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Old 06-12-2005, 04:25 AM   #1
Hotrodguru
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Default Wheel Bearing Replacement - Guru's guide w/pics



So what was supposed to be a nice beautiful Saturday to go driving turned into a get under the Subbie and bust out the tools to wrench day. For the last month what I thought was maybe tire wear causing some road noise turned out to be a bearing going bad. It was confirmed yesterday when I took a slow turn and heard a knocking, popping, something’s just not right type sound. Not bad for 90k miles on the car with LOTS of track days. So after much research and reading I decided to tackle the job. Before you start these are a few things you MUST HAVE or at least have access to (to get an idea or picture hit up http://www.snapon.com/):

1. Ball joint / tie rod separator.
2. A nice press.
3. Bearing separator.
4. Bearing & seal drivers (really large sockets will work as well)

Alot of good info was found here on NABISCO but none of the threads had pictures nor pointed out some of the troublesome things I ran into. The Subbie manual (The PDF version I have) makes things kinda complex. After starting on the left side of the vehicle the following illustrations and photos show the order of sequence I did the right side with which seemed to go really smooth after having first done the left. Please use this thread to assist you and not necessarily as a guideline. The threads I searched and found assisted me quite a bit and hope this adds to them. If you've done this and maybe did it in a different order or with some easier steps please feel free to provide some feedback.

Guru

Disassembly

1. Well once you figure out you're going to need to replace the bearings it's best to do them as a set. Actually it should be the only way. You'll need to get the bearings, outer seal, inner seals, snap rings and metal bands for CV Boots.




2. To start like stated in the pic, you'll have to get the 1 1/4 axle nut loose. Easiest to break it loose with tires on the ground, if you can't have someone hold the brakes.









3. Remove all the standard brake items, caliper, pads, and caliper bracket. You'll need a 12mm, 14mm and a 17mm.

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Last edited by Hotrodguru; 12-26-2012 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 06-12-2005, 04:25 AM   #2
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4. Now that you've removed the brake caliper and other items, place them aside and secure the brake caliper on top (zip tie to the spring) to get it out of the way. Remove or loosen the following items (this is the order I did it in).

1. ABS sensor - 12mm.
2. Upper AND lower ball joints (picture only shows upper) - 19mm.
3. Strut bolts (leave these in loose till you remove the CV boot bands) - 19mm.








After a good recommendation by Gary S, I decided to update this pic. You have an option here, I do think it's a tad bit easier to loosen the 14mm and drop the A-arm.




5. Now it's time to remove the ball joints, CV boot bands and then removing the strut tower bolts.

EDIT - The following step (the next 2 pictures) IS NOT NECESARY to change out the wheel bearings. I removed the bands and CV boots solely to replace the grease while I was at it.






Loosen and remove the 19mm bolts that hold the strut tower to the hub.



6. Now everything’s off and you're ready to remove the hub and take it to a shop, the garage or wherever you have a press and bearing tools.


Last edited by Hotrodguru; 12-26-2012 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 06-12-2005, 04:26 AM   #3
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6. Now its time to disassembly the hub. I think it’s easiest to explain simply by referring to the pics. The hub assembly does have to be disassembled in this order.

1. Press the hub out (inside out).
2. Press the bearing out (outside in).
3. If needed use the bearing separator to remove the outer bearing that tends to stay on.








NICE!

Last edited by Hotrodguru; 12-26-2012 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 06-12-2005, 04:26 AM   #4
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Assembly of Hub

Press the following items in this order.

1. Bearing (inside out)
2. Seal (outer seal, before inserting hub)
3. Hub (outside in)
4. Seal (inner), the seal with the lip is the inner seal, lip goes pointing towards the axle and acts as a dust shield











Last edited by Hotrodguru; 12-26-2012 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 06-12-2005, 04:26 AM   #5
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Assembly of hub back on car.

This is simple and you’re home free now. Make sure to take the opportunity at this time to clean out all the old grease from the CV Joint and replacing it with some nice new stuff. I like the Lucas Red “N” Tacky #2 which is good up to 540F. Once you freshly grease it, all you have to do is assemble it in the reverse order of which you disassembled. Make sure to torque all the bolts back to factory specs. Last thing to do is to tighten the axle nut and bending it down to lock on the axle. I had someone hold the brakes when I tightened it up and that was it.










Breakdown on front axle assembly




Last edited by Hotrodguru; 12-26-2012 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 06-12-2005, 12:52 PM   #6
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Thank you kind Sir! We (me ) have been wanting to see a nicely outlined tutorial for a long time.

Couple of questions if I may- the sockets used to press out/in are common sizes- you don't recall how big the biggest one was by chance?

What's the purpose of the bearing seperator? Does the used bearing need to be seperated?

good tip on the CV grease- are the bands difficult to reinstall - how is it done?

Did you repack the oem bearings w/ any "special grease? Would this be difficult to do if one wanted to (I've seen a couple of high temp greases mentioned in previous wheel bearing threads)?

Thanks again!

Mike
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Old 06-12-2005, 03:14 PM   #7
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I'm with Mike, this is something I've wanted to see a good tutorial on for a while. I think I might have a left front wheel bearing going, but I wasn't sure it was something I could do myself.

The only question I have is why did you remove the band from the CV boot? Based on personal experience (I've replaced both my front axles in the past couple years) you should be able to just pull the outer splined portion right out of the hub without touching the CV boot itself, especially since the steering knuckle is unbolted from the strut. There should be plenty of play there. That would save you from some messy work. Or is there something else I'm missing?

And I guess I have the same question as Mike about repacking the wheel bearing with "better" grease. I seem to recall that Gary Sheehan had wheel bearing problems on his USTCC car due to the extreme heat he was putting into the brakes, and I vaguely recall him saying they disassembled the OEM bearings to repack them with higher temp grease.

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Old 06-12-2005, 03:17 PM   #8
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Yippy! I've been hoping someone would write this up with photos.
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Old 06-12-2005, 03:37 PM   #9
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Yeah, SubySpecialties out here in SoCal does the same with their bearing installs. They completely clean out the stock grease and replace it with high quality high temp race grease.
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Old 06-12-2005, 03:58 PM   #10
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Nice!

I just printed it to a PDF in case your pics go away at some time in the future.

I always wanted to buy a press, now I have an excuse.
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Old 06-12-2005, 08:08 PM   #11
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Good write-up.

I would recommend unbolting the lower balljoint from the upright rather than pulling the balljoint out of the control arm. Much less work and risk of damage by unbolting from upright. Unless, of course, the balljoint is damaged and needs to be replaced anyway.

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Old 06-12-2005, 08:14 PM   #12
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Absolutely exceptional write up.

Nice work
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Old 06-12-2005, 08:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGSKYWRX
the sockets used to press out/in are common sizes- you don't recall how big the biggest one was by chance?

What's the purpose of the bearing seperator? Does the used bearing need to be seperated?

are the bands difficult to reinstall - how is it done?
The sockets you can use will be pretty huge, I believe about 2 inches or larger. Luckily at my friends shop they work on 18 wheelers so they had an assortment of big sockets.

As for the bearing separator, well when we pushed the hub off the bearing the lower bearing on both assemblies stayed on. You use the bearing separator to clamp around the bearing allowing you to push the axle out while holding the bearing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Olsen
why did you remove the band from the CV boot?

And I guess I have the same question as Mike about repacking the wheel bearing with "better" grease.
Well I just removed the band because my car had 90k miles on it. Lots of track days and lots of standing water in Houston. Just wanted to clean it out and replace with some new grease.

As for replacing the bearing with higher temp grease. I don't know if it's really necessary but lots of people have said so. I think I was lucky to get sooo many miles on my bearings. Luckily I did have availability to a bearing grease packer (MUST HAVE TOOL if you want to do this) and went ahead and replaced the OEM grease.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GarySheehan
I would recommend unbolting the lower balljoint from the upright rather than pulling the balljoint out of the control arm. Much less work and risk of damage by unbolting from upright.
Ahhh nice...I thought about it but wasn't sure. Now I get a confirmation , thanks for the tip.

Guru
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Old 06-12-2005, 09:27 PM   #14
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OK- thanks that makes sense on the seperator.

Yeah there is just a small bolt that is removed on the knuckle and you can tap down on the control arm and the ball joint will fall out ( if doesn't you can use a beefy screw driver or small pry bar to gently open the gap so that it does).

Just googled the bearing grease packer- looks like a very handy tool (don't even have to get your hands dirty )

One other question- according to the FSM the press needed doesn't look like it has to be very powerful (calls for a low torque)- did you find this to be true?
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Old 06-12-2005, 10:17 PM   #15
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Thanks for the writeup Jay...I think I have some front bearings going bad as well.
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Old 06-12-2005, 10:40 PM   #16
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Well the only one we had access to was a 20 ton press down one. One thing I've always done is place a little grease on the mating surfaces such as say the bearing outer and hub inner to prevent so much pressure and friction when pressing items. Even with a little grease you'll hear some popping as the hub gets passed the inner and outer races of the bearing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGSKYWRX
One other question- according to the FSM the press needed doesn't look like it has to be very powerful (calls for a low torque)- did you find this to be true?
Edited the part of the write-up with big red letters where I removed the CV bands and boots. This step is not necessary and was done only because I need to change out the grease . D_REX (TXIC) recommened the edit to prevent a first timer from thinking this was a necessary step.

Guru
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Old 06-13-2005, 08:45 AM   #17
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I've done the bearings on all 4 corners, just as preventative maintenance. I would recommend replacing the factory grease.

I would also recommend not re-using the axle nuts, buy new ones. Don't torque the axle nut down with the car on the ground, and make sure you have a torque wrench that goes pretty high.

These days Subaru changes them with the upright on the car, using a couple specialty tools and just removing the axle/brake assembly .
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Old 06-13-2005, 11:02 PM   #18
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THis should be a sticky...




iln
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Old 06-14-2005, 09:24 AM   #19
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Do you suppose you could caliper a few of the critical dimensions you used on the sockets to press the bearings in and out. I would love to draw a universal set of rings/pushers in SolidWorks and have a set made.

Our local dealer hasnt responded ot my request to come and borrow his for a day to CMM and rev-eng them.
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Old 06-14-2005, 09:34 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LyveWRX
Do you suppose you could caliper a few of the critical dimensions you used on the sockets to press the bearings in and out. I would love to draw a universal set of rings/pushers in SolidWorks and have a set made.

Our local dealer hasnt responded ot my request to come and borrow his for a day to CMM and rev-eng them.
2nd that
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Old 06-14-2005, 10:21 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LyveWRX
Do you suppose you could caliper a few of the critical dimensions you used on the sockets to press the bearings in and out. I would love to draw a universal set of rings/pushers in SolidWorks and have a set made.

Our local dealer hasnt responded ot my request to come and borrow his for a day to CMM and rev-eng them.
Sure...if you can get me a set made at a good price . Just let me know which exact measurements you're looking for so I don't miss any. I'm assuming you'll need the dimensions for the hub as well seeing it's pressed into the bearing and you have to push it out.

Guru
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Old 06-14-2005, 11:27 AM   #22
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Well we'll have to see, I can at least draw up some B/P.

Hmmm... I dont really know how the bearing is pushed. I'll need at least ID/OD and other diameters that dont ruin the bearing when pushing on it. Since I've not done this you may need to give me lots of details.

Also minimum length could be usefull also.

Last edited by LyveWRX; 06-14-2005 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 06-14-2005, 03:47 PM   #23
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this is super. thanks for the great write up..i want to redo mine, and I was worried. Its not harding then the 4x4's I've owned and done this to.. heck its even easier
thanks again for the super write up..
now.. lets sticky this bad boy..
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Old 06-14-2005, 04:39 PM   #24
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Great write-up, this definitely deserves a sticky.
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Old 06-15-2005, 03:43 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LyveWRX
Well we'll have to see, I can at least draw up some B/P.

Hmmm... I dont really know how the bearing is pushed. I'll need at least ID/OD and other diameters that dont ruin the bearing when pushing on it. Since I've not done this you may need to give me lots of details.

Also minimum length could be usefull also.
I'll get you all the dimensions this weekend if I get a chance. Work has me slaving currently, haha. I'm going to see if I can go up to the dealer, have them pull a new bearing, hub and I'll measure and photograph the dimensions.

Guru
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