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Old 01-30-2007, 01:18 PM   #1
blackeagle1
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Default Wheel Bearing Question - Not Saturn

OK, for you guys that work on other things besides Saturns. I need to replace front wheel bearings on my 1998 GMC 1500 van. Do the bearings need to be pressed out like on a Saturn or can I remove them by just tappping them out? There's an inner bearing in the brake rotor and an outer bearing in the knuckle and I'm doing both.
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Old 01-30-2007, 01:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: Wheel Bearing Question - Not Saturn

They are tapered roller bearings. The outside bearing will just kind of fall out when you remove the castel nut on the spindle. The inside bearing is captured only by the grease seal. You just knock that bearing and seal out with a drift. But you have to remove the races from the hub if you're replacing the bearings (don't even think of just running new bearings on old races). You need a very narrow drift(brass preferred) to knock the races out. You'll see scallops in the hub where the race shoulder sits to allow you to get the races out. Putting new races in is the tricky part. You can buy a race driver set from many of the auto stores (Lisle Tools makes a nice, inexpensive one) to make the job easy. There are "backyard" ways to do it, but I won't bring those up since you need a lot more experience and the chance to do damage to the new parts is high if you don't know what you're doing.

You also have to grease the new bearings. There is a technique to do it by hand, but I recommend you get one of those $5 greasers since, again, you need experience to do it right.
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Old 01-30-2007, 02:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: Wheel Bearing Question - Not Saturn

Thanks. It's a little more complicated than I hoped. I guess it's time for a few more tools.
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Old 01-31-2007, 04:43 AM   #4
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Default Re: Wheel Bearing Question - Not Saturn

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry Proctor View Post
They are tapered roller bearings. The outside bearing will just kind of fall out when you remove the castel nut on the spindle. The inside bearing is captured only by the grease seal. You just knock that bearing and seal out with a drift. But you have to remove the races from the hub if you're replacing the bearings (don't even think of just running new bearings on old races). You need a very narrow drift(brass preferred) to knock the races out. You'll see scallops in the hub where the race shoulder sits to allow you to get the races out. Putting new races in is the tricky part. You can buy a race driver set from many of the auto stores (Lisle Tools makes a nice, inexpensive one) to make the job easy. There are "backyard" ways to do it, but I won't bring those up since you need a lot more experience and the chance to do damage to the new parts is high if you don't know what you're doing.

You also have to grease the new bearings. There is a technique to do it by hand, but I recommend you get one of those $5 greasers since, again, you need experience to do it right.
If you have a grinding wheel, make your own bearing race installer.... But if not, I would buy the tool.

It really isnt too hard. Much easier than doing an S series front bearing. Or you could cheat and put new rotors and bearings in, and make it much easier!
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Old 01-31-2007, 07:09 AM   #5
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Default Re: Wheel Bearing Question - Not Saturn

Grinding down the old race is how I used to do it...before I discovered that having the right tools is not a sin.

One other thing to mention on tapered roller bearings is that they run with end play. To get the end play, you usually tighten down the castle nut to a snug 30 ft/lb while rotating the hub. You can do it by feel if you don't have a torque wrench. If the castle nut is snug enough, the hub should be difficult to turn. This turning while tightening seats the bearings in the races. Now here's the important part: after you do the snug down, back off the castle nut until it is not applying any force to the hub, then tighten it back with your fingers until it contacts the washer. Once it contacts the washer, resist the temptation to try to get it a little tighter. If the slots in the castle nut do not align with the cotter pin hole it's better to back the nut off until it does. Using this method will give you .002 to .006 bearing end play. If you have a dial indicator, you can obviously do this with precision.
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Old 01-31-2007, 11:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: Wheel Bearing Question - Not Saturn

I got the wheel bearings replaced. The hardest part was getting the old races out of the rotor. I didn't want to spend $50 on a new rotor but wished I would have afterwards. I still have a vibration but now I think it's in the driveline. The reason I thought it was the bearing is because there was some play causing the wheel to wobble slightly. I snugged the axle nut up a little bit a few weeks ago and that seemed to take care of it. The bearings probably needed replaced anyway. I'm now thinking maybe universal joints or something in the rear end.
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Old 01-31-2007, 11:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: Wheel Bearing Question - Not Saturn

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I got the wheel bearings replaced. The hardest part was getting the old races out of the rotor.
Let me give you a little tip on getting the inner race off the hub.Put the hub in a vice. Take a air chisel, put the chisel end right against the race shoulder and letter rip.......comes off very easy.
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Old 01-31-2007, 11:29 PM   #8
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Default Re: Wheel Bearing Question - Not Saturn

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Let me give you a little tip on getting the inner race off the hub.Put the hub in a vice. Take a air chisel, put the chisel end right against the race shoulder and letter rip.......comes off very easy.
That would be OK if I had air tools.
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Old 02-01-2007, 01:34 AM   #9
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Default Re: Wheel Bearing Question - Not Saturn

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Originally Posted by blackeagle1 View Post
Thanks. It's a little more complicated than I hoped. I guess it's time for a few more tools.

It's ALWAYS time for more tools!
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