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Unread 04-15-2011, 05:56 PM   #1
meofouse
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Front wheel bearing replacement

I think my left front wheel bearing is going bad. Started getting a low growling noise two weeks ago I thought might be tire noise but now I think it's a bearing. After searching I saw some youtube vids on changing the bearings. Are there any special tools required or can I get by with just the regular shade tree mech stuff.
Tomorrow I'll raise the front and wiggle the wheels and remove the tires and spin the hubs and listen for the grinding noise. Doing another search for prices why is there such a wide difference in hub pricing?? anywhere from $39 for one to $300 for another.

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Unread 04-15-2011, 06:04 PM   #2
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Its easy.

Remove wheel. Remove 36mm axle nut, remove brake caliper, pads, and rotor. Remove (3) 13mm 12pt bolts (will require some force). Slide a 3" extension between the axle stub and the knuckle, and turn the wheel to pop it out.

Clean the mounting surface with a dremel or other wire wheel device to remove all oxydation, and lightly coat both surfaces (new bearing and the knuckle) with heavy grease or anti seize. On install, tighten the 13mm bolts snugly, and draw them down a few turns at a time (keeps the bearing going in straight)


I like national and timkin bearings. $45-$60 a side. See my signature for discounts.
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Unread 04-15-2011, 09:14 PM   #3
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Correct torque values must be applied to the bolts or your new hub will have a short lifespan.

Tighten the 3 hub mounting bolts to 75 ft/lbs and the 36 mm nut to 175 ft/lbs. Buy, rent, or borrow a torque wrench.
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Unread 04-16-2011, 07:36 AM   #4
meofouse
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hey, thanks for the quick replys. My next question was going to be what size was the spindle nut but now that is answered.
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Unread 04-16-2011, 11:22 AM   #5
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its a simple job you can do in a few hours even on the first try. the 36mm axle nut and the 3 13mm hub bolts might be a bear to remove since you live in the rust belt as well. stary spraying some PB blaster on those bad boys a few days in advance. and you can get a good deal on timken replacements from amazon. if it were me, i would replace both since chances are that theyre both original. i would hate to have to fix another a few weeks down the road after fixing this one.
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Unread 04-16-2011, 11:40 AM   #6
meofouse
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The last few weeks I've been noticing a seepage from the back seal of the front pumpkin (dana) wondering if the growl could be coming from that. Lots of looking to do.
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Unread 04-16-2011, 11:49 AM   #7
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that is most likely just the pinion seal. does it growl more when you turn a certain direction?
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Unread 04-17-2011, 05:29 AM   #8
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Jack it up and grab your tire on the top and bottom and try and move it back and forth to see if there is any play if there is your wheel bearing is junk. If you feel no play spin the wheel as fast as you can get it going and grab your coil spring while you spin it. If you feel a lot of vibration in your coil spring your wheel bearing is junk. You can also listen as you spin it so see if you hear any growling you will most likely hear brake noise but bearing noise is inmistakable. Those are the three way we test wheel bearings at the shop I work at...where you have a hub assembly there is usually play if the bearing is bad, but not always. Hope you figure it out good luck.
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Unread 04-17-2011, 07:15 AM   #9
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Very good tips. I used to work on heavy machinery and we would check bad bearings by holding a brass rod against it and placing the other end of the rod by our ear. Bearings would sound smooth or like a freight train.
The growling is on straight highway driving, turning one way or another has no effect, that's what originally led me to think it was tire noise. I'll know in another hour and post again Tks
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Unread 04-17-2011, 09:52 AM   #10
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OK, I did all the "tests" for wheel bearings and everything is tight and smooth, rules out the bearing problem. While under the front I greased and checked the oil in the dana. The magnetic plug was filled with black powder aka metal. Not shavings, chips just thick black powder, oil soaked metal. I dropped the pan and I could see the metal in the oil as it was draining. Once the cover was off I took a spotlight and did a thourough look see and saw no visible signs of wear on any of the gears, I do know what to look for. Here is the kicker...there was a smidgeon of water in the bottom of the unit, some rust on the bottom part of the cover also. I cleaned and soaked up all the old dirty oil, flushed out the unit with diesel and put it all back together with fresh gear oil. During this past winter while under the XJ I had noticed that the tie wrap that keeps the breather hose from the dana in place was broken and the hose had rubbed on the drive shaft and had a good sized hole in it. I spliced the breather hose and didn't think much of it after that. I drive thousands of highway miles each month and during that time the hose had a hole in it I was driving through sleet, slush, salt, snow, rain and in "part time" going highway speeds. Must have sucked some salty water into the dana. I'm going to keep driving now and see if the growl gets any worse. I know some damage was done somewhere but until it rears it's ungly head I don't want to change out the whole unit. Any thoughts??
The last time I changed the front lube was 18,600 miles ago and this time it felt good but was black as coal. Could also be why the seal if failing.
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Unread 04-17-2011, 01:01 PM   #11
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Pinion bearing is probly shot, which caused the seal to go bad. Grab the driveshaft/pinion and check for play in the bearing.
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