Wheel bearing replacement


#1

The advice given in the Sunday April 6 newspaper about whether to replace a wheelbearing yourself seemed incomplete. First, the front wheels should be chocked to prevent rolling. Second a more reliable jack than the emergency jack that came with the vehicle would be safer. Third, safety stands to set the axle on while working on the car is necessary, too. Then, the noise the in-law is hearing could be brake shoes or pads dragging on the drums or rotors. To eliminate the sound of the brakes you need a creeper to slide under the car, and a brake spoon to back off the brake shoes, in the case of drum brakes. Then you can turn the wheel and listen for a grating or rumbling sound. Third, if you can determine that the wheel bearings are bad, then you will need the brake shoes backed off so that you can remove the drum, as there will be certain to have wear which will prevent the brake shoes from sliding out easily. At this point you can inspect the brakes and see if they look like they need replacing. Then, since the make, model and year of the vehicle weren’t specified I’ll have to recommend a manual for your vehicle to advise you on how to remove and replace the parts as there are different methods and pecularities. The manual will tell yoiiu which tools are required Lastly, It wasn’t recommended to pack the new wheelbearings with new grease, that is necessary, too.


#2

This is just a matter of orientation. Some LEFT side axles (front and rear) are left-handed threads holding the bearings on. I have never liked lefty loosey/righty tighty since there is no left or right on a circle. Just clockwise or counter clockwise. To properly torque and seat bearings you got to know how to tighten and loosen. I have always stuck my right or left thumb in the direction that I want the nut or bolt to go (in or out) and curled my fingers into my palm thereby telling me which way to twist the nut or bolt. Of course I KNOW if I’m working on a right or left hand threaded nut or bolt and use the corresponding hand for orientation. This has helped me when I was working behind the nut or bolt where righty/lefty would have really busted my knuckles. Ex pre-1970 VW gearhead.


#3

There are a number of vehicles with independent suspension where bearing replacement is not for the neophyte. I think many people would give up thinking a mechanic has some special knowledge. Doing one now that requires a 10 ton press to get the $170 bearing out. Last two I did required beating on the hub assembly for two hours to remove ball joints. Wheel nut socket to do the job can cost $20 and requires 250 foot pounds to remove. I miss the old days of easy $10 bearings!