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Pragmatic Dreamer
 
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How Hard to Replace Front Wheel Bearings??

OK, guys, honest question. Kermit needs new front wheel bearings. Judging by the inspection process, it didn't look like it was too terribly hard, except that the brakes are involved.

I am a non-mechanic, who wants to learn how to fix my own car. (I have already replaced the generator and changed the oil.) It seems that this might be a good place to start to learn. How hard is it going to be for me to remove the calipers, and replace the bearings, and reinstall the calipers? If the calipers are working OK now, what are the chances that I will have to rebuild them before I reinstall them? I have a full Porsche service manual. (6 volumes)

Because, once I start, I can't easily drive Kermit to the nearest service point if I screw it up. Is this a weekend job, or more than that??

larry
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Old 04-11-2005, 11:18 AM
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It's a pretty easy job, much better than the rears Lots of information on the board if you do a search... I'd say give yourself 3-4 hours per wheel since it's your first time. Also, spend the few bucks and buy an inexpensive bearing packer, they are like 12.00 at Pep Boys and you can also store your grease in it.

Good luck!

-B
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Old 04-11-2005, 11:26 AM
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What he said. It can be a little tough if you are installing new races though. Pull the bearings out and clean them up. If they look good, no scoring or discoloration, just repack them and you're back on the road.

Great attitude!
Old 04-11-2005, 11:36 AM
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You'll need new seals either way (re-pack or replace bearings).

Jerry M
'78 SC
Old 04-11-2005, 11:46 AM
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When we pulled the bearings and looked at them, the grease was blacker than black. When we wiped out the excess and pulled the bearing itself, it was clear that the individual bearings were severly pitted and scarred. With that level of wear, we anticipated that we would have to pull the races and replace them as well. I have access to Arbor Presses at work, so I should be able to bring in the wheels and remove and re-press in the new races.

What are the chances that my calipers will make it through the process without needing a rebuild, if they are working OK now?

larry
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Old 04-11-2005, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by larry47us
What are the chances that my calipers will make it through the process without needing a rebuild, if they are working OK now?

larry


"While yer in there" May as well do it, it's about a 1/2 hour per caliper job. You'll need to make a little template with the 20 degree (IIRC) angle to get the correct placement of the pistons.
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Old 04-11-2005, 12:22 PM
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I see no reason to mess with your calipers when replacing your front bearings. One really has nothing to do with the other. I think it is recommended that you "hang" your calipers out of the way for the process, and simply bolt them back on after your have finished with the bearings. With access to a proper press this should be an easy job. Make sure you pack the new bearings well, then pack them again just to be sure. New bearings always require new, matching races.

Doug
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Old 04-11-2005, 12:24 PM
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IMHO, if there's nothing wrong with the calipers there's no need to do anything to them. There shouldn't be anything associated with the re-packing/replacing the wheel bearings that would necessitate re-building the calipers. If you choose to to do that "while you're in there" that would be up to you.

Jerry M
'78 SC
Old 04-11-2005, 12:27 PM
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OK, now for the really stupid questions. What kind of grease should I use to pack the bearings, and what does it really mean to "pack the bearings." Is there some sophisticated relationship between the bearings, the placement of the grease and the amount of grease that's used, or do I just load it with grease to take up all the open air space?

Second, is there a "wheel bearing kit" that has the bearings, races, seals, or whatever else I would need to do this? I should look and see if this is detailed in the Porsche shop manual.

Remember, I am truly a newbie at this, so each new project requires "stupid" questions.

TIA. I am ready to tackle it!!!!

larry
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Old 04-11-2005, 01:28 PM
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I just did tis job myself and getting the races pressed in and out is the biggest problem. The proper way is to heat the hub assembly before pressing out the old races to alleviate scoring the aluminum hubs when pressing out the steel races. Installing the new races means heat the hubs again and freeze the new races to reduce the press fit so they go in again nice and easy......you may not even need a press for this.
However, it may be worth your while to pay a shop to do it for you.
Packing bearings is simple with the tool mentioned above. I used Redline synthetic bearing grease as it was supposed to be the best. By a tube at Ram chargers and follow instructions on the bearing packing tool. You really don;t need alot of grease, you just want to make sure it gets squeezed in between the rolloers and the cage really well. Replace the seals on the inner bearing side as well.
Good luck.
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Old 04-11-2005, 03:05 PM
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I'm going to replace the front wheel bearings myself on my 78.
Just wondered if anyone happen to have the part# on the inner and outer bearings from SKF or FAG?
:-)
Old 04-14-2005, 05:09 AM
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I got all my stuff at NAPA. They sold the OEM SKF bearings and races. I also got the new seals there, but I cannot remember if is was a separate item. I used their "generic" grease to pack the bearings. I packed them by hand, spending 5-10 minutes on each, to ensure they were full-o-grease. I have never seen / used the "tool." I am sure pelican would sell all the appropriate stuff.
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Old 04-14-2005, 05:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Martin
What he said. It can be a little tough if you are installing new races though. Pull the bearings out and clean them up. If they look good, no scoring or discoloration, just repack them and you're back on the road.

Great attitude!
Just in case there is any confusion, you cannot replace just part of the bearing i.e. you can't use the old outer race with the new bearing.
-Chris
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Old 04-14-2005, 05:43 AM
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Just to let you know Larry, I have done both. I just got finished with my new wheel bearings but I have also rebuilt my calipers. Let me tell you the rebuilding of the brakes was a huge pain in my butt compared to the wheel bearings which were fairly simple. Id say go ahead and do the bearings but if you are skeptical I would source out the brake rebuild or just skip it for now. Also to gauge my response the brake caliper rebuild was my frist project I tackled, the wheel bearings my second and neither have resolved the problem that im having.
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Old 04-14-2005, 06:17 AM
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Larry,

You can do it! The grease you just get at the local parts store. as for 'packing' the grease, i put the bearings and some grease in a ziplock and really tried to work it in.

Don't mess with the calipers if you don't want too... it can always be done later. Having access to a 'press' will make the race part of the job really easy. That was the toughest part about it for me.

Nothing to it but to do it!

-Bernie
Old 04-14-2005, 07:11 AM
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Guys:

Thanks for the input and the detail. Looks like that is a job to be done two weekends from now. Gives me time to get the parts, and free a weekend day from Honey-do's.

Bernie. I think that it's time for us to get together for a beer. It's been a long time since last fall. Then we can ooh and aaah over Jay's T and Kermit, and any other cars that show up. Shall we set a date a few weeks from now to give Helmut and Jay time to clear (or set) their schedules?

May 4 or 5 looks good on my calendar. And by then, I'll have the success story of my bearing encounter.

larry
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Last edited by larry47us; 04-14-2005 at 08:07 AM..
Old 04-14-2005, 07:35 AM
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packing tool??? half the fun is getting yer fingers all gooey and working that grease in by hand. that was always my special job when working with dad as a kid! just get some gojo and have at it ;-) even better, if you have a kid around hand him/her the can of grease and a bearing to pack. that's how I learned how to do wheel bearing replacements as a child...
ell
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Old 04-14-2005, 07:48 AM
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Yeah Elmers bearing grease was always a little gritty tasting.....but alot like chocolate. Ummmmm......yummy. When I was a kid that is what I did too.
Seriously, use a good grease like Red Line as it gets pretty hot in there especially if you are doing DE events......why skimp on quality grease, especially in such an important area and a job that you don't want to repeat any time soon.
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Old 04-14-2005, 04:17 PM
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Don't forget to clean your rotors before driving or they might be part of your next weekend project. Any grease left on the rotors can cause serious damage and (duh) bad braking.
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Old 04-14-2005, 04:38 PM
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Regarding hand packing grease into bearings, do not use your bare hands! Wear gloves. If you don't you will contaminate the grease with your salty sweat from your hands, that's a fact. This can lead to pitting and premature failure.
Old 04-14-2005, 06:41 PM
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