Volkswagen Cars 2000-05

Wheel Bearings

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On 1996 and earlier front wheel drive vehicles, the rear wheel bearings are of the standard tapered-roller design. Periodic lubrication and adjustment is necessary to prevent premature bearing failure.

Although the manufacturer does not have a recommended lubrication interval, any time the rear brakes are replaced the wheel bearing grease and adjustment should be checked and repacked or adjusted as necessary.

On all vehicles equipped with All Wheel Drive (AWD) and 1997 and later vehicles equipped with sealed rear wheel bearings pressed into the hub, the wheel bearings are sealed units, and lubrication is not possible.

On all vehicles covered by this manual, the rear wheel bearings are of the standard tapered-roller design. Periodic lubrication and adjustment is necessary to prevent premature bearing failure.

Adjustment





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Fig. A chisel with a sharp edge can be used to remove the dust cap



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Fig. Remove the dust cap



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Fig. Remove the cotter pin



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Fig. Use pliers to hold the end of a stuck cotter pin and then lightly tap the pliers with a hammer to remove the pin



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Fig. Remove the locking cap



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Fig. Most VW's have a 24 mm nut holding the rotor on the spindle



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Fig. Remove the nut holding the rotor on the spindle



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Fig. Remove the thrust washer



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Fig. View of the outer wheel bearing



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Fig. Remove the brake rotor



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Fig. Inner wheel seal and bearing



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Fig. Once the wheel bearing is thoroughly packed with grease it can be installed into the rotor



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Fig. The location of the race in the rotor



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Fig. Drive the race out of the rotor using a punch and moderate size hammer



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Fig. View of the race removed from the rotor



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Fig. Use a bearing and race driver to re-install the race. This tool can be found at most auto parts suppliers



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Fig. Work fresh wheel bearing grease into the bearing as shown



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Fig. Commercially available tools such as this one make bearing packing easier



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Fig. Install the seal using and appropriate driver

  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle. Remove the rear wheels.
  2.  
  3. On drum brakes, insert a small prytool through a wheel bolt hole and push up on the adjusting wedge to slacken the rear brake adjustment.
  4.  
  5. On disc brakes, remove the caliper.
  6.  
  7. Remove the grease cap, cotter pin, locking ring, axle nut and thrust washer. Carefully remove the bearing and put all these parts where they will stay clean.
  8.  
  9. Remove the brake drum or rotor and pry out the inner seal to remove the inner bearing.
  10.  
  11. Clean all the grease off the bearings using solvent. If the bearings appear worn or damaged, they must be replaced.
  12.  
  13. To remove the bearing races, support the drum or rotor and carefully drive the race out with a long drift pin. They can also be removed on a press.
  14.  

To install:

  1. Carefully press the new race into the drum or rotor. The old race can be used as a press tool but be sure it does not become stuck in the hub.
  2.  
  3. Pack the inner bearing with clean wheel bearing grease and fit it into the inner race. Press a new axle seal into place by hand.
  4.  
  5. Lightly coat the stub axle with grease and install the drum or rotor. Be careful not to damage the axle seal.
  6.  
  7. Pack the outer bearing and install the bearing, thrust washer and nut.
  8.  
  9. To adjust the bearing pre-load:
    1. Begin tightening the nut while turning the drum or rotor.
    2.  
    3. Tighten the wheel axle nut to 87 inch lbs. (10 Nm).
    4.  
    5. When the nut is snug, try to move the thrust washer with a screwdriver.
    6.  
    7. Back the nut off until the thrust washer can be moved without prying or twisting the screwdriver.
    8.  

  10.  
  11. Without turning the nut, install the locking ring so a new cotter pin can be installed through the hold in the stub axle. Bend the cotter pin.
  12.  
  13. Pack some grease into the cap and install it.
  14.  

The New Beetle and Passat are equipped with non-adjustable wheel bearings, no adjustment is possible or required.

  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the Precautions section.
  2.  
  3. Remove the grease cap.
  4.  
  5. Remove the cotter pin and the locking nut.
  6.  
  7. While turning the wheel, so the wheel bearing does not jam, tighten the adjusting nut firmly.
  8.  
  9. Back the nut off slightly. The nut is properly adjusted when it is possible to pry the thrust washer side to side with some drag by using finger pressure on the tool.
  10.  
  11. Install the locking nut and a new cotter pin. When installing the cap, be sure it is securely in place.
  12.  

  1. Tighten the bearing nut while turning the drum or disc. Torque the nut to 88 inch lbs. (10 Nm) to seat the bearing, and then loosen it again.
  2.  
  3. When tightening adjusting the nut again, move the thrust washer side to side with a screwdriver. The thrust washer must still be movable with light effort when adjustment is complete.
  4.  
  5. When installing the locking ring, keep trying different positions of the ring on the nut until the cotter pin goes through it and into the hole. Don't turn the nut to align the locking ring with the hole in the axle. Use a new cotter pin.
  6.  


WARNING
Do NOT tighten the wheel bearing such that the bearing is preloaded. If the bearing is preloaded it will wear prematurely because the bearing expands from the heat generated when it is in use.

  1. Tighten the bearing nut while turning the drum or disc. Torque the nut to 87 inch lbs. (10 Nm) to seat the bearing, then loosen it again.
  2.  
  3. When tightening adjusting the nut again, move the thrust washer side to side with a screwdriver. The thrust washer must still be movable with light effort when adjustment is complete.
  4.  
  5. When installing the locking ring, keep trying different positions of the ring on the nut until the cotter pin goes into the hole. Don't turn the nut to align the locking ring with the hole in the axle. Use a new cotter pin.
  6.  

The New Beetle, Passat, 2005 Jetta are equipped with non-adjustable wheel bearings, no adjustment is possible or required.

  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the Precautions Section.
  2.  
  3. Remove the grease cap.
  4.  
  5. Remove the cotter pin and the locking nut.
  6.  
  7. While turning the wheel, so the wheel bearing does not jam, tighten the adjusting nut firmly.
  8.  
  9. Back the nut off slightly. The nut is properly adjusted when it is possible to pry the thrust washer side to side with some drag by using finger pressure on the tool.
  10.  
  11. Install the locking nut and a new cotter pin. When installing the cap, be sure it is securely in place.
  12.  

Front Wheel Drive (FWD) Vehicles
  1. Block the front wheels. On models with automatic transmission, select Park. On models with manual transmission, select first gear.
  2.  
  3. Raise and support the vehicle safely.
  4.  
  5. If the wheel must be removed to access the dust cap, remove the cap.
  6.  
  7. Release the parking brake.
  8.  
  9. Remove the grease cap.
  10.  
  11. Remove the cotter pin and the locking cap.
  12.  
  13. Lightly tighten the adjusting nut. Do NOT use excessive force.
  14.  
  15. While backing of the nut, use a suitable flat blade screwdriver and attempt to slide the thrust washer side to side. Use the thrust washer as if it were a feeler gauge. When the washer can be moved side to side smoothly, without excessive force install the locking cap using a new cotter key, and then install the dust cap.
  16.  
  17. If removed, install the wheel, tightening the lug bolts by hand.
  18.  
  19. Check the wheel bearing by attempting to rock the top or bottom of the wheel in and out toward the center of the vehicle.
  20.  


NOTE
If the top or bottom of the wheel can be moved in and out toward the center of the vehicle with the bearings properly adjusted, the bearings may be worn and should be replaced.


WARNING
Do NOT preload the wheel bearings adjustment nut to compensate for worn bearings. The heat generated during operation will allow the bearings to expand and ultimately seize.

  1. The balance of the procedure is in reverse order of checking and adjusting.
  2.  
  3. If removed, torque the lug bolts in a crisscross pattern to:
  4.  


    M 12 x 1.5 Wheel lug bolts: 81 ft. lbs. (110 Nm)
     
    M 14 x 1.5 Wheel lug bolts: 89 ft. lbs. (120 Nm)
     


Removal & Installation





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Fig. Exploded view of the rear wheel bearing-Cabrio, golf, GTI and jetta w/disc brakes



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Fig. Exploded view of the rear wheel bearing-Cabrio, golf, GTI and jetta w/drum brakes

  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the Precautions section.
  2.  
  3. Remove the rear wheels.
  4.  
  5. On drum brakes, insert a small prytool through a wheel bolt hole and push up on the adjusting wedge to slacken the rear brake adjustment.
  6.  
  7. Remove or disconnect:

    On disc brakes, the caliper.
     
    Grease cap, cotter pin, locking ring, axle nut and thrust washer. Carefully remove the bearing and put all these parts where they will stay clean.
     
    Brake drum or rotor and pry out the inner seal to remove the inner bearing.
     

  8.  
  9. Clean all the grease off the bearings using solvent. If the bearings appear worn or damaged, they must be replaced.
  10.  
  11. To remove the bearing races, support the drum or rotor and carefully drive the race out with a long drift pin. They can also be removed on a press.
  12.  

To install:

  1. Carefully press the new race into the drum or rotor. The old race can be used as a press tool but be sure it does not become stuck in the hub.
  2.  
  3. Pack the inner bearing with clean wheel bearing grease and fit it into the inner race. Press a new axle seal into place by hand.
  4.  
  5. Lightly coat the stub axle with grease and install the drum or rotor. Be careful not to damage the axle seal.
  6.  
  7. Pack the outer bearing and install the bearing, thrust washer and nut.
  8.  
  9. To adjust the bearing pre-load:
    1. Begin tightening the nut while turning the drum or rotor.
    2.  
    3. When the nut is snug, try to move the thrust washer with a screwdriver.
    4.  
    5. Back the nut off until the thrust washer can be moved without prying or twisting the screwdriver.
    6.  

  10.  
  11. Without turning the nut, install the locking ring so a new cotter pin can be installed through the hold in the stub axle. Bend the cotter pin.
  12.  
  13. Pack some grease into the cap and install it.
  14.  

  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle, and remove the rear wheels.
  2.  
  3. On vehicles with rear drum brakes, insert a small pry tool through a wheel bolt hole and push up on the spring tensioned adjusting wedge to slacken the rear brake adjustment.
  4.  
  5. On vehicles with rear disc brakes, remove the two 8mm Allen® bolts that secure the caliper to the axle. Hang the caliper from the spring with wire; Do NOT let it hang by the hydraulic hose.
  6.  
  7. Pry off the grease cap, then remove the cotter pin, locking ring, axle nut and thrust washer. Carefully remove the bearing without dropping it.
  8.  
  9. Remove the brake drum or rotor and pry the bearing seal out of the hub. The seal will be destroyed, but be careful not to pry on the bearing.
  10.  
  11. Clean the bearings in solvent, and wipe the inside of the drum/rotor. Examine the bearings and inner races for discoloration, wear or damage.
  12.  
  13. Pack the bearings with new wheel bearing grease. Coat the bearing races in the hub with grease and partially fill the inside of the drum/rotor with bearing grease as well. Keep in mind that the grease not only lubricates the bearings, but also provides a means of cooling.
  14.  
  15. Place the freshly packed inner wheel bearing in the drum/rotor. Before installing the seal, make sure the seal and the seal's mating surface in the drum or rotor are clean, dry and free of any grease or debris. Using a flat block of wood or other suitable seal driver, install the wheel bearing grease seal into the drum/rotor.
  16.  


NOTE
Do NOT attempt to drive the seal in place with a hammer, it will be damaged.

  1. Pack about 1 oz. of grease into the hub and fit the drum or disc onto the axle.
  2.  
  3. Pack the outer bearing with grease and fit the bearing, thrust washer and nut onto the axle. Adjust as outlined, the bearing pre-load and install the locking ring, cotter pin and grease cap.
  4.  
  5. Install the brake caliper, if removed.
  6.  

  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle, and remove the rear wheels.
  2.  
  3. On vehicles with rear drum brakes, insert a small pry tool through a wheel bolt hole and push up on the spring tensioned adjusting wedge to slacken the rear brake adjustment.
  4.  
  5. On vehicles with rear disc brakes, remove the two 8mm Allen® bolts that secure the caliper to the axle. Hang the caliper from the spring with wire, do not let it hang by the hydraulic hose.
  6.  
  7. Pry off the grease cap, remove cotter pin, locking ring, axle nut and thrust washer. Carefully remove the bearing without dropping it.
  8.  
  9. Remove the brake drum or rotor and pry the bearing seal out of the hub. The seal will be destroyed, but be careful not to pry on the bearing.
  10.  
  11. Clean the bearings in solvent, and wipe the inside of the drum/rotor. Examine the bearings and inner races for discoloration, wear or damage.
  12.  
  13. Pack the bearings with new wheel bearing grease. Fill the inside of the drum/rotor with bearing grease also. Keep in mind that the grease not only lubricates the bearings, but also provides a means of cooling.
  14.  
  15. Place the freshly packed inside wheel bearing in the drum/rotor. Using a flat block of wood or other suitable tool, install the new axle seal onto the drum/rotor.
  16.  


NOTE
Do NOT attempt to drive the seal in place with a hammer, it will be damaged.

  1. Pack about 1 oz. of grease into the hub and fit the drum or disc onto the axle.
  2.  
  3. Pack the outer bearing with grease and fit the bearing, thrust washer and nut onto the axle. Adjust bearing pre-load and install the locking ring, cotter pin and grease cap.
  4.  
  5. Install the brake caliper, if removed.
  6.  

The Beetle and Passat are equipped with a sealed bearing. The wheel bearing, wheel hub and wheel speed sensor are replaced as an assembly.

  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the Precautions Section.
  2.  
  3. Remove the rear wheels.
  4.  
  5. On the Passat model, perform the following:
    1. Remove the caliper and rotor.
    2.  
    3. Slightly, withdraw the ABS wheel speed sensor.
    4.  
    5. Remove the wheel hub-to-axle beam mounting bolts through the openings in the wheel hub flange.
    6.  
    7. Remove the wheel hub.
    8.  

  6.  
  7. On the New Beetle model, perform the following:
    1. Slightly, withdraw the ABS wheel speed sensor.
    2.  
    3. If equipped with drum brakes, remove the drum.
    4.  
    5. If equipped with disk brakes, remove the caliper and rotor.
    6.  
    7. Remove the wheel hub center dust cover.
    8.  
    9. Remove the self-locking 12-point nut.
    10.  
    11. Using a multiple jaw puller, withdraw the wheel hub off of the stub axle.
    12.  

  8.  

To install:

  1. Install the new wheel hub and tighten the mounting fasteners as follows:

    Passat-44 ft. lbs. (60 Nm)
     
    New Beetle-129 ft. lbs. (175 Nm)
     

  2.  
  3. Install:

    Drum or caliper and rotor.
     
    If equipped, center dust cap.
     
    If removed, ABS wheel speed sensor.
     
    Wheels.
     

  4.  
  5. If necessary, check and adjust the wheel alignment.
  6.  

  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the Precautions Section.
  2.  
  3. Remove the rear wheels.
  4.  
  5. On drum brakes, insert a small prytool through a wheel bolt hole and push up on the adjusting wedge to slacken the rear brake adjustment.
  6.  
  7. Remove or disconnect:

    On disc brakes, the caliper.
     
    Grease cap, cotter pin, locking ring, axle nut and thrust washer. Carefully remove the bearing and put all these parts where they will stay clean.
     
    Brake drum or rotor and pry out the inner seal to remove the inner bearing.
     

  8.  
  9. Clean all the grease off the bearings using solvent. If the bearings appear worn or damaged, they must be replaced.
  10.  
  11. To remove the bearing races, support the drum or rotor and carefully drive the race out with a long drift pin. They can also be removed on a press.

    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Exploded view of the rear wheel bearing-Cabrio, Golf, GTI AND Jetta w/disc brakes



    Click image to see an enlarged view

    Fig. Exploded view of the rear wheel bearing-Cabrio, Golf, GTI and Jetta w/drum brakes

  12.  

To install:

  1. Carefully press the new race into the drum or rotor. The old race can be used as a press tool but be sure it does not become stuck in the hub.
  2.  
  3. Pack the inner bearing with clean wheel bearing grease and fit it into the inner race. Press a new axle seal into place by hand.
  4.  
  5. Lightly coat the stub axle with grease and install the drum or rotor. Be careful not to damage the axle seal.
  6.  
  7. Pack the outer bearing and install the bearing, thrust washer and nut.
  8.  
  9. To adjust the bearing pre-load:
    1. Begin tightening the nut while turning the drum or rotor.
    2.  
    3. When the nut is snug, try to move the thrust washer with a screwdriver.
    4.  
    5. Back the nut off until the thrust washer can be moved without prying or twisting the screwdriver.
    6.  

  10.  
  11. Without turning the nut, install the locking ring so a new cotter pin can be installed through the hold in the stub axle. Bend the cotter pin.
  12.  
  13. Pack some grease into the cap and install it.
  14.  

  1. Before servicing the vehicle, refer to the Precautions Section.
  2.  
  3. Raise and safely support the vehicle.
  4.  
  5. Remove the rear wheels.
  6.  
  7. Loosen dust cap from seat by tapping lightly on grease cap puller VW 637/2 claw.
  8.  
  9. Pull off dust cap.
  10.  
  11. Remove brake carrier with brake caliper and hang on body with tie wire.
  12.  
  13. Remove Phillips-head screw for brake disc and take out brake disc.
  14.  
  15. Remove socket head bolt using bit XZN 18 T10162 .
  16.  
  17. Pull wheel hubs/wheel bearing unit off stub axle.
  18.  

To install:

  1. Carefully slide wheel hubs/wheel bearing unit onto stub axle.
  2.  
  3. Make sure that wheel hubs/wheel bearing unit do not cant.
  4.  
  5. Use new socket head bolt and tighten to 124 ft. lbs. (180 Nm), plus an additional 180°.
  6.  
  7. Install brake disc and caliper.
  8.  
  9. Drive dust cap on using installation sleeve 3241/4. Always replace dust caps.
  10.  
  11. Install rear wheels.
  12.  
  13. Lower the vehicle.
  14.  

All Wheel Drive

NOTE
If either the hub or the wheel bearing are removed, the wheel bearing must be replaced.

  1. Note the radio security code and disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Remove the bearing housing (knuckle) from the vehicle.
  4.  
  5. Remove any installed shields and/or brackets as necessary.
  6.  
  7. Place the bearing housing (knuckle) onto suitable press plates in a hydraulic press making sure the housing is completely level, and press the wheel hub out of the bearing housing (knuckle).
  8.  
  9. Support the bearing housing (knuckle) on suitable press plates and press the bearing out off the housing.
  10.  
  11. Remove the inner race of the wheel bearing from the hub using a suitable and sturdy puller, such as KUKKO® Tool No. 240-1. If necessary, wedge the bearing race upward slightly by wedging a chisel between the bearing and a hub alternately from side-to-side. Once the bearing race is removed, if necessary, dress the area on the hub with a suitable flat-faced file.
  12.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. The rear wheel bearing is pressed into the bearing holder, the hub is pressed into the bearing-A4 model illustrated

To install:

  1. Thoroughly inspect the bearing housing (knuckle) and the hub and remove any burrs. If necessary, slightly chamfer the outer perimeter of the housing.
  2.  
  3. Place the bearing housing (knuckle) on suitable press plates in a hydraulic press.
  4.  
  5. While supporting the bearing housing, press the bearing into the housing.
  6.  
  7. Support the inner bearing race of the wheel bearing, and press the hub into the bearing until it is fully seated.
  8.  
  9. The balance of installation is in reverse order of removal.
  10.  

 
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