Replacing the front wheel bearings on your Jeep requires you to replace the entire front hub assembly. The bearings are part of a sealed unit and not serviceable separately. The hub assembly holds the bearings and bolts to the steering knuckle on the front of your Jeep. Separating the hub from the knuckle can be a chore, but replacing this unit yourself will save you a large bill from a repair shop or the Jeep dealer.
Things You'll Need
- Lug wrench
- Jack stands
- Socket set
- Cold chisel
- Anti-seize compound
- Torque wrench
Loosen the lug nuts on the front wheel with a lug wrench then raise the front of the Jeep with a jack. Place a set of jack stands under the front axle assembly and set the Jeep on them. Remove the lug nuts and wheel from the Jeep and set them aside.
Locate and remove the cotter pin from the castle nut and axle shaft in the center of the hub assembly. Use a set of pliers to straighten the legs on the pin, pull the pin out, and dispose of it. Remove the castle nut with a breaker bar and socket.
Locate and remove the two caliper mounting pins securing the caliper to the steering knuckle with a socket and ratchet. Lift the caliper off the rotor and bracket then support it with a piece of wire, hanging it off the front suspension.
Grasp the rotor on either side with your hands and remove it from the hub assembly. Set it aside for now, and locate the three 12-point bolts securing the hub to the steering knuckle. They are accessed from the back side of the steering knuckle.
Remove the three hub to knuckle mounting bolts with a 12-point socket and ratchet, setting them aside for reuse later. Move back to the front of the steering knuckle and remove the hub. Often the hub will rust to the steering knuckle and needs a little encouragement to remove it.
Place a cold chisel on the seam between the hub and knuckle, and then, striking it with a hammer, work around the hub until it separates from the knuckle. In extreme cases, the knuckle will need to be heated with a torch to free the hub.
Slide the hub out from the knuckle and off the axle shaft stub that runs through the center of the hub. Discard the old hub and wipe out the steering knuckle with a clean rag. Apply a coat of anti-seize compound to the inside of the knuckle and install the new hub, sliding it over the axle shaft.
Install the retaining bolts into the back of the hub and tighten them in a crisscross pattern with a ratchet and socket. Tighten until the hub is seated fully in the knuckle. Torque the hub assembly mounting bolts to 75 pound-feet with a torque wrench.
Install the brake rotor onto the new hub, position the brake caliper over the rotor and install the mounting bolts from the back side of the caliper mounting bracket to the caliper. Tighten the bolts with a socket and ratchet until secure.
Install the washer and castle nut on the end of the axle shaft and tighten it to 175 pound-feet with a torque wrench. Turn the castle nut just enough to allow you to install a new cotter pin through the hole in the axle shaft. Bend the legs on the cotter pin over the nut to keep it in place.
Install the tire on the wheel studs followed by the lug nuts. Tighten the lug nuts with a lug wrench. Raise the Jeep off the jack stands with a jack then remove the stands and set the Jeep safely on the ground. Retighten the lug nuts with the weight of the Jeep on the tires.
- "Jeep Wrangler Factory Service Manual"; The Chrysler Group; 2002
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