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front wheel bearing replacement

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Okay, next project. I need to replace my front wheel bearing.I have been told it is a tricky job and easy to ruin the bearing if done incorrectly.I not afraid to try I just don't want to waste any money.Once again any input would be useful!!! Special tools? Do's and Don'ts? What ever! Thanks

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A big hardened punch, that is if its an ea81. This is how I did mine about 4 years ago, no problems since. Just make sure you dont forget to put the dust cover back, as once its left off you might as well wait till the next time you pull it all apart. :banghead:

 

There was a way of unbolting the strut that made it very easy to pull and replace, Im not as sure being its been so long but I think it was the mounting plate bolts on the top.

 

 

Alex

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I never dropped the struts. Just unbolt at the bottom where they go into the spindle housing. I took my housings off the first time and it was easier. The second car I left them on.

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The manual says you need to have the steering knuckle removed and reassembled from the axle by a machine shop to replace the inner bearing.It doesn't sound like you guys needed to do that. This is the front wheel bearing of a 92 loyale that I'm going to replace. I don't always trust the Hayes manual.

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that Im not so sure of, But my manual ( haynes? or hayes?) said that I needed a machine shop to remove and replace the bearings. they have to be pressed out and pressed in. Obviously I didnt have to do that.

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I use a brass punch and a copper hammer so as not to damage the bearing races. Done this job a couple times now - never removed a knuckle to do it. Remove the axle, and just pound out the old ones, and pound in the new ones. Use new seals too. Autozone was the cheapest for bearings last time I looked...

 

GD

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I've tried doing it with the knuckle on, but when you start tapping on the bearing, all kinds of crap gets knocked loose and falls into the bearings. (my two cents) dp

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I’ve done it both ways, knuckle in and out, out is a lot easier (and cleaner as Dave said), and doesn’t really take much longer unless you have a tie rod end that wont let go. I don’t drop strut, just unbolt knuckle from it (like vwbuge).

 

 

When driving in the new bearings make sure you only strike the outer race, If you hit the inner race the force will transfer through the balls and may damage the bearing.

Gary

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Agreed. All you guys that just hammer 'em in make me cringe. Bad for a precision bearing. Spend a few bucks and have them done right. Take off the steering knuckle and have them pressed in.(BTW, been a machinist for going on 20 years, so I'm not just some guy spouting what he THINKS he knows;) )

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Napa machine shop said it would cost about $35 to press out that bearing.I wonder if I should make my own press with a bottle jack and a I beam frame.Thanks for everybodys input.

 

Oh ya The manual is spelled "Haynes".

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Don't bother with a press. These bearings are not 'precision' anyway. They are BALL bearings, not roller bearings, and they are freakin huge. Very difficult to hurt them with a little soft faced hammer tapping. Just pound them out like we have all been telling you and forget about a press - it's costly, and all the dealership guys I've talked to don't bother either - they use a punch too. I've done three vehicles worth of these bearings now, and put thousands of miles on this method - do as you like, but you will be wasting money if you do it "by the book".

 

GD

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i will pop the ball joint, thierods, then remove the axle. i will use a punch to knock out the bearing from either side of the knuckle(on the car). it may ba stubborn as the bearing will push the seal out of its way. rotate the knuckle around and do the other side.

 

for installation i will tap them with the axle socket to seat them, install the axle as usual.

 

use new seals because the only bad bearings i have seen had bad seals

 

it takes me no mor ethan 5 min longer than just changing the axle.(per side)

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Well it's done.It took about 2 hours to do. I went slow and cleaned all the parts. I ended up removing the knuckle so I had a good platform to install the bearing and I wouldn't contaminate the bearings with dirt. I got the Koyo Japanese bearings for $19 each and both seals cost $9 for a total of $47.My mechanic wanted $190 to do the job.I'm glad I did it myself!!! or maybe not.

 

It did NOT get rid of the clunk,clunk sound when turning.It makes no noise under excelleration going straight like it did before but still has a little bit of the clunk,clunk sound when turning. My guess is it's the axles CV joint is also messed up. I had the boot replaced about 3 months ago. My mechanic said the CV was fine.Maybe he was wrong, or I did the install wrong.

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FYI- I redid my wheel bearings. because the manual didn't specify ,I decided to use water proof grease instead of HI-temp grease.Then later I felt the hub and it was very warm. So I read up on it more and found out you want to use Hi-temp grease. No news to you guy's I'm sure. So I decided to repack the bearings again today.

 

Since I suspect the CV is bad I also replaced my axle. I got the axle for $44 with trade in at Knechts.Seems like a good deal?

 

Now with the correct grease and a new axle the clunk,clunk is finally gone!!!

 

Also this time I did a couple things different.I put the bearings in a plastic bag( to keep out moisture ) and ,then into the freezer for about an hour.I left the knuckle in the hot high desert sun for an hour.It definately went together easier this time.Plus I used a feeler gage to make sure the inside bearing was seated perfectly flush.

 

Final note. The only problem with fixing that annoying noise your car makes is. Now you can hear the next quiter noise that you now have to fix. Now on to that rattlely exhaust.

 

Thanks for everybody's input. It's nice to have a place to ask questions and kick around ideas. Kudos to you all...:)

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Yeah - definately agree on the High-Temp grease. Those bearings get nice and warm, and you don't want the grease breaking down. The friction from the brake disc's gets transmitted right through the axle to the bearings, so it can get REALLY hot when you are going down long hills and such.

 

The freezer is a great idea, although I have not used it myself because I'm always in too much of a hurry to wait on it. I've heard about that technique here before and have always wanted to try it.

 

CV's that make noises..... yes they do, but until you have experienced one that is REALLY, REALLY bad, you don't quite understand just how bad they can sound and still operate. If you don't have to pull over to check if the wheel is still there, then the noise isn't loud enough yet! Seriously - they can take a lot of abuse and a little clicking while turning is nothing to worry about. It just indicates some wear on the bearing cage inside the joint. It's when you hear crunching noises and it clicks ALL the time, not just while turning, that you have to stand up and take notice.

 

In my experience the rattle in the exhaust is nearly always inside the cat, and difficult to fix unless you weld up a new one. You can check for rocks in the cat's dust cover, but often the bolts are rusted so bad they will never come out.....

 

GD

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GD- If you used dry ice you wouldn't have to wait very long. It might work even better.

 

the exhaust noise is little rocks in the heat sheild.

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I got it from an Albertson grocery store before. A 6'' cube would last all day in a cooler.Plus it's fun to throw whats left into water for the special fx.:cool:

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Agreed. All you guys that just hammer 'em in make me cringe. Bad for a precision bearing. Spend a few bucks and have them done right. Take off the steering knuckle and have them pressed in.(BTW, been a machinist for going on 20 years, so I'm not just some guy spouting what he THINKS he knows;) )

Newbie machinist, and newbie on the board.

I certainly agree with you rickssubbie, I have cringed myself while I was "pressing in" bearings (former bicycle mechanic) with a hammer and the appropriate sized socket, I've done it before, and will do it again, if I have too, but I now have access to several presses, which brings me to:

 

I need to do the front bearings on my '83 GL, I'm only going to have this car for a few more months (I may have to cringe with the hammer in my hand). My question is; To remove the drive shaft to do the job on the car, do I need to remove the roll pin at the tranny and "press" the axle out of the steering knuckle???

To do the job removing the knuckle (not cringing, using a press), can I leave the drive shaft attached at the tranny, remove the ball joint, tie-rod, and strut??? If I do it this way, I assume that an alignment is in order as well, however, I don't like to assume anything.

 

This car is my daily driver but it's days are numbered so I'm looking for the minimal expense/downtime way to get the job done.

 

Thanks for any input:cool:

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I would remove the knuckle.You can press in your bearings and keep them cleaner that way. I think it's easist if you knock out the alxe pin and remove the axle.just make sure you knock out the pin form the small side and reinstall into the large side( goes out and in from the same side ). The axle should slide right off. I would make a mark on tranny side of axle , so you line it back up easier. Axle pretty much just slides out of knuckle side also. I didn't do a re-alignment. You pop off the tie rod end but, since your not adjusting the adjustment nut it should be fine. I used a short bunge cord to hold the brake asembly off of the strut spring. With no epics the job takes about 2 hours , that's going kinda slow and taking your time, cleaning everything, drinking a beer. I used engine degreaser to remove old grease.

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As for alignment, there is no alignment adjustment on the EA81's except the toe adjustment on the tie-rod ends. There is no need to remove them at all, and even if you do remove them, just mark the thread with some finger-nail polish, and make sure to thread the new end on the same amount. I've never had to have an alignment done on an EA81 as long as the ball joints, tie-rods and bushings are good.

 

You don't need a press for anything on the suspension of an EA81 - front or rear. The use of one is time consuming, expensive, and uneccesary.

 

If you want to follow the book and not take the advice of board members who have done it too many times to count, then by all means - but why ask in the first place then?

 

GD

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My .02 here,

 

I've done the front bearings on all 3 of the BRATs in my sig. Used a press the 1st time around on the '86. Just used a punch and whammer on the others. Reason being, it's just way time consuming trying to get the knuckle(s) set-up on the press so that everything is true and level for pressing the bearings in/out. Then you have to repeat the set-up 2 times for each side of each knuckle, once for removing, once for installing.

 

As for removing the knuckle from the vehicle,

 

I just back-off the tie-rod locknut, (just enough to release the rod end), and unscrew the rod end from the shaft. Then I undo the clamp bolts for the strut and ball-joint, and remove the knuckle. The axle is left on the tranny, and knocked out of the knuckle.

 

Takes me about 45 minutes a knuckle, start to finish, using punch and whammer method vs over 3 hours for both sides using a press.

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Thanks for all the incredibly helpful info everyone. :) I will be doing the job soon, one way or the other, most likely I'll use the "cringe and hammer" method, removing the knuckle.

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