Front Wheel bearings

How to do it - the rough guide
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Front Wheel bearings

Post by Alan » Fri Mar 13, 2009 7:06 pm

This is how I do mine, it may not be the correct way. Follow this guide at your own risk .... I accept no responsibility for your actions. OK that's the legal crap out the way

If you get your Jeep anywhere near water then its highly likely that you will have replaced your front wheel bearings. If you have then read no further there will be nothing new to discover. If you are one of the lucky ones who has never done it or been lucky enough to get someone else to do it for a fee then this is for you.

You need -

Tools as required. The only 'special tool' required will be the large box spanner for the bearing retainer nuts. This can be obtained from either a local Land Rover parts supplier (not dealer) or Jeeparts click here (MB front hub locknuts are the same)
Grease - I use Morris K99 Water resistant grease.
Brake cleaner.
New bearings and seals. Part numbers are listed on the alternative parts page.

1. Jack up one side and remove the road wheel.

2. Remove the end cap or free wheeling hub if you have them fitted.

3. Remove the circlip from the end of the drive shaft, then remove the drive ring.
4. You can now see the retaining nuts and the lock washer.
locknuts in hub.jpg
5. Use a drift and hammer to knock the tab back up off the retaining nut. You will then be able to get a box spanner on to remove it.

6. When the the 2 nuts and washers are removed, the whole hub should slide off the stub axle. (If you have discs fitted, the caliper needs to be removed first)

7. With the hub removed, you will see the oil seal fitted in the back of it. This needs to be pried out. Both of the bearing centres can now be removed if they haven't already fallen out.

8. All that remains in the hub now are the bearing outer rings. These are removed using a drift and hammer. Access to the bearing edge is from the opposite end through two cut outs in the bearing seat. Alternate the side you hit until the ring is removed. Turn the hub over and remove the remaining one.
9. When both outer rings are removed, clean all the old grease out and check that there are no signs of cracking in the hub.

10. Fit the new outer rings by knocking them in using a drift and hammer. Move round the ring with each strike to make sure the ring slides in relatively straight. As its going in, the sound it makes when you hit it will change suddenly as it reaches its seat. Go round the ring once more to make sure its properly seated all the way round. DO NOT use the old ring to fit the new one, it will get stuck meaning you have to remove it and start again. The bearing ring is VERY hard so don't worry about hitting it with a drift, you wont damage it. When its located correctly, turn over and fit the other one.

11. With the outer rings fitted. The bearing centre nearest the oil seal needs to be located BEFORE the oil seal is tapped in. A LIGHT coating of grease needs to be applied to the face of the outer ring (do both while your at it) and the rollers on the bearing centre and then locate it in the ring. Using a paint brush, 'paint' the outside of the bearing with grease.

12. Fill the back edge of the oil seal with grease and fit it in to the hub. It is fitted flat side facing out with the greased edge facing the bearing. gently tap in with a hammer, using a circular motion so that it goes in squarely. Again the sound it makes will change as it reaches its seat.

13. Before sliding the hub back on the stub axle. make sure the stub is clean and the collar that the oil seal runs on is free from any sharp edges. If needed, rub gently with a bit of emery cloth so the surface feels smooth. Also make sure the inside of the drum has no grease in it. Use some brake cleaner to make sure.
14. Slide the hub onto the stub axle and fit the outer bearing centre (remember to coat it in grease). Slide the first washer on and then fit the first retaining nut. Pinch the nut up using the box spanner until the hub turns with slight resistance. Slide on the lock washer and fit the locking nut. Tighten the lock nut using the box spanner and then check the hub still turns with just a little resistance. If its all OK then bend down the lock washer tab onto the lock nut so it cannot move.

15. Using a paint brush, paint the visible parts inside the hub with grease. You can be generous this time.

16. Refit the drive ring and refit the circlip. You may have to pull the drive shaft back out slightly to get the circlip back on. Pull it back out from the centre, it has a thread in it.

17. Refit the cap or free wheeling hub if you have them and your brake caliper if you have discs. Use some brake cleaner on the disc to make sure its free from grease.

18. Double check everything is tight and that the hub still goes round with a little resistance. If you satisfied that everything is OK then refit the road wheel.

That's it, one wheel bearing replaced. Repeat for the opposite side.

After a week or 100 miles, jack up the Jeep and check for play in the bearings. If there is play, then there wasn't enough resistance when you tightened up the retaining nuts. Take the centre off and re-tighten the nuts. That's it till the next time they need replacing :good:

I have done mine so many times now, that I can easily do both sides in less an hour if nothing goes wrong.

Things that can go wrong ....

Inner bearing seized onto the stub axle.
This has happened a few times to me. It becomes evident when the hub will not slide off the stub axle. The hub won't slide off because the oil seal will not slide over the bearing that is stuck on the stub axle. Use an old screwdriver to pry out the oil seal and then the hub will slide off. It leaves the inner bearing on the stub axle. WD40, patience and a 3 leg gear puller will remove it.

Lock nuts with heavily damaged edges.
I only came across this once, the first time I changed my bearings. Someone (previous owner probably) had used a chisel to undo/tighten the nuts because they didn't have the correct box spanner. If you need to replace them, Land Rover 'series' front stub axle nuts and washers are the same.