GM Full Size Vans 1967-1986 Repair Guide

Front Wheel Bearings

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



See Figures 1 through 14



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Fig. Fig. 1: Pry the dust cap from the hub, taking care not to distort or damage its flange



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Fig. Fig. 2: Once the bent ends are cut, grasp the cotter pin and pull or pry it free of the spindle



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Fig. Fig. 3: If difficulty is encountered, gently tap on the pliers with a hammer to help free the cotter pin



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Fig. Fig. 4: Loosen and remove the castellated nut from the spindle



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Fig. Fig. 5: Remove the washer from the spindle



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Fig. Fig. 6: With the nut and washer out of the way, the outer bearing may be removed from the hub



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Fig. Fig. 7: Pull the hub and inner bearing assembly from the spindle



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Fig. Fig. 8: Use a small prytool to remove the old inner bearing seal



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Fig. Fig. 9: With the seal removed, the inner bearing may be withdrawn from the hub



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Fig. Fig. 10: Thoroughly pack the bearing with fresh, high temperature wheel bearing grease before installation



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Fig. Fig. 11: Apply a thin coat of fresh grease to the new inner bearing seal lip



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Fig. Fig. 12: Use a suitably sized driver to install the inner bearing seal to the hub



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Fig. Fig. 13: Tighten the nut to 12 ft. lbs. while gently spinning the wheel, then adjust the bearings



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Fig. Fig. 14: Install the dust cap by tapping on its flange-DO NOT damage the cap by hammering on the center

Only the front wheel bearings require periodic service. A premium high melting point grease meeting GM specification 6031-M must be used. Long fiber type greases must not be used. This service is recommended at the intervals in the Maintenance Intervals chart or whenever the van has been driven in water up to the hubs.

  1. Remove the wheel and tire assembly, and the brake drum or brake caliper.
  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 out of the way. Do not allow the caliper to hang by the brake hose.
  4.  
  5. Pry out the grease cap, cotter pin, spindle nut, and washer, then remove the hub. Do not drop the wheel bearings.
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  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 the seal.
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  9. Clean all parts in solvent (air dry) and check for excessive wear or damage.
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  11. Using a hammer and drift, remove the bearings caps from the hub. When installing new cups, make sure that they are not cocked and that they are fully seated against the hub shoulder.
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  13. Pack both wheel bearings using high melting point wheel bearing grease made for disc brakes. Ordinary grease will melt and ooze out, ruining the pads. Place a healthy globe 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 wheel 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.
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  17. Carefully install the wheel hub over the spindle.
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  19. Using you hands, firmly press the outer bearing into the hub. Install the spindle washer and nut.
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  21. To adjust the bearings through 1971 models, tighten the adjusting nut to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm) while rotating the hub. Back the nut off 1 flat ( 1 / 16 turn) and insert a new cotter pin. If the nut and spindle hole do not align, back the nut off slightly. There should be 0.001-0.008 in. (0.0254-0.203mm) end-play in the bearing. This can be measured with a dial indicator, if you wish. Install the dust cap, wheel and tire.
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  23. To adjust the bearings on 1972 and later models, spin the wheel hub by hand and tighten the nut till it is just snug 12 ft. lbs. (16 Nm). Back off the nut till 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 0.001-0.008 in. (0.0254-0.203mm) end-play in the bearing through 1973, and 0.001-0.005 in. (0.0254-0.127mm) from 1974. This can be measured with a dial indicator, if you wish.
  24.  
  25. Replace the dust cap, wheel and tire.
  26.  

 
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