Wheel Bearing Races

  • '95 Dodge Gr Caravan, FWD.

    - I’m doing the rear wheel bearings (drum brakes). I was hoping the races were ok - but not so (one has a bite out of it - that was enough for me I’ll just do all 4).

    - The races need to be pressed in & out.

    - So I figure I have two options:

    1) wait until the appropriate shop is open on Tuesday (its Memorial day wkend) and have someone with a press do it for me.

    2) someone knows a smart way for the shade tree to do this without a press. When I called Advance AP to ask about loaner tools the guy on the phone told me you just bang them in & out w/ a brass punch/chisel/etc./whatever. That doesn’t sound good to me, but maybe people do that sort of thing - ?

    I’m also haunted by some story my uncle told me once about using an oven in lieu of a press to install some kind of bearing or another (heat and expansion and all that).

    I always find it hard to wait.

Clean all the grease out of the hub so you can SEE the races clearly. From the back side of the race, there will be cut-outs so you can drive the race out with a large pin-punch and a heavy hammer. The new race is driven in using a brass or aluminum drift, working around the edge of the race. Keep it square going in and be sure it’s firmly seated.

When replacing a bearing, you should ALWAYS replace the race…They are matched.

Well that’s pretty much all I needed to know - I always like to get the old “yep, you just smack the S$%! out of it” kind of answer - 4 races out. Its late. I’ll clean it all up and install tomorrow.

Thanks Caddyman

This is just me, but I don’t like pounding on the edge of a bearing race.
The best method is to use a large socket, piece of pipe, metal slug, etc. that will fit flush on the entire outer surface of the race.
This allows the race to be tapped, or pounded somewhat briskly, without distorting the race.

(It can also help if you place the races in a freezer for a few hours. This will contract the metal quite a bit and make them much easier to install.)

DONT use a punch to install them. A race and seal driver kit can be bought pretty cheap at a local parts store.


LOL - I’m laughing because I put them in the fridge last night - I’ll actually move them to the freezer.

And I also decided after pounding them out that I’d rather pound them back in with a punch. I’d rather do as you suggest - something round and the right size. I have to run to the AP store anyway so I’m going to look at the kits transman suggested (below) just b/c I can’t imagine its the last time I’ll be looking for this kind of thing.


I usually use a very large socket and block of wood. I “buy” a socket from Sears, use it to tap in the race using the block of wood to keep it from getting scarred, and then return the socket to Sears. You can probably get a loaner tool from your local auto parts store as well.

Oddly enough I actually have a 32mm “loaner” socket from Autozone right now (b/c I’m also getting set to do a halfshaft in another car). That socket turned out to be the right size for the outer race.

And for the inner - believe it or not - I have a heavy duty PCV fitting that is exactly the right size and just worked surprisingly well. (No, I won’t leave any dust in there when I get to the bearings). One hub down, one to go (I just took a break).

Thanks all!

Get and use the race driver kit. Be aware that installing/removing bearing races are a job that you should be using eye protection on.