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View Full Version : Rear Wheel Bearings hard to do?



3sacrwd
03-29-04, 10:57 PM
Took my car into Goodyear for a 4 wheel alignment. They said the wheel bearings are so shot, that they cannot get the aligment to stick. Looking and shaking my wheel, I can now see that they are correct. After calling my local Chevy dealer for a rough estimate on what it would cost, they told me that they would need at least an hour to diagnose it, and it could run as high as $1,500!.
After reading some posts here and doing some searches, it looks like I may be able to do it myself. I have a decent set of tools, an air compressor and impact wrench. Should I order the wheel bearings through the dealer, or use something aftermarket? If you know of any links, let me know. Thanks for all the help!

tyrel
03-29-04, 11:18 PM
IMHO, aftermarket bearings are just fine. I got mine from Carquest. It's not that difficult of a job, the only hard part is getting the hub back on again, you have to lie on your back, under the car, and look up through the knuckle in order to get the three bolts back in again, and you'll need a long extension and plenty of swearing to do it. You'll also need to rotate the rear axles in order to gain clearance to the three bolts.

Breaking the nut on the hub is scary the first time you do it, it's on there pretty tight and you just know you're going to break something (the hub, your tools, your arm), so just take it nice and slow. I forget what size the torx bolts are. All-in-all, even for a mechanic I don't think it's a $1,500 dollar job, that's a pretty outrageous estimate unless he's using gold-plated tools or something. IMHO, this is a fairly simple and straightforward repair that any average guy with the right tools can do.

Moonunit 451
03-29-04, 11:57 PM
IMHO, aftermarket bearings are just fine. I got mine from Carquest. It's not that difficult of a job, the only hard part is getting the hub back on again, you have to lie on your back, under the car, and look up through the knuckle in order to get the three bolts back in again, and you'll need a long extension and plenty of swearing to do it. You'll also need to rotate the rear axles in order to gain clearance to the three bolts.

Breaking the nut on the hub is scary the first time you do it, it's on there pretty tight and you just know you're going to break something (the hub, your tools, your arm), so just take it nice and slow. I forget what size the torx bolts are. All-in-all, even for a mechanic I don't think it's a $1,500 dollar job, that's a pretty outrageous estimate unless he's using gold-plated tools or something. IMHO, this is a fairly simple and straightforward repair that any average guy with the right tools can do.

I agree for the most part, but it is not an EASY job. With the right tools and a LOT of hard work it can be done. Go for it. I think you just missed a great deal on Ebay for the parts a week or so ago, but you should be able to do it for well under $400.
:beer

Vette_Newb
03-30-04, 08:15 AM
I had mine done at a local vette shop, he charged me all of $65 to do the passenger rear. Took him about 20-30 minutes. Good luck! :)

BTW: I got the bearing from TLD for $117 shipped.

Moonunit 451
03-30-04, 01:32 PM
That is a very good deal Newb, although I have no idea how it could be done in twice that time.

rrubel
03-30-04, 05:43 PM
I paid about $180 each for my bearings, new (not rebuilt), and put them on myself. I think I took an hour and a half for the rear, half an hour for the front. The rear, as someone said, is a pain to get back on because you can't see the bolts - they're inside the hub. I had to crawl under the rear of the car and sit with a strong flashlight shining into the hub to get the third one on. Also, you need to be able to rotate the halfshaft to get at one of the three bolts, so make sure the whole rear end is in the air. I'd definitely do this job again if I needed to; it's not terribly difficult.
[RICHR]

3sacrwd
03-30-04, 06:00 PM
Thanks All, I ordered the new bearings today ($143.00 each) and plan to pick them up this weekend. I just finished putting new Bilsteins on all 4 corners and polished all the suspension as well....Figures, I must have cleaned all the dirt off......ha, ha.

froggy47
03-30-04, 07:27 PM
I think dealers get about $350 each side for the part so there's $700 to start.




IMHO, aftermarket bearings are just fine. I got mine from Carquest. It's not that difficult of a job, the only hard part is getting the hub back on again, you have to lie on your back, under the car, and look up through the knuckle in order to get the three bolts back in again, and you'll need a long extension and plenty of swearing to do it. You'll also need to rotate the rear axles in order to gain clearance to the three bolts.

Breaking the nut on the hub is scary the first time you do it, it's on there pretty tight and you just know you're going to break something (the hub, your tools, your arm), so just take it nice and slow. I forget what size the torx bolts are. All-in-all, even for a mechanic I don't think it's a $1,500 dollar job, that's a pretty outrageous estimate unless he's using gold-plated tools or something. IMHO, this is a fairly simple and straightforward repair that any average guy with the right tools can do.

drags1998
03-30-04, 08:04 PM
How many miles on your car? I was under the impression that they lasted (almost) forever.:L Every one I have ever checked had a LITTLE play in it!!! How much is to much?????:w

rrubel
03-30-04, 11:29 PM
I've been told by two places (VB&P, who took my old bearings for display units :), and another guy at Carlisle that only sells bearings and brakes) that you should expect about 100k from a set of bearings. Less if you autocross or drive over lots of potholes.
[RICHR]

Black Bart
03-31-04, 09:07 AM
I priced new bearing at my local dealer they wanted $ 880.00 for the rear.
I bought Timken bearings at Autozone for $120.00 each and installed them myself.
You will need a #55 torex socket and a really good 3/8 air ratchet makes it a lot easier. Be sure to torque the big nut on the hub it is critical that it be at the right torque don't remember for sure but I think the book said 140 lbs.
Good Luck

3sacrwd
03-31-04, 11:25 AM
Dang...my torque wrench only goes up to 80lbs....Guess I am buying another new tool.

I ordered the bearings through O'reilly auto for $143 each, and will pick them up tonight and maybe start the install on at least 1 side.

My Vert has 139,000 miles on her.

WradDad
03-31-04, 12:19 PM
I just did mine a month ago, and agree with what has been said about getting to those three bolts. It's do-able, just needs some patience. I believe the torque setting for that big spindle bolt is 160 ft/lb. When you go to get the new torque wrench, also make sure you have the correct size deep socket. Finding the right socket took the most time, otherwise it went pretty quick. I don't remember what size the socket is, but can check tonight if you need.

Barry

rrubel
03-31-04, 07:59 PM
AutoZone and some other places will loan tools free. I borrowed an 180 lb-ft torque wrench from them for the job. Ones that go that high are pretty expensive to buy, I found.
[RICHR]

Moonunit 451
03-31-04, 10:35 PM
As long as you're in that far I would also replace the U joints with Spicer non zirked ones. You should be able to get them from NAPA. I can get PN's if you need them.

brookman
04-01-04, 02:54 PM
You don't need to get under to look at it. Get a compact (women's make up mirror) and a shop light. Works great and you dont have to get under the car. You might want to replace the thrust washers that you remove. Mine were warn pretty bad.

3sacrwd
04-01-04, 10:30 PM
Well, I started this project tonight....The hardest part was getting the lower rear brake caliper off. The Emergency brake cable is in the way and a real pain to move out of the way. I finally got both sides off. The Hub nut was surprisingly easy to get off. I don't think it was on tight enough.
How do I remove the disc???? I am at a standstill, do I need to rent a special tool to pull this off. I cannot budge it at all.

brookman
04-02-04, 08:58 AM
If you have the caliper already off. the problem you are fighting is rust around the hub. The disc just slides off. get some wd40 or penetrating oil and let it sit. if it is still not coming off grab a rubber mallet and tap the disc from the rear in a circle and it should come off.

jsinga
04-03-04, 11:04 AM
I have seen rotors so frozen up with rust they had to be heated to get them off. Take a propane torch and heat it in a couple of spots and hit the rotor between the wheel studs and it will finally come loose!
Ditto about the u-joints, it is easier to get the bolts out of the spindle with the drive shaft out of the way. Then you can at least inspect the u-joint. The outer ones usually go first anyway from what I have seen. They are easy to change since they are held in with clips.
If you have vibration problems at highway speeds you haven't been able to solve u-joints are major contributing factor after old ragged out tires.

JS

3sacrwd
04-05-04, 01:20 PM
Thanks for the help and encouragement. After wrestling them for a couple of hours with no end in sight. I ended up clamping a piece of wood to the back of the disk and beating on it with a 3 lb sledge hammer, which is really no easy feat, since there is not much room under the car to swing.....I got them both off, and after another 2-3 hours was able to break loose the size 55 Torx bits. Of course, I rounded one of my Torx bits off and had to go back to the store to get another one. After that, it was the hassle of putting the torx screws back in.....No time to really inspect my U-Joints as my 98 BMW 740i starting puffing black smoke and stalling....Had to work double time to get my wheels back in action. I took my rotors in to be turned, as I had a few small scratches when I missed the edge with the sledgehammer,and I wanted to insure that I did not warp or damage them. So far everything looks OK, I will take it in this next week to get a four wheel alignment and should be on to the next problem, (Uh, I mean "Opportunity"....)

Thanks to all who replied, I appreciate and used the info to get the job done.

"If you can't work on it, it is not really yours".......my brother.