Volkswagen Air-Cooled 1970-1981 Repair Guide

Front Wheel Bearings



See Figures 1 and 2

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Fig. Fig. 1: Once the brake drum is removed, use a seal puller to remove the old inner bearing grease seal

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Fig. Fig. 2: A correct-sized driver must be used to install the new inner bearing grease seal into the brake drum

  1. Jack up the car and remove the wheel and tire.
  3. Remove the caliper and disc (if equipped with disc brakes) or brake drum.
  5. To remove the inside wheel bearing, pry the dust seal out of the hub with a prytool. Lift out the bearing and its inner race.
  7. To remove the outer race for either the inner or outer wheel bearing, insert a long punch into the hub opposite the end from which the race is to be removed. The race rests against a shoulder in the hub. The shoulder has two notches cut into it so that it is possible to place the end of the punch directly against the back side of the race and drive it out of the hub.
  9. Carefully clean the hub.
  11. Install new races in the hub. Drive them in with a soft faced hammer or a large piece of pipe of the proper diameter. Lubricate the races with a light coating of wheel bearing grease.
  13. Force wheel bearing grease into the sides of the tapered roller bearings so that all spaces are filled.
  15. Place a small amount of grease inside the hub.
  17. Place the inner wheel bearing into its race in the hub and tap a new seal into the hub. Lubricate the sealing surface of the seal with grease.
  19. Install the hub on the spindle and install the outer wheel bearing.
  21. Adjust the wheel bearing and install the dust cover.
  23. Install the caliper (if equipped with disc brakes).


The bearing may be adjusted by feel or by a dial indicator.

To adjust the bearing by feel, tighten the adjusting nut so that all the play is taken up in the bearing. There will be a slight amount of drag on the wheel if it is hand spun. Back off fully on the adjusting nut and retighten very lightly. There should be no drag when the wheel is hand spun and there should be no perceptible play in the bearing when the wheel is grasped and wiggled from side to side.

To use a dial indicator, remove the dust cover and mount a dial indicator against the hub. Grasp the wheel at the side and pull the wheel in and out along the axis of the spindle. Read the axial play on the dial indicator. Screw the adjusting nut in or out to obtain 0.001-0.005 in. of axial play. Secure the adjusting nut and recheck the axial play.