How to remove and replace wheel hub & wheel bearings - 3es (instructions & pictures!)
Difficulty: 5.5 of 10
Total time: About 6hrs (10yrs of rust made some bolts resist turning)
Cost: Bearing/bub - $43x2 & labor for machine shop $48.
Audi Club Chicagoland Chapter style, start with a big beer. This is the only way to roll.
Start by removing the wheel, disk brake, caliper & caliper carrier (support the caliper with a wire or whatever). The wheels have 22mm nuts, caliper carrier has 17mm bolts and the disk brake floats. Mine was frozen solid. I decided to replace the rotors, so a few hard whacks with an axe and it was free. The 12mm caliper guide bolts/pins will need to come out (if you are doing a brake job) and you will also need to compress the piston.
Next, remove the cotter pin and nut from the bottom of the tie rod. This nut is 17mm too.
Using a puller, release the control arm. Note - this will make a lot of noise. Drink and beer - you will be just fine.
Loosen but do not remove the 2 upper shock absorber bolts/bots. These are 22mm. Also remove the ABS sensor with a 10mm socket.
With an impact gun, remove the cotter pin, lock cap and drive axle nut from the drive shaft. This nut is 30mm and has a HUGE amount of torque applied (219 ft/lb). The drive shaft will need to be broken loose from the splines. A few taps with a mallet will work just fine. Make sure NOT TO HIT THE DRIVE SHAFT - use the old sacrificial nut.**Reassemble without any locktite, oil, anti seize etc... Do not use an impact gun - only hand tools. If you cross thread this unit, you are f*vcked.
Finally, remove the 3 17mm lower control arm bolts/nuts. Don't try to remove the lower ball joint - it is WAYY to hard to get at and there is just no reason to do it.
Sorry - no pict.
Lastly, completely remove the 2 upper shock bolts/nuts and using a pry-bar, pry the steering knuckle from the shock. At this point, things will be very easy to simply pull apart
This is what you will now have:
Another glamor shot with 1 wheel hub removed:
I chose to replace the hubs and bearings at the same time. No reason to do this job again in a few years. Antioich NAPA has a full machine shop and was easily able to swap the bad parts for new in under an hr.
Reassemble to proper torque specs.
Axle Shaft Nut 217 (294)
Ball Joint-To-Lower Arm Nut 94 (127)
Ball Joint-To-Steering Knuckle 91 (123)
Caliper Bolt 79 (107)
Center Strut Nut Without Electronic Suspension 36 (49)
Lower Arm Pivot Bolt 152 (206)
Shock Absorber Cap Nut 9 (14)
Stabilizer Bar Bushing Retainer Bolt 14 (19)
Stabilizer Bar Link Nut 29 (39)
Steering Gear Mounting Bolt 134 (181)
Steering Knuckle-To-Strut Bolt 156 (211)
Upper Strut Mounting Nut 59 (80)
Tie Rod End Lock Nuts 54 (74)
Tie Rod End-To-Steering Knuckle Nut 36 (49)
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King Cobra mandatory - yes. 100%. If you deviate, you loose.
The car is a 2000 and has.... get this.... 68k miles. Rides a HECK of a lot better. I do need to replace the rears as the back is quite wiggly. The car used to be the rents' and sat a TON which I attribute to the bearings being messed up.
Originally Posted by decypher
Is the King Cobra mandatory for this repair procedure? How many miles you got on her? How's she riding now!?
First off, let me say that the above post has been one of the most useful I've ever seen. A sincere 'Thank you!' goes out to the OP.
Here is my amendment to the original walk through.
1) Make sure that you have the correct socket for the axle nut. It is a 30mm 12pt deep socket. This part took me the better part of a week to track down. It is a very unique size. I finally found one from the local Snap-on truck. It even took him a while to find it, as this is a specialized size that isn't sold as a standard socket. Cost was approximately $40.
2) Instead of getting a control arm puller, I got a large gear puller from Sears. This allowed me to not only loosen the control arm, but I was also able to use this puller to pull the wheel assembly off of the axle.
3) It took me a few tries, but look at the picture for details of how I finally managed to get the axle nut loose. I put an old rotor onto the wheel, secured it by using a few lug nuts. Next, I took a large allen key, and stuck it through the internal spokes of the rotor. Lastly, I used a winch to create a stop and prevent the axle from spinning.
Nice write up very useful! To get the axle nut off, I keep the tire on the ground and have someone step firmly on the brake. I then use a 1/2 ratchet (a breaker bar flexes too much) with a 3 foot pipe, nut comes off every time. They generally sell the 30mm 6 sided deep socket as an impact tool, I have never seen a regular one but I'm sure they exist. BTW if you do use a ratchet, it better be a high quality one otherwise it will explode.
I would suggest people doing this job to replace the ball joint at the same time, every one I've done I had to grind the top of the castle nut off there was no way it was coming off otherwise. Oh yea to separate the tie rod from the steering knuckle, hit the knuckle with a hammer not the tie rod this usually does the trick.
edit - forgot to mention, the ABS sensor I don't recommend trying to remove it, if it is rusted in you will break it trying to get it out, an expensive mistake. Remove a few screws from the fender liner and unhook the connector, and remove the bracket bolts and take out the entire assembly, this is much safer.