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    Thread: Wheel Bearing Replacement DIY for MK3

    1. Member 95GolfIIIGL's Avatar
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      08-03-2006 12:54 PM #1
      My first real DIY! Woot! I hope it is good. Anyways, when I was looking for one of these, I came up with one for the MK4. It was great, and really helped direct me, but it left some things out and had some things confusing, so I figured we needed one for our cars. Here's a link to the DIY whose example I followed (always cite your sources) http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=1722551 . This DIY is for a 2 liter w/o ABS, and involves removing the steering knuckle so that it can be brought somewhere, and the bearings pressed out and in. You will need an alignment after this. So, let's get started...

      What you will need:
      -Breaker Bar and/or Torque wrench (I used a breaker Bar)
      -Ratchet
      -Sockets (13mm, 8mm, 19mm deep, 30mm deep)
      -3" extender for sockets
      -19mm wrench
      -Phillips-Head Screw Driver
      -Tierod End Remover
      -Hammer
      -Smaller flathead screwdriver
      -Tire Iron/Lug bolt remover
      -Twine/Wire
      -PB Blaster (liquid wrench or something else if you'd like is acceptable)
      -Jack and Jack Stands
      -If you have access to impact tools or an air gun, it will be a huge help
      -OH, and, Wheel Bearing Kit! Can be purchased for $24.99 from autohausaz.com, or around $30 from GAP


      Got everything? Let's start!


      1) Using your flathead screwdriver, remove the cover in the center of your wheels to expose the hubcentric nut. This is the 30mm nut that will be a pain in the arse. You must loosen this nut, but do not remove it all the way. Here is where air tools or an impact gun would really help. If you don't have access to these, you can use your breaker/torque wrench. I actually went to a shop up the street and had them loosen the nuts for me.

      2) Once you've got your nut loose, Jack up the car and support it with your jack stands. Now remove the lug bolts and the wheel. With the wheel off and out of the way, it's time to get to the real work.


      3) The first thing to remove is your caliper and caliper bracket. Your caliper bracket is held on by two 17mm bolts behind the rotor. You should be able to remove the whole caliper and bracket assemly at once, but if you can't, you can remove the caliper itself by removing the 13mm bolts that hold the caliper in (found near the 17mm bolts) and removoving the caliper and brake pads.

      4) DO NOT let the caliper hang by the brake line. Instead, using your twine or wire, suspend the caliper from the springs.

      5) Remove the phillips head screw from the rotor. If your screw is rusted in, you may beed to put the screwdriver in place and tap it a couple times with your hammer. I ended up having to drill one of the screws out, but managed not to destroy the threads. Once the screw is out, remove the rotor (if your rotor feels a little rusted on, you can tap the inner edges on the back of it with the hammer lightly. This will help get it off).


      6) Now remove the dust shield using your 8mm socket. There are two nuts that need to be removed, then it should come right off. Mine is a little bent and rusted from one bad night (don't ask)


      7) Time to remove the Tierod End! First you will have to remove the 19mm nut on the bottom of the tie rod end. this nut can be on really tight, which is why we are doing this step first, with everything else still attatched. Once this nut is off, you will need your tierod end remover. Insert the wedge end inbetween the knuckle and the tierod end, and hammer the other end until the tierod end and the knuckle seperate. Mine were on really tight, so it took a while. [Note: it might be a good idea to put on new tierod ends. They are $18 each from GAP. Also, you should use this opportunity to check the stiffness of your inner tierods]



      8) With the Tierod now disconnected, It's time to go after the three bolts on the bottom of your control arm. These 13mm bolts hold the ball joint to the control arm. You will want to remember how tight they were/how much they protruded from the control arm. One easy way to do this is to mark their position. Then go ahead and remove them. The control arm will now be seperated from the steering knuckle. You should now remove the Hubcentric nut that you loosesned at the beggining, and the washer underneath it.


      9) Now Loosen the 19mm nuts and bolts holding the steering knuckle to the strut. You may have to hold the nuts in place while turning the bolts. this is where that 19mm wrench comes in handy. Once these nuts are loose, but not out, it is time to remove the axle stub from the steering knuckle. Pushing the axle into the steering knuckle, you will be able to turn the steering knuckle and swing it away from the axle. The axle stub should come out of the steering knuckle, and you can swing the knuckle to the side. Now finish removing the bolts holding the steering knuckle to the strut (bottom first), and voila!


      10) Your steering knuckle is now removed and ready to be taken away to have your old bearings pressed out, and your new pressed in. Then, you get to put it all back together, and bring it for an alignment! Yay!


      Tips:
      -When reassembling, you may want to use thread anti-sieze on some of the bolts that gave you trouble .
      -If your axle stub doesn't want to come out of the steering knuckle, put the 30mm nut back on and thread it until it is flush with the end of the stub. then you can hit it a few times to drvie the stub out without mushrooming the end of the stub.
      -Try blasting EVERY nut, bolt, and screw with PB Blaster or whatever you are using a day in advance, and then again at the start of your project. many of these nuts and bolts may have been rarely or never removed, thus they may be rusted into place.


      Soooooo That's it! Pictures, directions, and all. I hope everyone likes it, and that it helps some folks, because Vortex and freinds have helped me a ton. If you find some of the pictures confusing, I took them during the reassembly, so some nuts are new and the hub had been resurfaced. If anyone knows anything I should add, let me hear it! I will submit this to the DIY/FAQ sticky as well. Did I do a good first DIY?


      Modified by 95GolfIIIGL at 10:06 AM 8-3-2006


    2. 08-03-2006 01:43 PM #2
      ahh this DIY would of came in hand about weeks ago. awesome DIY though, i wish they would all come like this

    3. 11-16-2006 03:44 PM #3
      good job

    4. 09-28-2007 01:08 PM #4
      Excellent job, including the nut sizes! I hate it when ppl forget to tell you what sockets to get ready, it really helps.
      Quote Originally Posted by Muffler Bearing View Post
      Oh god, those wheels! Kill them with fire!
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      My Rust Repair / Rabbit Rotisserie build thread


    5. Member sickgixxer69's Avatar
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      11-23-2007 10:23 AM #6
      Thanks this was a lot of help.

    6. 11-23-2007 10:27 AM #7
      I'm gonna have to do this before my wheel comes off at 50 mph

    7. Member .yuk.'s Avatar
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      11-23-2007 10:50 AM #8
      I actually pressed mine while it was still attached to the car... Gotta love the snap on press kit.

      Still a PIA by the way, but it cuts out like 4 of your steps.

      Bübëngröpën | yuksquad | BradFabIndustries

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    8. 11-26-2007 08:33 PM #9
      Esspecially if u dont have a 2nd car.

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      11-26-2007 09:01 PM #10
      nice writeup nice stockies too

    10. Junior Member
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      09-05-2008 12:05 AM #11
      great diy. on my car the bolts holding the hub to the strut were 18mm

    11. Member odyssey15's Avatar
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      09-05-2008 03:56 PM #12
      awesome DIY. kinda off topic, but do you NEED an alignment? even if i marked the strut and the knuckle, then matched them again when i was finished?? just curious. thanks

    12. Banned dubbinmk2's Avatar
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      09-05-2008 03:58 PM #13
      Quote, originally posted by odyssey15 »
      awesome DIY. kinda off topic, but do you NEED an alignment? even if i marked the strut and the knuckle, then matched them again when i was finished?? just curious. thanks


      yes you will only a machine could get it perfect.....


    13. Member Dutchsider's Avatar
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      09-05-2008 03:58 PM #14
      Quote, originally posted by odyssey15 »
      awesome DIY. kinda off topic, but do you NEED an alignment? even if i marked the strut and the knuckle, then matched them again when i was finished?? just curious. thanks

      that method should work. Emphasis on should

      "Builds a sh*tty/ugly car, gets made fun of, calls everyone a hater" - Dubbers
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    14. Member cartercdad's Avatar
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      09-05-2008 04:01 PM #15
      are there any [press kits besides the snapon one so i dont have to take the spindle/hub off the car?

    15. Member odyssey15's Avatar
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      09-05-2008 06:54 PM #16
      Quote, originally posted by Dutchsider »

      that method should work. Emphasis on should

      thanks, it for the beater, so it not a HUGE deal if its not 100%


    16. 09-05-2008 07:10 PM #17
      good effort but this should be a "how to remove your knuckle" diy not a wheel bearing diy

    17. 09-05-2008 07:11 PM #18
      there is a guy selling a tool for 100 bucks somewhere in the mk3 parts forum. it lets you press out the bearing while the knuckle is still on the car. i have one, it rules.

    18. Member cartercdad's Avatar
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      09-05-2008 11:03 PM #19
      link?

    19. Member vwishndaetr's Avatar
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      09-05-2008 11:16 PM #20
      Put in MK3 FAQs and DIYs!!!

    20. Member magics5rip's Avatar
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      09-20-2008 09:07 AM #21
      I just completed a front wheel bearing job this weekend in my own driveway. For a person that can't find a shop to do the pressing for them, I suggest this:

      This is part 45210 from Harbor Freight and costs approx $80. As you see, it is a manual press but works like a charm.

      If you stop at step 8 in this DIY, goto autozone and rent a FWD Hub Puller and their slide hammer kit. The hub puller simply bolts to the wheel hub with two lug bolts, and the slide hammer bolts into the hub puller

      Hub Puller

      Slide Hammer

      Again, auto zone rents these. The best part? ITS FREE! They take a deposit on the tools which you get back when the tools are returned.

      If you start at step #8 from the original post, simply bolt the hub puller to the hub and screw the slide hammer into the hub puller. Use the slide hammer like ingenuity would tell you, and in a few slides the hub pops right off. There are instructions and other posts explaining how to use the bearing press, so I will leave that to searching unless someone specifically asks "how do I use the press?"

      Pressing the new bearing in is easy as well. The only suggestions I have are: 1.) Wet sand the part of the spindle that going inside the bearing. 2.) Wet sand the inside of the knuckle still on the car. Use 1000 grit sand paper to do this. Before attempting to put the new bearing in, put a little bit of oil on the bearing and the hub. This will allow it to slide in MUCH easier!

      You may also need a small gear puller as part of the bearing will probably come out with the hub. But anyone who works on their car regularly, you can do 1 bearing in about 2-3 hrs.


    21. Member mj23afs's Avatar
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      11-22-2008 12:23 PM #22
      I will be using this on tuesday. 1 quick question though. Is the tie rod end remover necessary to separate the tie-rod end from the knuckle? Has anyone been able to do this step a little differently?

    22. Member sun98gtiVR6's Avatar
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      11-22-2008 01:41 PM #23
      Quote, originally posted by .yuk. »
      I actually pressed mine while it was still attached to the car... Gotta love the snap on press kit.

      x2, good stuff


    23. Member mj23afs's Avatar
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      11-26-2008 08:12 AM #24
      Probably mentioned earlier but aren't suspension bolts are 18 mm..

    24. Senior Member Dan J Reed's Avatar
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      11-26-2008 08:16 AM #25
      Quote, originally posted by mj23afs »
      I will be using this on tuesday. 1 quick question though. Is the tie rod end remover necessary to separate the tie-rod end from the knuckle? Has anyone been able to do this step a little differently?

      Dont need it.

      See the tie-rod end DIY on my page.


    25. Member mj23afs's Avatar
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      11-26-2008 01:12 PM #26
      yup..your method worked perfect. I wasn't sure it was going to work to be honest with ya but after a good couple o' whacks it popped rite up. On the second drivers side I used a sorta of wedge between the knuckle and the tie rod end, sped up the process.

    26. Member fidanza_zc's Avatar
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      09-21-2009 02:25 PM #27

    27. Member
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      09-22-2009 09:46 AM #28
      Two more tips when doing this job:

      1) It doesn't hurt to have an extra set of tie rod ends hanging around. Reason being, if you have to use a pickle fork (joint separator) to get the tie rod loose, you stand a real good chance of ripping the boot.

      2) If you mark the location of the strut where it bolts on , you can put them back the exact same way. Then you won't need to pay for an alignment.

      I just did this last week. Everything else had already been replaced, and with a recent alignment. So when the bearings went bad, I was really hoping to NOT have to pay for the alignment again. So I got creative. Worked like a charm, too.



    28. Member b5in's Avatar
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      07-29-2010 04:41 PM #29
      bump so I can subscribe as I will be doing this in a couple days
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    29. 09-14-2010 10:45 AM #30
      hi there i have a vw polo different slightley to what you are working on however i have rounded off the two 17mm bolts that hold the steering knuckle to the strut in an effort to replace the wheel bearing, now i'm at a stand still as what to do can you sugest anythink i may be able to do rather than have to cut them off

    30. Junior Member quickdraw_kid's Avatar
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      01-17-2011 02:19 AM #31
      So doing a bearing job. I borrowed the bearing puller from someone else on the forum- but couldn't get the hub out by beating on it with a hammer. I was going to try the slide hammer method you suggested but... which way would I attach the tool? Am I hammering the inside of the hub (facing the engine) or the outside?

      Can't you tell I've never used a slide hammer before.

    31. n00b
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      11-06-2011 11:32 AM #32
      Quote Originally Posted by mj23afs View Post
      yup..your method worked perfect. I wasn't sure it was going to work to be honest with ya but after a good couple o' whacks it popped rite up. On the second drivers side I used a sorta of wedge between the knuckle and the tie rod end, sped up the process.
      never used a tie rod end remover, theres a flat spot where it connects to the knuckle where you are to aim the hammer, she pops right out. "that's what she said"

    32. 11-06-2011 12:49 PM #33
      Here's mine.
      http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthrea...wheel-bearings

      I was able to smack on stuff with a hammer, and then push the bearings in with a hammer. It's not the right way to do it, but 10,000 miles later and no issues.
      Quote Originally Posted by mhjett View Post
      I'm convinced you commuted through a salt mine.
      Quote Originally Posted by Mk3_Addicted View Post
      Bariman82 is the king of rust patching...He is the guy you want to talk to.
      My take on fixing a rotten mk3.

    33. Member
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      11-06-2011 02:20 PM #34
      Quote Originally Posted by schapermiester View Post
      never used a tie rod end remover, theres a flat spot where it connects to the knuckle where you are to aim the hammer, she pops right out. "that's what she said"
      Harbor Freight has a screw driven Tierod End Remover for $20 ($15 on sale, and take another 20% Off with a coupon) that fits onto the arm on the steering knuckle, and wedges/levers against the threaded stud of the tierod end. No pressure against the rubber boot, or the balljoint, and no way to damage to them either. A fast, painless way to remove tierod ends in a minute, with NO HAMMERING.

    34. 11-13-2011 10:25 AM #35
      In regards to the post which stated, "I actually pressed mine while it was still attached to the car... Gotta love the snap on press kit.

      Still a PIA by the way, but it cuts out like 4 of your steps. "

      What snap on press kit is this and what 4 steps are cut out? Does one still need to remove the caliper and the rotor?

      Please respond soon as I need to replace my wheel bearings SOON!

      Thanks very much in advance!

      Roger

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