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Changed a front hub bearing. Not easy as expected!

Konrad C

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My mate Waqar -who is a member of the forum, needed a front wheel hub bearing changed, and I said this should be easy! I have changed the old style wheel bearings before, and this is a bolt on job.

Well it was going well until we had removed the hub, only to find the hub bearing and the carrier was seized together. P1110197.jpgP1110190.jpgP1110192.jpg

The car was left overnight, as I would use my press. Still no joy. It took the use of a blow torch and lots of welly from hammer plus a press to finally separate the parts.


The cause was aluminium and metal chemical corrosion/oxidisation , which practically welded the parts together.  

The new hub was assembled and put back on the car 


The car was ready in time for the weekend.

This was hardest bearing change I have ever done! The blowtorch I think made the difference as well as some well aimed blows.

My Avensis uses the same type of hub bearing, so I hope it never fails or be as hard to separate.

Waqar will you his detailed thoughts on this job as the owner of the car. 


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30 minutes ago, Cyker said:

Is there a way to stop that galvanic welding from taking place?

Don't think there's any way to stop galvanic corrosion where the bearing is an interference fit in the housing. Any surface treatment will be scraped off when pressing the bearing in. Many wheel bearings are sold as assemblies with the hub these days, probably a good thing since a lot of people would press them in wrong and the bearings wouldn't last any time.

Boats of course use sacrifical anodes but the idea never has caught on with cars except for, i believe, some fibre glass bodied examples. For earth points we used to scrape the metal clean (ie remove any cadmium plating, anodise coating, surface corrosion etc) then assemble with zinc paste, wipe off excess paste and seal the whole lot with oil-based paint. The old car aerials onto the wing used to be a beggar, trying to get an earth but not have the wing rusting through inside a few months. I sometimes ran a separate earth wire from the aerial to some chassis point then covered the lot with undrseal.    

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi All,

I meant to write this earlier, so my sincerest apologies to Konrad C for writing this so late. I was away. 

If i remember correctly there was a post a while back which I started and it got pinned (it was titled "spirit of TOC") for people to say a few words of thank you to people who helped out in a time of need and quite often at their own cost. I cant find it, but if i did i would to resurrect it. 

I have to say that Konrad has been amazing. I have become friends with him due to this forum and he has helped me out on many many occasions. He has done this mostly at his own cost so - hats off to you Konrad and many thanks. Now let me explain how this all transpired.

When i bought the car about 4/5 months ago, there was a slight rubbing sound from front left wheel. It would pulsate for around 20 mph but would buzz out afterwards. One day this noise got replaced by a constant drone at around 45mph+. I was quite worried but i decided to be patient and see how it pans out. Then I noticed that this noise is only there when my steering is bang in the middle or slightly to the right. I did some research and went on youtube where people described their experiences and tried to describe the noise but tbh you cant really hear it in those videos. At least i can't. Having said that I did notice that it completely immediately disappeared when turning left. This made my wonder why and of course then i realised that when my steering is slightly to the right, its loading the left wheel which is why its got a constant drone. 

I explained my predicament to Konrad who has previous experiences of several wheel bearing changes as well as recognising the noise. He and I both came to the conclusion that this could be it. i ordered the part and then upon arrival we got to work.

This is where it gets interesting.

We dismantled it all okay. Firstly while car was parked we undid the wheel nuts and axle nut (this was really tricky because of how much power it took to undo this.) This nut has to be dealt with care as most garages would pinch the axle nut once tightened. Gotta take care there. then we took the wheel off. Then came two bolts holding the caliper to the carrier. A bit of advice here since its a hybrid car. These come with brake actuators which have triggers such as waiting two minutes after unlocking the car (i heard but I believe its actually 2mins after locking it. hey ho), opening the driver door. Essentially what it does is, it fires the actuator which pushes the piston. So best of have Battery off. The problem here is that if the actuator fires after you have taken caliper with brake pads off, the piston is going to travel until the pads meet each other. This may trigger several error codes relating to low brake oil pressure in piston (pointing to a leak) and you cannot simply push these back as it may damage the actuator and other one way valves. anyways i digress. Please ensure either your batter is off or you stick a bit of 2 x 4 timber between the pads so that when actuator fires or someone presses the pedal by mistake, piston does not push all thew way. Now take the disc off. Then remove the 2 bolts holding the suspension to the carrier. Then remove drive shaft bolt freeing the carrier from drive shaft and then do the same for steering rack tie rod. Tie rod is done with a carter pin and a crown nut. This will now free the carrier. Now you are left with carrier with 4 bolts with nuts going through the hub and into the carrier. Turn the carrier over and undo the nuts and bolts. Now if you are lucky, your carrier would separate from the hub. More often than not, it wont. You would either need a 10 or 20 tonne press or a blow torch to expand this. We started work on thursday evening thinking its an easy job, but Konrad had to take it away where he used his 10 tonne press, no budge, then his mates 20 tonne press, no budging still until when they used a blow torch to heat it up and then whack it with a cold steel chisel to separate the two. Reassembly was easy. 


Once again I would like to say thank you to Konrad and for all his sacrifice and time spent for no gain of his own. Hats off to you sir.


Best Regards,


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  • 3 years later...

It looks like I will be changing the other wheel this Saturday. Last Saturday, I helped Waqar change a broken rear spring we discovered whilst changing the rear brake pads, a few months back. We then made a plan of action to replace the spring, exhaust back box, an oil change, and front bearing/hub. We manage to do the spring and exhaust, but due to the weather left the bearing and oil change for later. I dried and cleaned the tools the next day, as I don't want them rusting. 
I have a plan of action, in case the bearing hub is seized like the other side! 

20191013_000307.thumb.jpg.4b5aced4ceab86e9cd3e8461bab14fa2.jpg How I spotted the broken spring. This photo was taken during the removal of the strut.

20191012_125700.thumb.jpg.4b1893feeb9a7c9540e3fe178c663916.jpg Close up. Because it broke near the top of the coil is could be missed, even by a MOT tester!

20191012_125654.thumb.jpg.b9d7dae2460e48bc37fb5a798cc9294b.jpg Using the spring clamps. A 6mm allen key is used to hold the centre whilst undoing the top nut.

20191012_134052.thumb.jpg.72df0f24a0abf973537640e65bcead79.jpg Completed spring swap and ready to install.

Installation was reverse, but we did the back box since it was in the same area. 
20191012_142513.thumb.jpg.a4211de3e131a08ca4c5008f3f903683.jpg Old and new. I advised my friend to get a new doughnut gasket, but he used Gum Gum to make the seal.

Here is the video on how to do the rear suspension.

Next update will be on how we get on with changing the hub bearing.

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I successfully helped Waqar change the other front wheel bearing. The first hour was dismantling the suspension to remove the hub carrier. Then the hard part was separating the bearing hub from the carrier. I tried using a mallet, but the bearing was seized solid. I tried a nut and bolt method, by tightening the nut against the carrier,  but still no joy. Then I used the sledge hammer on a metal ingot. After a few blows the bearing hub moved and a couple more strikes, popped out. 

Here are some photos showing the bearing out, plus the tools used 



No effort was spared when using the sledge hammer. 

The following photo shows the rust and corrosion on the carrier. 


I used a file and wire brush attachment on a drill to clean the carrier. 

Assembly had to be quick as it was getting dark. 

Another satisfying job completed.

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Yes, a great sense of satisfaction, once the job is finished.  Although a very tight fit, I'd be tempted to apply a smeer of an anti-seizure grease such as Copaslip, although I'd hope not to have to repeat the job!  Well done.

Great photos.

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8 hours ago, Notoyboy said:

Yes, a great sense of satisfaction, once the job is finished.  Although a very tight fit, I'd be tempted to apply a smear of an anti-seizure grease such as Copaslip, although I'd hope not to have to repeat the job!  Well done.

Great photos.

Waqar did smear some copper ease on the areas which stick, after I wire brushed the corrosion and rust. Most of aluminium face had a white corrosion build up, which became powdery when machined off. Before cleaning, the new bearing hub couldn't fit into the carrier. Once the carrier been cleaned up, the new bearing simply dropped in.
Hopefully the bearings will last the rest of the cars life. 

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