll need to install the outer seal, get it greasy like before, and tap it in. This one does NOT like to go in. And DON'T force it. Just take it easy, go slow. Otherwise you'll break it and have to make another trip to napa for a new one :rolleyes:
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Now you have successfully changed the wheel bearing!!! That wasn't so hard was it... oh wait, you have to put the car back together now ....
It's now time to put the suspension arm back on the car. First though, you'll need to clean off the stub shaft, because that's going through your brand new $85 bearing.
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Now it is time to put the shaft through the bearing. And it will require a bit of pulling. The perfect tool for this would be a propeller puller. But alas, I have loaned it to a friend and didn't have it. So... I came up with another creative method. Worked alright, got the job done.
Just be really really careful you don't damage that outer seal!
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Edited by 987687, 23 April 2010 - 02:33 PM.


#3 987687

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 02:23 PM

Once you get the shaft through, bolt the suspension back together. I didn't take detailed pictures of this because it goes back together the same way you got it apart.
I advise doing it exactly the reverse of how I said to take it apart.
The hardest part will be getting the strut back on, I had to kneel on the knuckle and simultaneously thread in the bolt.
Now you have it all back together.
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At this point, if you were keeping your drum brakes all you'd have to do is put the hub on, put on the cone washer, the flat washer and bolt it all together. Don't forget your brake line!
But I'm not keeping the drum brakes.
So I bolted on the backing plate for the disc brakes.
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Now if you're using either drum of disk brakes you'll want to clean up the part that mates up to the bearing and outer seal. Shine it up nice and make sure it's devoid of dirt. Don't contaminate that brand new bearing!
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Next put the drum hub or disk hub back on and tighten her up!
Don't forget the cone washer and the big flat washer!
Here's the cone washer, the flat washer looks like, well, a big flat washer.
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Here's the hub all bolted back on with the cotter pin in. DON'T FORGET THAT!!
The way I torqued the castle nut on is more or less the same way I got it off. Stand on the breaker bar until I can't get it to turn anymore, the jump on it until I can put in the cotter pin.
And remember, I only weigh 145lbs, so if you're a lot larger you might break something, I don't know...
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Then you'll want to bolt on the calipers.
They'll go on the same way they came off, if you're converting refer to TheSubaruJunkie's swap thread.


As a final part of the brake swap I decided to shorten the metal lines. The metal line goes directly into the drum brake, and the disc brake caliper has a length of plastic hose. So the plastic hose on both ends of the metal line has a lot of stress on it. I decided to cut the metal line to a more appropriate length.
I did this partly because it makes sense and will prolong the life of the plastic lines, and partly because I couldn't get the brake line off the left caliper. I just turned the head off the nut.
In order to shorten the line you need a double flare tool.
Posted Image


After all the brake lines are connected up you'll need to bleed the brakes. I'm not going to go into detail because it's easy and there are probably guides on here how to do it.
But a very important note whenever removing brake lines is that you never want to run out of brake fluid in the reservoir under the hood! Then you'll be bleeding the master cylinder and yuck yuck yuck. So if you lose a lot of fluid flaring a line, or bleeding just keep it topped up. Pretty easy especially considering what happens if you don't.

You are now DONE with your wheel bearing AND brake swap! CONGRATULATIONS!!!
BUT, don't drive your car yet. As excited as you may be.
First get under the car and check EVERY nut and bolt you touched.
Make sure they're all torqued down.
Make sure they're all there and you didn't forget to put some important bolt back in.
Make sure you're brake lines aren't leaking where you made new flares and connections.
Make sure the brake bleeders aren't leaking.
Make sure you have the cotter pins in the axle nuts.
Make sure you put the axle pins back in the axles if you removed those.
Before you put the wheels back on the ground grab a hold of them and make sure they don't wobble. This would very quickly destroy your new bearings.
Make sure that if I left something off this list that you check it so your car is safe.

NOW. FINALLY. You are ready for your test drive. Take it slow, make sure everything is alright, and be amazed at how insanely quiet your car is!!

After your test drive do another double check.
Check axle nuts to see if you can get them any tighter. You REALLY don't want them loose.
And also VERY important check to make sure you don't have any leaks in any connection in the brake lines you touched.


Some final notes:
The reason the suspension arm must be removed is because you can't pound the stub shaft out without either removing an axle or the arm. I couldn't get my axles off.
After you remove one arm, you do not need to remove the other. Just drop the differential and slide the axle out. If you do this, you take the gamble that you won't be able to get the race back in and the arm will have to be removed for pressing the new race in.
Then the arm will have to come off anyway.


Now you should be done! And very greasy as well ....
Posted Image

Edited by 987687, 23 April 2010 - 02:28 PM.


#4 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 02:50 PM

Looks good - the only thing I would add is that you shouldn't pack the bearings completely tight with grease like that. It needs room for expansion as it heats up - grease works at operating temp by "dropping" - that is at a specified working temperature the semi-solid grease turns to an oil-like liquid and lubircates the bearings - it also expands with temperature. With no room for expansion it will eventually either blow the seals out and some of the grease will be lost anyway - possibly comprimising the seal, or it will spoil the grease from overheating and the grease will start to turn solid from being cooked.

It's a real eye-opener to pop the seals out of a new "lifetime" greased, sealed bearing and see just how little grease there really is in there. In the case of open tapered roller bearings like those, there does need to be extra to compensate for the bearing cavity, but the general rule is that you fill bearing cavities to 1/3 capacity unless otherwise instructed by the engineer's.

I don't mean to nit-pick you too hard or anything - you've done an excelent job with the tools you had on hand. Most people don't even attempt the 4WD rear bearings and you get extra points for accomplishing the job (even if you did have to hit a machine shop for a press-job on one side). One of the hardest rules for me to learn with respect to bearing pockets and fit's between races, pockets, and shafts was how they are supposed to feel. Since the Subaru rear's are held in place with that ring nut there is not a real tight fit between the pocket and the race - as such if it doesn't go in with minimal effort then close inspection of the pocket for burrs, corrosion, and out-of-round conditions should be performed. Fileing and dressing should normally correct most issues and the race will go in with ease. Same goes for the stub shaft going through the bearings. It's not an interferance fit and as you show - a few prying implements - properly blocked - and with care taken that the shaft is centered up - should pull them right through.

GD

#5 bratman18

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 05:03 PM

Great job Chris!! Yeah Chris is a pretty smart6 guy, I went over and helped out a little, but he figured out the rest on his own, so a big +1 for doing this project!!! And great job with the pics, and write up!!!!

#6 987687

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 06:00 PM

Thanks Jason! I really appreciated the help. Both coming over and setting me in the right direction on getting suspension apart, and via text message!

I almost asked for help when I got to dealing with brakes and the bearings... But I got it all figured out in the end.

Overall, it wasn't to bad. Knowing what I know now I could do it a heck of a lot quicker!!!!

#7 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 06:19 PM

Overall, it wasn't to bad. Knowing what I know now I could do it a heck of a lot quicker!!!!


If you plan to do more of them it's worth buying the pin socket for the ring nut. I think it was like $37 for mine.

GD

#8 987687

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 06:35 PM

If you plan to do more of them it's worth buying the pin socket for the ring nut. I think it was like $37 for mine.

GD


I don't plan on doing more ... I'd rather not :lol:
But if I do end up doing more I may grab one. It would make that step a lot easier.

And about how much grease to put in the bearings, I wasn't entirely sure. So I did some searching around. I found answers ranging from what you said to pack the as tight as possible to avoid water getting in. I went somewhere in the middle, I got a lot of grease in the bearings themselves, but I did leave some air space in the assembly for expansion and contraction. We'll see how it goes ... I'd really rather not have to open them back up though.

#9 bratman18

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 07:43 PM

If you plan to do more of them it's worth buying the pin socket for the ring nut. I think it was like $37 for mine.

GD


Where did you get yours GD? I have never been able to find one!!

#10 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 08:21 PM

Where did you get yours GD? I have never been able to find one!!


I can't recall exactly - there are a number of dealers that carry them. Here's one:

http://www.shoptools...exd.asp?id=1156

GD

#11 987687

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 08:46 PM

I can't recall exactly - there are a number of dealers that carry them. Here's one:

http://www.shoptools...exd.asp?id=1156

GD


Cool! thanks for the link!

#12 Durania

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 09:21 PM

Good writeup man. I replaced the rear bearings on my 83 BRAT and I swore I would never do it again.

#13 987687

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 09:25 PM

Thanks!
I'd do it again. Now that I know what I'm doing it wouldn't be so bad.

#14 bratman18

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 07:31 AM

I think maybe this should be added to the manual!!!

#15 The Dude Abides

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 09:44 AM

I think im going to do both of mine on the back but yea there has been some debate on how much greae to use. I was told buy an old time mechanic to pack it in there tight but ive also heard and can understand about putting to much in there. The debate goes on.

#16 987687

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Posted 25 April 2010 - 08:31 PM

I think maybe this should be added to the manual!!!


That would be really cool!

#17 WCGLWagon

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 04:53 PM

I just did this job last week and an old machinist friend of mine had a great idea. You don't need to get a hub press if you don't have a machine shop nearby, or if they're not cooperative.

-All you have to do is go buy $5 worth of dry ice.
(usually available at grocery stores)
-Break it up into small pieces to allow for greater surface area.
-Put it in an ice chest and bury the outside race in it.
-Let it sit for about an hour.
-Simply slide the shrunken race into the hub.

Make sure that the hub is room temperature to allow for the temp difference.
It was one of the most fun parts of any car repair I've ever done. Plus you get leftover dry ice to play around with! :)

I'm a big fan of smarter not harder.

#18 Qman

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 05:07 PM

Pack the bearings tight and leave the space between the bearings open. Room for expansion and no worries about anything else.

The write up was very well done,


as is!

#19 Qman

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 05:08 PM

I just did this job last week and an old machinist friend of mine had a great idea. You don't need to get a hub press if you don't have a machine shop nearby, or if they're not cooperative.

-All you have to do is go buy $5 worth of dry ice.
(usually available at grocery stores)
-Break it up into small pieces to allow for greater surface area.
-Put it in an ice chest and bury the outside race in it.
-Let it sit for about an hour.
-Simply slide the shrunken race into the hub.

Make sure that the hub is room temperature to allow for the temp difference.
It was one of the most fun parts of any car repair I've ever done. Plus you get leftover dry ice to play around with! :)

I'm a big fan of smarter not harder.


Excellent addition.

#20 NoahDL88

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 06:25 PM

I'm in Seattle and have the special tool if anyone wants/needs to borrow it.

#21 subaruman5

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 06:00 AM

I purchased the tool from the link you gave and called them prior to make sure it was in stock. I ordered the tool and they gave me a refund 2 days later that they don't stock the tool.

"We are, I doubt you'll be able to find them anywhere since Sir Tools themselves don't have any and most retailers drop ship all the Sir Tools but good luck, You might get lucky and again sorry for any inconvenience."

Anyways, I found one on ebay. It looks like this tool is getting rare. I could always borrow from Noah in Bremerton, but it is nice to have my own too:)

Planning on doing my rear wheel bearings on my 84' Subaru GL. yippeeee

#22 subaruman5

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 02:14 PM

I cannot find this tool anymore. If anyone is willing to sell there tool or let me borrow one would be greatly appreciated.

I tried using the Pin Punch method and it would not budge.

I am located in Bellingham, Washington.

Thanks,

Bryan
360 two two four 7009

#23 987687

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 03:07 PM

Make sure the lip isn't staked into the groves where the tool would go. I have a pic of that somewhere in the guide.

#24 subaruman5

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 05:45 AM

Well after soaking the bearing with PB blaster and heating it up this morning and failing with a pin punch and a large hammer, we decided it was time to wait no longer and fabricate the tool.

It worked perfectly and tomorrow I will get the bearing race pressed out since it will require more force. Or I may end up buying a press.

I'm willing to let anyone borrow this tool in the country with a deposit to my paypal if you are in desperate need.

So tomorrow bearings should be all done! Finally!

Thanks for all the suggestion guys!

Bryan

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#25 987687

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 07:15 AM

What a fantastic idea! Use the axle nut socket for double duty.




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