How to Tighten Front Wheel Bearings on a 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier


The Chevrolet Cavalier was introduced in 1983. The 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier was equipped with a 2.2-liter engine in the base model, with the option of a 2.4-liter engine upgrade. The wheel bearings on the 2002 Cavalier are mounted to the front of the wheel spindle, and the bolts mount outward from behind the spindle. Tightening the wheel bearings is usually performed during installation of new bearings. Wheel bearing tightening on the 2002 Cavalier, requires the front disc brakes and the CV axle to be loosened or moved out of the way.

Things You'll Need

  • Spindle nut socket, 1/2-inch-drive
  • Breaker bar, 1/2-inch-drive
  • Tire iron
  • Jack
  • 2 jack stands
  • Ratchet, 3/8-inch-drive
  • Socket set, 3/8-inch-drive
  • Pry bar
  • Ratchet, 1/2-inch-drive
  • Socket set, 1/2-inch-drive
  • Metal clothes hanger
  • Extension for 1/2-inch-drive, 4-inch-long
  • U-joint socket, 1/2-inch-drive
  • Small pry bar
  • Torque wrench, 1/2-inch-drive
  • Remove the front wheel covers. Insert a 1/2-inch-drive spindle nut socket onto the axle socket, at the center of the hub. Turn the spindle nut socket with a 1/2-inch breaker bar to loose the axle nut. Loosen the front wheel lug nuts with a tire iron.

  • Raise the front of the Cavalier with a jack. Place jack stands beneath the front subframe rails. Lower the Cavalier onto the jack stands. Remove the lug nuts, then remove the front wheels from the Cavalier.

  • Remove the caliper bolts from the caliper using a ratchet and socket. Insert a pry bar into the open space on the upper caliper housing body. Pry the caliper body forward to slightly compress the caliper piston, to ease removal and installation of the caliper. Completely remove the caliper from the brake assembly, and hang the caliper from the front strut spring with a metal clothes hanger. Remove the two caliper mounting bracket bolts from the rear of the spindle knuckle using a ratchet and socket. Remove the caliper bracket from the car, then slide the rotor off the car by hand.

  • Remove the castle nut from the tie rod ball stud with a ratchet and socket. Pry the tie rod out of the steering knuckle using the pry bar. Spin the axle nut counterclockwise until the outer lip of the nut lines up flush with the end of the axle. Tap the end of the axle straight inward to loosen the axle from the hub bearing.

  • Turn the entire spindle so the front of the steering knuckle is facing inward. Tighten the bottom-most wheel bearing bolt to 70 foot-pounds using a 1/2-inch-drive torque wrench, extension, u-joint adapter and socket.

  • Push inward on the loosened CV axle to gain access past the CV boot if needed. Tighten the two other wheel bearing bolts to 70 foot-pounds with the torque wrench and the attachments. Turn the spindle and install the outer tie rod ball stud through the spindle hole. Install the outer tie rod castle nut to 33 foot-pounds.

  • Install the brake rotor and the caliper bracket onto the hub. Tighten the caliper mounting bracket to 62 inch-pounds using a 3/8-inch-drive torque wrench and a socket. Install the caliper and pads onto the caliper bracket. Install and tighten the caliper mounting bolts to 38 inch-pounds.

  • Repeat steps 2 through 5 to complete the tightening of the wheel bearings on the second side of the car. Install the front wheels onto the Cavalier. Raise the front of the Cavalier off the jack stands, then lower the car. Tighten the front wheel lug nuts to 100 foot-pounds with a 1/2-inch-drive torque wrench and wheel nut socket. Tighten the axle nuts to 196 foot-pounds of torque with the torque wrench and a spindle nut socket.

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  • Photo Credit David Silverman/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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