Wheel bearing replacement

Discussion in 'VW Mk4 Jetta, Golf, New Beetle, Passat TDI forum' started by Unobogus, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. Unobogus

    Unobogus New Member

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    Hello, I'm new to the site and I've been on here searching on how to replace my front wheel bearings on my MK4 Jetta TDI. I don't have the pullers or a press, so hopefully someone know how to do it without those tools. I can't find anything, can someone lead me in the right direction?

    Thanks for any help.
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  2. YMZ

    YMZ Super Moderator

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    Sorry, but I don't know of any method for replacing them that doesn't involve some tools that aren't normally in the possession of the average backyard mechanic.

    The easiest way to get it done would be to remove the steering knuckle (mark the bottom bolts with paint so that you can replace the ball joint in exactly the same spot) and take it to a shop - some Napa stores are able to press out the bearing and press in the new one...

    Yuri


    PS: make sure to get a new nut (some cars use bolts) for the end of the driveshaft... as well, be sure never to let the car's weight rest on the wheel while it's turning unless that end nut (bolt) is properly torqued... that's the easiest way to ruin a new bearing...
  3. Unobogus

    Unobogus New Member

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    No problem. I realize that I need some tools, I just wondered if I could get them out without an actual bearing puller, maybe with a punch, socket, chisel? Also, could I press the new ones back in with a vise or clamp? Not an actual press. Local mechanic wants $425 to do the front bearings and I don't want to spend that much.


    Thanks for your help.
  4. YMZ

    YMZ Super Moderator

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    Both front bearings? Very unusual for the two to need replacing at the same time... (unless one guesses wrong and replaces the one that was good...)

    Check to see how much local shops (Napa, PepBoyz??) would charge if you bring in the knuckle...

    Yuri


    PS: before someone chimes in saying bearings should be replaced in pairs... over decades of VW ownership, I've never had more than one bearing go within 2 years of another... and we drive a LOT... current car: LF replaced at 120,891 miles... RF at 277,740 miles... original rear bearings still good at 457,000 miles...
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2012
  5. Frank M

    Frank M Member

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    you can actually replace the bearing without a press or puller if you get creative.
    Take off the knuckle as mentioned.

    Drive (hammer) the hub out using an old socket that will be a little smaller than the hub itself.
    Remove the E ring.

    Hammer the outer race out of the knuckle using a cold chisel on the ridge in the center of the ridge, be patient. After you get the race out you can cut a slice through it with a cutoff disk. This will make it slightly smaller than original and can be used to remove future races.

    Cut the inner race off the hub using a cutoff disk, a dremel will work, be patient.

    Install the new bearing by using the old outer race. hammer it in, never put pressure on the inner bearing race.

    Install the E-ring.

    Put the hub on a block of wood with the bearing end facing up.

    Put the knuckle over the hub and use the small socket that you used earlier to hammer the inner race onto the hub. Bottom it out completely.

    The idea is to not force the hub into the bearing without support to the opposite end inner race.

    This is crude way to work but it can be done without special pullers, press etc.

    A good chance you may ruin your bearing the first time you try it. Patience has to be learned sometimes.

    Buy a quality bearing or else you will be doing it again soon.

    If you want aftermarket get a Timken from Autozone or other well know name from a vendor.
  6. shuswap

    shuswap Member

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    I was all set to change both when the mechanic at the German local shop(1st time I've had someone touch a car or bike of mine in 25 years) told me to just do the one side, which I did...$180.

    Isn't the part available with the bearing mounted onto the hub, saving much of the grief I was trying to avoid? I think that's what the mech did to mine....50k ago:)
  7. Unobogus

    Unobogus New Member

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    Thanks for all of the information, I do appreciate it.
  8. Frank M

    Frank M Member

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    The $180 sounds fair.

    The bearing has to be pressed into the knuckle with force applied to the outer race only.
    I can not imagine it pressed onto the hub then into the knuckle and how would the E-ring be installed with the hub blocking it.

    Additionally the cost of the hub is lots more on the parts cost and unneeded as well.

    Any ad showing it pressed as an assembly is either for another application or trick photography in order to sell the assembly, implying an easy installation.
  9. YMZ

    YMZ Super Moderator

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    Could you be thinking of the rear bearings?
    Yup... I agree with Frank M that the $180 sounds fair...

    BTW: Frank: nice outline of the "old-school" way of doing this...

    Yuri
  10. shuswap

    shuswap Member

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    No, front bearing. It's been a while, but I thought it was necessary to cut the old bearing off and press the new one on......or buy the hub with bearing already pressed. Jeeez...when I read that....somewhere...I decided it wasn't worth the effort to save about $95.

    I may have been wrong about how that piece is assembled:eek:
  11. farmerben

    farmerben New Member

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    Resurrecting this old thread as I have just done my bearings and am in the process of torquing the hub nut to spec. Noticed that on the passenger side the nut runs well onto the stub, but on the driver side the stub is essentially flush with the outer face of the nut. Should they be the same or very similar. Any thoughts on why the two would be different.

    Thanks Ben

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