Re­new­ing wheel bear­ings

Rob Hawkins pro­vides a gen­eral guide to re­new­ing wheel bear­ings and high­lights some of the com­mon prob­lems that can arise.

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Renewing Wheel Bearings -

An ir­ri­tat­ing rum­ble from one of the road wheels is of­ten the first in­di­ca­tion that a wheel bear­ing is start­ing to fail. It can be dif­fi­cult to con­firm this di­ag­no­sis – there might be no play ev­i­dent when wig­gling the raised road wheel, and the noise could also be caused by a worn or old tyre.

Play in a wheel bear­ing can some­times be elim­i­nated by tight­en­ing the drive­shaft nut. This is the case on older cars, such as the front wheel bear­ings on the Jaguar XJ40. How­ever, in some cases, over-tight­en­ing the nut can dam­age the bear­ing.

The work in­volved in re­new­ing a wheel bear­ing can vary, de­pend­ing on the type of bear­ing fit­ted. In this fea­ture, we cover three types.

The least messi­est job re­quires fit­ting a new hub and bear­ing assem­bly but, as we found on our Vaux­hall In­signia project car, that might not be as easy as you think. Re­new­ing a wheel bear­ing that’s part of a rear brake drum is also cov­ered here – this set-up is com­mon on front-wheel drive ve­hi­cles such as the Vaux­hall Ti­gra and Corsa.

Per­haps the most in­volved wheel bear­ing re­newal job is where the hub and up­right need to be re­moved, sep­a­rated and the wheel bear­ings pressed out. We re­cently did this on the front of a Jaguar XK8 and dis­cov­ered the ABS re­luc­tor ring had to be cut off to be able to sep­a­rate the hub from the up­right.

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