GM Full Size Vans 1987-1997 Repair Guide

Front Wheel Bearings

Print

Only the front wheel bearings require periodic maintenance. 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.

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.
 

REMOVAL, PACKING & INSTALLATION



Sodium based grease is not compatible with lithium based grease. Read the package labels and be careful not to mix the two types. If there is any doubt as to the type of grease used, completely clean the old grease from the bearing and hub before replacing.

2-Wheel Drive Models

See Figures 1 through 14



Click image to see an enlarged view

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



Click image to see an enlarged view

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



Click image to see an enlarged view

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



Click image to see an enlarged view

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



Click image to see an enlarged view

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



Click image to see an enlarged view

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



Click image to see an enlarged view

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



Click image to see an enlarged view

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



Click image to see an enlarged view

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 Fig. 9: With the seal removed, the inner bearing may be withdrawn from the hub

  1. Raise and support the front end on jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Remove the wheel.
  4.  
  5. Dismount the caliper and wire it out of the way.
  6.  
  7. Pry out the grease cap, remove the cotter pin, spindle nut and washer, then remove the hub. Do not drop the wheel bearings.
  8.  
  9. 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.
  10.  
  11. Clean all parts in a non-flammable solvent and let them air dry. Never spin dry a bearing with compressed air! Check for excessive wear and damage.
  12.  

To install:
  1. Using a hammer and drift, remove the bearing races from the hub. They are driven out from the inside. When installing new races, make sure that they are not cocked and that they are fully seated against the hub shoulder.
  2.  
  3. Pack both wheel bearings using high melting point wheel bearing grease for disc brakes. Ordinary grease will melt and ooze out, ruining the pads. Bearings should be packed using a cone-type wheel bearing greaser tool. If one is not available, they may be packed by hand.
  4.  
  5. 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.
  6.  
  7. Place the inner bearing in the hub and install a new inner seal, making sure that the seal flange faces the bearing race.
  8.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

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



Click image to see an enlarged view

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



Click image to see an enlarged view

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



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 13: Tighten the nut to specifications while gently spinning the wheel, then adjust the bearing



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 14: After the bearings are adjusted, install the dust cap by gently tapping on the flange

  1. Carefully install the wheel hub over the spindle.
  2.  
  3. Using your hands, firmly press the outer bearing into the hub. Install the spindle washer and nut.
  4.  
  5. Spin the wheel hub by hand and tighten the nut until it is just snug; 12 ft. lbs. (16 Nm).
  6.  
  7. Back off the nut until it is loose, then finger-tighten it. Loosen the nut until either hole in the spindle lines up with a slot in the nut and insert a new cotter pin.
  8.  
  9. There should be 0.001-0.005 in. (0.025-0.127mm) end-play on 1987-90 models. On 1991-97 models, end-play should be 0.005-0.008 in. This can be measured with a dial indicator, if you wish.
  10.  
  11. Replace the dust cap, wheel and tire.
  12.  

 
label.common.footer.alt.autozoneLogo