96 SSE Wheel Hub Replacement - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat
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1992-1999 Series I L27 (1992-1994 SE,SLE, SSE) & Series II L36 (1995-1999 SE, SSE, SLE) and common problems for the Series I and II L67 (all supercharged models 92-99) Including Olds 88's, Olds LSS's and Buick Lesabres Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 01-20-2005, 01:43 PM   #1
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Default 96 SSE Wheel Hub Replacement

Good Afternoon, gearheads!
I have a problem - about a week ago on my commute in to work, my 96 SSE starting making a grinding noise, and the brakes failed. Had it towed to my house, and discovered that the drivers side front wheel bearing had cracked - when I took off the axle nut, I was able to literally pull off the bearing, leaving balls and shards of metal all over the ground.
Since it looked reasonably simple to replace, I purchased a replacement wheel hub and got to work. However - there are two problems. First, if it'* not printed in the Haynes manual, I don't know how to do it. Second, the Haynes manual says "unbolt and remove the unit" - it gives no advice on how to remove what remains of the hub if it'* rusted on to the steering knuckle as solidly as if it were a single piece.

Any advice on how to get this loose/off? I don't mind elbow grease, but after trying to chisel and crowbar it for almost two hours, I'd like to see some return on investment. I'll be working on it again this weekend, and with temps from 0 to -10, I'd rather not be outside longer than necessary.

Thanks in advance for any tips/tricks!
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Old 01-23-2005, 10:52 AM   #2
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Have you been able to remove the three bolts that hold the hub assembly to the steering knuckle? What is rusted to what? That is, is it the axle shaft that is rusted to the inner race of the bearing, or is it the hub assembly rusted to the steering knuckle?

My Chilton'* manual advises that if necessary, you may have to remove the steering knuckle.

If the problem is that the axle shaft is rusted tightly to the splines in the hub assembly, you can try to rent a brake drum puller and apply it to the axle shaft. The axle shaft can be called the spindle for front wheel drive cars, so it may be called a spindle puller. It is a big, heavy gear puller with a bsse or feet that slip over the lug bolts and are held in place by the lug nuts, and a heavy center screw with a point that goes into the end of the axle shaft. With a big hammer (like 4# or more) you hit the end of the screw after tightening it up, this usually breaks the rusty splines loose.

But if your drive shaft is not holding the hub assembly from coming out (you mentioned the inner hub was trashed), and if you have the three bolts out and cannot beat it out, you are probably gonna have to remove the knuckle and take it to a shop where the proper persuasion can be applied. You have tried power blaster (PB) penetrating oil, I hope. It works really well on rust like this.

Good luck

1995 SLE
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Old 01-23-2005, 05:21 PM   #3
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Default replacement

I just did this last month on my 94- here is how I did it:
Anyway, here is some more detail of the procedure and a few picts:
Before jacking the car up, loosen the front wheel lug nuts and spindle nut (34MM)
Jack the car up, put in jack stands
Remove the wheels
Remove the brake caliper (3/8 Allen) and suspend it with a wire
Remove the brake rotor
Remove the spindle nut and tap the axle spindle in so it is no longer attached to the bearing (I used a hammer and a 1/4" drift- it didn't take much effort.
Disconnect the ABS sensor wire and remove the connector from the backing plate
Using a fairly long T55 Torx, remove the bolts holding the bearing housing to the knuckle. I mention using a long torx as you have to pass the torx bit through a hole in the hub flange to get to the bolt.
Remove the brake backing plate
Pry or tap the bearing housing out. It will take a little work but mine came out with out too much force. Carefully pull it out, feeding the ABS wire and connector through the bearing housing. From the photo you will see that my ABS sensor separated from the bearing housing (not good).
Installation is the reverse.
Yeah, I though about painting my calipers while they were off but I though I'd save it for a later project when I could spare more down time.
Here'* a picture of old and new (note damaged ABS sensor):

Heres a picture of the new bearing installed:

Here'* a picture of all the new hardware installed:

Hope it helps
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