Mazda 323/626/929/GLC/MX-6/RX-7 1978-1989

Front Wheel Bearings

Print

Maintenance in this section covers the front wheel bearings on rear wheel drive cars. These are the only wheel bearings which require periodic lubrication on the rear wheel drive vehicles covered by this information. (Mazda also recommends periodic lubrication of the front wheel bearings on front wheel drive GLCs.) For drive axle bearing information, please refer to Drive Train for rear wheel drive models or Suspension & Steering for front wheel drive models.

Applicable front wheel bearings should be repacked with lithium grease (NGLI No. 1) every 30,000 miles (48,309 km) or 30 months, whichever comes first.

LOOSENESS TEST



Except 929

See Figure 1

  1. Raise the front of the car and safely support it with jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Grasp the wheel at the 1 o'clock and 7 o'clock positions and shake it sideways.
  4.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Checking front wheel bearing looseness on rear wheel drive vehicles

  1. Rotate the tire and make sure that it turns smoothly and that the bearings are not noisy.
  2.  
  3. If considerable play or any abnormal noise is noticed, the bearings are either worn or loose.
  4.  
  5. Repeat the procedure for the other front wheel.
  6.  
  7. Lower the vehicle.
  8.  

929

See Figures 2 and 3

  1. Raise the front of the vehicle and safely support it with jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Grasp the wheel at the 1 o'clock and 7 o'clock positions and shake it sideways.
  4.  
  5. Rotate the tire and make sure that it turns smoothly and that the bearings are not noisy.
  6.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: Checking front wheel bearing axial play using a dial indicator-1988 929



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 3: Checking front wheel bearing axial play using a dial indicator-1989 929

  1. Remove the front wheel.
  2.  
  3. Remove the caliper assembly with the brake hose attached, and suspend it with wire or twine from the strut assembly. (See Brakes for caliper removal and installation procedures.)
  4.  
  5. Mount a dial indicator so that the stylus is positioned on the face of the grease cap (1988 929) or on the hub collar (1989 929). Zero the indicator.
  6.  
  7. Grasp the rotor disc by hand and try to move it in the axial direction (in and out). Check the end-play on the dial indicator. The maximum allowable end-play is 0.002 in. (0.05mm). If the end-play exceeds that amount, replace the wheel bearing.
  8.  
  9. Remove the dial indicator.
  10.  
  11. Remove the wire or twine and install the brake caliper assembly. Torque the caliper retaining bolts to 58-86 ft. lbs. (79-116 Nm).
  12.  
  13. Install the wheel and torque the wheel lug nuts to 65-87 ft. lbs. (88-118 Nm).
  14.  
  15. Repeat the procedure for the other front wheel.
  16.  
  17. Lower the vehicle.
  18.  

REMOVAL, PACKING AND INSTALLATION



For all brake caliper/disc removal and installation procedures, please refer to Brakes in this repair guide.

Rear Wheel Drive GLC and 626

See Figures 4 and 5

  1. Raise the front end and safely support it on jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Remove the front wheel.
  4.  
  5. Remove the disc brake caliper with the brake hose attached and secure it to the coil spring with wire or twine.
  6.  

  1. Remove the grease cap from the wheel hub. This can usually be done by prying between it and the wheel hub with a flat blade screwdriver. Be careful not to bend or gouge the cap.
  2.  
  3. Wipe some of the grease away and remove the cotter pin in the end of the spindle.
  4.  
  5. Remove the nut lock and adjusting nut, the thrust washer, and the outer wheel bearing. If the washer and bearing will not readily come out, try tilting the hub a little to one side.
  6.  
  7. Remove the brake disc/hub assembly from the spindle.
  8.  
  9. Remove the inner grease seal. This can usually be done using a screwdriver and prying from the inside of the seal. Do not try to force the screwdriver between the seal and the hub, as you may scratch the hub. Remove the inner bearing.
  10.  
  11. If necessary, drive out the bearing outer race with a brass drift applied to the slots provided for this purpose.
  12.  

Never remove the outer races unless you are replacing them.

  1. Clean the inner and outer bearings completely and dry them with compressed air.
  2.  


WARNING
Do not use compressed air to spin the bearings dry.

  1. Clean the spindle and the hub cavity with solvent.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 4: Remove the grease cap, cotter pin and lock nut to access the wheel bearing adjusting nut



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 5: Pack the front wheel bearings with lithium base grease before installing them

  1. Repack the bearings and the hub cavity with lithium grease. Do not overpack them.
  2.  
  3. If the bearing outer race was removed, install a new race into the hub, using either a tool made for that purpose, or a socket of large enough diameter to press on the outside rim of the race only.
  4.  


WARNING
Use care not to cock the bearing race in the hub. If it is not fully seated, the bearings cannot be adjusted properly.

  1. Install the inner bearing into its race, then press a new grease seal over it.
  2.  
  3. Position the brake disc/hub assembly on the spindle. Install the outer bearing in the hub.
  4.  
  5. Apply a thin coat of grease to the washer and the threaded portion of the spindle, then loosely install the thrust washer and adjusting nut.
  6.  
  7. Adjust the bearing preload, as described later in this section.
  8.  
  9. Remove the wire or twine and install the brake caliper. Torque the retaining bolts to 58-72 ft. lbs. (79-97 Nm)
  10.  
  11. Install the wheel.
  12.  
  13. Repeat Steps 2-19 for the other front wheel, if necessary.
  14.  
  15. Lower the vehicle.
  16.  

929

See Figures 6, 7, 8 and 9

To remove the wheel bearing from the rotor disc hub, you will need special driving tools 49 B001 797 and 49 H033 101 or their equivalents. To install the wheel bearing, special installer tool 49 F027 007 or equivalent is required.

  1. Raise the front of the car and safely support it on jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Remove the front wheel.
  4.  
  5. Remove the brake caliper and its bracket. Do not disconnect the brake line from the caliper. Instead, suspend the caliper from the strut assembly with a piece of wire or twine.
  6.  

Never allow the caliper to hang by the brake line.

  1. Gently pry the grease cap from the rotor disc. Be careful not to bend or gouge the cap.
  2.  
  3. Using a small cold chisel, unstake the tab on the bearing locknut. Loosen the locknut and remove it from the spindle shaft along with the washer. Discard the locknut (which must be replaced) and set the washer aside.
  4.  
  5. Pull the rotor disc from the spindle shaft with a back and forth rocking motion.
  6.  
  7. Pry the oil seal from the rotor disc and discard it. Using snapring pliers, separate the ends of the retaining ring and remove it from the rotor disc. Purchase a new oil seal.
  8.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 6: Pressing the front wheel bearing from the rotor disc-929



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 7: Installing the front wheel bearing-929



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 8: To properly stake the locknut, leave a 0.16 in. (4.06mm) clearance between the nut and spindle groove

  1. Place the rotor disc on special press base 49 H026 103 or its equivalent with the wheel studs facing up. Press the bearing from the rotor disc using special tools 49 B001 797 and 49 H033 101 or their equivalents. Discard the bearing and purchase a new one. DO NOT reuse it.
  2.  

On vehicles equipped with Anti-Lock Brake Systems (ABS), take care not to damage the teeth of the sensor rotor, located in the center of the rotor disc, when pressing the bearing out.

  1. Invert the rotor disc on the base so that the wheel studs are now facing down.
  2.  
  3. Install the new bearing and press it into the rotor disc using special tool 49 F027 007 or its equivalent.
  4.  
  5. Install the retaining ring.
  6.  
  7. Drive the new oil seal into the rotor disc using the proper tool. Coat the lip of the oil seal with lithium based NGLI No. 2 wheel bearing grease.
  8.  
  9. Install the disc plate with the washer and new locknut. Torque the locknut to 72-130 ft. lbs. (98-176 Nm). Once the specified torque is reached, check that the tab on the locknut is aligned with the groove in the spindle shaft. If not, use the torque wrench to tighten the locknut until the tab is properly aligned, but do not exceed 130 ft. lbs. (176 Nm).
  10.  
  11. Check the bearing end-play, as described previously in this section. Maximum end-play is 0.002 in. (0.05mm).
  12.  
  13. Stake the locknut tab with a small cold chisel. The tab should have a 0.16 in. (4.06mm) clearance from the shaft groove (see the illustration).
  14.  
  15. Install the caliper assembly and torque the retaining bolts to 65-87 ft. lbs. (88-118 Nm).
  16.  
  17. Install the wheel and torque the lug nuts to 65-87 ft. lbs. (88-118 Nm).
  18.  
  19. Repeat Steps 2-17 for the other front wheel, if necessary.
  20.  
  21. Lower the vehicle.
  22.  

1979-85 RX-7

The disc brake rotor and caliper must be removed to inspect the inner wheel bearing.

  1. Raise the front of the car and safely support it on jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Remove the front wheel.
  4.  
  5. Remove the brake caliper and its bracket. Do not disconnect the brake line from the caliper. Instead, suspend the caliper from the strut assembly with a piece of wire or twine.
  6.  

Never allow the caliper to hang by the brake line.

  1. Remove the grease cap from the wheel hub. This can usually be done by prying between it and the wheel hub with a flat blade screwdriver. Be careful not to bend or gouge the cap.
  2.  
  3. Wipe some of the grease away and remove the cotter pin in the end of the spindle.
  4.  
  5. Remove the nut lock and adjusting nut, the thrust washer, and the outer wheel bearing. If the washer and bearing will not readily come out, try tilting the hub a little to one side.
  6.  
  7. Carefully pull the hub off the spindle.
  8.  

The inner bearing is held in place by a grease seal. If you plan to inspect the inner bearing, you should have a new grease seal on hand, since replacement is recommended whenever the old one is removed.

  1. Remove the inner grease seal. This can usually be done using a screwdriver and prying from the inside of the seal. Do not try to force the screwdriver between the seal and the hub, as you may scratch the hub. Remove the inner bearing.
  2.  
  3. Clean both bearings in clean, unused solvent and inspect the bearings for wear. Clean all of the grease out of the hub with clean solvent and check the bearing outer race for wear. The outer race can be removed by driving it out using a suitable drift in the slots provided for that purpose.
  4.  

Never remove the outer races unless you are replacing them.

  1. If the outer race was removed, install a new race into the hub, using either a tool made for that purpose, or a socket of large enough diameter to press on the outside rim of the race only.
  2.  


WARNING
Use care not to cock the bearing race in the hub. If it is not fully seated, the bearings cannot be adjusted properly.

  1. Pack the inside area of the hub and cups with grease. Pack the inside of the grease cap, but do not yet install the cap into the hub.
  2.  
  3. Completely pack the inner bearing with grease, by placing a large glob of grease in your palm, then repeatedly sliding the bearing through the grease. The grease must be forced through the side of the bearing and in between each roller. Continue until the grease begins to ooze out the other side through the gaps between the rollers. Install the inner bearing into its race in the hub, then press a new grease seal over it.
  4.  
  5. Install the hub and rotor onto the spindle. Pack the outer bearing with grease in the same manner as the inner bearing, then install the outer bearing in the hub.
  6.  
  7. Apply a thin coat of grease to the washer and the threaded portion of the spindle, then loosely install the washer and adjusting nut.
  8.  
  9. Perform the bearing preload adjustment, as described later in this section.
  10.  
  11. Remove the wire or twine and install the brake caliper.
  12.  
  13. Install the wheel.
  14.  
  15. Repeat Steps 2-17 for the other front wheel, if necessary.
  16.  
  17. Lower the vehicle.
  18.  

1986-89 RX-7
  1. Raise the front of the car and safely support it on jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Remove the front wheel.
  4.  
  5. Remove the brake caliper and its bracket. Do not disconnect the brake line from the caliper. Instead, suspend the caliper from the strut assembly with a piece of wire or twine.
  6.  

Never allow the caliper to hang by the brake line.

  1. Remove the grease cap, cotter pin, set cover (nut lock) and hub nut.
  2.  
  3. Carefully remove the wheel hub and rotor disc from the wheel spindle, along with the thrust washer and outer wheel bearing.
  4.  
  5. Place the rotor disc on two wood blocks. Pry the oil seal from the wheel hub and remove the bearing. Discard the used oil seal.
  6.  
  7. Clean the inner and outer bearings in clean, unused solvent and inspect the bearings for wear. Clean all of the grease out of the hub with clean solvent and check the bearing outer races for wear.
  8.  

If the hub is worn, the inner and outer bearings and the hub must be replaced as an assembly.

  1. Pack the inner and outer bearing cones with lithium based, NLGI No. 2 wheel bearing grease.
  2.  
  3. Insert the inner bearing into the hub. Mount the hub on wood blocks and drive the new oil seal into the hub with a suitable press. The lip of the seal must be flush with the surface of the hub.
  4.  
  5. Install the wheel hub and rotor disc.
  6.  
  7. Pack the outer bearing with grease in the same manner as the inner bearing, then install the outer bearing in the hub.
  8.  
  9. Apply a thin coat of grease to the washer and the threaded portion of the spindle, then loosely install the thrust washer and hub nut.
  10.  
  11. Adjust the bearing preload, as described later in this section.
  12.  
  13. Remove the wire or twine and install the brake caliper. Torque the retaining bolts to 58-72 ft. lbs. (79-97 Nm)
  14.  
  15. Install the wheel.
  16.  
  17. Repeat Steps 2-15 for the other front wheel, if necessary.
  18.  
  19. Lower the vehicle.
  20.  

PRELOAD ADJUSTMENT



Front wheel bearing preload adjustment is not required on the 929, but make sure that you check the end-play, as previously described.

Rear Wheel Drive GLC and 626
  1. Raise the front end and safely support it on jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Remove the front wheel.
  4.  
  5. Remove the grease cap from the wheel hub. This can usually be done by prying between it and the wheel hub with a flat blade screwdriver. Be careful not to bend or gouge the cap.
  6.  
  7. Wipe some of the grease away, then remove and discard the cotter pin in the end of the spindle. Remove the nut lock.
  8.  
  9. Remove the disc brake caliper with the brake hose attached, and secure it to the strut spring with wire or twine.
  10.  
  11. Torque the adjusting nut to 14-18 ft. lbs. (19-24 Nm), then rotate the brake disc to seat the bearings.
  12.  
  13. Back off the adjusting nut about 1 / 6 of a turn (approximately 60 degrees).
  14.  
  15. Install one hub bolt into the wheel hub to serve as an anchor for the spring scale.
  16.  
  17. Hook a spring scale onto the hub bolt.
  18.  
  19. Pull the scale squarely, until the hub just begins to rotate, and note the reading. The reading should be 0.33-1.32 lbs. (0.15-0.60 kg) for the GLC, or 0.77-1.92 lbs. (0.035-0.87 kg) for the 626. Tighten the adjusting nut until the proper reading is obtained. Remove the scale and hub bolt.
  20.  
  21. Place the castellated nut lock over the adjusting nut. Align one of the slots in the nut lock with the hole in the spindle. (If the holes do not align, tighten the adjusting nut only until the holes align.) Then, insert a new cotter pin and bend the ends to secure it in place.
  22.  

Always tighten the adjusting nut to its next castellation to align cotter pin holes of the nut lock and spindle shaft. NEVER loosen it.

  1. Repack the grease cap with fresh grease and install on the hub.
  2.  
  3. Remove the wire or twine and install the brake caliper assembly.
  4.  
  5. Install the wheel.
  6.  
  7. Repeat Steps 2-14 for the other front wheel, if necessary.
  8.  
  9. Lower the vehicle.
  10.  

1979-85 RX-7
  1. Raise the front end and safely support it on jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Remove the front wheel.
  4.  
  5. Remove the disc brake caliper with the brake hose attached, and secure it to the strut spring with wire or twine.
  6.  
  7. Remove the grease cap from the wheel hub. This can usually be done by prying between it and the wheel hub with a flat blade screwdriver. Be careful not to bend or gouge the cap.
  8.  
  9. Wipe some of the grease away, then remove and discard the cotter pin in the end of the spindle. Remove the nut lock.
  10.  
  11. Install one hub bolt into the wheel hub to serve as an anchor for the spring scale.
  12.  
  13. Tighten the adjusting nut to 18-22 ft. lbs. (24-30 Nm) to lock the wheel hub, then back off the nut until the wheel hub turns smoothly.
  14.  
  15. Rotate the hub back and forth three or four times to seat the bearings, then hook a spring scale onto the hub bolt.
  16.  
  17. Pull the scale at a 90 degree angle and note the reading when the hub starts to turn. The reading should be 0.99-1.43 lbs. (0.5-0.65 kg).
  18.  
  19. Either loosen or tighten the adjusting nut until the scale reads within the above range, then remove the scale and hub bolt.
  20.  
  21. Install the nut lock and insert a new cotter pin through the nut lock and spindle. (If the holes do not align, tighten the adjusting nut only until the holes align.)
  22.  

Always tighten the adjusting nut to its next castellation to align cotter pin holes of the nut lock and spindle shaft. NEVER loosen it.

  1. Bend up the ends of the cotter pin to secure it in place.
  2.  
  3. Repack the grease cap with fresh grease and install on the hub.
  4.  
  5. Remove the wire or twine and install the brake caliper assembly.
  6.  
  7. Install the wheel.
  8.  
  9. Repeat Steps 2-15 for the other front wheel, if necessary.
  10.  
  11. Lower the vehicle.
  12.  

1986-89 RX-7

See Figure 9

  1. Raise the front end and safely support it on jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Remove the front wheel.
  4.  
  5. Remove the disc brake caliper assembly and secure it to the strut spring with wire or twine.
  6.  
  7. Remove the grease cap, cotter pin and set cover (nut lock). Discard the cotter pin.
  8.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 9: Adjusting front wheel bearing preload using a spring scale

  1. Loosen the hub nut.
  2.  
  3. Using a torque wrench, tighten the hub nut to 14-22 ft. lbs. (19-30 Nm). Turn the wheel hub two or three times to seat the bearing.
  4.  
  5. Loosen the hub nut again until it is finger-tight.
  6.  
  7. Connect a spring scale to one of the lug bolts. Pull on the spring scale at a 90 degree angle and measure the frictional force that is required to turn the wheel. The force (preload) should be 0.9-0.22 lbs. (0.4-1.0 kg).
  8.  
  9. Tighten the hub nut in small amounts until the reading on the scale is within the range, then remove the scale.
  10.  
  11. Position the set cover and secure it with a new cotter pin. (If the holes do not align, tighten the hub nut only until the holes align.)
  12.  

Always tighten the adjusting nut to its next castellation to align cotter pin holes of the nut lock and spindle shaft. NEVER loosen it.

  1. Repack the grease cap with fresh grease and install on the hub.
  2.  
  3. Remove the wire or twine and install the brake caliper assembly.
  4.  
  5. Install the wheel.
  6.  
  7. Repeat Steps 2-13 for the other front wheel, if necessary.
  8.  
  9. Lower the vehicle.
  10.  

 
label.common.footer.alt.autozoneLogo