GM Buick/Oldsmobile/Pontiac/Full-Size 1975-1990 Repair Guide

Wheel Bearings

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Properly adjusted bearings have a slightly loose feeling. Wheel bearings must never be preloaded. Preloading will damage the bearings and eventually the spindles. If the bearings are too loose, they should be cleaned, inspected, and then adjusted.

Hold the tire at the top and bottom and move the wheel in and out of the spindle. If the movement is greater than 0.005 in. (0.127mm), the bearings are too loose. Rear wheel bearings are covered in Drive Train of this information.

ADJUSTMENT



  1. Raise and support the vehicle by the lower control arm with jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Remove the hub cap, then remove the dust cap from the hub.
  4.  
  5. Remove the cotter pin and loosen the spindle nut.
  6.  
  7. Spin the wheel forward by hand. Tighten the nut until snug (about 12 ft. lbs. (16 Nm) to fully seat the bearings.
  8.  
  9. Back off the nut 1 / 4 - 1 / 2 turn until it is just loose, then tighten it finger-tight.
  10.  
  11. Loosen the nut until either hole in the spindle lines up with a slot in the nut and then insert the cotter pin. This may appear to be too loose, but it is the correct adjustment. The spindle nut should be finger tight.
  12.  
  13. Proper adjustment creates 0.001-0.005 in. (0.025-0.127mm) of end-play.
  14.  

REMOVAL, PACKING AND INSTALLATION




CAUTION
Some brake pads contain asbestos, which has been determined to be a cancer causing agent. Never clean the brake surfaces with compressed air! Avoid inhaling any dust from any brake surface! When cleaning brake surfaces, use a commercially available brake cleaning fluid.

  1. Raise the vehicle and support with jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Remove the wheel and brake caliper. Support the caliper using mechanics wire. Do not stretch the brake hose.
  4.  
  5. Remove the dust cap from the hub.
  6.  
  7. Remove the cotter pin and the spindle nut. Then remove the outer roller bearing assembly from the hub.
  8.  
  9. Remove the rotor/hub assembly from the spindle. The inner bearing assembly can be removed after prying out the inner seal. Discard the seal.
  10.  
  11. Wash all parts in solvent and check for excessive wear or damage.
  12.  


CAUTION
If using compressed air to dry the bearings, DO NOT allow the bearing to turn without lubrication.

To install:
  1. To replace the outer or inner race, knock out the old race with a hammer and brass drift. Drive new races into hub assembly using the proper size drivers. Do not use a driver that will contact the inner bearing surface of the race, as damage to the bearing will result. New races must be installed squarely and evenly to avoid damage.
  2.  


WARNING
Never use old bearing parts with new parts. If the old bearing is damaged, the entire bearing assembly will have to be replaced including the outer race.

  1. Pack the bearings with a high melting point bearing lubricant. Apply a sizable dab of lubricant to the palm of one hand. Using your other hand, work the bearing into the lubricant so that the grease is pushed through the rollers and out the other side. Keep rotating the bearing while continuing to push the lubricant through it.
  2.  
  3. Lightly grease the spindle and the inside of the hub.
  4.  
  5. Place the inner bearing in the hub race and install a new grease seal.
  6.  
  7. Carefully install the hub and disc assembly.
  8.  
  9. Install the outer wheel bearing.
  10.  
  11. Install the washer and nut and adjust the bearings according to the procedure outlined above.
  12.  
  13. Install the caliper and torque the mounting bolts to 35 ft. lbs. (48 Nm).
  14.  
  15. Install the dust cap, wheel and tire assembly, then lower the vehicle to the ground.
  16.  
  17. Prior to moving the vehicle, pump the brakes until a firm pedal is felt.
  18.  

 
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