How To: Front wheel bearing/hub replacement
How to change the front wheel bearing on a first gen
The tools you will need:
Something to chock the rear wheels
33mm socket for hub nut
½ inch breaker bar
18mm offset wrench
18mm 3/8 inch socket
10mm 3/.8 socket
Lug wrench (19mm)
3/8 inch ratchet
3/8 inch universal joint
2 or 6 inch 3/8 extension
Screwdriver or pry bar
Brass or aluminum drift
Power drill and wire wheel
Some zip ties or an old coathanger
Some shop towels
Handy list of cusswords
Your choice of alchohol
This is actually a pretty easy repair. You will only need the handy list of cusswords to keep in practice instead of actually swearing at the car.
Remove any children and small animals from the area.
Chock the rear wheels and loosen the lug nuts and the hub nut. You will likely need to stand on the wrench to get enough leverage to break the hub nut loose. (I am 6’2” and weigh 250 lbs, and I had to not only stand on the wrench, but bounce up and down on it a few times before the nut broke loose.
Jack the car up and support it on a jackstand. NEVER work under a car that is supported by only the jack.
Remove caliper and pad assembly. Use the 10mm socket to remove the caliper slide bolts. You do not need to take the bolts out of the caliper, just loosen them enough so that you can pull the caliper off the rotor. Hang the caliper assembly from the strut or tie rod with the zip ties or coat hanger. Do not let it hang by the brake hose! You might need to pry gently with a screw driver to get the caliper assembly off the rotors.
Remove rotor. It should come right off after the caliper has been removed. If not, a few smacks w/ a rubber hammer might help. Be careful about using a metal hammer as you might damage the surface of the rotor and then need to replace or turn the rotor.
Remove hub nut.
Remove the three 18mm bolts that hold the bearing/hub assembly to the frame. You will need an offset 18mm wrench to get to the one on the top. These bolts are only accessible from behind the bearing. They are rather tight, so use the off set wrench to break them loose. Then you can use the 18mm socket to take them out. The top one will you will only be able to get to it by using a universal joint and an 2 or 6 inch extension to spin it out.
Pull the bearing assembly out of the frame/ knuckle assembly. You will need to smack it and beat on it with your hammer and drift. Get a prybar or screwdriver under it and pry on it until it comes out of the knuckle. A dose of PB B’laster will help here.
Take your drift and gently tap the center of the axle until the axle comes out of the hub. Again, a dose of PB B’laster will help. The bearing/ hub should now be free of the car. However, the bearing cap for the rear seal of the bearing will probably still be in the knuckle assembly. Take a screwdriver and gently pop it out from behind by tapping on the screwdriver with a hammer.
Clean the area w/ brake cleaner and take a wire wheel and a drill to get rid of the rust on the knuckle where the new bearing will seat itself.
Install new wheel bearing/ hub assembly. Put the 18mm bolts back in and snug them up with the 18mm socket and tighten them w/ the 18mm offset wrench. Put hub nut back on and snug it up. The hub/bearing assembly should be flush against the knuckle on all three points.
Put rotor and caliper back on. Tighten up the 10mm slide bolts. Put wheel back on.
Let the car down and tighten the hub nut to 120 foot pounds. Tighten lug nuts. Remove chocks from rear wheels and then take it on the road to test it. If you have been separating the above steps with the alcoholic beverage of your choice, you might have someone else drive while you ride.
Pick up your tools and empty beer bottles.
It is now safe to let children and small animals back into that area.