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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Post #2000! :partywave:

Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of changing the front left wheel bearing, and took some photos along the way. I pieced this together with some help of some other threads and my experience in changing the rear wheel bearings:

Well, here goes… Happy wrenching! It is rather rewarding to finish the job knowing the money saved by doing it yourself.

Part number 31329980 HUB KIT Contents:
-hub (bearing).
-4 bearing bolts.
-1 axle bolt.
-1 rubber seal.
-1 small tube grease.​
001


Lift front of car off ground, either using jack stands or lift. Don't work under the car supported only with a floor jack.

Remove front wheel.

Remove axle bolt
002


Remove front caliper (2 bolts).
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004


If necessary, you may need to remove pad(s) before removing caliper.
005


Remove rotor splash/dust shield; 3 bolts. This is optional. I removed it to avoid damaging it.
006


Here are the outboard views of the 4 nuts to remove.
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008


Soak bolts with PB Blaster, or your favorite penetrant. This is optional, depending on how "stuck" the bearing bolts. Amount of fluid and soak time will vary.
009


Inboard view of the bearing bolts to be removed. Notice the socket does not fit squarely on the bolt head. Therefore, axle needs to be removed from the bearing.
010


Loosen the lower ball joint nut. This is where an impact wrench would be VERY handy. However, I don't have one, yet. So, to prevent the nut from spinning, I used knurled pliers to grip the outer diameter of the taper while loosening the nut with a socket. Or, use a ball joint separator (available for loan at auto parts store or a good friend).
011


Here is perhaps the most valuable trick. Use a ratcheting strap (I happen to have 1" yellow straps) to pull the lower control arm out of the way. I connected the other end of the ratchet strap to the lower control arm on the other side of the car. You must crank on the strap pretty hard to pull the lower control arm out of the way.
012


Once lower ball joint separated, pull knuckle outboard direction to dislodge bearing from axle. Do not pull the axle outboard! If you pull it too much, a CV joint will separate. Notice the old, dirty axle? Or the grease on the subframe above? More on that later... :mad:
013


Handy tip #2. Use another ratchet strap (or similar) to pull and hold the knuckle outboard and rearward to allow easy access to bearing bolts.
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Loosen the 4 bearing bolts.
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Dislodge bearing from knuckle. Thankfully, mine popped out pretty easily with very little effort/force, unlike my rear bearings. I suggest starting with a rubber mallet, and working you way to more persuasive means, if necessary.

Remove rubber tapered washer from old bearing.
018


Reuse it with new bearing.
019


Install new rubber seal on end of axle. When removing old rubber seal, notice the difference of the two sides of the seal.
020


021


022


023
Clean inside of knuckle.


Grease inboard surface of new bearing. This grease will seal against the rubber seal you just replaced on end of axle.
024


Insert new bearing into knuckle. Install 4 new bolts. Notice the new, shiny axle? Yeah, more on that is coming…
025


Insert axle into bearing. Again, do not pull the axle outboard. Instead, push the knuckle/bearing inboard to fit over axle splines. Pulling the axle outboard risks separating one of the CV joints.
026


You may need to slightly rotate the axle and/or bearing to align the splines. When aligned, they will slide inside each other easily. Push the knuck/bearing inboard until the lower ball joint aligns with the tapered receiving hole in the lower control arm.
027


Install the lower control arm bolt.

Install new axle bolt.
028


Install brake splash shield and caliper.

Install wheel.

Viola!
 

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I did the just the wheel bearing a few months back. If you are doing just the wheel bearing, the knuckle does not need to disconnect from the LCA. There is just enough room to turn the steering wheel all the way left and bend the axle to pull it out. Just thought I would add for anyone doing a wheel bearing only. Saves yourself a few of these steps.
 

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Excellent write-up by the way. Haven't seen one this detailed in a while, possibly ever. Good stuff.
 

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Really nice write up! Thank you.

So what's the story with the shiny new axle?
 

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super write-up.... and thanks for posting...

for future reference... What are the clues one has a bad wheel bearing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I did the just the wheel bearing a few months back. If you are doing just the wheel bearing, the knuckle does not need to disconnect from the LCA. There is just enough room to turn the steering wheel all the way left and bend the axle to pull it out. Just thought I would add for anyone doing a wheel bearing only. Saves yourself a few of these steps.
I didn't do all of that.. but great write up!
How did you loosen the 4 bearing bolts? The socket would not fit squarely on the bolt heads. There is interference to the "teeth" that the wheel speed sensor picks up. Did you use a box end wrench, or something else? Otherwise, I can see completing the job without separating the lower control arm and the lower ball joint.

010
Auto part Tire Vehicle brake Wheel Brake
 

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How did you loosen the 4 bearing bolts? The socket would not fit squarely on the bolt heads. There is interference to the "teeth" that the wheel speed sensor picks up. Did you use a box end wrench, or something else? Otherwise, I can see completing the job without separating the lower control arm and the lower ball joint.

I think I did use a ratcheting box wrench. I remember having my friend hold back the axle when doing a few of the bolts but I don't remember why. Maybe I was having him do that to gain me some clearance from the speed sensor teeth on the axle.
 

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Excellent write-up, make sure to PM a mod to have it added to the Repair sticky.

Tell me more about the axle replacement.
 

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Excellent write-up Melvin!

+1 on having this added to the repair index.

Hopefully I'm still some time away from needing to do this myself.
Cheers - Ron
 

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Great write up and pictures. One thing I would not use is the ball joint separator. Using it will likely cause damage to the ball joint boot. It is not needed for this type of ball joint. A tap with a hammer from underneath (with nut on ball joint's rod) will do.
 

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How did you loosen the 4 bearing bolts? The socket would not fit squarely on the bolt heads. There is interference to the "teeth" that the wheel speed sensor picks up. Did you use a box end wrench, or something else? Otherwise, I can see completing the job without separating the lower control arm and the lower ball joint.

On mine the interference was with the end of the socket contacting the plastic part of the boot. I used a box wrench initially to break the bolt loose, then pushing the axle shaft inward using a long 1/2" extension on the shaft end in the center of the bearing provided enough clearance for the socket to sit flush onto the bolt head and remove the bolt without separating the ball joint. I had to maintain pressure on the 1/2" extension with my hip to keep the axle shaft inward the entire time I had the socket on the bolt. This saved me a BUNCH of time. I think the drivers side (which I did last) took a total of 30 minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So what's the story with the shiny new axle?
Tell me more about the axle replacement.
Hint… carnage!


Great write up and pictures. One thing I would not use is the ball joint separator. Using it will likely cause damage to the ball joint boot. It is not needed for this type of ball joint. A tap with a hammer from underneath (with nut on ball joint's rod) will do.
Looking back, I agree about not using ball joint separator; call it a lesson learned and hopefully the next person will not repeat my error. This is just the third ball joint I've separated in my life. I really wish I had an impact wrench. The small ring spring that secures the rubber boot came slightly off the boot. I tried for some time to reattach it to no avail, so the boot is no longer held securely in place. I am sure my ball joint will wear prematurely now… I was so ticked I was unable to reattach it properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Adding steps to replace the axle. To avoid having to do this, do not pull the axle outboard in the inboard CV joint when replacing the wheel bearing. I knew not to pull too far, but obviously I did pull too far. :angry fire: I wish I could quantify how far not to pull, but I am unable to do so. Sorry. I found to the hard way… after replacing the bearing and putting the R back together, I drove the R out of the garage to go for a test drive with the new bearing. As soon as I started moving, I heard an awful, noise. Yeah, the noise of crunching metal. :face palm: I knew exactly what it was. My disgust was painful to say the least.

Part Number 8252034 with some views of the axle.
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The view of the carnage that is the shattered inboard CV joint still attached to the transmission.
33


Ugh…
34


I tried numerous pry bars and angles, and found this orientation/technique that fit and allowed sufficient leverage to dislodge the axle from the transmission. 18" pry bar (middle one below) with the tip facing opposite the normal prying direction. Because of it being backward, it easily slips so use caution and a tight grip to avoid it slipping and smashing fingers/knuckles. If I had more clearance to the ground, e.g. car on a lift, I could have used a longer pry bar. As it was, it took a rather hard, quick pushed on the pry bar to dislodge the joint, and I consider myself a pretty strong fella. To stabilize myself, I pushed inboard on the prybar while pulling outboard on the subframe. My thought was: if I do slip, I am already applying counterforce in the outboard direction so it is easy to catch myself without smashing a knuckle or something.
35

36

37


Axle removed. Approx 500 ml transmission fluid leaked out when the joint separated. Top off transmission fluid later.
38


Lightly oil the inboard end of the axle before insertion into transmission.
39


Insert the axle into the transmission. Rotate the axle slightly until you feel the splines engaging each other and the axle slides freely inboard. Feel where the circular spring clip starts to contact the gear inside the transmission. There is approx 1 inch (25 mm) of engagement of the axle shaft to allow you to get a "running start" to build momentum to overcome the spring pressure.
40


Here are view inside the transmission.
41


42


The circular clip engages the inboard edge of the splines to prevent the joint from disconnecting. When prying the CV joint outboard, this is the resistance you feel and must overcome to pop out the axle. Conversely, when inserting the axle, this is also the spring pressure you must overcome for the axle to click into position. It takes a good solid shove to pop it in place.
43


Axle installed successfully! Top off transmission fluid as needed. Clean the areas with your favorite degreaser. I used brake cleaner with cardboard under the car to catch the grease.
44


Reinstall the suspension as shown above. I really hope this helps others avoid the catastrophe I, ahem, enjoyed.
 

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You, sir, deserve a beer and a nod from the R gods in the form of a trouble free year for your car. You're an amazing asset to the community!
 

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Wow! Excellent write and great pics. This is going to help a lot of people for sure. It should be stickied.

Thanks!!!
 

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204 s60R vs 2004 XC90

Hi Guys. I was told before that the Rear Wheel Hub Bearing Assembly is the same on the SR and the xc90. is this true?
 

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Yes, someone should remove the part about the ball joint separator, I just ruined the boot on my ball joint. Guess I should have read all the way through first.
 

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Yes, someone should remove the part about the ball joint separator, I just ruined the boot on my ball joint. Guess I should have read all the way through first.
Its like saying to knock someone out you need to hit his head , sh!t I think I killed him.
 
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