There are several reasons to why you may have to replace the wheel bearings on your car. If the bearings are going bad you may hear noises coming from the wheels when you take turns - if it's really bad then you will hear noises no matter what. Another reason is that looses bearings will throw your wheels out of alignment. To check whether the bearings are going bad raise the car up and shake the wheel back and forth to see if there is any movement. Wheel movement alone is not a conclusive test - you must also look at your tie rods. If there is no movement in the tie rods then chances are good that your bearings need replacing.
Both of the front bearings in this Seville were bad and the guide will show you how to go about replacing them. Here is the bad news - you cannot buy the bearings alone, you must buy the whole wheel bearing hub assembly. I bought both sides from O'Reilly Auto Parts - the brand was Precision and each one cost around $150.
Read this before proceeding. We ran into a big problem when trying to separate one of the axles from the wheel hub. I'm guessing that the bad bearings created so much heat that it fused the bearing with the axle. No amount of pounding, heating, and pulling would separate the two. We broke two of our pullers and deformed the axle while trying to pound it out with a sledge hammer. In the end we had to find replacement knuckle and another axle.
- You are dealing with lots of high torque bolts and an impact might not always reach them. Make sure you have a way to increase the wrench leverage - use a long pipe and slip it over the wrench.
- A big hammer - 5lb or 10 lb should do.
Removing The Wheel Bearing Hub Assembly
1. Once you have the car lifted up, remove the wheels.
2. You will want to move all of the brake components out of the way. Start by removing the brake caliper and anchor plate. The plate is held on by two 15mm bolts. When the bolts are removed, swing the whole assembly back and forth to remove. Be careful not to put too much stress on the brake lines and set the caliper to the side. If the you are having problems removing the whole assembly you can always remove the caliper first by undoing the caliper pin bolts and then remove the anchor plate. Next, remove the brake rotor.
3. Remove the axle nut. Use an impact wrench or a regular wrench with a long handle, you can use a crow bar to keep the axle from spinning. Don't forget to remove all the clips for the wheel speed sensor and the brake pad wear sensor.
4. The wheel hub assembly is connected to the steering knuckle with three bolts. Two bolts are on the sides and one on top. Go ahead and remove the side bolts now.
The third bolt is on top and is not easy to get to. If you can get to this bolt and get it out then congratulations - you have just saved yourself a lot of work. For those that were not as lucky you will want to free the steering knuckle so that you can rotate it to get a better position to remove the third bolt.
5. Start by disconnecting the outer tie rod.
6. Remove the steering knuckle to strut bolts and you can now swing the knuckle out and have a good position to get the last wheel bearing hub bolt out. While moving the knuckle away you will also want to slide the axle out from the wheel hub assembly. Depending on how stubborn it is, a good hit with a hammer will free the axle. Be careful not to over do it with the hammer as you can damage the threads on the axle. Spraying some rust penetrant is a good idea. Another option is to use a puller.
Reinstalling The Wheel Bearing Hub Assembly
1. Install the new wheel hub assembly and tighten the mounting bolts to 95 lb-ft..
Don't forget the metal plate that goes in between the knuckle and the hub.
2. Connect the knuckle to the strut and tighten the nuts to 125 lb-ft.
3. Connect the outer tie rod and tighten to 35 lb-ft. To align the nut with the cotter pin hole turn the nut as needed, do not exceed 52 lb-ft.
4. Install the brake caliper and tighten the anchor plate bolts to 137 lb-ft.
5. If you removed the brake caliper pin bolts then tighten those to 63 lb-ft.
6. Install wheels and tighten to 100 lb-ft.