Front wheel bearing replacement

I have a '99 Chevy K3500 dually 4WD (10,000lb GVWR) with noise from the right front wheel bearing. No play in the wheel, but definitely noise when I spin the wheel. Sounds like a grinding/thumping noise. From the repair manual for that truck, it seems I have to replace the hub along with the bearings. Doesn’t sound too hard. But then it says to remove the upper and lower ball joints to change a seal. What seal are they refering to and do I have to change it? Removing the ball joints is beyond my capability, I’m afraid.

I have no specific knowledge of doing wheel bearings on this type of set up. But the seal is the inner dust seal - it seals the bearing from gunk. It probably should be replaced or you’ll just be replacing the bearing again before long.

Sometimes the capability lies only in having the right tools. Take a look at what the repair manual has to say about the removal. If it looks like the key is some special tool(s) you can likely get these through the tool loaner programs at national chain auto parts stores. I stayed away from front end work for a long time - normally b/c of tools. But I have recently started doing my own via these loaner tools. You “buy” the specialty tools and when you’re done you can bring them back for a full refund (greasy and all). Or keep them.

But if it is the whole procedure or safety that has you hung up then you might just want to take it to a shop.

I suppose I’d also add that if it were me I’d be having a close look at the inner dust seal. If it is in good shape and is not that old maybe you can leave it. The last time I was thinking that way, though, it seemed apparent that a bad inner seal was likely the reason I was replacing a bearing to begin with.

Thank you for the vote of confidence, cigroller. I am picking the parts up today so I can fix it this weekend. I’ve got a friend loaning me some tools and hopefully a helping hand. I have to get the truck fixed soon. In two weeks I am hauling the Boy Scout equipment trailer 600 miles for the spring break trip to Dayton, Ohio. I don’t want any trouble on the road with a load of scouts.
Thank you again. I’ll let you know how it goes.