It was my day off, and I had a long list of things to do, starting with some maintenance on my car. I had to do an oil change as well as replace one of the front wheel bearings. It wasn’t making any noise, but I’d noticed it was a little loose and decided to take care of it before it became a problem.
As things turned out, my car did not want me to fix it that day. Everything went fine with taking the brakes off to get access to the hub and knuckle, but that’s when things started going wrong.
First, the cotter pin on the outer tie rod was just rust. I broke off the ends of it, then just broke the rest off with the socket. It’s not a good idea to drive around without a cotter pin keeping the nut from loosening, but I didn’t want to have to replace the whole outer tie rod end, so I spent 10 or 15 minutes trying to get the remains of the pin out of the hole, which I eventually did.
After removing the knuckle from the car and knocking the hub out of the bearing, it was time to remove the snap ring that holds the bearing in place. Sometimes these give me a little trouble, but this one didn’t want to budge. Both hook ends where my pliers would grab broke off, and I ended up having to heat it up with a torch to get it to release from the groove in the knuckle. Another half hour of work putting me behind schedule.
Then it came time to remove the old bearing using the shop press. It always seems like there aren’t the right adapters around for what you want to do with the press, and this time was no exception. I needed something to support the knuckle from below while pressing the bearing out through it, but it couldn’t be flat because of the shape of the backside of the knuckle. None of the adapters I could find had enough of a cutout.
I ended up taking an old bigger bearing race that was sitting by the press and cutting it to suit my needs. The inside needed grinding out a bit so the bearing could fit through, and I made the cutout to fit the back of the knuckle. This is definitely getting stored in my toolbox in case I have to do another bearing on my car. After two hours I finally accomplished a job that would normally take me an hour when the car and tools cooperate with me.
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