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Linus 09-12-2013 08:06 AM

Replacing front wheel bearings with no 4WD
I have been hearing some grinding from the front end, more so during sharp turns. And I am getting some vibration through the gas and brake pedals. I am going to rotate my tires this weekend so I will check to see if there is any play in the wheel bearing to confirm it is bad.

But my issue is if it is bad, I took my front drive shaft out when the rzeppa joint broke so I how do I lock up the front axle with no 4WD to remove the big 36mm bearing nut?

Also those who have removed it, do yall recommend a breaker bar or an impact wrench? I have a medium sized breaker but would have to buy a cordless impact wrench. And I'm in Alabama so rust isn't a huge concern.


bradywgn71 09-12-2013 08:12 AM

An impact wrench would be easiest, but try having someone hold the brakes down hard while you loosen it.

Linus 09-12-2013 09:42 AM

I believe I can rent a 36mm socket and torque wrench (mine only goes up to 100ft/lbs) from Autozone. So a $100 impact wrench is still cheaper then taking it to a shop and I get to keep the tool.

Is it recommended to replace both sides? I don't want to add work or costs to the repair but want to eliminate whatever might be causing the noise and vibration.

WJChris01 09-12-2013 10:56 AM

Unless something damaged it to cause the issues (instead of them just being 10+ years old and finally wearing out), then I would probably replace both while you are doing it. Chances are if age and miles are causing one to grind, then very soon the other one will start as well.

I've always just used a big pipe wrench on the shaft/ears where the ujoint is, then let it rotate and bind against the knuckle. Big breaker bar and I've never had a problem busting the axle nut loose.

Linus 09-12-2013 11:11 AM

I've got 135k miles on it and half dozen off road trips with 31"s and a lift on it. I figure that combination wore them out. The noise and vibration aren't real bad now but I want handle it before it gets worse.

Part of me just wants to take it to mechanic to keep me from dropping $ and time on a repair that I don't need. Could also be the pinion bearing, axle shafts, or rotors making the noise.

tim0 09-12-2013 07:17 PM

Have someone hold the brake with the engine running, so the brakes will hold the wheel from turning while you get the nut lose.

Linus 09-15-2013 04:44 PM

Checked the bearings best I could today when I rotated my tires. I couldn't feel any play, movement, or clicking when I tried to move the wheels. I did feel some resistance when I spun the wheels so I think my rotors might be warped.

Bigger issue, getting some wobble now at 40mph since I rotated the tires. Thinking I need to get the tires balanced and hope that takes care of it.

WJFrank88 09-15-2013 06:34 PM

Funny... I replaced both front wheel bearings today. My WJ has 130k on the clock and was def showing signs of bad wheel bearings--vibrations, shaky steering and making the classic womp womp womp noise when in gear. I'll give you some tips:

The 36mm nut was not the worst of it, tho my impact wrench couldn't budge it but I used a breaker bar. Keep the vehicle on the ground, it allows you to use the weight of the vehicle as leverage.
PB blaster, PB blaster, PB blaster. Those 3 12pt 13mm bolts that keep the hub on were a pain. Patience is key. Again, breaker bar proved better than my cheap sears impract wrench (rated for 150ft lbs)

The job is definitely doable alone, I did mine by myself and only dropped the F bomb 5 times (Mostly at the hub bolts).

Good luck. BTW, Steering feels 10x better, womp womp womp noise is gone and it rolls down the road a lot smoother after replacing. ;)

The time now is 10:03 PM.

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