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Old 08-30-2009, 08:16 PM   #1
txl146
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Default DIY: front knuckle removal on 02 WRX (pics for newbie)

Here is link for rear knuckle removal:
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=1917942

Spent a couple of hours removing front knuckle today since suspension was making typical grinding noise associated with blown wheel bearing.

Car: 2002 WRX sedan
Hub assembly replaced on: front passenger side
Location where car was driven: NY with a lot of salt
Mileage: 91k miles

Warning: before you get started, make sure you have these tools in handy if your car has a lot of miles (new 32mm axle nut not shown). Also, make sure both of front wheels are off the ground otherwise it would be nearly impossible to put strut back on.



Rented one from autozone


Step 1:
Jack up the car and remove the wheel.

Remove brake caliper by loosening two 17mm bolts & remove brake dust cover by removing 3 12mm bolts. Place the caliper gently on anything that it can sit on.


Step 2:
Time to remove tie rod end
Remove cotter pin:


Loosen 19mm bolt

12mm bolt (ABS sensor)

Remove 2 19mm bolts on strut (top one has a washer) --> it's helpful to mark the top OEM camber bolt unless you plan to get the alignment.
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Last edited by txl146; 03-13-2010 at 09:57 AM. Reason: typo in title line
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Old 08-30-2009, 08:16 PM   #2
txl146
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Remove axle nut (32mm) --> in your case, it would be easier to remove the axle nut with wheel still on the ground (I was able to remove mine with electric hammer).



Step 3 (remove tie-rod end)
Tools need: ball joint removal tool ---> better method is to use arm puller which won't damage the boot.
Be extra careful when using removal tool as I ended up tearing the boot (as you can see in the picture, ball joint was completely rusted/fused into knuckle). Replacement tie rod end costs $45 from Autozone.



Step 4:
Time to separate hub assembly from transverse link assembly
Notice how boot is all damaged?
Since I have a spare hub assembly from 05 WRX with low miles, I really didn't care. If you plan to reuse your hub assembly (90% of the case), DO NOT use ball joint separator, instead use arm puller as shown here. It will work much better than ball joint separator!

You will save hours of frustration using this method, especially if your car has high mileage and was driven in the east coast.

In fact, I wasn't able to separate them using ball joint separator, so I had to go to autozone to rent an arm puller (spent 2 hours figuring out this method).




Step 5:
Out (02 WRX hub assembly with 91k miles) --> had noticeable amount of play!!!

In (05 WRX hub assembly with low miles)

Last edited by txl146; 02-08-2010 at 01:13 AM.
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Old 08-30-2009, 08:19 PM   #3
txl146
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Step 6:
Time to put everything back together (in your case, take the hub assembly to the shop and have them press in new wheel bearing).

19mm bolt with new cotter pin


New axle nut (32mm, $3.50 from dealer)


19mm bolt with new cotter pin


Not pictured:
12mm bolt by ABS sensor & 2 19mm bolts on strut

Optional:

here is how to remove tie rod end if you damaged boot while separating ball joint from hub assembly. Make sure to get a wheel alignment afterward even if you have counted number of treads as a precautionary measure.



Last edited by txl146; 12-19-2009 at 01:14 AM.
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:17 PM   #4
beaviscih
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Nice writeup, I could have used this when I did my swap. I removed the ball joints after pulling the hubs and in hindsight it would have been easier following your instructions.
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:20 AM   #5
txl146
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Thanks - without that arm puller I rented from Autozone, there is no way I could have separated hub assembly from control arm. I spent an hour trying to separate them using a tie rod separator, yet it still would not budge. Figured it needs something pushing from underneath, which is why I decided to give arm puller a try.

Worked amazingly well - when they separated, it created this loud "POP" noise. Scared the hell out of me.

Last edited by txl146; 02-08-2010 at 01:14 AM.
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Old 09-05-2009, 01:55 AM   #6
txl146
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One thing to add - if you damaged tie rod end, you can get a replacement one from dealer for $52 plus tax or get a high quality Moog tie rod end for $45 including tax.

Replacement hub assembly with low miles usually go for $75 - 100 shipped from any junk yards or ebay. Make sure to get it tested before committing to purchase it by asking them if there is any play in it.
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Old 10-17-2009, 10:39 PM   #7
Snowphun
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Thanks for this thread, I'm aiming to remove my noisy drivers side knuckle in the next few days and it looks just like yours. 8 years of New England winter will make it a bit of work.
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:48 AM   #8
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Nice write up. I have replaced all knuckle/hub assembly's on my 02 and it sucked. And if you have a friend with a shop press, it is eay to replace the bearings and seals.
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Old 10-18-2009, 11:48 AM   #9
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For anyone looking to replace a wheel bearing, READ THIS!


This job is also a LOT less work if you go to harbor freight and buy their bearing puller, or make your own "hub shark" from $10 worth of home depot parts. That way, you can leave the knuckle on the car, press out the old bearing, and press in the new one. Takes about 20 minutes that way.
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Old 10-18-2009, 03:55 PM   #10
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any info on how to make your own "hub shark"? Im about to do my passenger side wheel bearing as well.
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Old 10-18-2009, 11:04 PM   #11
txl146
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Search turned up:

"hub shark"

http://www.ntxtools.com/undercar/of7325.htm

$320

how can you create the tool that removes and presses in wheel bearing for $10?

Last edited by txl146; 10-18-2009 at 11:09 PM.
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Old 10-19-2009, 11:22 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REX8 View Post
For anyone looking to replace a wheel bearing, READ THIS!


This job is also a LOT less work if you go to harbor freight and buy their bearing puller, or make your own "hub shark" from $10 worth of home depot parts. That way, you can leave the knuckle on the car, press out the old bearing, and press in the new one. Takes about 20 minutes that way.
HF has a bearing puller that works with the spindle still on the car? Does it also remove the hub? Got a link?
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Old 10-19-2009, 11:25 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txl146 View Post
Step 5:
Out (02 WRX hub assembly with 91k miles) --> had noticeable amount of play!!]
How much play did the new bearing have? I just got my old one off, tons of slop. I'll be comparing it to a used one later today, not sure how much play a newer bearing would have.

Thanks.
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:31 PM   #14
txl146
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IIRC, knuckle with low mileage had nearly no slob.
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REX8 View Post
For anyone looking to replace a wheel bearing, READ THIS!


This job is also a LOT less work if you go to harbor freight and buy their bearing puller, or make your own "hub shark" from $10 worth of home depot parts. That way, you can leave the knuckle on the car, press out the old bearing, and press in the new one. Takes about 20 minutes that way.
Details? Specific to Subaru?
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:14 PM   #16
txl146
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REX8,

You should respond with more details on how to make one for $10.
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Old 10-22-2009, 12:57 AM   #17
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and that axle nut is a 32mm nut not a 23.
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Old 10-22-2009, 08:03 PM   #18
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Here's a video showing the Hub Shark in action. It looks cool but a much cheaper shop press seems like a better way to go.

The idea that anyone could do this job in 20 minutes is so outrageous that it discredits any other comments. $10 in parts? Ignoring all the work to start this job, the lower ball joint still needs to be freed which is no easy task. At that point the only thing I'm not doing is removing the tie rod end (and maybe the strut bolts) which of all the tasks in this job is pretty easy. So it doesn't save much time and then requires you to work in the wheel well instead of on a press.
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:06 AM   #19
txl146
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Thanks for the link to the video. I will soon be replacing rear knuckle - will post another write up soon.
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Old 12-01-2009, 01:33 AM   #20
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Quote:
New axle nut (23mm, $3.50 from dealer)
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y73...6/DSCN7116.jpg
the above final tightening should be done with the wheel on the car and on the ground

the procedure in the 02 fsm has been updated and revised with revised torque values for the axle nuts

and


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ioku View Post
and that axle nut is a 32mm nut not a 23.
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Old 12-19-2009, 01:15 AM   #21
txl146
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thanks for the correction... it has been updated.
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Old 01-21-2010, 12:58 PM   #22
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Just for some clarification. . .is the $80 harbor freight bearing puller http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=66829 worth the money? I'm pretty sure at least one of my rear wheel bearings is on its way out, and I'm setting up to do it. . .
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:23 PM   #23
txl146
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I am also curious if harbor freight bearing puller will actually work effectively... if it does, then I'd rather do it myself then to pay $60-80 to get new bearing pressed out/in.
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Old 01-28-2010, 12:25 AM   #24
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The http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=66829 Harbor Freight Bearing Puller WORKS!!! Doesn't quite have all the perfect fitting parts that I'm sure the OTC/Subaru puller, or even the $300-something Hub Shark does, but it gets the job done. Just finished my rear wheel bearing using it, without a cent paid for shop work.
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Old 01-28-2010, 12:49 AM   #25
txl146
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it says it's for front wheel bearing - does it really work for rear bearing?

Will it work on a knuckle already removed? or is it easier to do it while knuckle is still on the car?
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