Front wheel bearings. Had to give up..

Joined
Oct 19, 2010
Messages
1,731
Location
stl
Over the weekend I tried changing the front wheel bearings on a friends 2012 Impala. The bearing is a complete assembly, so I was hoping it'd be a pretty easy job. But when it came time to push the axle through the hub, it just would not go! I've changed a few axles on FWD cars before, and those have all just pushed right through with maybe a tap of a rubber mallet. So we went to autozone and rented a FWD hub puller. Large impact with 150 psi, still nothing. I was starting to get a little nervous, with that much force on the tool, I was thinking it could fail and send parts flying. [Linked Image from picclickimg.com] Tried heating it with mapp torch, nothing. Tried the other bearing, same results. So I had to give up temporarily. Next step is to pull the whole knuckle assembly, and try to press it out with a 20 ton shop press. After looking on youtube for a bit, and I now know how much of a challenge these things can be!
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2015
Messages
2,315
Location
missouri
Why even though I like mechanic work, I would never be a mechanic. So glad not to live in the rust belt. Is there a hidden fastener. Rod
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2008
Messages
20,800
Location
NH
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Sucks to get beaten, but so many have never tried. I have not tried yet to do FWD bearings, and I can't say I'm itching to do so.
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2014
Messages
1,043
Location
On the road Midwest
2012 Impala takes Timken 513179, along with about 25 million other GM vehicles. There are 3 hub bolts on the backside, an ABS electrical plug (if ABS equipped), and a 34mm axle nut. No hidden fasteners. Sounds like the axle is rusted onto the bearing splines; if you're going to pull the knuckle, you're going to take the CV (axle) out with it, and the other end of the axle snaps into the transmission. You're making a big job out of a 45 minute job. I've done these GM wheel bearings several times, all you really need to do is loosen the axle nut to being flush with the end of the axle, spray the splines with some Kroil or other good penetrating oil, and use a 4 lb. hammer to break it loose. DON'T screw up the threads on the axle, you'll make it worse. You can buy a new axle nut, if you buy a Mevotech bearing on Rock Auto, it even comes with new mounting bolts and a replacement hub nut: https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=10003180&cc=1423707&jsn=467 The new 34mm nut torques to 118 ft. lbs. Feel free to PM me if you have ???
 

MarkM66

Thread starter
Joined
Oct 19, 2010
Messages
1,731
Location
stl
Originally Posted by Ihatetochangeoil
2012 Impala takes Timken 513179, along with about 25 million other GM vehicles. There are 3 hub bolts on the backside, an ABS electrical plug (if ABS equipped), and a 34mm axle nut. No hidden fasteners. Sounds like the axle is rusted onto the bearing splines; if you're going to pull the knuckle, you're going to take the CV (axle) out with it, and the other end of the axle snaps into the transmission. You're making a big job out of a 45 minute job. I've done these GM wheel bearings several times, all you really need to do is loosen the axle nut to being flush with the end of the axle, spray the splines with some Kroil or other good penetrating oil, and use a 4 lb. hammer to break it loose. DON'T screw up the threads on the axle, you'll make it worse. You can buy a new axle nut, if you buy a Mevotech bearing on Rock Auto, it even comes with new mounting bolts and a replacement hub nut: https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=10003180&cc=1423707&jsn=467 The new 34mm nut torques to 118 ft. lbs. Feel free to PM me if you have ???
Yeah, well aware, and of course I tried all of that. Axle splines are rusted to the bearing splines.
 

JTK

Joined
Aug 14, 2003
Messages
14,906
Location
Buffalo, NY
This situation is where Eric O from SMA breaks out "Big Nasty". A big pneumatic impact chisel. Blast around the hub while using a hub grappler / gear puller against that axle stub and the vibrations usually breaks the fused rust. Like mentioned above, always keep the axle nut threaded flush with the end of the axle shaft so you don't bugger up the threads.
 
Last edited:

wwillson

Staff member
Joined
Aug 20, 2003
Messages
5,339
Location
Naperville, IL
I tried to change the front wheel bearings on my Durango and failed miserably. My mechanic buddy changed them and said they were tough to get out, even with the pulling tool he made years ago. Nothing wrong with trying and failing, much better than failing to try.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JC1
Joined
May 30, 2010
Messages
15,630
Location
North Carolina
Had similar issue on the avalanche. Chisels. Bfh all needed to get the hub free even after getting the bolts out. Rust sucks. [img]http://[/img]

IMG_20190930_085645930.jpg


IMG_20190930_100355970.jpg


IMG_20190930_100435599.jpg


IMG_20190930_101450595.jpg
 
Joined
Sep 20, 2016
Messages
432
Location
MN
Originally Posted by spasm3
Had similar issue on the avalanche. Chisels. Bfh all needed to get the hub free even after getting the bolts out. Rust sucks. [img]http://[/img]
Holy! The rust!! I have a 2005 Sierra that's been driven through minnesota winters every year since day one that isn't that bad? Do you park that thing on the beach? I had to use an air chisel to break my hub bearings lose last fall when I had to replace one. Had to replace a rear hub bearing on the 2012 Regal GS a couple years back. Steel bearing, aluminum knuckle, wasn't an easy task either. I had to thread the bolt back into the bearing and push on the bolts with an air hammer to get that one to break lose.
 
Joined
May 30, 2010
Messages
15,630
Location
North Carolina
I bought it low mileage. Like 28k. That rust was not there when I bought it. But it seems the previous owner had it on the beach, and put boats in salt water. Rust progressed as I owned it from that exposure.
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2015
Messages
2,315
Location
missouri
The factories could save us all a lot of trouble coating things with high tack grease. Like they care, right? Rod
 
Joined
Jul 7, 2014
Messages
3,489
Location
Winnipeg MB CA
Faced the same situation three years ago with our '09 Mazda 5 (which was only eight years old at the time). Found this nifty trick on a Subaru forum: [Linked Image] [Linked Image] Attached a plastic jar to the hub, sealed with silicone to prevent the fluid leaking out. Filled the jar with Kroil, through a hole drilled in the top. Let it sit for a day and a bit - perhaps 30 hours. Then removed the jar and penetrating oil, and went at it again with the special tool (as you're using) and the impact gun. It didn't budge at first, but after going back and forth for about 20 minutes, it moved perhaps a millimetre. More penetrating oil, this time by spray can, and back at it. Once it started to go, it went quickly. Of course when I reassembled everything, it got a good application of anti-seize. The moment it first moved was a pretty happy one.
 

MarkM66

Thread starter
Joined
Oct 19, 2010
Messages
1,731
Location
stl
Originally Posted by Number_35
Faced the same situation three years ago with our '09 Mazda 5 (which was only eight years old at the time). Found this nifty trick on a Subaru forum: Attached a plastic jar to the hub, sealed with silicone to prevent the fluid leaking out. Filled the jar with Kroil, through a hole drilled in the top. Let it sit for a day and a bit - perhaps 30 hours. Then removed the jar and penetrating oil, and went at it again with the special tool (as you're using) and the impact gun. It didn't budge at first, but after going back and forth for about 20 minutes, it moved perhaps a millimetre. More penetrating oil, this time by spray can, and back at it. Once it started to go, it went quickly. Of course when I reassembled everything, it got a good application of anti-seize. The moment it first moved was a pretty happy one.
Oh wow. Yeah, good idea. I did see another video where a guy removed the axle and hub, so he could place it vertically, and allow a pool of penetrating oil to sit in it for a few days. It finally started leaking out the other side, then it could be removed.
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2014
Messages
1,043
Location
On the road Midwest
Originally Posted by MarkM66
Originally Posted by Ihatetochangeoil
2012 Impala takes Timken 513179, along with about 25 million other GM vehicles. There are 3 hub bolts on the backside, an ABS electrical plug (if ABS equipped), and a 34mm axle nut. No hidden fasteners. Sounds like the axle is rusted onto the bearing splines; if you're going to pull the knuckle, you're going to take the CV (axle) out with it, and the other end of the axle snaps into the transmission. You're making a big job out of a 45 minute job. I've done these GM wheel bearings several times, all you really need to do is loosen the axle nut to being flush with the end of the axle, spray the splines with some Kroil or other good penetrating oil, and use a 4 lb. hammer to break it loose. DON'T screw up the threads on the axle, you'll make it worse. You can buy a new axle nut, if you buy a Mevotech bearing on Rock Auto, it even comes with new mounting bolts and a replacement hub nut: https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=10003180&cc=1423707&jsn=467 The new 34mm nut torques to 118 ft. lbs. Feel free to PM me if you have ???
Yeah, well aware, and of course I tried all of that. Axle splines are rusted to the bearing splines.
My opinion sir, (which you may consider worth what you're paying for it) is all you NEED is a bigger hammer and the anger management/C-C-C-Courage/determination to NOT let a little rust get the better of you. I've used a 12 pounder to do this when necessary. How do you think a shop (on flat rate) would handle this? Cinch that puller down and THEN rap it...I wish you well. Please keep us posted. I like learning new tricks...
 

MarkM66

Thread starter
Joined
Oct 19, 2010
Messages
1,731
Location
stl
Originally Posted by ragtoplvr
The factories could save us all a lot of trouble coating things with high tack grease. Like they care, right? Rod
Exactly what I was thinking the whole time. If they're going to put junk bearings on the car, at least make them easy to change. grin
 
Joined
Jul 7, 2014
Messages
3,489
Location
Winnipeg MB CA
Originally Posted by MarkM66
Originally Posted by Number_35
Faced the same situation three years ago with our '09 Mazda 5 (which was only eight years old at the time). Found this nifty trick on a Subaru forum: Attached a plastic jar to the hub, sealed with silicone to prevent the fluid leaking out. Filled the jar with Kroil, through a hole drilled in the top. Let it sit for a day and a bit - perhaps 30 hours. Then removed the jar and penetrating oil, and went at it again with the special tool (as you're using) and the impact gun. It didn't budge at first, but after going back and forth for about 20 minutes, it moved perhaps a millimetre. More penetrating oil, this time by spray can, and back at it. Once it started to go, it went quickly. Of course when I reassembled everything, it got a good application of anti-seize. The moment it first moved was a pretty happy one.
Oh wow. Yeah, good idea. I did see another video where a guy removed the axle and hub, so he could place it vertically, and allow a pool of penetrating oil to sit in it for a few days. It finally started leaking out the other side, then it could be removed.
Pulling the axle out of the tranny was next on the list. Glad it didn't come to that! I've never had to remove the splined axle from the hub on the other (passenger) side. I should probably set up something like this now, soak for a couple of days (not a problem as we're hardly using the car at this point), remove the axle from the hub, lube it, and reinstall it. Would make the job go 100x better when the time comes.
 
Top