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How To: Wheel Bearings (front)


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#1 techboy

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 11:29 PM

I did a search through the various FAQ's and some other places and didn't see a how-to on this topic so I figured I'd write one up.  Mods, if deemed valuable feel free to move it wherever, as I'm posting this in the BS section for now.

Wheel bearings is a pretty basic job for most, but if you've never done it before - it might be new.  This is a step-by-step guide.  Shouldn't take you more than 30 minutes per side (1 hour total) and only requires very basic tools.  We'll assume the car is up and the wheels are off.  My photos show the whole strut housing removed, but you can do this on the car as well.

First, use a flathead screwdriver to pop the hub cover off.  It's only pressed in, it should b pop right off.

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You might be greeted by a bunch of nasty old grease right away.  Go ahead and wipe that off and clean things up a bit.  You should find a cotter pin.  Bend it back straight with needle nose pliers and pull it out.

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There will be a retaining cap over the nut, Remove.

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You will see a nut underneath.  I forget offhand, I think it was a 22mm.

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Once you remove the nut there will be a large washer underneath.  Remove that as well.

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Believe it or not, you are already ready to remove the hub assembly.  It should slide off the spindle and you should be able to set it on your workbench.  Here it is on my bench.

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The spindle on your strut housing will probably look something like this.  Back to that later.

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Next remove the small outer bearing that sitting right on top.  It will lift right out with your fingers.

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Flip over your hub.  You will see an oil seal, and another inner bearing sitting just underneath.

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First, we have to remove the oil seal.  You won't (or shouldn't) be reusing it, so use whatever method you want to get it out.  I started with a seal remover and didn't have much luck.  I ended up just using nippers to cut it and it popped right out.

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Once the oil seal is removed you will have access to the inner wheel bearing.

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At this point you want to grab some rags and clean things up a bit.  Clean out the races on both sides of the hub really good and inspect.  Make sure there is no pitting, damage, or what have you.  If there is, you'll need to pull the races and replace them as well.  Mine still looked good, so I didn't bother.

There will probably be some excess grease floating around in the hollow interior or the hub. Mine was still red in color and wasn't all nasty, so I left it go.  I'm guessing the bearings have previously been serviced in this car at some point.   If yours is nasty, or really jammed packed with grease I'd recommend getting that outta there.

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Now for the new stuff.  This what you need part number wise.  You need 2 of everything.  I got all mine through Rock Auto.

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I started with the larger inner bearing and dropped that in the grease packer.  You can also pack the bearings by hand.

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On a grease packer, you just push down till grease passes through the bearing.  You can see the grease coming out of the bearings below

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Pre-lube the race with grease and drop the new bearing in place.  Then install the new oil seal.  Use a large impact socket and a soft mallet to tap into place, making sure it's level with the surface of the hub.

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Flip the hub back over, lube the race on that side with fresh grease.  Pack the smaller bearing with grease, and then drop it into place.

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1988 Starion ESi-R ... crushed by a tree 10/31/11 - back from the dead 8/2016
1988 Conquest TSi ... current driver - sold to Bigjoe 6/2016
1987 Conquest Flatty ... F/S thread - sold 8/2014
1987 Conquest TSi ... parts car - sold to Coldscrip 12/2011
1999 Eclipse 4G63 ... heavily modified.
Feeback Thread | Motor rebuild thread | Restoration thread

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#2 techboy

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Posted 20 May 2020 - 11:34 PM

You're now ready to put the hub back on the spindle.  (I'm installing these on new strut housings I had powdercoated).

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Apply a generous amount of grease to the spindle.  NOTE: If you took your brake dust shields off for some reason, now is the time to put them back on.  Once the hub is installed you can't get them back on.

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Gently slide the hub back in place on the spindle.

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Replace the large washer and nut. Torque to 14lbs, back off to 0, and the re-torque to 4lbs. (per FSM).

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Put the retaining cap back on and slide your cotter pin back through.

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Wrap up by tapping the hub cover back in place.  It's a good time to get a wire wheel and clean the hub up a bit too.

Other than that, you're done.  Repeat on the other side.

Good luck.

Edited by techboy, 20 May 2020 - 11:39 PM.

1988 Starion ESi-R ... crushed by a tree 10/31/11 - back from the dead 8/2016
1988 Conquest TSi ... current driver - sold to Bigjoe 6/2016
1987 Conquest Flatty ... F/S thread - sold 8/2014
1987 Conquest TSi ... parts car - sold to Coldscrip 12/2011
1999 Eclipse 4G63 ... heavily modified.
Feeback Thread | Motor rebuild thread | Restoration thread

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#3 croquest87

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Posted 21 May 2020 - 02:00 PM

Very nice.

#4 importwarrior

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 08:59 AM

move to FAQ?

what is the proper torque spec?

what do you recommend when tightening down the nut?

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#5 Funky Phil

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 09:15 AM

View Postimportwarrior, on 22 May 2020 - 08:59 AM, said:

move to FAQ?

what is the proper torque spec?

what do you recommend when tightening down the nut?

14ftlb loosen, then 4ftlb

Tech Boy,
Did you not change the bearing races?
You probably did but for anyone else, once you pull the ball bearings, clean out the grease, you can see through to the backside of the opposite bearing. There are 2 gaps that allow you to hit the old race out directly with a tool of choice.

Edited by Funky Phil, 22 May 2020 - 09:20 AM.

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#6 techboy

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Posted 28 May 2020 - 04:44 PM

View Postimportwarrior, on 22 May 2020 - 08:59 AM, said:

move to FAQ?

what is the proper torque spec?

what do you recommend when tightening down the nut?

As Phil said below, as per the FSM the torque spec is tighten to 14 ft-lbs, back off to 0, and then tighten to 4 ft-lbs.  It's not much.

View PostFunky Phil, on 22 May 2020 - 09:15 AM, said:

14ftlb loosen, then 4ftlb

Tech Boy,
Did you not change the bearing races?
You probably did but for anyone else, once you pull the ball bearings, clean out the grease, you can see through to the backside of the opposite bearing. There are 2 gaps that allow you to hit the old race out directly with a tool of choice.

Funky Phil - as I said in my write-up I chose NOT to replace the races.  I inspected mine and didn't see any pitting or damage and so I left them in.  You are absolutely correct though - the way hub is designed it's nice and easy to whack them out from the backside if you wanted to replace them.

Edited by techboy, 28 May 2020 - 04:45 PM.

1988 Starion ESi-R ... crushed by a tree 10/31/11 - back from the dead 8/2016
1988 Conquest TSi ... current driver - sold to Bigjoe 6/2016
1987 Conquest Flatty ... F/S thread - sold 8/2014
1987 Conquest TSi ... parts car - sold to Coldscrip 12/2011
1999 Eclipse 4G63 ... heavily modified.
Feeback Thread | Motor rebuild thread | Restoration thread

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