GM Cutlass RWD 1970-1987 Repair Guide

Wheel Bearings

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The front bearings should be repacked every 30,000 miles (48,000 km) After repacking, the bearings must be adjusted properly. see Suspension & Steering for procedures.

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, turn the wheel in and out of the spindle. If the movement is greater than 0.005 in. (0.127mm), the bearings are too loose.

ADJUSTMENT



See Figures 1, 2 and 3

  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 finger-tighten the nut
  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.
  12.  
  13. Proper adjustment creates 0.001-0.005 in. (0.025-0.127mm) of end-play.
  14.  



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Fig. Fig. 1: Gently pry on the dust cap



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Fig. Fig. 2: Remove the dust cap



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Fig. Fig. 3: Remove the cotter pin

REMOVAL & PACKING & INSTALLATION



See Figures 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11


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 and support the vehicle safely using jackstands. Remove the wheel and tire assembly.
  2.  
  3. On disc brake cars, remove the hub and disc as an assembly. Remove the caliper mounting bolts and wire the caliper out of the way.
  4.  
  5. On drum brake cars, remove the outer wheel bearing nut and remove the brake drum.
  6.  
  7. Remove the outer bearing from the hub. The inner bearing assembly will remain in the hub and may be removed after prying out the inner seal. Discard the seal.
  8.  



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Fig. Fig. 4: Remove the spindle nut



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Fig. Fig. 5: Remove the washer



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Fig. Fig. 6: Remove the outer bearing



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Fig. Fig. 7: Remove the brake rotor assembly


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

  1. Clean all the parts in solvent, air dry them, and check them for excessive wear or damage.
  2.  
  3. To replace the outer or inner bearing race, first knock out the old race with a hammer and a brass drift. New races must be installed squarely and evenly to avoid damage. Use a short piece of two-by-four or something similar.
  4.  



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Fig. Fig. 8: Pry out the inner bearing grease seal



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Fig. Fig. 9: Remove the grease seal



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Fig. Fig. 10: Remove the inner wheel bearing



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Fig. Fig. 11: Install a new grease seal using the proper diameter driver


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 wheel bearing grease. It is important that the bearings be fully packed, and not simply coated with lubricant. It is a good idea to wear plastic protective gloves while packing. Immerse the bearing completely in the lubricant and work the grease into the bearing with your hand.
  2.  
  3. Lightly grease the steering 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. Install the hub and rotor assembly (or hub and drum assembly) on the spindle.
  8.  
  9. Install the outer wheel bearing. Adjust the wheel bearing as outlined earlier.
  10.  
  11. Reinstall the caliper assembly on disc brake models.
  12.  
  13. Install the dust cap, wheel and tire assembly, and lower the car.
  14.  

 
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