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Angry Wheel Bearings

Aye, I think I only need one, but I would like to replace them all.

The front right wheel feels like it's slapping around in the hub up and down. With the wheel off the ground I can grab it by hand and rock it back and forth and hear it a tad. Can the fronts be done without breaking anything? I vaguely remember needing a press or something, or reading that they cannot be rebuilt? Is that true?

If need be I'll start sourcing for new complete front A-Arms. I'd like to do all 4 corners within a week or two of eachother, for the peace-of-mind that it's new hardware. Thanks.
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Old 01-18-2006, 09:37 AM
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Did your adjustmnet nut back off? Mine has done that on the fronts. I'm assuming the NA fronts are the same as the turbo fronts as far as the adjustment is concerned.

When do you hear it a "tad", are you're rocking it or driving it?
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Old 01-18-2006, 09:45 AM
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my front left wheel does the same thing on 1987 944 NA so this post will be helpful to me. Does anyone know what to replace in this case ? thanks
Old 01-18-2006, 10:04 AM
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Adjust them for free play first.
If they are not rumbling when driving, they are probably okay.
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Old 01-18-2006, 10:09 AM
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I just repacked the front bearings on my '88 944. If the wheel can be pulled in and out just a tad while the lug nuts are tight, then your hub might indeed be out of whack.

Just to make sure it's not something else that wore out, I would remove the wheel so you can get a better look. First, make sure the two small philips screws that attach the rotor to the hub are tight otherwise the rotor is going to shimmy around (note: it doesn't do this when the wheel is on because the lug nuts are holding everything tight). Once you're sure the rotor and hub are tightly attached as one unit, remove the dust cover from the center of the hub. You are probably going to need a cold chisel and hammer to pry this thing off. Work the dust cap all around trying to hit it outwards, away from the car, as well as towards the center.

Once the dust cover is off, grab the rotor/hub assembly and shake it in and out while looking at the spindle end. If the assembly moves relative to the spindle, then either your adjustment nut is too loose or you have a really bad bearing. If the whole assembly moves along with the spindle, then something else in the suspension is loose and giving you all that play.

Assuming just the hub is loose on the spindle, check your adjusting nut. You will need an allen wrench to loosen the locking screw (there is a notch in the hub so you can get at the screw with your allen wrench). With the adjustment nut free to turn, tighten it clockwise until the thrust washer just inside it can barely slide around with the tip of a screwdriver. Too tight and you'll stress the bearings too much. Too loose, and the hub will shimmy. If that fixes it, hold the nut in place while you tighten the locking screw then re-check the thrust washer.

If the bearings are bad, or suspected bad, remove the entire hub and replace them. You'll need to remove the brake pads and unbolt the caliper from the back of the hub. Suspend it from the MacPherson strut with a piece of clothing hanger or wire.

Once the brake system is out of the way, simply unscrew and remove the adjustment nut, remove the thrust washer, and gently pull the hub partway off the spindle until the outer bearing is free. Once the outer bearing is safe, pull the hub completely off the spindle. No special tools are needed, except maybe a bearing seal puller to remove the inner grease seal and get at the inner bearing, but I used a small claw hammer and it worked perfectly. The dude who wrote the Haynes manual says you can remove the inner seal with a screwdriver, but he must have been smoking something.

Make sure you have brand new grease seals because the ones you remove are unusable again. Clean out the hub's entire inner surfaces and pack your bearings with fresh grease. Coat the inner surfaces with grease as well. Once the inner bearing is in place, lightly grease the seal, place it in position, then using a block of wood and a hammer, tap the new seal into place. A press would probably be better if you have one, but if you do use a block of wood, use one thick enough so it won't break and splinter and sends shards of wood all over your freshly greased hub.

Now you can grease the spindle (clean it first, duh), and place the hub onto it. Next you install your new outer bearing with fresh grease, the thrust washer, and the adjustment nut. Adjust properly, check for play, replace the dust cover, brake system (good time to put in new pads if necessary) and the wheel and start driving.

Good luck.
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Last edited by planeguy67; 01-18-2006 at 10:27 AM..
Old 01-18-2006, 10:14 AM
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Are you for sure it's a wheel bearing? If it is, it may just need tightening as Lawrence suggested if it's not making a noise when the wheel spins. Other parts that can cause movement in the wheel though are tie rod ends, struts and ball joints. Are your hands on the top and bottom of the wheel or the front and back? You should feel and hear wheel bearing play from any location on the tire. If it's only top and bottom or front and back look at other options. If you can hear the movement, you should be able to crawl under it and see the movement and where it's coming from. But I think I would refrain from going 145 again until I got this problem fixed! And never go back to the eclipse guy and let him know your car is broken after the race...reputations are at stake here! I am unsure on 944's as I just repack my wheel bearings every 50000 or so and I haven't had any problems with mine, but typically bearing races are pressed into the hubs but can be driven out with a hammer and punch and then driven back in using the old race to hit against. This does require that you drive it out (and in) straight or it will hurt the hub so tap lightly on all sides until the race comes out evenly. Again, this is how I have done it on other cars, but I haven't done it on my Porsche so you may want to consult the manual first. Press is better if you have one. One option to consider is our auto parts places here will generally press them in and out for you if you buy the bearings from them. If not, the cost to get someone to press them in and out shouldn't be much, it's more the hassle than anything. Check local listings as parts places vary and actual mileage depends on road conditions, etc. etc.

Good luck.
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Old 01-18-2006, 10:22 AM
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It is very possible to remove the inner grease seal with a screwdriver. You put it so that the blade is perpindicular to the outside of the race, and hammer it in a little bit. This will dimple the seal, and cause it to pull away from the race on one spot. Rotate the screwdriver 90* and pry the seal out.

This is in response to the doped-up haynes manual author comment. Not that I'm argueing that they aren't doped-up, just putting a method behind their suggestion
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Old 01-18-2006, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Zero10
It is very possible to remove the inner grease seal with a screwdriver. You put it so that the blade is perpindicular to the outside of the race, and hammer it in a little bit. This will dimple the seal, and cause it to pull away from the race on one spot. Rotate the screwdriver 90* and pry the seal out.

This is in response to the doped-up haynes manual author comment. Not that I'm argueing that they aren't doped-up, just putting a method behind their suggestion
So THAT'S how you do it!!!

I must have dorked around with that seal and a screwdriver for about 15 minutes before I gave up and grabbed the closest thing I had to a seal puller, namely a claw hammer.

No wonder these seals can never be reused. Thanks for the tip.

Just for the record, about 90% of what I read in my Haynes manual is spot on. But, boy, that 10% that's either inaccurate, incomplete, or confusing....

(and the poor black and white matte photos leave much to be desired.)
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Old 01-18-2006, 11:49 AM
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I'm not sure if its my wheel bearing or not but some type of squeaky noiise is comin from my right front wheel...not sure what it is tho! would it be the wheel bearing or does somethin need a little grease? The noise happens once every time the wheel goes one time around.

THanks
Marian
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Old 01-18-2006, 02:38 PM
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Try applying the brakes gently; if the noise goes away either the pads are sticking or possibly the wheel bearings have excessive play.

It may be something to get done, it might be ok, but it should be looked at in case something serious is happening.
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Old 01-18-2006, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by planeguy67
So THAT'S how you do it!!!

I must have dorked around with that seal and a screwdriver for about 15 minutes before I gave up and grabbed the closest thing I had to a seal puller, namely a claw hammer.

No wonder these seals can never be reused. Thanks for the tip.

Just for the record, about 90% of what I read in my Haynes manual is spot on. But, boy, that 10% that's either inaccurate, incomplete, or confusing....

(and the poor black and white matte photos leave much to be desired.)

Just my opinion, for what its worth.........

NO SEAL of this type, that is removed after initial assembly, should EVER be re-used, using ANY method of removal.

However, I've done it, and I'm sure many others have also. It is VERY easy to damage them removing AND installing them. If you've not had the experience with doing such things, then just PLAN on replacing the seals. Even under experienced conditions, they can be ruined easily. Installing brand new seals, they can be damaged easily if the process of install is poorly done. THATS why, everyone always says to replace them. Considering what they cost, it really isn't worth the effort of saving them anyway, unless of course, its an emergency, and looked at as a temporary thing, and it will be replaced soon anyway. I never use a screwdriver on these seals, in particular anyway. I use a brass punch and hammer, and drive it all out the bottom of the hub, seal included. Ya better know that your driving against the outter bearing races ONLY, when doing it, or you will be replacing the bearing, also.....FOR SURE. I do own, and use a couple of different seal removers, also, which I do use on other seals in the engine. I've cleaned and re-packed many front wheel bearings of this type. I almost ALWAYS have new seals on hand to install, on re-assembly.

WARNING! IN ANY method used, to hammer out a bearing race with.........MAKE SURE your wearing safety glasses, and ANYONE around the area is also! Bearing races are VERY hard steel. They can and WILL chip a peice off, thus becoming a LETHAL projectile, which can destroy eyes! NEVER use a steel punch on a bearing race, or hammer directly on a bearing or its race, EVEN if you have no desire to reuse that bearing. Its just plain stupid, and dangerous. It WILL be just a matter of time, till you'll discover this, the HARD and painfull way. BTDT! Please, pay attention to it!
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Old 01-18-2006, 03:38 PM
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Tried that... I get a "wobbly" feeling when gently applying the brakes. Front and rear.

Tomorrow I shall check/adjust the front wheel bearings. If that doesn't help solve it (Not getting my hopes up) I will plan for replacing my wheel bearings soon.

Quote:
Originally posted by Britwrench
Try applying the brakes gently; if the noise goes away either the pads are sticking or possibly the wheel bearings have excessive play.

It may be something to get done, it might be ok, but it should be looked at in case something serious is happening.
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Old 01-18-2006, 11:07 PM
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Bigbird, as suggested, try gently squeezing the brakes... if the sound goes away, you know it's in your pads/calipers... or a warped rotor possibly..

if the sound gets progressively worse, and occasionally is a "ticking" sound as opposed to the squeak, then i'd say it's the bearing and it should be looked at asap.

you dont need to hear this tick though for it to be the bearing... it's just what i heard on mine before i botched up the entire rear left stub axle from driving on a shot bearing.....

short point? dont drive it and get it looked at if you want your repair bill to be low..

didn't mean to hijack.. sorry guys.
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Old 01-19-2006, 12:15 AM
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What Granite said. just tap the inner bearing out with a brass drift and the seal will come with it. I've been doing them that way longer than I've had a Porsche. That way if you dork up your new seal or the parts store tells you it'll be a week and a half before they can get any, you can reuse your old one to get you by.

nate
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Old 01-19-2006, 01:46 AM
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I feel if a bearing has enough play in it that you can wobble the wheel significantly, It should be replaced not just tightened to take up the play. Replacing these bearing is not a hard job at all.
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Old 01-19-2006, 04:17 AM
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Also be aware that a bearing play check is done by grabbing the bottom and top of the wheel and rocking it. Rocking the wheel left and right may just signify worn tie rods, etc.
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Old 01-19-2006, 09:01 AM
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Thanks for the tips eldorado...i checked today and its only a warped rotor luckily my dad has a machine shop, we turn the rotors on all of our cars for free

Marian
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Old 01-19-2006, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by VINMAN
I feel if a bearing has enough play in it that you can wobble the wheel significantly, It should be replaced not just tightened to take up the play. Replacing these bearing is not a hard job at all.

Just for general knowledge sake here..........these bearings are what are know as "tapered roller" bearings. They MUST be adjusted properly in order to be even considered a good setup. THAT, pretty much only comes from experience in working with tapered roller bearings. Not something you just do, and forget about. NO....it sure isn't a hard thing to do, or learn. But to replace based on this statement......... I don't agree.

IF, one does NOT seat the outter races properly durring the intial install of all new bearings, and even though you follow all the "proper" procedures to " adjust them". .....they will seat themselfs properly after driving the car a while, and thus become a "loose wheel bearing" condition. Same is true EVEN if they are seated and installed properly, over time. The bearings will wear into place, thus getting "loose", thus the maintenance procedure of cleaning and repacking front wheel bearings at different intervals. (THATS WHY IT IS IMPERATIVE, THAT YOU KEEP ALL BEARINGS AS A MATCHED SET OF INNER/OUTTERS, WHEN PLANNING ON RE-USING THEM!.....ITS THE WEAR PATTERN THEY HAVE CREATED AS A SET TOGETHER). Mismatch them, and they WILL wear out extremely fast.

AT those intervals, is when one MUST make the call as to whether the bearings should be replaced or not, IF you know what to look for (and it is posted in lots of procedures). NOT JUST because you can "wobble the wheel signifcantly".
Butt, then, I guess the real question HERE IS..........what would YOU call "significant" wobble? Because, if it IS a whole lot, then you can probably figure that the poor bearing is just SHOT, due to plain neglect, and those replacement guidelines will most likely be seen on disassembly. Bearings can get loose, and wobble. But NOT be in need of replacment. I still reccomend replacing seals any time they are removed from hub however.
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Old 01-19-2006, 05:11 PM
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As with any bearing, they develop a wear pattern. when the rollers wear a groove in the race, and you tighten up on the bearing, you push the roller up onto the step that it created on the race.. which in turn will cause the roller to wear faster. Especially with tapered bearings.
I'm not saying that you shouldnt snug it up if it has slight play in it, im talking when you have an extreme amount of play. Ive worked on customers cars that the roller was almost riding past the outside edge of the race. because it had worn so much and kept tightning them.
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Old 01-20-2006, 04:03 AM
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