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Old 06-19-2012, 12:34 PM   #1
action fab
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Default DIY: REAR WHEEL BEARING REPLACEMENT... Tech Inside.

Difficulty scale of 1-10: This is a 7

There are, I'm sure, plenty of you who are subjecting yourselves to $600-$900 repair bills when your rear wheel bearings go out on your Impreza's. Am I right? Well for less then that you can buy the tools needed to do this yourself.

Here is an in-depth how to, on replacing the pressed hub/wheel bearing in the rear of a 00 GC8 2.5RS. Before I go any further I will note... this task is a bit daunting for the first time wrench-er. This will require a few special tools and a bit of mechanical knowledge. I am an ASE certified tech with a shop full of the required tools. This job took me about 2 hours to complete, start to finish, per side. If you have never done this job before or are a bit unsure of your abilities I would recommend you set an entire day aside to do both sides.

Tool's needed:
5mm allan/hex socket
12mm socket
14mm socket
17mm socket
19mm socket
32mm socket
17mm wrench
19mm wrench
flat bladed screw driver
channel-locks
dikes
needle-nose
ratchets for corresponding sockets
large and small hammers
assortment of sockets/spacers for press
bearing puller
press
brake pliers

Parts Needed:
New hub bearing
inner and outer seal
(some recommend a new axle nut, although it is not always needed.)
penetrating oil
loc-tite

First step is to raise the car. A simple jack under the rear diff will do. Remove the wheel once the car is suspended. Spray all of the suspension hardware down with penetrating oil. I like ZEP personally.

Using a 14mm socket, remove both caliper bracket bolts. The caliper can stay attached to the cast mount.


Using a 12mm socket, remove the retaining bolt holding the ABS/speed sensor into the backing plate, then gently, by wiggling the sensor, remove it and let it hang behind the lower control arm (also known as the trailing arm). You can see in my picture where I have broken it loose.


Next, you will unbolt the strut from the knuckle. This will require a 19mm socket and 19mm wrench. Once you have removed the nuts, using a hammer to lightly tap them loose, break the bolts free and remove them from the knuckle.


The lateral arm bolt... this one gets a bad rep. My car has lived in Dallas it's entire life, having never been subjected to ice or salt. With that said the lateral arm bolt on my car was cake to remove. Using a 19mm wrench and socket, break the nut loose, and remove. To remove the bolt, a gentle tap or a hammer will net you enough room to place your wrench behind the head of the bolt at the rear of the knuckle. Using your hammer again, tap the bolt free of the first lateral link then you may wiggle the knuckle to slide it the rest of the way out.


lateral link bolt free


Now remove the bolt holding the LCA (lower control arm) to the knuckle. This will require a 17mm socket and wrench.


It is now time for the axle shaft. Using a 32mm socket, remove the retaining nut from the axle shaft.


With the axle nut removed you can now tap the end of the axle to back it through the splined hub. This was another spot where my fair weather car was on my side. This can be quite the place for corrosion if your car is normally subjected to salt and wet weather. If your axle does not budge, use a pointed drift in the center of the shaft (there is a pilot for this) to beat it out of the hub. It may take a rather large hammer to do this.


At this point with the axle free and all of the suspension unbolted from the knuckle you should only have the emergence brake cable holding the knuckle to the car. This is possibly the worst (not hardest) part of this job. I hate drum brakes, and these are really small ones making the task that much more of a PIA. If your shoes look worn I highly recommend replacing them now. Also I am not going to get into the disassembly or reassembly of drum brakes. There are a TON of write ups online with detailed, step by step how to's. This alone could make a thread. Here is a link I grabbed in a quick Google search.
link

With the parking brake shoes removed, the cable can then be removed from the rear most shoe. A pair if dikes works wonders for this. (use them to pry and hold the spring, do not cut the cable)


Then remove the retaining clip from the rear of the brake backing plate, and slide the cable out.




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Old 06-19-2012, 12:35 PM   #2
action fab
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.....
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:39 PM   #3
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Here is where I had a bit of a hard time. I couldn't quite find a good place to brace the knuckle with the backing plate attached to press out the hub. Every thing I tried was going to damage the backing plate. So my solution was to clamp the knuckle in my vice then using a socket and hammer, drive the hub out. It came right out with a few solid whacks.


The outer race and seal will be left on the hub.


Now with the front seal removed, you can use a pick or flat head screw driver to pry out the retaining ring that holds the bearing in place. Also at this time remove the four 14mm bots holding the backing plate in place.


Here you can see I used a large socket to press out the old bearing.


Okay, back to the hub. Using a 5mm allan wrench or hex socket. Remove the four bolts that hold the tone ring onto the rear face of the hub. This is something you do not want to get damaged.


Then using a bearing puller, remove the outer race from the hub. These can be rented from a parts store if you don't have one. They can also be bought from harbor freight for less than $15 or at sears for a bit more.


Now, press the new bearing into the knuckle. I found that using the old bearing with a piece of plate atop worked very well at not damaging the new bearing.


I forgot to take pictures of this next step. But thankfully it is very self explanatory. With the bearing in place, reinstall the retaining ring, then the front seal. With the front seal in place, you can then reinstall the brake backing plate to the knuckle and the ABS tone ring to the hub. DO NOT FORGET THIS STEP!!!

Now with those in place lightly tap the hub into the bearing. You will notice the new bearing has a small piece of plastic inside. This is used to align the inner and outer races and keep them in place before the seals go in. Leave it there, the hub will push it out.

You can see in my picture how I supported the hub by a socket rather than the wheel studs. You do not want to support the hub by the studs because they could press out or unseat. You can also see how the upper socket is inverted, this allows for that little piece of plastic someplace to go.


Now that the hub is pressed and seated install the rear seal in the back of the knuckle, making sure the dome is faced inward to match the profile of the CV shaft. With everything reassembled you can now return the knuckle back to the car. You may notice the new bearing has play still at this point. The axle is what sets the bearing pre-load on these bearings. So, once it is back together, the play will be gone.

Reassemble the suspension in the reverse order it was removed. I recommend adding a bit of ant-seize to the axle splines, lateral link bolt and LCA arm bolt. Also a dab of loc-tite is good security for the nuts and brake bolts as you put them back together. It will help ward off corrosion and keep everything nice and tight.

I hope this helps, and if you have any questions or comments, please, feel free to reply.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:03 PM   #4
Samurai Jack
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Nice write-up, and VERY useful.
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:18 PM   #5
WeldingHank
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wow, you could get your lateral link bolt off? thats not normal LOL.
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Old 06-23-2012, 10:25 PM   #6
yellowstandard
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does the bearing having play until preloaded by the axle apply to the front also?
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Old 06-23-2012, 10:37 PM   #7
juicyj135
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Very nice write up. Just saved me $300!
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Old 06-26-2012, 02:27 PM   #8
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super bueno, thank you very much, i will attempt to do this in an afternoon soon
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Old 06-27-2012, 02:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowstandard View Post
does the bearing having play until preloaded by the axle apply to the front also?
Yes, the axle is what pre-loads the bearings. The seals and hub will hold the unit together, but the don't apply force to the unit. That is why there is play without the axle firmly bolted in place.
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Old 06-27-2012, 08:43 PM   #10
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action fab nice impact I've got the same one, people have had big issues with these from what a few snap-on dealers tell me but I've never had a problem with mine (knock on wood) also got a two year warranty on it from my dealer. By the way good write up.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:14 PM   #11
action fab
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misfits1500 View Post
action fab nice impact I've got the same one, people have had big issues with these from what a few snap-on dealers tell me but I've never had a problem with mine (knock on wood) also got a two year warranty on it from my dealer. By the way good write up.
Well I bet the Toyota salesman is going to tell you all the problems he's heard of with Subaru too. Like you, I am super happy with my Nitro Cat. Coming from a Matco 1769 this wrench is light years ahead. Liter weight, much less sound, harder hits, with less pass through shock. It's a really fine tool at half the cost and twice the perks.
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:26 PM   #12
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Props bump for the OP. I did the driver's side rear today... smooth as butta. 12 ton press at Horrible Freight for under $130 and the satisfaction of doing it myself... priceless.

Using the old bearing to press the new one worked great.
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Old 10-06-2013, 07:29 PM   #13
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Did front bearings last week. Have done the fronts a number of times on different Subies so they went in in about 7 hrs. Now am in process of doing the rears. The lateral link bolt on my 2005 2.5 RS (186k) used on the salty roads of NH and NY were predictably frozen in place. I cut the bolt between the exposed rubber on both sides of the hub and then burned out the bushings. What a chore! I would suggest that this is really the only way to do the job on a salt belt car. Luckily, the long bolt is not very hard and a recip saw blade easily fits in the space. If I had known these were such a freeze-up issue, would have occasionally moved the bolt and lubed. Live and learn. So when considering this job for a salt belt car, materials should probably always include the end bushings and new bolts.
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Old 01-03-2014, 12:16 AM   #14
streetking
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Default wheel bearing

Do I always have to replace wheel bearing after removing the hub? It's never been replaced before but I am not getting any funny noise from it. The car is an 06 STI.

The reason that I have to remove the hub is because I need to undo the backing plate and drill out the ABS sensor bolt. Broke the bolt trying to take the sensor out and now I have to drill it out and rethread it.
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Old 01-03-2014, 01:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by streetking View Post
Do I always have to replace wheel bearing after removing the hub? It's never been replaced before but I am not getting any funny noise from it. The car is an 06 STI.

The reason that I have to remove the hub is because I need to undo the backing plate and drill out the ABS sensor bolt. Broke the bolt trying to take the sensor out and now I have to drill it out and rethread it.
bearing, no...but the seals, yes
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Old 07-25-2015, 11:41 PM   #16
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Excellent write-up. Thanks for posting this. Heading to the garage now!
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Old 04-25-2016, 02:00 PM   #17
Corayant12
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Default Wheel hub

Hey everybody.
If i just need to replace the wheel hub assembly itself and not the bearing.
Do i still need to take apart all that suspension parts and brake shoes etc.... or will the hub come right off with the axel nut off and a slide hammer with hub puller?
I can see the 4 bolts inside attached to the backing plate but i just need the wheel hub out and wasnt sure if itll come out without all this disassembly
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Old 04-25-2016, 03:07 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corayant12 View Post
Hey everybody.

If i just need to replace the wheel hub assembly itself and not the bearing.

Do i still need to take apart all that suspension parts and brake shoes etc.... or will the hub come right off with the axel nut off and a slide hammer with hub puller?

I can see the 4 bolts inside attached to the backing plate but i just need the wheel hub out and wasnt sure if itll come out without all this disassembly

Fill out your profile.
We have no idea what car you have.

It sounds like you have a newer type bearing/hub assembly.
These are installed as a unit and I believe you can not buy the hub or bearing separately.

Fill out your profile and perhaps someone else can chime in.
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Old 06-25-2016, 07:50 PM   #19
SleepingWrex
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Scotty View Post
bearing, no...but the seals, yes
Seals are easy, this whole process is not. I might do my backing plates tho because of how bad they were. I should've just dished out the money for them when I had been doing the bearings
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Old 07-10-2016, 04:18 PM   #20
scrappybadger164
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Hi all... are there any tricks on removing the newer style assemblies, without the use of a big-ass-hammer? I'm trying to remove the rears on a 2015 WRX, so I can install longer wheel studs and I'd rather not beat them to death getting them out. They are seized on, even with the bolts removed.

The Subaru service manual references a special tool, which looks like a standard gear puller, that presses on the center of the axle, but I have been reluctant to try it for fear of damaging the axle/differential due to pushing, or separating the inner races of the assembly due to pulling.

Any other ideas? I briefly considered getting on the edge of the housing with an air hammer to try to rotate the hub assembly while still in the knuckle (with the bolts removed of course), but that seemed a bit uncivilized.

Any thoughts appreciated!!!
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Old 08-01-2016, 06:20 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scrappybadger164 View Post
Hi all... are there any tricks on removing the newer style assemblies, without the use of a big-ass-hammer? I'm trying to remove the rears on a 2015 WRX, so I can install longer wheel studs and I'd rather not beat them to death getting them out. They are seized on, even with the bolts removed.

The Subaru service manual references a special tool, which looks like a standard gear puller, that presses on the center of the axle, but I have been reluctant to try it for fear of damaging the axle/differential due to pushing, or separating the inner races of the assembly due to pulling.

Any other ideas? I briefly considered getting on the edge of the housing with an air hammer to try to rotate the hub assembly while still in the knuckle (with the bolts removed of course), but that seemed a bit uncivilized.

Any thoughts appreciated!!!
I used an air chisel with a wide bit from the one and only harbor freight to separate my backing plate from the knuckle after I got the bolt out. Air chisel also works well for knocking out studs. Not uncivilized at all, unless you're doing the work in your parents garage at 11:30 at night. That tends to upset the neighbors. Not that I would know anything about that...

If you need a smaller impact area than a chisel bit, cut the point off of the punch bit.
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