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Old 05-25-2008, 11:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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If you start to hear an annoying grinding or whirring sound coming from the front of your vehicle at higher speeds you may need to replace your wheel bearings. Incorrect alignment, rough roads, and heavy use can all contribute to your bearing going bad. I suggest you change both front bearings at the same time. This guide shows a step by step for the front driver's side bearing, but it is nearly identical for the right side.

You will need the following:



1. A front end suspension kit. Available for loan at Advanced Auto Parts or similar auto parts shoppe
2. A socket set. I also suggest you have an extension bar for your set
3. A new wheel bearing - it's my understanding that the right and left bearings are interchangable on all the Gen 3
4. Gloves (optional, it was 40 degrees when I started in the morning)
5. A breaker bar
6. 30mm socket
7. brake parts cleaner
8. Manual for reference


In depth: The front end suspension kit is available for loan at may auto parts shoppes.



What is needed for this job are the two-prong puller and the tie-rod remover. More detail on use follows.

Step 1. To begin, secure the vehicle up on a jack stand and remove the front tire.



Step 2. Using the 3omm socket, remove the wheel hub retaining nut. If it is particularly sticky you may wish to begin loosening the nut with tires still on and the vehicle on the ground.



Step 3. Remove the disc brake caliper assembly. There are two retaining bolts, top and bottom which must be removed. Set the pads to the side, and then remove the assembly bolts to remove the entire structure. Secure the assembly out of the way with wire.









Step 4. Remove the brake disc, and turn your attention to the bearing assembly.





OPTIONAL - Step 5. While not absolutely necessary, I find removing the tie rod makes accessing the bearing's rear bolts much easier. To remove the tie rod, begin by removing the cotter pin at the bottom of the assembly.



Step 6. Remove the tie rod retaining nut.



Step 7. Inspect the tie rod removal tool.



Step 8. Secure the removal tool to the tie rod as shown.



Step 9. Use your socket to push up the tie rod. CAUTION! The tie rod will likely "jump" when sufficient pressure has been applied. Be cautious.



Step 10. Set the tie rod end to the side, being careful not to let it dangle or get hit as your work continues.



Step 11 - Back to the bearing. There are three bearing bolts that need to be removed from the rear of the assembly. Looking at the front, you can see where the bolts appear.



Step 12. Coming around back, the two lower bolts are easily accessible, but the top bolt is a real pain to reach, and your extension bar will come in handy here.





Step 13. Once you have removed the retaining bolts turn your attention to the two-prong puller.



Step 14. Apply the puller as shown.



Step 15. Using your socket, carefully apply pressure to release the bearing.



Step 16. The old bearing will pop off, and you'll be left with the inner suspension arm. Clean it with brake cleaner before installing the new bearing.



Step 17. Compare the old bearing with the replacement.



Step 18. As you can see, the bearing must be installed in a particular orientation. Imagine it as an isosceles triangle.



Step 19. Don't hammer the new bearing on, rather, carefully start the bolts on the rear of the bearing, and slowly tighten each bolt in turn. This will get the new bearing on exactly as needed.



Step 20. Reinstall the tie rod, the bearing retaining nut (and washer) and put your tire back on. Enjoy your new bearings, but be sure to have your vehicle's alignment checked as soon as possible.

New bearing cost me $65.
Loaner tool set was a $100 deposit, which will be refunded when returned. (be sure to save your receipt!)

12mm, 15mm, 17mm and 19mm sockets are needed for this job.
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Old 05-25-2008, 11:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Good writeup! Also after removing old bearing and before installing new one, where he used brake clean, take a wire brush and clean up all the corrosion and stuff in the hole in the knuckle where the bearing goes.
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Old 05-28-2008, 12:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You had it easy there. Mine were in like a press fit from all the corrosion. It was not a fun job.
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Old 07-20-2008, 09:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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This works great unless you have ABS brakes then it is impossible to remove the top bolt on the bearing. I had to remove the lower ball joint out of the control arm to get the CV shaft out to get at the top bolt. My bearing was seized in so bad that the puller would not move it. I had to chisel between the bearing & knuckle with the puller applying pressure. It was a challenge getting the lower ball joint back into the control arm. I had to use a jack to slightly compress the strut & spring. Good Luck
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Old 07-26-2008, 09:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you for instructions! I bought all the tools needed for this job but I was wondering is a wheel alignment necessary after this repair?
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Old 07-26-2008, 11:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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This works great unless you have ABS brakes then it is impossible to remove the top bolt on the bearing. I had to remove the lower ball joint out of the control arm to get the CV shaft out to get at the top bolt. My bearing was seized in so bad that the puller would not move it. I had to chisel between the bearing & knuckle with the puller applying pressure. It was a challenge getting the lower ball joint back into the control arm. I had to use a jack to slightly compress the strut & spring. Good Luck
[/b]
I didn't have that problem.

In a nutshell:
Lightly hammer the half shaft back in as far as you can, turn the wheel the whole way to the left, hammer on the half shaft a bit more, grab a 15mm short socket, roll the socket in from the back side (it'll fit in between the big thing and the half shaft), stick it on the bolt, then insert a long extension shaft into the socket. That'll get it out. Only downside is you need at least 2 15mm sockets, because you wont get that one back out until you get the bolt back in.

Mine was stuck in to the point where I had to chisel it out as well.
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you for instructions! I bought all the tools needed for this job but I was wondering is a wheel alignment necessary after this repair?
[/b]
It's good practice to get an alignment after disconnecting the tie rod. Also the previous alignment was based of the bad bearing which would give the wheel some play in all directions. Depending how bad the bearing was, it could throw your alignment off.
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thank you for instructions! I bought all the tools needed for this job but I was wondering is a wheel alignment necessary after this repair?
[/b]

You do not need an alignment.

edit: unless your car pulled before, or your tires wear unevenly.
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Old 07-28-2008, 10:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks guys,

I started working on this today and I realized that it's not going to be easy. Because I have ABS I have to remove CV joint and lower ball joint too and I realized that this can only be weekend job. So, I will get back to you in a two weeks because I'm in Montreal for a long weekend and I don't want to mess around with this few days before trip.
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Old 08-03-2008, 07:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Tried doing this on Thursday. Got the 3 bolts off with out having to remove the tie-rod. It was tough and took a couple hours of liquid wrench and alot of work but got them off. However When I put the puller on the hub unit, the center bolt (drive shaft?) pushed in and the boot behind the bearing pushes all the way back so you can't use the puller. Any thoughts guys?
Thanks, Dave
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