Possible to replace front wheel bearing/hub assemb. w/o Press?

I have an '03 Ford Focus and I am thinking of replacing the front wheel bearing/hub assembly myself. I’ve previously been able to replace the wheel bearing/hub assembly of a '96 Mitsubishi Galant, but the hub assembly was attached to the knuckle by screws. In contrast, I believe the hub assembly is pressed into the knuckle for the Focus.

As I do not have a press, my question is, do you need a press? If not, then what alternative methods can I do to replace the hub assembly?


If you don’t have a press, the only alternative is a tool such as this.http://www.foranythingautomotive.com/hubtamer.html Without either, it’s nearly impossible to install the new bearing without causing damage to the bearing.


It’s entirely possible you could locate a garage willing to press out the old/press in the new. (Obv. check before beginning repair.)

Worked for me, and the fee was quite reasonable.

You might, and I emphasize might, be able to improvise a press using the car – or better – a second car. Preferably a heavy car. Jack the car up. Place the steering knuckle with the bearing under a tire, and lower the car slowly onto the bearing. A scissors jack would be best I would think. You will still need to improvise the fittings that come with bearing press that allow the pressure to be applied to the bearing and to be pushed clear of the knuckle.

Let me emphasize that I have never done this, and upon mulling the idea over for a while, managed to press the bearing using a cheap ball joint press that I already had (around $100 on sale). Probably I was lucky. It’s entirely possible that more force is needed than one quarter of the weight of the car will provide. It’s also not inconceivable that you will end up with the bearing still in the knuckle and a flat tire.

One other thing. On many cars, the bolt in the middle of the wheel that holds the axle in place is next to impossible to remove without an impact wrench. You might want to make sure you can break it loose before you invest too much money and time in worrying about DIY bearing replacement.

You could remove the knuckle and have someone press it out. Many parts stores have the ability to press out bearings so start there.

With this particular car, a hydraulic press is the only way. The bearing is a VERY heavy press fit. A 20 ton press just barely had the oomph to do it.

You’ll need to remove the steering knuckle and take it to a machine shop. I was surprised to find that most general repair shops don’t have a press these days, but ask around.

The last post is right, you will need a press. Contact your local machine shop for the cost and when they can do it, drop it off, pick it up and bolt it back on.

Remove the knuckles and take them to a machine shop with the new hubs/bearings. They will press the old ones out and new ones in. I did it for $25 a side. Call around someone will do it.

Why is it always the RIGHT front hub? Just from turning right all the time? Does a dealer charging $470 for this repair sound high to anyone else? They want my car for 4 hours to do this.
Granny Sue in Charlotte

Your best bet is to take the knuckle to an automotive machine shop (much cheaper than a regular machine shop) and have them do it.

I’ve got a 12 ton press and with a few hub bearings that press would not even phase them at all. A friend at the auto machine shop did one for me on his 50 ton press and when that press started groaning and popping I told him I was going outside for a minute; he’s the one getting paid to risk life and limb.

As to the poster about the right front scenario that’s a matter of perception. It’s not always the right front.
That price quoted could be about right and they may want your car for 4 hours for this job but that does not necessarily mean that it will take 4 hours to compete the job.

Yes, this job does require a press to remove and install the bearings. Many times, this job also requires a cutting torch as the old bearing has a tendency to break apart, leaving the outer race in the knuckle (or in some cases, the inner race on the hub). A skilled hand with a cutting torch can slice the race out of the knuckle or off of the hub without touching the knuckle or hub. Your best bet will be to take the knuckle to an automotive machine shop or chassis shop that has done these before if you want to do this as DIY as possible.

The last bearing I had pressed, I was charged $20. to remove the old bearing and press the new one in. Any machine shop should be able to do this for you.