Rear wheel bearing removal and replacement-mk4

Apr 18, 2017
Rear wheel bearing removal and replacement-mk4
  • Rear wheel bearing removal and replacement
    difficulty: 3/5


    This article shows how to remove the rear wheel bearing and replace it on a mk4 VW Jetta, also works on Golf and New Beetle 1998-2006
    Disclaimer: Before you attempt any work on your car, refer to the factory service manual and follow all precautions. Any and all information presented on this website is superseded by the official service manual and is not a substitute for the services or advice of a certified professional mechanic. See the full legal disclaimer on the site. If installation is not done properly, it can result in an accident or loss of control so have your local garage do it if you're not qualified to work on the bearings.

    Introduction – This article shows how to replace the rear bearings only
    The front bearings differ from the rear ones quite a bit. The front ones are pressed into the knuckle by themselves, while the rear ones are part of a whole hub assembly. The inner and outer rear wheel bearing, abs speed sensor rotor (do not confuse with the ABS sensor) and hub are all combined into one single assembly. So you are not confused, the speed sensor rotor is the mesh looking like part surrounding the rear portion of the hub. Brake dust will be present all over the parts you will be removing. It's recommended to use simple green or a similar cleaning product to clean all the surfaces and parts when exposed. I like to do that every time I work on any part of my vehicles.

    This article is an archive of , if you have any questions or comments on this article, please post in that thread by chacaocop.

    Parts for DIY Jetta, Golf and Beetle Rear Bearing hub replacement
    Large flat screw driver
    Phillips P3 screw driver
    5mm Allen wrench
    8mm Allen
    30mm 12 point socket
    replacement 30mm 12 point axle nut VW# n 905 545 01 (may come with new bearing kit)
    3 Jaw puller (you can rent this for free at AutoZone)
    Kukko 204-2 Puller. The price is around 120-240 depending on the supplier
    1 wheel bearing hub VW# 1j0 598 477 (click link to check current pricing)
    Dust Cap VW# 1j0 501 249 c
    Stub Axle Bolt VW# n 907 589 01
    Simple green spray (brake cleaner fluid will also work)
    PB Blaster

    Procedure to replace rear bearing
    Secure the front wheels, put the car in gear, and ensure the parking brake is not on, otherwise you won't be able to remove the caliper. Jack up the end of the car you want to work on (using the factory jack points) so that the tire is just barely touching the ground.

    Remove the center cap to get to the lug bolts, and loosen but don't remove the bolts. I do this so that the car's full weight isn't resting on the wheel. This makes it easier to loosen the lug bolts. Do not completely loosen the lug bolts until the car is secure on jack stands. If you can't get the lug bolts loose, try using a breaker bar or your leg to increase leverage. Your legs will always be stronger than your arms. Make sure the car is secure before removing the lug bolts or wheel and going any further and see the legal disclaimer for the full TOS.

    Remove the tire. Once the tire is off the car, then remove the dust cap from the rotor. The Bentley manual states that it should be replaced every time. I used a flat screw driver and a hammer. A few gentle taps all around should take it out.

    Even though the Bentley manual does not ask to remove the emergency cable, I found it's simpler to remove it since there will be more maneuverability of the caliper if the cable is removed. To do that, remove the clip colored in yellow sustaining the cable and take the cable out. Based on my experience, it is better to remove rear lower shock absorber bolt and to take the shock absorber out colored in white from the lower base. In that way you will have easy access to the 8mm hex bolts. Use the 8mm allen wrench to remove the caliper out. The two bolts colored in red are the ones that need to be removed. Once they are out remove the caliper and secure it with a rope or cord to the spring. Never leave the caliper hang by the brake line.

    Editors note: It's not necessary to remove the rear lower shock bolt if you have the right tools and enough clearance

    Once the caliper is out, use a Phillips P3 screw driver to remove the screw holding the disc in place and remove the disc from the axle.

    Now it is time to remove the hub. Use the 30mm socket to remove the center 12 point nut at the center of the hub assembly. A breaker bar will be helpful since the nut is torqued at 130 ft-lb or 175 Nm.

    Once out, use the 3 Jaw puller to pull the whole assembly out.

    Now that the assembly is out you can see that the inner bearing race will remain at the stub axle.

    In order to remove it you have 3 options:
    The first is to use a Dremel drill and cut very gently to break it off the stub. I personally do not like this method since it can potentially ruin the stub axle itself if miscalculated, but it is an option if you trust your pulse.
    The second option is to use the Kukko 204-2 puller by grabbing the inner race by the upper lip. Ensure it is tight so it doesn’t slip and then pull the race out of the stub. Spray PB Blaster and let it soak for 10 minutes before trying to pull it out. It will help it slide smoother.
    The third option is to remove the axle stub by removing the 4 screws holding it to the Axle Beam, the ABS sensor by removing the 5mm hex nut and the splash guard. Once it is out, you can hang the axle stub facing down and by the use of an acetylene torch, heat the bearing race to expand it until it drops by itself. For me this is the safest and easiest option. You local machine shop can also do it for you for 10 bucks.

    If you choose the third option, the surface between the axle beam and the axle stub must be free of rust; the bolts must be replaced and tied to 44 lb-ft or 60Nm. At this moment Simple green can be sprayed all over to clean the area. Be sure to follow the instructions as of how to use it. Now that the inner bearing race is out it is time to install the new axle hub. First install the Axle Stub, splash guard and torque it at 44lb-ft. Now install back the abs sensor using a 5mm allen wrench. Now insert the wheel hub bearing. If you place a little bit of grease it should slide all the way back. Ensure it is straight and you should have no problem. Now it is time to place the NEW axle nut back and tight it to 129 lb-ft. Once it is done you can place the caliper back and torque the 8mm allen bolts to 44 lb-ft. If you removed the shock, place it back in place. Remember to re-attach the parking brake cable and clip to secure it., place the NEW cover over the bolt.

    Place the tire back, tight the nuts at 89 ft-lb, and cover with the center cover if you have one. My own disclaimer is that this procedure is for informational purpose only. If you choose to follow this procedure is at your own risk.