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    Thread: Wheel Bearing and Hub Replacement DIY

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      12-08-2004 06:45 PM #1
      REPLACING A FRONT WHEEL BEARING AND HUB ON A MKIV VR6

      The following procedure will outline the steps to replace a front wheel bearing and hub on a MKIV VR6. Either because of wear or because of hitting one too many potholes, your wheel bearings may fail. This is usually indicated by a loud grinding noise coming from the driver or passenger side tire wells. It can also be determined by jacking up the front end of the car and attempting to rotate the wheel by pushing on the 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock positions on the wheel. If there is any play at all, it is time for new bearings. If you decide to replace one side, I highly recommend you replace the other side while you have the tools on you.

      I decided to replace the hubs as well because the vendor gave me a good price if I bought both sides. This is generally a good thing to do, because if the splines on your hub are damaged they will accelerate the wear of your bearings.

      The procedure was based on a '00 MKIV Jetta GLX 12v VR6. I took the pictures for the passenger's side, but the driver's side should be almost identical. The procedure should be valid for '99.5 - '03.

      Please be careful when performing the below steps. I always label all my loose parts or place the small ones in plastic bags and label them so I know where they go.

      It took me approximately 3 hours to do one side, which is what the dealer quoted me on how long it would take them to do both sides. Depending on how good you are with tools, it may take you more or less time.

      First, for the parts list. I purchased all my parts at http://www.germanautoparts.com. They treated me very well, and also had the loaner tools I needed to complete the job.

      Parts
      1) Wheel bearing kit - VW# 1J0-498-625 - $48.00 x 2 (dealer price: $74.95)
      a. Includes circlip, 12 point nut, and wheel bearing
      2) Wheel hub, front - VW# 1J0-407-613g - $61.95 x 2 (dealer price: $157.48)
      3) Some wire or thick string
      4) Synthetic wheel bearing grease (Molykote grease works too)

      Now for the tools. There is a specialized tool that you need in order to press the VW wheel bearings. If you do not want to borrow the tool, you can pull the knuckle off of the frame and take it to a mechanic shop and they will do it for you for about $20. If you do this however, you are buying yourself into an alignment (around $60 depending where you go). I bit the bullet and got the loaner tool.

      UPDATE 5/24/07: For another option on this tool, check out page 3. Gary (VgRt6) has made some great tools and posted pics on how to use them. If you want to keep your own wheel bearing press and don't want to pay $300 for a new one, this is a GREAT way.

      Tools
      1) Schley Products 63500 VW bearing puller ($20 rental for the cup / washers, $10 rental for the ABS adapter)
      2) medium flathead screwdriver (to remove wheel covers)
      3) one jack
      4) two jackstands
      5) VW OEM wheel bolt remover (or applicable socket)
      6) 30 mm 12 point socket ($7.95 at Lowe's)
      7) 13 mm socket
      8) 18 mm socket
      9) 8 mm socket
      10) Breaker bar (to fit the 30mm socket)
      11) large Phillips screwdriver
      12) reversible ratchet to fit your 13 / 18 / 8 mm sockets
      13) two large adjustable open end wrench
      14) locktite (if you feel you need it)
      15) flashlight (for those hard to see places)
      16) 3" extension for your 30mm socket (if you have stock rims)
      17) needle-nose pliers

      So before you even start, you're looking at $260 for parts and tools. If you took it to the stealership, you're looking at $766 @ $50 / hour labor. Up to you if you want to get your hands dirty or not at this point. So...let me know if you have questions.

      Please be careful. Do this procedure at your own risk, I can't be held responsible if I have made a mistake in the steps.

      Examining your parts and positioning your car

      i. Before you begin, first examine your parts to make sure you have all the parts. You should have everything shown below. Starting from the upper right and going clockwise you see some wire, the wheel hub, the 12 point nut and the circlip, and then the wheel bearing.

      ii. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the wheel bearing. The metal on the outside is called the outer race, while the metal on the inside is the inner race. Note that the inner race is divided into two segments.

      iii. Drive your car to the location where you will be performing the maintenance. Apply the parking brake and put the transmission in neutral. Make sure you have plenty of light in the area you will be working.

      Note: All these pictures can be clicked on to get super-large images.

      Accessing the wheel hub and wheel bearing

      1. Remove the wheel cover to your wheel if you have stock wheels with a medium screwdriver (or the VW tool if you haven't lost it)

      2. With the parking brake firmly applied, loosen (do not remove) the wheel bolts with the VW OEM wheel bolt remover (or applicable socket and ratchet).

      3. Loosen the 12 point nut with the 30mm 12 point socket and breaker bar. I needed a 3" extender on mine because I didn't want to scratch my stock rims.

      4. Fully raise the front end of the vehicle (both sides). Place jackstands in the appropriate places so you can work comfortably.

      5. Remove the wheel bolts and the wheel.

      6. If you are working on the driver's side wheel, you may want to move the brake pad low width sensor out of the way so you have some room. There is no sensor on the passenger's side wheel.

      7. Remove the two bolts that hold the brake caliper to the mount with an 18mm socket. Remove the bottom one first, then slowly remove the top one. Do not let the caliper drop.

      8. Remove the brake caliper from the disc. You may need to wiggle it a bit to get it off the disc.

      9. Hang the brake caliper from the spring using wire or thick string. DO NOT let the brake caliper hang from its brake hose.

      10. Remove the Phillips screw from the brake disc and remove the brake disc.

      11. Remove the 12 point nut from the axle stub with the 30mm socket.

      12. Mark the position of the nut bracket for the ball joint / control arm interface. I scratched the position on the control arm with a screwdriver. See step #32 for a better picture of the scratches.

      13. Using a 13mm socket, remove the 3 bolts from underneath the control arm. Remove the bracket that comes loose.

      14. Push the stub axle into the hub. It should move in around 1.5". My stub axle was rusted inside my hub, so I had to loosen it by hitting it with a mallet a few times. The picture below is shown with the hub already pushed in.

      15. Slowly swing the knuckle assembly away from the vehicle, pivoting on the tie rod joint. As you swing the knuckle assembly away, push in on the stub axle until it comes out of the hub. After you have freed the knuckle from the control arm, you can let it hang. Push the stub axle all the way into the transmission (it should only move in .5" or so) and tie it to the control arm. DO NOT let the stub axle hang down or come out of the transmission.

      16. From here you are able to access the knuckle and the hub assembly. The following steps assume you are using the Schley Products VW bearing puller. If you are using a different tool or removing the knuckle, the next few steps will only serve as a guide.

      Pressing out and in the Wheel Hub and Wheel Bearing

      17. After generously lubricating the threads on the bolt with grease, attach the 1/2" ABS adapter to the outside of the puller housing. Slide the puller housing on top of the hub. Make sure the puller housing seats firmly on the hard points of the knuckle. Then slide the cup and bolt through the puller housing. Thread the large nut on the other side of the bolt. In order to remove the hub, there needs to be enough room for the ABS ring to clear the puller housing.

      18. Using your large open end wrenches (or channel locks, or vise-grips), hold the nut and tighten the head of the bolt. As the nut tightens on the bolt, it will press the wheel hub and part of the inner race of the wheel bearing out of the knuckle. When you are finished, loosen the nut and remove it from the bolt. The knuckle will look something like below. Remove the three 8 mm bolts holding the dust cover to the knuckle and remove the dust cover.

      19. Remove the circlip with a pair of needle nose pliers. To do this, insert the tips of the pliers into the holes and squeeze. The circlip will compress and you will be able to remove it.

      20. With the dust cover removed, take this opportunity to clean the ABS sensor. Brush off the dust with a clean cloth or shop towel.

      21. Find the washer from the puller tool that is large enough to seat comfortably on the inner race of the old bearing. This is the pusher washer. Set the pusher washer aside for use later. Slide three other washers onto the bolt, and slide them into the cup. Slide the small cup onto the bolt, and thread the bolt through the bearing. Slide the pusher washer onto the bolt from the other side of the bearing, and then thread the nut on. This may sound complicated, so look at the following two pictures closely before you proceed.

      22. Using your large open end wrenches (or channel locks, or vise-grips), hold the nut and tighten the head of the bolt. As the nut tightens on the bolt, it will press the wheel bearing out of the knuckle and into the small cup. When you are finished, loosen the nut and remove it from the bolt. This is undoubtedly the hardest part of the installation, the bearing will fight you every step of the way. Once the bearing is out, it will look like the picture below.

      23. Clean out the inside of the bearing housing with a clean cloth. I used a toothbrush to get the excess dirt out. Once the bearing housing is clean, liberally apply grease to the housing. The excess will squeeze out if you apply too much, so be generous.

      24. Since the new bearing may be slightly different then the old one, you will need to find a new pushing washer. Find a washer that seats comfortably on the inner race, but is slightly smaller then the outer race. You want the pushing pressure to be applied to the outer race, not the inner race. Set the pushing washer aside for use later. Slide three other washers onto the bolt, and slide them into the cup. Slide the pushing washer onto the bolt, then slide the bearing onto the pushing washer. Thread the bolt through the bearing housing and place the small cup on the inside of the bearing housing. Lastly, thread the nut onto the bolt. When you are finished, it will look something like this.

      25. Using your large open end wrenches (or channel locks, or vise-grips), hold the nut and tighten the head of the bolt. As the nut tightens on the bolt, the pusher washer will press the bearing into the bearing housing. Keep tightening until you feel the bolt lock up. When it does, loosen the nut and remove it from the bolt. Extract the small cup and all the washers.

      26. Install the new circlip using a pair of needle-nose pliers. To do this, insert the tips of the pliers into the holes and squeeze. The circlip will compress and you will be able to install it. DO NOT twist the circlip. When you have finished, it will look like this.

      27. Now to install the hub. Find a washer that seats comfortably on the inner race and is slightly bigger then the inner race. You want the pushing pressure to be applied to the inner race, not the outer race. Set the pushing washer aside for use later. Slide the hub onto the bolt and thread the bolt through the wheel bearing. Slide the pushing washer onto the bolt from the inside of the bearing, and thread the nut onto the bolt. When you are done it should look like this.

      28. Using your large open end wrenches (or channel locks, or vise-grips), hold the nut and tighten the head of the bolt. As the nut tightens on the bolt, the pusher washer will press the hub into the bearing. Keep tightening until you feel the bolt lock up. When it does, loosen the nut and remove it from the bolt. Extract the cup and the pushing washer. The picture below shows the fully installed hub and wheel bearing.

      29. Install the dust cover and the three 8mm bolts. Torque to 89 in/lbs.

      30. Remove the wire holding the stub axle to the control arm. Without pulling the stub axle out of the transmission, insert the stub axle into the hub.

      31. Slide the ball joint bracket back into the control arm. Re-install the nut bracket and the three 13mm bolts. Ensure that the bracket aligns with the scratches you made in step 13. Torque the bolts to 20 Nm.

      32. Re-install the brake disc. Attached the brake disc to the hub with the Phillips screw.

      33. Remove the wire that the brake caliper is hanging from. Re-install the caliper by sliding it over the discs. Install the two 18mm bolts that connect the caliper to the mount. Torque the bolts to 125 Nm.

      34. Install the new 12 point nut. Do not torque the nut yet. I applied locktite at this point if you wish to do it.

      35. Place the tire on the hub and install the bolts. Do not torque them yet.

      36. Lower the vehicle slightly, just enough to stop the tire from rotating so you can torque the 12 point nut. If you have a jackstand small enough, use it.

      37. Torque the 12 point nut to 175 Nm.

      38. Torque the wheel bolts to 125 Nm.

      39. At this point, I waited around 20-30 minutes to let the locktite dry. After that, I took the car for a test run and loved the way the new bearings sounded...not at all.

      That's it! Email me with questions if you have any, I'd be happy to answer them!


      Modified by FaelinGL at 7:05 PM 10-2-2005


      Modified by FaelinGL at 1:44 AM 7-13-2006


      Modified by FaelinGL at 4:28 PM 10-4-2006


      Modified by FaelinGL at 2:14 PM 5-24-2007

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    2. 12-08-2004 06:51 PM #2
      Very nice DIY w/good pics! I am not sure if the wheel bearing/hub replacement is on the DIY Sticky yet, but it should be!

      Kudos and thanks...

      -Wes


    3. 12-08-2004 06:52 PM #3
      Excellent work!!! I helped a friend do this on his Corrado and know how much of a PITA it can be, especially if you've never done it before. This DIY should help a lot of people out.

      I added it to the DIY/FAQ thread.

      Gary


      Modified by VgRt6 at 7:03 PM 12-8-2004


    4. 12-08-2004 06:55 PM #4
      Holy cow, Batman! Mods make quick work of this DIY! My head's spinning at the speed it got on the sticky....

      Nice!

      -Wes


    5. 12-08-2004 06:57 PM #5
      I know quality when I see it.

      Gary


    6. Member White Jetta's Avatar
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      12-08-2004 07:18 PM #6
      This post has been a long time coming, simply excellent. I used a similar method using a homemade version of that pusher tool. You just need to watch what race your pushing/pulling on.

      Excellent

      Where can i purchase that VW tool?


      Edit: Printed for future reference



      Modified by White Jetta at 7:34 PM 12-8-2004

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    7. Member
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      12-08-2004 07:43 PM #7

      Try http://www.sptool.com/. The model # is #63500, VW Bearing puller with ABS adapter. You may have to call to verify it.

      On a side note, is anyone else seeing Red X's for the pictures? Let me know.

      Fae

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    8. 12-08-2004 08:03 PM #8
      Pics work for me.

      Gary


    9. Member White Jetta's Avatar
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      12-08-2004 08:04 PM #9
      It says on their website that their tools are available on select tool trucks, Snap-on, Mac tools etc. Where did you get yours?


      Modified by White Jetta at 8:06 PM 12-8-2004
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      12-08-2004 08:08 PM #10

      Well, I didn't buy mine since I didn't expect to have to replace my wheel bearings ever again. So I rented it from http://www.germanautoparts.com . They charged me 30 bucks rental fee plus freight (to ship it back). I bet if you called them they'd sell to you direct.

      Fae

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    11. 12-08-2004 08:15 PM #11
      Quote, originally posted by FaelinGL »

      Well, I didn't buy mine since I didn't expect to have to replace my wheel bearings ever again. So I rented it from http://www.germanautoparts.com . They charged me 30 bucks rental fee plus freight (to ship it back). I bet if you called them they'd sell to you direct.

      Fae

      That's not a bad price. IIRC, they (GAP) charged my friend $50.

      Gary


    12. Member White Jetta's Avatar
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      12-08-2004 08:16 PM #12
      Sounds like a plan. I always buy special tools just in case i need them later
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    13. 12-14-2004 02:29 PM #13
      Amazing write up. Im in the process of doing it now and Im trying to source the wheel bearing/hub puller. Do you know who might have one locally or what else might work? Ill have a new hub and bearing so if it gets trashed its no biggy, and Id rather not remove the entire knuckle.

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      12-14-2004 04:58 PM #14
      nice writeup. but i always break my wheel lugs (and axle nut) with the full weight of the car on the wheel. also, penetrating oil helps a lot

      and if the axle nut is siezed or rusted, the torque wrench probably wont work. i always use a breaker bar for this. of course, the last time i did this it was on an 83 rabbit, so everything was rusty/siezed.. luckily my buddy had a mack-daddy impact gun..


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      12-14-2004 08:02 PM #15
      Quote, originally posted by 2003vr6gti »
      nice writeup. but i always break my wheel lugs (and axle nut) with the full weight of the car on the wheel. also, penetrating oil helps a lot

      What's the consensus on this? Does it merit a DIY change?

      Fae

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    16. 12-15-2004 12:12 AM #16
      It's a good idea to break high-torque bolts like these with the car on the ground. Cars have fallen of jackstands from less!

      Gary


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      12-15-2004 12:36 AM #17
      especially when it was torqued to 175 lb-ft when the bolt was new, clean, and rust-free...

      it will likely take more than that to get it off. penetrating oil helped a lot, and i tried to get one off with a 2' breaker bar once... but the whole car was moving (with the wheels on the ground). then i just went and got the air tools

      edit: and the parking brake was on.


    18. Member RavinJetta's Avatar
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      12-15-2004 12:47 AM #18
      Great DIY thanks

    19. Member White Jetta's Avatar
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      12-15-2004 03:30 PM #19
      One quick tidbit. If your NOT replacing the wheel hub like he did, you will still have to get the inner race off of the hub itself, it tends to stay on there when you pull it out. You can either use a puller of some kind, or do what i did and cut it off with a Dremel
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      12-15-2004 05:30 PM #20
      Quote, originally posted by 2003vr6gti »
      especially when it was torqued to 175 lb-ft when the bolt was new, clean, and rust-free...

      Torque to 175 Nm!

      Going to edit the post to say to loosen the bolts while on the ground. Much appreciation for the feedback.

      Fae

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    21. 12-15-2004 09:38 PM #21
      Awesome - I'm doing this weekend myself and this thread couldn't have come at a better time.

    22. 12-15-2004 10:39 PM #22
      Alot of these kinds of specialty tools can be rented for free at PEP BOYS, AUTO ZONE, ADVANCED AUTO. They require a deposit but you get the cash back when you return the tools.

    23. 12-16-2004 02:20 AM #23
      Pepboys does not carry the correct tool
      Quote, originally posted by gRAVITy »
      Alot of these kinds of specialty tools can be rented for free at PEP BOYS, AUTO ZONE, ADVANCED AUTO. They require a deposit but you get the cash back when you return the tools.

    24. 12-16-2004 01:05 PM #24

    25. 12-16-2004 01:08 PM #25
      how hard is it to the do the rear wheel bearing

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      12-17-2004 09:07 AM #26
      From what I've heard, the rear wheel bearing is amazingly easy. The simple truth behind it is because the hub and the bearing come preassembled and sealed together, so it's basically a chop and swap type deal. You unbolt the old one, slide it out, and slide the new one in. The parts are *a LOT* more expensive though.

      Fae

      EDIT: If anyone needs my old front hubs, let me know. I looked them over and they're in ok condition. You'll have to pull the old bearing race off of them however.


      Modified by FaelinGL at 6:09 AM 12-17-2004

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    27. Member GTI_Quest's Avatar
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      12-29-2004 12:18 AM #27
      Quote, originally posted by White Jetta »
      .....you will still have to get the inner race off of the hub itself, it tends to stay on there...... cut it off with a Dremel

      worked on this today and had the inner race seriously stuck on the hub. Almost like it was fused together. I used a cut off tool first then a dremel, BUT I made deep cuts in the hub. Wondering if i should reuse the deeply cutted hub or get a new one. What you experts think?

      BTW, anyone have better idea to get the inner race off for next time????


    28. Member Fugee's Avatar
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      12-29-2004 12:40 AM #28
      Good write up.

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      12-29-2004 06:06 AM #29
      Quote, originally posted by GTI_Quest »

      worked on this today and had the inner race seriously stuck on the hub. Almost like it was fused together. I used a cut off tool first then a dremel, BUT I made deep cuts in the hub. Wondering if i should reuse the deeply cutted hub or get a new one. What you experts think?

      BTW, anyone have better idea to get the inner race off for next time????

      Not worth it man. Bite the bullet and go for a new hub. It costs $60 bucks. If you can wait, I've got my 2 old front hubs sitting in my garage (I can ship them to you), but you'll have to pull the inner races off them as well.

      You can use the standard bearing puller to get the inner race off the hub (the one that people can rent at Autozone etc). Let me know if you have any more q's.

      Fae

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    30. 12-29-2004 07:53 AM #30
      Dont reuse that cut up hub.

      I use a puller for them but sometimes they dont come off so I would just cut the race off very carefully. When your cutting the race off you just have to eye it because sometimes its hard to tell where the race ends and the hub starts. I would just make a deep cut in the race and eye it and then hit it with a flathead screw driver and a hammer at the cut and it comes off.

      Good DIY.
      I usually do it on a press but this saves time and can avoid an aligment.


    31. 12-29-2004 08:51 AM #31
      Great little write up....alternativly you can bring the whole spindle to a local garage and have them press the bearings in and out for you.... quick tip, show up to your your local repair shop at about 3:30-4:00 with a 12 pack of new castle or bass (either will do ) and ask if they have time to help ya out realy quick .

    32. Member GTI_Quest's Avatar
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      12-29-2004 09:48 AM #32
      Fae,
      Thanks for the offer. I'll let you know.

      I didn't realize many people have this inner race stuck. I thought it was just me.


    33. 12-29-2004 10:09 AM #33
      Quote, originally posted by FaelinGL »
      Not worth it man. Bite the bullet and go for a new hub. It costs $60 bucks. If you can wait, I've got my 2 old front hubs sitting in my garage (I can ship them to you), but you'll have to pull the inner races off them as well.

      You can use the standard bearing puller to get the inner race off the hub (the one that people can rent at Autozone etc). Let me know if you have any more q's.

      Fae

      I use a normal gear puller with a hose clamp around the jaws to keep it tight on the race itself. Worked fine on my car.


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      07-10-2005 04:17 PM #34
      Quote, originally posted by FaelinGL »
      26. Install the new circlip using a pair of needle-nose pliers. To do this, insert the tips of the pliers into the holes and squeeze. The circlip will compress and you will be able to install it. DO NOT twist the circlip. When you have finished, it will look like this.


      Quote, originally posted by Bentley »
      Note:
      Make sure the circlip is seated correctly. The opening of the circlip must point downward.

    35. 07-23-2005 06:06 PM #35
      Is there a way to just replace the wheel bearing without removing the hub? Do I have to replace the hub?

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