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Front wheel bearing replacement '01 626

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I decided to make this thread after doing a ton of research on here and not finding the answers to all of my questions. I also want to say that I attempted to follow the steps in this video but ran into some issues that think others might also encounter. I will discuss them.     


After reading several threads on626 wheel bearing replacement I did not quite have a full understanding of how the knuckle and hub are involved with each other. I will get to that as well. 


First, I bought two front wheel bearings from Oreilly's for $35 each. I also rented a tie rid end puller which is used in the video link above. It came in real handy.  Then, I went to harbor freight and bought a wheel bearing pres kit, which was a whopping $130. 










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Next, I was ready to start. While at harbor freight I also bought a 1/2" drive 25" long breaker bar and 32mm socket to break the axle nut loose. That little wrench was not close to being strong enough to do the job. I ended up cheating and using a milwaukee fuel 3/4" drive impact gun but a 3/4" drive breaker bar will also do it. I broke it loose while the tire was on the ground, as I did for the lug nuts. Then I lifted the tire off the ground via floor jack under the frame. Once the tire was off the ground, I removed the lug nuts, wheel, and the axle nut. After that, I used a 17mm wrench to remove the brake caliper bolts and secured the caliper to the shock spring via bungee cord. 

Next, I removed the tie rod end cotter pin and nut (17mm) and used the tie rod end puller to separate the end from the knuckle. I normally do this simply by hitting the knuckle with a huge hammer but that did not work this time. 20180115_094838.thumb.jpg.cd055549e60aff11a98b289832f729b0.jpg








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Once the tie rod end was loose, I removed the two 17mm bolts and nuts attaching the shock to the knuckle. 


Then, I used a block of wood and hammer to knock the axle through the hub since I could  not do it by hand. 

Once the axle was completely through the hub there was nothing but the ball joint attaching the knuckle to the car. 

The bolt and nut attaching the knuckle to the ball joint are both 14mm. After removing that bolt I put a block of wood under the knuckle and used a punch and hammer to knock the ball joint down and out of the knuckle.










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Once I had the knuckle on the bench I used an impact socket and a 4lb mini sledge to drive the knuckle out of the bearing. Let me elaborate since this is where I had been confused. 

So, this wheel bearing is a sealed unit. It has an inner race and outer race like most bearings. The entire bearing is pressed into the knuckle and secured with a c-clip. THEN, the hub (part with wheel studs) is pressed into the inside of the bearing (inner race). 

So, what we have is a bearing that requires a press for two different parts. Ill touch more on this later. 


With the knuckle sitting on blocks of wood I used a socket (same diameter as the part of the hub inside the inner race of the bearing) and a mini sledge to drive the hub out of the bearing. I attached a pic of before I started swinging the hammer, then the outcome. 



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These next pics are of the hub. The inner race of the old bearing will likely still be attached to the hub. I used an angle grinder, propane torch and chisel to remove the race. Be careful not to hit the hub with the cutting wheel. After cutting through the old race I used a chisel and my mini sledge to break the race loose to where I could pull it off the hub by hand. The torch helped.



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Under all the dirt in the first pic is a c-clip. A regular pair of needle nose pliars can get it out. 


This is where I deviated from the video I posted above. 

I used the same plates indicated in the vid, but used a hammer to drive the plate out completely. The cylinder in the second pic can not have another plate under it (there is another plate in my pic) or the bearing will hit it before it gets completely out. I used a hammer and NOT the press for the entire removal because the press kept getting stalled. I think it was pulling at a SLIGHT angle and getting the bearing crooked. It took me about 20 BIG swings with the hammer to get the bearing out. I also used a big impact socket to hit the plate with once the plate became lower that the surface of the knuckle so that I would not mess up the knuckle.



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Once the old bearing was out I put some grease on the inside of the knuckle and got the new bearing ready to go in. I selected plate 955-17 to be the one to go against the new bearing. However, after multiple attempts to use the press and pull the bearing into the knuckle I realized it was not going to work. The bearing continued to get crooked in the knuckle and get stuck. I ended up only using plate 955-17 and my hammer to carefully drive it into the knuckle until seated. 



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Once the new bearing was in I put the c-clip back in its place. 


Then, I was ready to force the hub back into the inner race of the bearing. Any plate larger than the diameter of the inner bearing and smaller than the outer diameter of the bearing will work for this. Put the plate against the bearing on the tie rod side of the knuckle and make sure the raised side of the plate is facing is out. This way you can set the knuckle tie rod side down on a narrow (2x4) block of wood and the plate will be the only thing touching the wood. What you are trying to accomplish is when you hammer the hub into the bearing, you want the plate flush against the other side of the bearing so the inner race does not get knocked out of the bearing. There was no clear way for me to tell when the hub was all the way in so I made moderate hammer strikes for about 6 times after I suspected it was done. 


Once the hub is in the inner race of the bearing, reverse the order of disassembly and head to your local watering hole for a few beers. 

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