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Autozone Rent-A-Tool Rear Wheel Bearing Replacement

11733 Views 14 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Nothubertjfarnsworth
The original T-bones thread is gone and this thread ( is a bit unsatisfactory, so i figured when I got around to doing this job again I would throw up a how-to thread. This method is relatively painless, and you don't need a hydraulic press, the kent-moore tool, or a torch to heat up any bearings or the control arm.

You are going to need 4 tool sets from your local parts store.

Seal/bearing driver set
Slide hammer
Slide hammer bearing puller attachment set
Ball joint press

You'll need to own, rent, or borrow these tools:

LARGE bearing splitter
2-jaw puller (6" or larger)
32mm socket
your run-of-the-mill socket set


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Now, I am assuming that you know how to remove the half-shafts and the rear wheels and brakes. This will pick up right after you've accomplished this.

If you don't know how to do this and own a GTO... eh, well, maybe you should rethink your goals here for a second.
Hub flange removal:

Remove the stamped nut "guard" from the axle nut, and save. Then remove the nut itself with a 32mm socket and breaker bar.

The hub-to-axle flange may slide off, or you may have to pull it off with a 2-jaw puller.

The hub flange itself can be driven out with a punch and a BFH. It will still have one side of the inner bearing race pressed onto it, and we'll need to get that off.


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Seperating the old bearing race from the hub flange:

Use the bearing splitter as pictured, and use the 2-jaw puller to gradually pull it off. Using a vise will make this easier, although a helper holding onto the flange while you have at it with a 1/2 drive ratchet or breaker bar will help as well. Make sure that the bearing splitter is actually squeezing between the race and the flange, not grabbing onto the seal, otherwise you'll just pull the seal off and be stuck with the race still on the flange.


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Old bearing removal:

You're going to have to remove the dust shield and parking brake assembly and set it out of the way, as shown in the pic. The upper torx bolts will be a pain, especially if it is very rusted, so using a rounded-bolt remover set (Bolt-Grip by Irwin works fantastic) will work wonders here.

Now take off the c-clip in front of the bearing. Have fun if it's rusted. Penetrating oil, a big screwdriver, and the BFH can help you pry it out if it is. Don't stab yourself or smash your fingers doing this. :wall:

NOW we get to the part people usually have issues with--getting the old bearing to come out. It's honestly not that hard. Maybe physically tiring, but not complicated. The trick is to pop the "seal" the bearing has made with the housing around it. You do this with the ball joint press and a set of the seal driver disks, as pictured. The largest disk goes on the outside just to the bearing press has something to rest on, and a disk small enough to fit around the bearing but that fits inside the hole on the back of the housing to start pressing it outward. Use a little grease on the end of the threaded rod so things turn a little easier.

This will not press the bearing completely out, obviously. The goal is to get it moving. Once you start cranking on it, it will get real hard for a second, and you should hear a nice, loud POP as it gives. Keep cranking on it until it stops.

Remove the ball joint press and disks. The slide hammer and bearing puller attachments will complete the job. It will still be hard at first, but once you get it going it should slide out fairly easily. Using the seal driver/handle attachment and the BFH on the backside works too, if you have fantastic aim and a heck of a swing, but the slidehammer is a little safer.


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New bearing installation:

Put the dust-cover and the parking brake hardware back together. You can leave the parking brake shoe off for now and slide it back on after the hub is installed just so you don't have to worry about it getting in the way when you're doing method B.

Now, there are two ways to do this. Method A: You can simply install the new bearing in the housing, drive it in with the seal installation tool, install the c-clip, and hammer the flange back in. There is a risk of seperating the new bearing doing this, though, so you may not want to try and just go to method B, which has its own tricky part in its own right.

I have done this first method with aftermarket hub flanges and have never had a problem, however. On the attempt with the stock flange on my blue car, i ended up with the outer seal in the pan under the control arm and the race starting to press out of the bearing. :mrrg:

Method B (the patented T-Bones Goat method) entails putting the c-clip on the flange FIRST, and THEN installing the bearing on the flange, and THEN putting that whole contraption into the housing. Good news? You don't need to heat anything up to get that bearing on the flange. Use something that rests on the inner race of the bearing but fits over the flange shaft--the old race that you removed from the flange works perfectly, combined with the smaller cup from the bearing press set, and something to rest on top of this, such as one of the seal driver disks or the disk from the bearing press set. The BFH will get this slid on in no-time. Just be careful you have enough room to pound it on without ending up pounding on the end of the shaft and mushrooming it by accident.

Now with a BFH and a steel punch or other tool to transfer the power of Mjolnir's mighty swing to your flange without destroying your wheel studs, pound that bootleg-assembly in. Get it good and seated now.

Now you get to have fun getting that new c-clip to go on. TROLOLOLOL.

Ok, now, you may have to drive the old hub-to-axle flange on, but hey, no biggie. Again, make sure you don't hit the shaft of the hub flange while you're flailing away with your guns and your mighty hammer, or else bearing seperation. :gto_rage:

nut goes on, torque to a mightly 221 feet-lubs. (ft/lbs. yes i'm stupid. leave me a alone.)

reinstall the stamped steel do-hick to keep the nut from turning. You may want to stamp it in, stamp the tabs out with a punch since now they are going to be in different spots, remove, stretch the sides back out with a pair of pliers, and stamp it back in again to make sure it grabs the sides and doesn't turn.

Did I miss anything?

Method A:

Method B:

Sorry for not having more pictures of this last part, but it was starting to get pretty dark and lighting became scarce. I was also pressed for time to get this stupid job done. :mrrg:


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OK now imma go back and put in pics.

OH, LPT with the c-clip if using the T-Bones Goat installation method...

Using a pair of diagonal long-nose pliers, hold the back of the c-clip with your left hand, finagle the tips of the long-nose pliers into the c-clip holes with your right hand. Hold the c-clip so those ears are INSIDE the space between the housing and the hub flange shaft. As you compress the c-clip, push gently in with your left hand. Things will hopefully snap in place. If not, suck on whatever thumb or finger the c-clip bit you with when it snaps back at you, and after a few seconds, try again.
I'll be printing this page to PDF for when the Internet explodes in the future and I still have my GTO.
Excellent writeup, thanks for taking to time create this.
Very nicely done. I rue the day when I have to do mine, this will help though.

As an aside, you can buy that bearing splitter at HF. Renting might make sense, but I needed one (and will probably need it again) to I bought it.
Very nicely done. I rue the day when I have to do mine, this will help though.

As an aside, you can buy that bearing splitter at HF. Renting might make sense, but I needed one (and will probably need it again) to I bought it.
Yeah, that's where i picked up mine.
This is an excellent writeup with multiple ways of doing things. I'm pretty sure I have everything needed from when I did the rear bearings on my E46. This looks a little bit easier then it was on the BMW. The game changer is that you have that flange on the inner side of the wheel hub to use the puller to press the hub out, which is not there in the case of the BMW.

Plus side is this is a good reason to see how the CVs I rebuilt are doing :)
The game changer is that you have that flange on the inner side of the wheel hub to use the puller to press the hub out, which is not there in the case of the BMW.
Not sure what you mean, there.
Not sure what you mean, there.
Ughhh, took another look at the pictures and read more thoroughly. Nevermind. The BMW half shafts are definitely different, in that the shaft to hub spline shaft is part of the half shaft so there wasn't that flange to pull on, but now I see that step is just pulling the flange off and THEN whacking the hub out. My bad.
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I had to do this again recently (first time was about 8 years ago.) Using the "T-Bones Goat method" with a slight variation made this actually pretty easy. For anyone doing this in the future variations are

You don't need these two:
Slide hammer
Slide hammer bearing puller attachment set

But you do need in addition pipe/tube/reciever tube. This works:

Variation #1:
Old bearing removal:
Don't use the slide hammer. Use the the large receiver tube and push the bearing the whole way out. Much easier.
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Variation #2:
Method B (the patented T-Bones Goat method)
Take the spindle, put the c-clip on it and place in in dry ice for about 45 minutes. Heat the bearing slightly, I warmed it to ~150°F using a solder reflow gun. Pull the spindle out, wipe any condensation off, and then just drop the bearing on. It should freely fall directly into place.

Put the spindle with the bearing back into the dry ice for ~45 minutes. Make sure the brake shield is reinstalled. Heat the housing to ~150-200°. Pull the spindle out, wipe any condensation off the bearing, QUICKLY slip it right into place. There should be no resistance for about 5 seconds until the housing pulls some heat off.

Retaining C clip is very easy to install if you take some cheap pliers (like these 11 in. 90° Bent Nose Long Reach Pliers) and notch a little retaining groove into the inside of the nose.

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