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95 GMC Vandura 2500 Installing Front Brake Rotors Bearings The Right Way, I'm Stuck Please Help!

Hi, I’m stuck with this problem…after being in a jam with the van apart in a garage that was not my own, and having a “Mechanic,” friend “Help,” me, by using a grease gun, that was probably NOT filled with high temp bearing grease, use his grease gun to mix that in with the old bearings in their old lube, I had no choice but to put the old bearings, back together, bolt things up and drive away and put some miles on this set-up without inspecting, cleaning, or repacking the old bearings and putting them into brand new rotors with new races. I still have to drive a total of about 100 miles on them like that, minimum, including trips to the parts store before I can get in there again to set things right, if need be, so now, what to do; 1. Leave them like that? (Seems a bad idea). 2. Inspect, clean, lube/repack, put back together as is, drive on 'em if they look smooth and pit free 3. Install all new bearings and races (I like this one if the races are not a big pain to put in, HOW do I put them in the best way, I have a puller set, but NO press here, I could use the puller set cleverly to draw together maybe, or I can tap the races in, in which case do I lube them a slight bit first? With what? before tapping them in, say with a close size socket as my tapper sleeve and a light hammer ?)…I am CONFUSED as on the question of Installing New Brake Rotors on a 1995 GMC Vandura 2500 Van, with front ABS by the way, I have seen/heard 3 opinions on changing the wheel bearings; 1. Inspect the old bearings, “THESE WERE MADE TO BE SERVICEABLE,” so if they look ok, clean them with gas, let dry, clean the spindle, repack them, lube spindle, re-install them and just use the bearings again. 2. Same as #1 but do not clean them with gas. 3. Bearings are factory matched to races and CANNOT be interchanged EVER ! (That last one seems to make sense to me as a former machinist, but then again these are TAPPERED bearings we’re talking about, so perhaps the crucial point, given that everything SHOULD be at the same manufactured angle (( IS IT ??? )), is tightness of castleated nut) Knock out the old races, press/knock in new races with similar size socket, into rotors, install new clean well packed bearings, do NOT interchange races and bearings as these are always factory matched to close tolerances, only ONE bearing fits its facroty made race. I’m on a very tight budget but want SAFETY and the reliability of NOT spinning a front wheel bearing, What is the right thing to do? My main worries/questions are 1. Are these bearings and races really ok to mix and match, or should one ALWAYS install new bearings with a matching factory race / or re -suse the old bearing and matching factory race after clean/inspect,repack ? See my question is really this, do these parts actually interchange or is that a fiction? 2. Did I ruin my new races already driving for what will be about 100 miles minimum with them as installed, using the old un-inspected, improperly lubed/under-lubed bearings. ? 3. Are these GMC replacement rotors, really meant to be mixed and matched with the old bearings, IF the old bearings are in good condition? Thank You SO Much! G.

The seats for the bearing races should all be the same. So you can use your existing bearings/races in the new discs.

Every new bearing set I’ve bought come with races, if the application has them. The bearing sets are from $10 to $17 per wheel at AutoZone (in my zip code, anyway).

I must admit, though, I’m a bit confused with your post. Maybe because it’s all in one big continuous string of sentences, I’m not sure. It’s hard to figure out what you have now, and what you want to replace.

The bearings are made to be serviceable. You can remove them from one rotor and put them in another.

I would never (unless desperate), put a used bearing in a different used race. They aren’t necessarily made as “sets”, but they are made to work together (1000 bearings on this line, 1000 races on this line, toss them together in sets). Once you’ve used them for any length of time, they’ll “bed” together, and be a set forevermore.

My suggestion (if I’m reading everything correctly): Buy the bearing sets, grease, whatever else you need. Be prepared to replace them, but inspect yours before tossing them. You can always return the new bearings if you don’t need them.

I’ve always cleaned with gasoline (or something else). It works fine, as long as you’re careful to dry everything out, and let it air before assembly.


You can get a bearing race and seal driver kit cheap at any auto parts store. All you need to remove the races is a long punch and hammer then use the race and seal driver to install. If you are changing bearings always replace the races. I would never interchange bearings.


When installing new rotors with new bearing races I clean the old bearings, inspect them, and if the bearings look good I repack the bearings with fresh grease and install them in the new races. I’ve been doing this for years and have never had a problem.

It’s more important to get the bearing preload correct so the old bearings have no problem mating up with the new races.


I’ve seen a few mechanics who really don’t know how to repack a wheel bearing…They just take some grease and smear it on the inside and outside of the bearing…Packing means to PACK (or stuff). I put a small amount of grease in my left palm…then take the bearing and press the bottom end of the bearing into the grease…this pushes the grease into the bearing. There’s also some tools you can buy that do it. If packed correctly and scheduled when they should…bearings should last the life of the vehicle. I also bought a tub of Amilie full synthetic grease…Since all i really do are my own vehicles…this tub has lasted about 10 years now…And the grease is still GREAT.

Tester: I’ve never even thought about buying races alone. Didn’t even know they sold them that way. Interesting, though. I’ll keep it in mind.

Mike: That’s generally how I do it, too. I tried one of those tools, and ended up giving it away - it just didn’t do a good job. I’m also careful to continue pushing grease and work it all the way through the bearings. Small point, but he mght not get that.

DRCB61: This is all good info for you, and should help. 3 of the best here have given you good ideas, and practices they use (myself excluded).


You don’t understand. The OP purchased new rotors that already have new bearing races installed. You can’t purchase bearing races by themselves.


OK, got it. I missed that in the post. Thanks. Makes a lot more sense now. I even read that thing a couple times.