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Old 10-21-2009, 03:32 PM   #1
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Default Question about Wheel Bearing Hub - driving on a bad one

Thanks to you fine folks on this forum, I've determined the 2 remaining problems with my Bonneville I've owned for about a month. I've got the intermediate steering problem and I have a bad wheel bearing hub.

I've found a replacement wheel bearing hub for about $160 online, or around $200 from a place I've actually heard of. But I don't really have the money for this right now, as I spent most of my wad on this amazingly awesome car!

So my questions are:

Can I drive on a bad bearing hub? It'* only groaning if I turn to the left at a certain angle. It seems to be the rear driver'* side hub based on where the sound is coming from. I can't really afford to get it fixed today, so I was wondering how dangerous it was to the car to drive on it?

How hard is it really to change out the bearing hub? I've not been able to find a guide to doing it here or online, and yes I've searched a bit, unless I'm just blind which is ENTIRELY likely.

Thanks for any assistance you all can provide!
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Old 10-21-2009, 03:59 PM   #2
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Changing the hub is not a bad task at all. The worse time you will have is breaking loose the nuts and bolts. But, some Liquid Wrench left to soak on them overnight should make it a much easier task.

I would not go too awfully long on driving with a bad bearing. But, if you drive easy and not do any high speed rapid lane changes or skidding corners, you can hold off. I would recommend if you are going to do one on the front or back that you do the opposite one as well.

Check out Rock Auto on their prices. RockAuto Parts Catalog
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Old 10-21-2009, 04:06 PM   #3
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Awesome, thank you. The used dealership I purchased it at has been pretty helpful with repairs so far and isn't charging me labor at all, so I may see if they will do it.

I can't wait to get this girl into top operating condition.

Luckily, I am just driving it to work and back right now. 7 miles each way on easy streets, but I want to drive it a little faster, I'm just waiting to make sure I have all the kinks worked out first
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Old 10-21-2009, 04:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Purplehazeir View Post
Changing the hub is not a bad task at all. The worse time you will have is breaking loose the nuts and bolts. But, some Liquid Wrench left to soak on them overnight should make it a much easier task.

I would not go too awfully long on driving with a bad bearing. But, if you drive easy and not do any high speed rapid lane changes or skidding corners, you can hold off. I would recommend if you are going to do one on the front or back that you do the opposite one as well.

Check out Rock Auto on their prices. RockAuto Parts Catalog
I would agree that you are probably ok for short trips, and non-aggressive driving on a bad bearing. I drove about 10,000 EASY miles on a bad bearing in my Saturn Vue. Just keep checking it for heat and free play. Any drastic changes, and it needs to come out NOW!

I would dis-agree with the statement that you need to do the opposite tire as well. Just because one of the bearings failed, does NOT mean the other is even close to failing. Bearings usually fail from contamination, lack of lube, or an "event". Chances of seals failing at the same time on two different wheels is slim to none...and that would be the contamination or lack of lube issue. An event could be a curb strike, or other such happening...also usually does NOT include both wheels. I would only replace the troubled wheel. The wheel bearing opposite my bad one in my Saturn was clean and tight.

I worked for Timken bearings for 4 years as an engineer - that is where my expertise comes from.

Good luck! Its not a hard job, but if the dealership is offering free service, I would take them up on it. Without an impact gun, it can be a tough job to get some of the bolts off. Also, if I remember right, you have to press the bearing assembly out of the mounting.

Hope that helps!
DH
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Old 10-21-2009, 04:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drivehard View Post
I would dis-agree with the statement that you need to do the opposite tire as well. Just because one of the bearings failed, does NOT mean the other is even close to failing.
My statement was not the need to do so, but a recommendation to do so. My recommendation is based on that because wear is relative, the other side is sure to be close behind.

I agree that both would not be recommended for replacement if one side did suffer from an 'event'.

On FWD vehicle, you'll seldom find a mechanic worth his grain in salt not recommend that both front hub/bearings be replaced. Especially if one side has worn so bad that slop is noticeable or the races have been distorted.

On 4X4'*, tires, bearings and brakes should always be done in pairs on the same axle. Especially in newer vehicles with tighter tolerances.

Hope this clears things up.
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Old 10-21-2009, 04:38 PM   #6
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Thanks for the info.

If they decide not to help me, apparently one of my good friends owns an impact wrench. He just let me know after I was telling him about the bearing hub. I was all "WHUT!" lol

Is this the right hub? The site seems to indicate that it is. (Interestingly enough, this site sells Timken bearings.)

wheelbearings.us

I guess it'* only $126. That'* pretty awesome.

What is involved in "pressing" the bearing out of the mounting? How reliable are Timken bearings? I'm pretty new to the "used car" scene, so I'm trying to squeeze every ounce of info out of it. lol
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Old 10-21-2009, 04:54 PM   #7
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Actually the bearing and hub are one unit. Nothing to press out. They come packed and ready to go.

I put Timken'* on my Bonnie. No complaints!
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Old 10-21-2009, 04:57 PM   #8
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Sweet! More and more awesome news! you guys rock!
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Old 10-21-2009, 09:53 PM   #9
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Old 10-22-2009, 10:58 AM   #10
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Thanks, but I actually need the rear wheel ones. I did use that link to find them with the same seller though and they'll be far cheaper than what I originally thought. So I'm going to order them tomorrow.

I appreciate your help everyone

Edit:

Are the ones from AM autoparts going to be the same quality as the Timken ones? Or are they pretty much going to be 6 of one, half a dozen of the other?

Last edited by RetroPengo; 10-22-2009 at 10:59 AM.
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