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tczx3 01-10-2010 06:20 PM

tczx3's complete how-to on front wheel bearing replacement
Had to replace the front wheel bearings on my son's SVT so I figured I'd how-to the process!

Note: tczx3 assumes no responsibilitiy for injury or damage while using this info!!

This is probably not for your average do-it-yourselfer as there are a few special tools required and this would be a challenge in the driveway but I don't want to discount anyones mechanical ability.

First securely position car on jack stands and remove front wheel(s). We did both sides since both wheels went the same 165,000 miles but only the drivers side was bad. I figure if you're in there doin one side might as well do both. From here out we'll discuss one side only, but obviously the same for both sides.

Remove brake caliper. 15mm bolts hold the caliper to the knuckle. Turning the wheel full lock to the outside will help with access to the bolts. Set caliper assy on suitable stand to prevent damage to brake hose. Milk crate works well!

Remove tie rod end. Nut is 15mm as well. Remove nut and use ball joint remover tool to pop ball joint out of knuckle.

Remove lower control arm ball joint pinch bolt. The nut is 15mm and the torx head is a T50. You probably won't need to use the torx to hold the bolt to remove the nut as the pinch bolt is likely seized into the knuckle. This bolt is not threaded into the knuckle either, only the nut is threaded onto the bolt. If you're lucky the bolt will come out. If you live in the rust belt like us the bolt is likely to be seized in the knuckle. As a suggestion you may want to purchase two bolts along with your new wheel bearings so if you destroy the bolt you will have a new one on hand. We were able to persuade ours out with some pb blaster and a brass hammer!

Remove strut pinch bolt. This bolt is a 15mm wrench also.

Remove bolt holding ABS wire to knuckle. Carefully pry sensor out. If it will not come out, disconnect wire at connector and remove with knuckle to remove later.

Remove axle nut. On our SVT it is a 32mm nut.

Press axle out of hub. This may or may not be an easy proposition. The RH side pushed out easily with a few taps from a brass hammer but the LH side was seriously seized into the hub. A special hub removing tool is available and may be required. You can't easily hammer the axle out, instead the axle end must be pushed out of the hub. We were able to use a gear puller to get the job done.

Pic of seized/galled axle splines:

Once all of this is done you should be able to press down on the lower control arm to pop the ball joint out of the knuckle and then work the strut out of the knuckle as well. Wa la, knuckle in hand!

No more knuckle!

You will need a hydraulic press to remove the flange and bearing from the knuckle. An arbor press will not do it!

You will need to press flange out of bearing first. This will split the inner race in half. Half will stay in the bearing, half will be on the flange. Note the press set up in the pics.

Make sure you are pressing on the end of flange to press it and part of inner race out. This is what you'll get:

We'll cover removal of the inner race in a few....

Remove circlip from backside of knuckle.

Press bearing out of knuckle, again note press set-up:

Press inner race off of flange

Note use of bearing puller/holder to secure inner race. A little heat on inner race may ease removal. Note flange surface. The wheel bearing 'kits' include a flange so this step is not necessary.

What's left of the old bearings:

Clean up the flange and knuckle. Red scotch-brite helps to polish up the surfaces for re-installation of bearing/flange.

New bearing and parts ready to go:

Press the bearing into the knuckle first. Remember to press on the outer race only! Do not press on the inner race to force the bearing into the knuckle. You will damage the bearing!

Reinstall circlip. Circlips do have a up and down. The 'sharp' corner of the circlip should face 'up'.

Remember also.... If you have ABS the black seal must be towards the inside of the knuckle or your ABS will not work. And the circlip ends must point up with the opening at the hole in the knuckle for the ABS sensor.

Press wheel flange into bearing. Again remember to press against the inner race only. Support the flange and press knuckle/bearing assy onto flange.

This is what you should have when you're done:

Now you're ready for reassembly. Clean up all components on car: LCA stud, tie rod end, strut end, etc. Clean splines on CV axle thoroughly. I used a Moly paste on the splines for reassembly to ease removal next time. A normal grease will not really work as it will squeeze out of the splines under load. The Moly paste will not. Same as GM drive shaft spline grease.

Reassemble in reverse order and torque to correct specs.

Be sure to inspect all components for wear and replace if neccesary... LCA ball joint, tie rod end, brake pads, etc.

We replaced the sway bar end links while in there. Note new links compared to old. Liftime warranty, greaseable, only $16!

And hopefully you're all done!

Previous mod..... Dual outlets!

Mr.Bergner 01-10-2010 06:56 PM

Very nice! I'm needing to do this soon myself.

BC_ZX3 01-10-2010 07:07 PM

Good pics and walkthrough. Wish I owned a press.

norcalfocus01 01-10-2010 07:21 PM

Great write up.

Where did you get the endlinks from? Were thay 16 ea or for the pair?

tczx3 01-10-2010 07:38 PM

Endlinks were $16 each, bearings $32 each. Got both items from a local car parts wholesaler. Not sure how they compare to the Moog that alot of guys use, but were readily available to me from local vendor.

focuzed1 01-10-2010 08:44 PM

Great write up.. sticky nomination...

norcalfocus01 01-13-2010 04:50 PM

Sticky'd [thumb]

focus2ner 01-16-2010 09:44 PM

All I have to say is THANK YOU! I have to do my drivers side and was a little confused on doing it. But this will help a lot!
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TheGeak 01-19-2010 10:35 AM did you EVER get your Strut Pinch Bolt loose? Looks like you managed it with a 3/8" ratchet with a 15mm socket...I'm on my way out to Sears to buy a 15mm 1/2 drive socket and a 18" breaker bar! I've tried WD-40, PB Blaster, Heat, hammer, and just won't budge. I figure we will see how it holds up against the laws of Physics!!

Otherwise a GREAT write up so far! Despite your warning I'm doing this in my drive way with the help of a local shop (who is going to press the actual bearings for me)! Hopefully if I can liberate this bolt I will be back on track!

Breaker Bar and Socket worked, bolt is loose! I still can't get the lower control arm to pop out OR get the rotor to come off (I feel really stupid, but the thing won't BUDGE!)

Focusnewb 01-19-2010 12:14 PM

For the control arm, tie a bar to the control arm using a chain wrapped around both. Get it good an snug then just stomp on the bar. I think I got that out of the Haynes manual.

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