Member Credit: MaximaDrvr
I am completing this write up to help people save some money. You can probably buy all of the needed tools for what the dealership would charge. This was an over $400 quote for each side. Generally, you will replace these in pairs, but it is not absolutely required. I have 150k miles on my 09.
I purchased replacement assemblies from Rock Auto. The bearing assemblies were $154 shipped for the pair (TIMKEN HA590252). I would recommend new cotter pins as well, but you can make due with the old ones if necessary if you don’t break them on removal.
This is a fairly easy replacement as far as complexity, but it is a critical component to your car. I would recommend having some mechanical knowledge and plenty of time if you have not completed something like this before. This took me 3 hours with taking pictures, and an hour of letting penetrating oil soak in. I would say it could be done in as little as 1 hour, or as long as 6 hours if you have never done anything like it before, or need to let the penetrating oil soak in.
I was a mechanic in a previous life and had all of the tools required.
You will need:
- 32mm socket for the axle nut
- 22mm sockets for suspension nut/bolt
- 18 and 19mm wrenches and sockets
- You may need some additional sizes that I am forgetting.
- 10mm (I think, may be. 11 or 12) for the abs/speed ring sensor
- Breaker bar
- Impact gun
- Penetrating oil
- 8″ pry bar
- Rubber mallet
- Ball peen hammer
- Needle nose pliers (to remove and replace cotter pins)
- Bungee cord
- Sandpaper or scotchbrite pad
First, you need to properly jack up your car and place it on stands. Then remove the wheel on the corner you will be working on.
This is the 32mm nut and cotter pin
Remove the brakes. You need to remove the two bolts holding the caliper carrier to the knuckle. You do not need to separate the caliper and carrier.
Then you can take the rotor off and set it to the side. You can then use the short pry bar to remove the brake line clip off the strut to get more room. Set the caliper to the side, but do not hang it from the brake line. I set it on top of a small bucket.
Once the brakes are off, I sprayed the axle nut with penetrating oil. I put an oil catch can underneath to not stain the floor. I also sprayed a bit of oil on the bolts between the knuckle and strut. I also removed the cotter pin at this point.
You then need to remove the axle nut. You can try a breaker bar, but you most likely won’t get far. An impact gun will be your friend. My electric gun wasn’t quite enough and I had to break out the air impact gun.
The axle nut removed. You can also see the tie rod end in the lower right. This also has a cotter pin that will need to be removed. You will remove the pin, nut and washer, the carefully tap the bolt up to remove the tie rod from the knuckle. You should also remove the abs/speed sensor at this point. It is the small bolt on the side of the knuckle. Just tuck this out of the way.
You will also remove the bolt for the lower ball joint. This must be fully removed for the shaft of the ball joint to be removed from the knuckle in the next step. You will also remove the two bolts holding the knuckle to the strut.
You then need to remove the axle from the hub. This should slide out fairly easily, just by wiggling and pulling the knuckle outward while pushing in on the axle. I then spun the knuckle 90 degrees, and hung the axle to the side with a bungee cord.
All that should be left holding the knuckle in place is the ball joint. Use the pry bar to spread the joint around the ball joint rod. This can be achieved by placing the pry bar in the notch, and tapping it in with the mallet. Then you should be able to lift the knuckle off the ball joint.
You then need to remove the 4 bolts holding the hub and bearing to the knuckle. You will also remove the dust sheild on the back of the bearing. This will just pop off with a screw driver. Take note that one of the notches in the dust cover lines up with the hole for the abs sensor.
Now it is time to remove the hub assembly.
Place it on the wood blocks so that the hub can drop free of the knuckle. Then use the hammer to knock the assembly free. Take care to not hit the knuckle around where the bearing slides in.
Now you need to clean up the bearing surface. Use you sand paper or scotchbrite to clean up the inside and any places with corrosion.
Now you can reassemble the knuckle and hub. Place the hub in the knuckle, lining up the bolt holes. You can use the 4 bolts to pull the hub into place. Tighten them by hand in a circular manner, not just one at a time. These should be torqued to 93ft.lbs, or really tight with a 3/4″ bar.
Then place the dust cover with one of the notches aligned with the abs sensor hole.
Now we put the knuckle back.
Slide the axle back into the hub, then slide the knuckle back onto the ball joint.
Then push the top of the knuckle back into the strut and put in the two bolts.
Then put the tie rod end back into the knuckle.
Put the abs sensor back in place and tighten the bolt.
Place the bolt back into the knuckle for the ball joint and tighten.
Place the washer and nut in place on the tie rod and tighten. Then replace the cotter pin.
Put the nuts back onto the strut bolts and tighten.
Place the axle nut onto the axle and tighten. This should be 136ft.lbs. or, really tight with a breaker bar. Then replace the cotter pin.
Next we put the brakes back together.
Put the brake line in place on the strut and replace the clip.
Put the rotor back on the hub, then put the caliper assembly back in place. Tighten the two bolts that hold it in place.
Now you put the wheel back on and you are finished.
(I made a conscious decision to not replace the dust shield. Most of you will want to make sure that the shield is back in place when you reassemble the hub and knuckle)