Rear Axle Bearing Replacement

Replacing the rear axle bearing in your vehicle can be timely and expensive if you have it done in the shop, but did you know that you don't need to have it done by a professional? You may be able to replace the rear axle bearing on your own. If you have worked on cars or have an interest in learning how to work more on your own vehicle, this may very well be something that you can do on your own. You will need the better part of an afternoon and some patience to make it happen, but you can replace your own rear axle bearing.

To get started you need to place the rear axle up on jack stands and then remove the tire. You'll want to then place a drain pain under the area to catch any gear oil that drips down from the bearing. When the tire is removed you will then need to move onto removing the retaining pin that is located on the emergency brake lever, which is located at the backing plate and then move the cable out of your way. When you have done this, the hydraulic brake line can be removed from the backing plate. Be prepared, as the brake lines will bleed due to gravity while they are disconnected, so you should plug them with vacuum caps so that they don't bleed right into the brake master cylinder.

Once you have plugged the brake lines you will need to remove the axle shaft from the housing by loosening the nuts from behind the backing plate. Next, you will pull the brake and axle shaft assembly from the housing. At this point you should be able to pull the oil seal from the housing end. When you've removed the seal you will need to clean off the seal surface and also remove any old material from the axle flange.

At this point you will need to remove the snap ring, which can be done with pliers. After you have removed the snap ring you will need to remove the bearing and retaining collar, which can be quite difficult. The best method is to use a special service tool and a press but most people who are replacing their own rear axle bearing do not have access to such a tool or a press. As a result, the preferred method is to remove the brake drum from the wheel bearing and axle shaft. Then, hold the piece above your head with the axle shaft pointing downward and slam the end of the axle shaft down on a hard surface, such as concrete, as forcefully as you can. Remember to leave all of the brake parts on the backing plate so that it is heavier, to remove the bearing from the backing plate.

When you are ready to reassemble you will need to place the backing plate onto the axle shaft, then but on the new wheel bearing, and then the bearing retainer. You can replace the retainer as well, or you can use the old one. You may find that you need a hammer to get the bearing and retainer back onto the axle shaft, or if you have access to a press, this would work well, also. Simply hammer on the bearing and retainer until the are fully seated on the axle, install the snap ring, put the tire back on, and you're done! It can be a lengthy process, but overall not that difficult, especially if you are determined and willing to try some different techniques.

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