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Front wheel bearings

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself Articles - How To's & Product Revie' started by Diesel Dually, May 4, 2008.

  1. Diesel Dually

    Diesel Dually awaiting your return...signed... your friends

    506
    0
    May 3, 2008
    Mile High
    Preface: If you are running oversized tires, high hp, or subjecting your truck to extreme shocks on the front, like drag racing or sled pulling, your front wheel bearings will not last much past the 36k mi warranty.

    You can tell if the wheel bearing is shot by jacking the truck up til the wheel is off the ground, grabbing the top and bottom of the tire and try to pry it in and out. ANY movement is wear. A stocker will not move. Ours were worn to the point of more than 2" slop at the tire with 50,000mi on the truck. You can drive pretty far worn bearings without fear of the wheel departing the truck due to the captive design of the unit.

    This is a sealed bearing assy that includes the hub, lug bolts, bearings, axle spline, wheel speed sensor, and cable. GM has recently updated the part number to #15225770 or AC Delco #FW289. Retail for the unit can be as high as $450 ea, to a low of $150 ea, so it pays to shop around.

    Let's Begin/

    What you will need:
    [​IMG]

    You will need:

    Floor jack
    Jack stand
    15mm socket and ratchet, wrench will work if you are strong.
    21mm socket and BIG ASS breaker bar. Cutting torch will have better luck than a wrench on this *****.
    36mm socket and breaker bar. Nut is actually 35.5mm, so a 1 3/8" socket can be beaten on it.
    Sharp flat blade screwdriver.
    Hammer.
    Pliers.
    Large C-Clamp.
    Grease.
    Loctite - Blue. Unless you're selling it, then use red. Blue allows for removal in the future, red is REALLY aggressive.

    In picture, not absolutely necessary - impact wrench.

    Not in picture, something a foot tall and will support 20lb, like a toolbox. And about 3 beers per side.

    Step 1:
    [​IMG]

    Jack side of truck up, and put a jackstand under it. Use frame rail.
    Turn ignition to ON position and put in 4wd Hi, and set parking brake.
    Remove Wheel.

    Step 2:

    [​IMG]
    Unplug the wheel sensor wire near the top of the shock. There are 4 push in wire retainers, you will not save them, so rip them out with pliers. You can cut off the wire if you think it will get in your way.

    Step 3:

    [​IMG]


    Use C-Clamp to compress the brake pistons so it will be easy to reinstall.


    Step 4:

    [​IMG]

    There are 2 loctited 21mm head bolts that hold the brake caliper frame to the axle support. THESE ARE TIGHT!!! Rotate the steering to get to them easier. Remove the bottom, then loosen the top one so you can remove it with your fingers. You will need to have something ready to support it when you remove the brake assy.

    Step 5:

    [​IMG]

    Pull the top bolt and set the brake assy on something that will not stress the brake line. You can destroy a brake line by hanging that much weight on it.

    Step 6:

    [​IMG]

    In this picture, the lug at 11 o'clock and 5 o'clock have a retaining washer that holds the disc on the hub for assembly purposes. Remove these by rotating them with a screwdriver, then pry them off. You do not need these, I suggest you throw them away. Once they are removed, you can pull the disc off the hub. If it does NOT come off easy? Torch and a mallet. Do not hit the rotor with a steel hammer or you can burr it up.


    Step 7:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Pry the center dust cover off with a sharp flat blade screwdriver. Be fairly gentle as you will reuse this. It's not REALLY necessary, and serves no function whatsoever, but it looks prettier than the axle nut.


    Step 8:

    [​IMG]


    That nut in the center keeps the axle from wandering too deep into the differential. Other than that, it does nothing. It is not a load component. It measures 35.5mm, you can remove it with a 36mm socket and breaker bar or tap a 1 3/8" socket onto it. If the truck is in 4WD with the truck in park, it will not spin the hub. The nut is a locking nut, so it will be tight most the way off.

    Part Two in next post
     
  2. Diesel Dually

    Diesel Dually awaiting your return...signed... your friends

    506
    0
    May 3, 2008
    Mile High
    Step 9:

    [​IMG]


    Once the nut is off, spray some WD40 into the center spline, then tap the axle into the hub gently until it stops. It will move about 1". This will make it easy to pull the hub off when it's time.

    Step 10:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    There are four 15mm bolts that hold the hub on. These are also pretty tight. If you turn the steering, it makes them easier to remove.
    Step 11:

    [​IMG]


    The hub should slip right out. You might have to tap the axle a bit more while holding the hub out from the base. Clean all mating surfaces, grease the axle spline and o-ring in base. Dust shield faces forward.
    INSTALLATION

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    IMPORTANT TORQUE SPECS

    Hub and Bearing Assembly to Steering Knuckle Bolts - 180 N·m / 133 lb ft
    Axle Shaft Nut - 210 N·m / 155 lb ft
    Caliper Mounting Bracket to Knuckle, Front - 300 N·m / 221 lb ft

    Here's the new hub/bearing assy. There is some electrical tape on the wire holding them together, tear it off.

    Line up the spline to the holes with the wire at TDC. If the bolt holes do not line up, you can either take the truck out of 4WD, or pull it off the spline and try to align it better. I suggest align it better. There is a lot of slop in the axle rotation, so you don't have to precisely get the right tooth on the spline for it line up. Screw the axle nut on by hand to hold it in place.

    Use a few drops of Blue Loctite (yes I know it comes in a red bottle ) on the 15mm bolts, and bolt the hub back down. Don't forget the dust shield. The wire goes UNDER the tab on the dust shield.

    Tighten down the axle nut and washer on the axle. Tap the dust cover back on with the handle of the hammer.

    Replace the rotor.

    Hold the brake pads apart with your fingers and slide the brake assy onto the rotor. Use loctite and reinstall the two 21mm bolts. Do I know the torques? Uh... REAL tight?

    Snap the 4 wire holders into the same holes the old one came out of, and reconnect the connector near the shock.

    Put wheel back on, lower truck..

    IMPORTANT

    Start engine and pump the brakes slowly several times. When you pushed the pistons back into the calipers, they are still sitting far away from the rotors and YOU WILL HAVE NO BRAKES.
     
  3. Diesel Dually

    Diesel Dually awaiting your return...signed... your friends

    506
    0
    May 3, 2008
    Mile High
    Sourced from elsewhere on the web. No images or text was/is copyrighted.

    Thanks to McRat for his generosity by posting this originally.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2008
  4. btfarm

    btfarm 300,000 Worth Staff Member Moderator

    15,862
    1,127
    May 12, 2008
    Sandwich, Illinois
    I'm going to add on to this a bit with a couple of tips. Did my RF on 4/6/09.
    1) You need good quality 6 pt sockets at least 1/2 drive in both 21mm (or 13/16) and 15mm. A 1-3/8 12 point will work fine.
    2) Borrow or rent a 250 ft-lb torque wrench.
    3) To take off the dust cap, sharpen a medium size flat screwdriver and then just tap it into the gap alternating spots over the top 120 deg. or so. As it starts to separate you should be able to gently work it out the rest of the way with a large blade screwdriver by twisting it, again aternating spots. That way you won't wreck it.
    4) Have at least a 24" breaker bar and 12" to 18" piece of pipe to fit on the end. That 220 ft lb torque on the caliper bolts is at least 300 ft-lb break away.
    5) As far as time, with Pat's (McRat) instructions, I was right at 1hr-45min from opening the tool box to sweeping the floor and putting away the tools after a 3 or 4 mile test ride (took no breaks).
     
  5. merlin5577

    merlin5577 Diesel > Gasoline

    322
    1
    Feb 23, 2009
    Taunton, MA
    This is an awesome thread! Thanks a ton for sharing!
     
  6. Pepperidge

    Pepperidge Member Advocate Staff Member Lead Moderator

    12,346
    317
    Feb 10, 2008
    Slidell, La
    Also note: Timken now makes Wheel bearings for our trucks...you'd do well to find a place to get them...
     
  7. btfarm

    btfarm 300,000 Worth Staff Member Moderator

    15,862
    1,127
    May 12, 2008
    Sandwich, Illinois
    That's what I used. $230 incl shipping at one of the vendors at dp. Dmaxstore.com. Wish he was one of ours but the guy seems to have a good site going.
     
  8. Pepperidge

    Pepperidge Member Advocate Staff Member Lead Moderator

    12,346
    317
    Feb 10, 2008
    Slidell, La
  9. btfarm

    btfarm 300,000 Worth Staff Member Moderator

    15,862
    1,127
    May 12, 2008
    Sandwich, Illinois
    Yeah, I wanted to find one of our guys but I was kinda desperate so I pulled the trigger on the best price and deliv I could find quick.
     
  10. BigDogYJ

    BigDogYJ Recruit

    348
    2
    May 8, 2008
    Kommifornia
    That dmaxstore guy has an option for Lifetime warranty also! thats interesting!
     
  11. Boge

    Boge You talkin' to me?

    410
    0
    Nov 20, 2008
    FL
    Nice write up, I did mine a month ago.
     
  12. WilliamBos

    WilliamBos Serial Post Whore in the making...

    But one thing to not forget about is the rim being ground down by the brake pad carrier/caliper?

    You ask how I know?? :)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    What is the life span of the rear bearings??




     
  13. dieseldan723

    dieseldan723 New Member

    32
    0
    Jun 8, 2008
    Portland, OR
    Great writeup. Can you do any damage by driving with BAD bearings for a long time?
     
  14. merlin5577

    merlin5577 Diesel > Gasoline

    322
    1
    Feb 23, 2009
    Taunton, MA
    You will burn up the old bearing making the repair that much more difficult.
     
  15. DEERE3594

    DEERE3594 I welcome everyone...not just Penguins!

    5,009
    4
    May 5, 2008
    NE Ohio
    how do you get the rotor off on a 2002 dually? same as a SRW rotor?
     
  16. Ed HD

    Ed HD Formerly: Dad's 05 LLY

    3,066
    240
    Jul 6, 2008
    Lakeville, Minnesota
    Don't you first have to remove the dually adapters? I'm not precisely sure Justin. Gonna have to dig in and figure it out!

    Also, I've seen the bearings come completely apart, to where the inner and outer parts are separate and all the balls are falling out. Supposedly happened in like 60 miles, but I doubt that. Probably just had the radio cranked too loud to hear it till it literally destroyed itself. Eventually the axle would've come apart and the wheel would've flown off, and they'd have been SOL.

    Don't wait to replace them.

    *Knock on wood* we've never replaced one on our 05...
     
  17. Sam30

    Sam30 New Member

    5
    0
    Nov 4, 2011
    Many thanks for this great instruction for wheel bearing. Especially the pictures help me. I always need a good guide which I can follow to avoid mistakes. Sometimes I'm very clueless and desperate, and threads like this help me in this case a lot! Was it easy? Are there some more things I have to keep in mind? I don't want to destroy something.
     
  18. Marauderer

    Marauderer Grumpy Old Cur***geon

    804
    15
    Dec 8, 2009
    Powder Springs, GA
    Thanks Chris for the great article with color pics.

    Went to Decatur, AL last weekend and on the way over the right front started the intermittent growl. When I got home I ordered the DMax store Timken hub assemblies, $199 with life time warranties. I got two as they are the same for both sides and it looks like I have about another 20K mi before the left starts to go. Ordered my 36mm 6 point socket from Amazon $12. Waiting for parts and tools. Will post the results when completed.

    When I have problems with my truck I go to "The Truck Stop" first and proceed from there!!
     

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