GM Full-Size Trucks 1980-1987 Repair Guide

Front Wheel Bearings

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The procedure outlined below pertains to 2WD vehicles only. For bearing service procedures on 4WD vehicles, please refer to Drive Train in this guide.

REMOVAL PACKING AND INSTALLATION



See Figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19

Before handling the bearings, there are a few things that you should remember to do and not to do.

Remember to DO the following:


Remove all outside dirt from the housing before exposing the bearing.
 
Treat a used bearing as gently as you would a new one.
 
Work with clean tools in clean surroundings.
 
Use clean, dry canvas gloves, or at least clean, dry hands.
 
Clean solvents and flushing fluids are a must.
 
Use clean paper when laying out the bearings to dry.
 
Protect disassembled bearings from rust and dirt. Cover them up.
 
Use clean rags to wipe bearings.
 
Keep the bearings in oil-proof paper when they are to be stored or are not in use.
 
Clean the inside of the housing before replacing the bearing.
 

Do NOT do the following:


Don't work in dirty surroundings.
 
Don't use dirty, chipped or damaged tools.
 
Try not to work on wooden work benches or use wooden mallets.
 
Don't handle bearings with dirty or moist hands.
 
Do not use gasoline for cleaning; use a safe solvent.
 
Do not spin-dry bearings with compressed air. They will be damaged.
 
Do not spin dirty bearings.
 
Avoid using cotton waste or dirty cloths to wipe bearings.
 
Try not to scratch or nick bearing surfaces.
 
Do not allow the bearing to come in contact with dirt or rust at any time.
 

Four Wheel Drive

Please refer to Drive Train for removal, installation, adjustment and repacking procedures.

2-Wheel Drive

  1. Remove the wheel, tire assembly, and the brake drum or brake caliper. See Brakes for details.
  2.  
  3. Remove the hub and disc as an assembly. Remove the caliper mounting bolts and insert a block between the brake pads as the caliper is removed. Remove the caliper and wire it up so its out of the way.
  4.  
  5. Clean, then pry off the grease cap, remove the cotter pin, spindle nut, and washer, and then remove the hub. Be careful that you do not drop the wheel bearings.
  6.  
  7. Remove the outer roller bearing assembly from the hub. The inner bearing assembly will remain in the hub and may be removed after prying out the inner seal. Discard this seal.
  8.  
  9. Clean all parts in solvent and allow to air dry. Check the parts for excessive wear or damage.
  10.  
  11. If the bearing cups are worn or scored, they must be replaced. Using a hammer and a drift, remove the bearing cups from the hub. When installing new cups, make sure that they are not cocked, and that they are fully seated against the hub shoulder.
  12.  
  13. Pack both wheel bearings using high melting point wheel bearing grease. Ordinary grease will melt, and ruin the pads. High temperature grease provides an extra margin of protection. Place a healthy glob of grease in the palm of one hand and force the edge of the bearing into it so that the grease fills the bearing. Do this until the whole bearing is packed. Grease packing tools are available to make this job a lot less messy. There are also tools which make it possible to grease the inner bearing without removing it or the disc from the spindle.
  14.  
  15. Place the inner bearing in the hub and install a new inner seal, making sure that the seal flange faces the bearing cup.
  16.  
  17. Carefully install the wheel hub over the spindle.
  18.  
  19. Using your hands, firmly press the outer bearing into the hub. Install the spindle washer and nut.
  20.  
  21. To adjust the bearings on 1980 through 1984 models, spin the wheel hub by hand and tighten the nut until it is just snug (12 ft. lbs.). Back off the nut until it is loose, then tighten it finger tight. Loosen the nut until either hole in the spindle lines up with a slot in the nut, and insert a new cotter pin. There should be 0.001-0.005 in. end-play in the bearing. This can be measured with a dial indicator, if you wish. Replace the dust cap, wheel, and tire.
  22.  



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Fig. Fig. 1: Before removing the dust cap, a wire brush should be used to remove dirt or corrosion



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Fig. Fig. 2: The dust cap may be loosened carefully using a prytool, then grasp the cap and remove it by hand



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Fig. Fig. 3: After the ends of the cotter pin are straightened or cut, use a pair of wire cutters to pry the looped end free of the nut



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Fig. Fig. 4: With the cotter pin removed, unscrew the castellated bearing nut



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Fig. Fig. 5: Once the nut is removed, the thrust washer may be carefully pryed free



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Fig. Fig. 6: While holding the rotor to keep it from falling, remove the outer wheel bearing



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Fig. Fig. 7: With the nut, washer and bearing removed, the rotor can be removed from the spindle



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Fig. Fig. 8: Use a small prybar to cock and remove the inner bearing seal from the rear of the rotor. Do not reuse the old seal.



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Fig. Fig. 9: Remove the inner bearing from the rotor. If the bearings are to be reused, keep them separate as they must be installed in their original locations.



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Fig. Fig. 10: If the bearings and races (bearing cups) are being reused, thoroughly clean the races of all old grease



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Fig. Fig. 11: Be sure to thoroughly pack the inner and outer bearings using a suitable high temperature bearing grease



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Fig. Fig. 12: Install the inner bearing into the rear of the rotor. If the bearings are being reused, make sure the bearing is being installed in the same rotor as it was removed from.



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Fig. Fig. 13: Install a new inner bearing seal. A suitably sized driver will assure proper installation.



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Fig. Fig. 14: With the inner bearing and seal installed, the rotor may be positioned on the spindle. Be sure to grease the spindle before installation.



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Fig. Fig. 15: Hold the rotor in position on the spindle, then install the properly packed outer bearing



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Fig. Fig. 16: Install the cleaned thrust washer over the outer bearing



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Fig. Fig. 17: Install the outer bearing nut and tighten to 12 ft. lbs. (16 Nm) while spinning the rotor. Once this is done, back the nut off to the just loose position.



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Fig. Fig. 18: Hand-tighten the spindle nut and install a new cotter pin



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Fig. Fig. 19: Install the dust cap using a small blunt punch to assure it is fully seated

 
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