I've seen several people ask over the years how to replace front wheel bearings. I was doing another set this morning and took some pictures.

This is for how to do them off the car. They make tools to do them on the car. I tried using the "Hub Tamer" on my 1st NYG at school and the damn thing broke.

Tools needed:
Shop press (mine is a 12-ton)
Various sized blocks to stack up. Need some metal ones, but can get by with some wood ones too. You'll definitely want at least 2 metal ones for the top layer.
Various sized cylinders with different OD's. Cheapo HF impact sockets work great
Small flat blade screwdriver (95-97ish) or 13 mm wrench (97ish-newer)


Stack up some blocks to get the knuckle to sit level with hub facing down. I use the 2 arms for the caliper on one side, and the tie-rod arm for the other side. It's gotta flat spot that works good. Top ones should be metal, if they are wood, the knuckle will dig in and cause problems.

Impact sockets:

Find an impact socket that has an OD that fits inside the inner race of the bearing. Put socket in center of hub where splines are so it pushes on outside edge of hub.

Press it out. The hub will fall out the bottom. Likely with the inner race attached. This is what you'll end up with:

Pull the inner race off the hub. I use my 3-jaw puller and something to push on center of hub. I have an old idler pulley that's just got the center part. Sorry no pic.

Remove bearing retainer. On 95-97ish models, it's a snap ring. Can work it out with a flat blade screwdriver:

On 97ish and newer, it's a steel plate with 3 bolts. You can remove the bolts before or after pressing out hub. It's easier after:

Now to remove rest of bearing from knuckle. 2 ways to stack blocks:

2nd way is much easier. Make sure the plates are spread just right so they push on as much of the knuckle as possible, and allow bearing to come out bottom.

Find a much bigger socket and push it out. Sometimes they can be a biotch. This one was, but it has probably been in for 15 years. It'll probably groan and pop but it'll work it's way out.

Here's what your old bearing will probably look like. Occasionally the inner race won't stay on hub, I've had it happen maybe 1-2 times. Usually it comes out like this.

Bearing is out. SAVE THESE PIECES.


Installation is much easier on the press. Take some blocks and stack them up so you can lay knuckle down on them level. Put new bearing in bore. Take old bearing and put on the new bearing with the exposed balls down. This ensures you will push on only the outer race. You NEVER want to press in any way that would push the ball bearings inside against their races. You'll have a noisy bearing right away. Since this step is pushing the outer race into the knuckle, you want to only push on the outer race. Using old bearing ensures you are only pushing on outer race of new bearing. Who cares what you do to old one, it's junk already.

This side down

Press it in. Watch carefully and watch to make sure it goes in straight. Once it's started, it usually goes in easy. If it starts to go crooked, release pressure and move it around so you push on the high side till it goes in straight. Should look like this when done. You'll know it's in when the press stops moving. If you are fancy enough to have a gauge, the needle will go up.

Reinstall retainer. Either the bolt on ring, or the snap ring. Make sure to clock the bolt-on ring properly. There is a slot cut out that matches a slot on knuckle for easy wheel stud removal/install later if needed.

Now time to press in the hub. Same goes as above for the races. The hub will be pressed into the inner race. If you just toss the hub on and press without supporting the inner race, you'll have a noisy bearing. Find something that's the same size as the inner race. What's that? The old inner race is the exact same size? Good thing you saved it.

Put on plate like this:

Put knuckle on it. Look to make sure the whole knuckle is being held up by the inner race:

Now put hub in bearing. Big socket that fits inside hole by splines.

Put some pressure on the socket. Check to be sure you are supporting the inner race properly. You should be able to move the knuckle back and forth with ease. (I took pics after it was already pressed in. There is still pressure on hub, I can rotate the knuckle easily back and forth).

Press it in, should look like this:

You are done, put it back on the car.

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Article submitted on 2 Mar 2015
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