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Changing a front wheel bearing


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#1 mbames

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 19:30

Last Thursday (8 days ago), I accidently hit a curb at speed :S on my way to work with my front nearside wheel. There was no apparently damage to the tyre or the alloy.

I took the car to a local garage (close to where I work) to get the tracking sorted, as the steering wheel was off to the left when heading in a straight line. They tried to sort the tracking and in the end said I had bent the track rod end, and it needed changing. I got charged £30 for that (even though they had the full story of what I had done), and failed to make it any better.

As the weather was cold last weekend I could not be bothered to change it, so I got my local mechanic to do it for me on Tuesday. He took it to a County Tyres to get the tracking sorted. I picked the car up that evening, and noticed the steering was still off to the left. My mechanic commented that a bearing had gone and that it made right droning noise (but had not had time to determine which one it was). I had a long drive to Farnborough on Wednesday, and to Salisbury on Thursday. I noticed that when on the motorway the car seemed to pull to the right a bit bit, but on normal A roads, it seemed to head in a straight line. There was also a vibration through the steering wheel around 70mph (GPS) mark.

I took the car back to the tracking place this morning, and they checked the tracking, and said it was fine. They locked the steering wheel straight before checking it. Anyway, I drive home and it is still off.

Could a knackered front wheel bearing cause my tracking to go out? My front tyres are are a bit knackered in their wear pattern too. I'll jack the car up and check to see if there is any play over the weekend. So that leads me to the question - how hard is it to change the front bearings? If I do one, should I do them both? The car is on 159k at the moment, and they have never been replaced.

Note: don't hit the curb, as this has currently cost me £100 :doh:

Any thoughts?

Cheers,
Matt

#2 felicia16v

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 21:05

well first off if there is any play in the bearing its going to give a different tracking figure every time so i would jack it up and see if there is play first, does the noise get louder or quieter if you go around corners either way or sway gently on a nice quiet road, as if you go right and it gets louder it will be the left one that is noisey as it loads up, bearing is cheap but a pain to change requiring a big press and a special tool to remove from the drive flange without damaging the abs ring

#3 mbames

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 21:12

well first off if there is any play in the bearing its going to give a different tracking figure every time so i would jack it up and see if there is play first, does the noise get louder or quieter if you go around corners either way or sway gently on a nice quiet road, as if you go right and it gets louder it will be the left one that is noisey as it loads up, bearing is cheap but a pain to change requiring a big press and a special tool to remove from the drive flange without damaging the abs ring


I'll check for play in both fronts tomorrow. tbh it has been quite noisy for some time, but I have never really been able to determine is turning in one direction (or the other) makes it worse.

I don't have a press, was just hoping to bash the old one out, and some good luck to get the new one in..... Have not had a read of my Haynes manual yet (its in in the car, down in the garage), will have a read tomorrow.

#4 felicia16v

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 13:05

ok you wont get the new one in without damaging it without a press and very unlikely to get to old one out by bashing it, tolerances arey very tight on the hubs and sometimes max out our 20ton press at work ,, a hint tho whan you have the old bearing out you can use it to sit the hub on to press it back together.. there is a machined area on the back of the hub that the old bearing will sit into so you can sit it level to press the new one straight down, saves needing a jig

#5 mbames

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 15:09

Just jacked each side on the front. No noticable play in either wheel when I wiggled them about. Did however not the nearside wheel was much harder to turn. Wondered if it might be a binding brake.

Whipped off the wheel, and the brake calliper (once I had managed to unclip the brake warning pad cable!), and with no brake calliper on it is still stiff to turn. Would that suggest the bearings are knackered? :S

If that is the case, I wonder if I might be able to find a friendly garage who do the actual change of the bearings over, and I'll do the rest at home....

#6 felicia16v

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 15:17

was it the ns one you hit? sounds like it may be the problem to me, how much harder is it to turn than the other side

#7 mbames

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 18:39

It was noticably more stiff to start with. With the wheel off, it was pretty difficult to turn by holding the brake disk (calliper already off, so not binding brakes). Nearside was the one that had the unwelcome bash into the curb.

I jacked up the front, and rested it on axle stands, turned off ASR, and fired the car up. Stuck it in 5th and let it idle - speedo was showing about 35mph at tick over. I was hoping I might have heard a drone from nearside, but probably nothing more what wishful thinking!

There was a vibration in the steering wheel around the 50mph mark. It did appear from watching the wheel spin, it might not look to be 100% true.

After stopping it, the nearside seemed to spin with about the same amount of free-ness as the offside, so maybe it had warmed up a bit?

Just took it out for a drive and it felt no worse, but steering still off to the left a bit. The garage local to my parents have said if necessary I can use their press, so I think I might go and do that next weekend....

#8 PeteG

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 18:12

Is the bearing assembly the same as the Mk4 Golf?

#9 sc0rpius

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 20:55

Definately use a press mate, had some cowboy take mine out with a hammer and fire. ****** ****ed up my ABS rings.

#10 mikey vrs

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 07:05

When i replaced mine i used a press(we have one at work)i wouldnt do it without one, i cut the old bearing race off the hub with a small grinder with a cutting disk on,as others have said you cant get a puller in to remove the old race off the hub as the abs ring is in the way! i replaced both on mine as my car had done 106k.Its not a bad job to do if you have the correct tools.The only problem i had was getting a track rod nut off a track rod end as it was siezed solid! :)

#11 Choongmu

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 09:29

I did exactly the same last nov. Slight noise from the front nearside and no play in the wheel. Got the front bearing changed as apparently if it's slightly cracked or damaged it will cause the issues but no noticeable play. Anyway 96 quid later problem all solved.

#12 mbames

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 17:36

I never changed mine in the end - noise has not got any worse and it is now on 171k (original ones still fitted), so I think my noise was probably coming my from strangely wearing rear tyres instead :wonder:

#13 lumac999

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 20:10

Stuck it in 5th and let it idle - speedo was showing about 35mph at tick over. I was hoping I might have heard a drone from nearside, but probably nothing more what wishful thinking!



Don't think you'll hear wheel bearing noise with the car jacked up as they only start rumbling when pressure (from the wieght of the car) is applied. Check by jacking up and grabbing the wheel at 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock positions and applying force in a rocking motion. Do the same going around the wheel. As for the rumbling noise itself don't assume it is a bearing as I have had similar noises from tyres, especially winter ones.

#14 Sundras

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 18:06

I have a slight noise coming from my front left when i turn the wheel. Had my timing belt replaced today and asked the mechanic what the noise might be? He said that the hub needs to be replaced. Is it possible its just the bearing and not the whole hub?