Jeep CJ/Scrambler 1971-1986 Repair Guide

Front Hub and Wheel Bearings


See Figures 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5


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.

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.

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Fig. Fig. 1: Front hub and bearing assembly on models with front drum brakes

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Fig. Fig. 2: Front hub and bearing components on models with disc brakes through 1979

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Fig. Fig. 3: Front hub and wheel bearing components 1980-86 models

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Fig. Fig. 4: Exploded view of the locking hub assembly, 1980-81 models

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Fig. Fig. 5: Exploded view of the locking hub assembly, 1982-86 models

  1. Raise the front of the vehicle and place jackstands under the axle.
  3. Remove the wheel.
  5. Remove the front hub grease cap and driving hub snapring. On models equipped with locking hubs, remove the retainer knob hub ring, agitator knob, snapring, outer clutch retaining ring and actuating cam body.
  7. Remove the splined driving hub and the pressure spring. This may require slight prying with a screwdriver.
  9. Remove the external snapring from the spindle shaft and remove the hub shaft drive gear.
  11. Remove the wheel bearing locknut, lockring, adjusting nut and inner lockring.
  13. On vehicles with drum brakes, remove the hub and drum assembly. This may require that the brake adjusting wheel be backed off a few turns. The outer wheel bearing and spring retainer will come off with the hub.
  15. On vehicles with disc brakes, remove the caliper and suspend it out of the way by hanging it from a suspension or frame member with a length of wire. Do not disconnect the brake hose, and be careful to avoid stretching the hose. Remove the rotor and hub assembly. The outer wheel bearing and, on vehicles with locking hubs, the spring collar, will come off with the hub.
  17. Carefully drive out the inner bearing and seal from the hub, using a wood block.
  19. Inspect the bearing races for excessive wear, pitting or grooves. If they are cracked or grooved, or if pitting and excess wear is present, drive them out with a drift or punch.
  21. Check the bearing for excess wear, pitting or cracks, or excess looseness.

If it is necessary to replace either the bearing or the race, replace both. Never replace just a bearing or a race. These parts wear in a mating pattern. If just one is replaced, premature failure of the new part will result.

  1. If the old parts are retained, thoroughly clean them in a safe solvent and allow them to dry on a clean towel. Never spin dry them with compressed air.
  3. On vehicles with drum brakes, cover the spindle with a cloth and thoroughly brush all dirt from the brakes. Never blow the dirt off the brakes, due to the presence of asbestos in the dirt, which is harmful to your health when inhaled.
  5. Remove the cloth and thoroughly clean the spindle.
  7. Thoroughly clean the inside of the hub.
  9. Pack the inside of the hub with EP wheel bearing grease. Add grease to the hub until it is flush with the inside diameter of the bearing cup.
  11. Pack the bearing with the same grease. A needle-shaped wheel bearing packer is best for this operation. If one is not available, place a large amount of grease in the palm of your hand and slide the edge of the bearing cage through the grease to pick up as much as possible, then work the grease in as best you can with your fingers.
  13. If a new race is being installed, very carefully drive it into position until it bottoms all around, using a brass drift. Be careful to avoid scratching the surface.
  15. Place the inner bearing in the race and install a new grease seal.
  17. Place the hub assembly onto the spindle and install the inner lockring and outer bearing. Install the wheel bearing nut and torque it to 50 ft. lbs. while turning the wheel back and forth to seat the bearings. Back off the nut about 1 / 4 turn (90°) maximum.
  19. Install the lockwasher with the tab aligned with the keyway in the spindle and turn the inner wheel bearing adjusting nut until the peg on the nut engages the nearest hole in the lockwasher.
  21. Install the outer locknut and torque it to 50 ft. lbs.
  23. Install the spring collar, drive flange, snapring, pressure spring, and hub cap.
  25. Install the caliper over the rotor.