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Wheel Bearing & Hub Assembly Replacement
By Clay Cissell
The wheel bearing and hub assembly replacement is one of the most common repairs performed on the popular Dana 30 front axle. The three-bolt wheel bearing & hub assembly was used on the 1984 and up Jeep Wranglers (YJ)& (TJ) and all Jeep Models from 1991 to the current models with the exception of the Liberty and the Rubicon. If you are running larger tires replacement of the assembly will become a routine service that can be performed in about an hour with the proper tools. Unlike the early Dana 30ís the bearings on the later production models are not serviceable. These units are sealed and the complete hub is replaced when the bearings wear out.
Before we get into the nuts and bolts on how to replace your wheel bearing & hub assembly you will need to determine if the bearings are worn out. The easiest way to make this determination is to first make sure your vehicle is in park and the emergency brake is set. Now jack your front end up until the wheels are off the ground and install a pair of jack stands under the axle tubes on each side to secure the vehicle. Take one hand and put it on the top of the tire and the other hand on the bottom of the tire. Push the tire back and forth from top to bottom and if there is movement then your wheel bearings are worn out.
Before you get started you will need some specific tools and parts to accomplish this job. Keep in mind that the local rental yard or hardware store is a good place to rent special tools like torque wrenches and impact wrenches if you donít have them.
13 mm 12 point socket 3/8Ē drive (Itís very important that this socket is 12 point. You can substitute a 1/2" 12 point.)
19mm socket 3/8Ē Drive
36mm 6 point 1/2" Drive
Breaker Bar or Air Powered Impact
Needle Nose Pliers
Foot Pound Torque Wrench
Wire Tie or 12Ē piece of wire
New cotter pins 2" x 3/16"
Now that you have your tools together you are ready to perform the task at hand. Before you jack up the front axle it is a good idea to slightly loosen all of the lug nuts with your impact wrench or lug wrench. After the lug nuts are broken loose, jack up the vehicle from the axle and place the jack stands under the axle. Make sure the wheel is off the ground. After you have the vehicle safely supported and the transmission in gear (for manual transmissions) or in park (for automatic transmissions) and the emergency brake set, you are ready to remove the first wheel.
The brake caliper is the next item to be removed. Using the 13mm socket loosen the two bolts on the backside of the caliper. It is not necessary to pull the bolts completely out in order to pull the caliper off the rotor.
After you have pulled the bolts out approximately one inch pull the caliper off the rotor by pulling it in a downward motion from the top.
It is very important that you support the caliper so that it does not hang from the brake line. You can damage the brake line if it is not supported properly. Use a wire tie or a piece of wire to support the caliper during the wheel bearing replacement. The coil spring is a good location to secure the caliper as shown in the photo
With the caliper removed the rotor will pull right off and you can proceed to the center of the hub. First bend the cotter pin so that it can be pulled back through the hole in the axle shaft. After removing the cotter pin the nut retainer will pull off by hand. Next in line is the retainer tension washer. Now pull out the 36 mm socket and remove the large nut. An impact wrench is very helpful with this nut. After you have the nut removed there is a washer that needs to be removed.
The 12-point 13mm socket is next used to remove the three bolts that hold the wheel bearing & hub assembly. These bolts are accessed from the backside of the assembly and are a special 12-point bolt. Donít waste your time trying to do this part of the job with a standard socket. Using the right tool makes life easier and helps keep the skin on the knuckles. A short extension helps in the removal of these bolts. If your vehicle has ABS brakes you will need to be sure and avoid damaging the ABS line that runs near the upper bolt.
Now that you have the three bolts removed you are ready to pull the assembly off the axle shaft. While pulling on the assembly, apply pressure with your thumb on the axle shaft and the assembly will pull off over the axle. If the assembly wonít come off after moderate pressure you may have to resort to using a 3-jaw gear puller. After the assembly is removed this is a good time to check the ABS tone ring for missing teeth or mud packed in the teeth.
You have now successfully removed the wheel bearing & hub assembly and are now ready to start the installation process. You simply reverse the procedures used to remove the hub assembly. Use a new cotter pin on the nut retainer. Be sure to use the torque wrench to get all the bolts at the right settings. It is critical to not to over tighten the caliper or lug nuts.
13mm Caliper bolts 12 lbs
13mm assembly 12-point bolts 75 lbs
36mm axle nut 175 lbs
When reinstalling the caliper make sure the bottom fits into the notches of the brake pads and then push the caliper into place and torque the bolts down to 12 lbs.
The final but important step is to torque the lug nuts to 85lbs in a star pattern. If you over tighten the lug nuts you can damage the brake rotors
Be sure to test-drive the vehicle with caution after any repairs. Congratulations you have successfully replaced your wheel bearing & hub assembly.
A special Thank You goes out to Paul Carey at Randyís Ring & Pinion for his assistance in this project. Randyís Ring & Pinion keeps the Dana 30 Wheel Bearing & Hub Assembly in stock at a very reasonable price. For the Grand Cherokee as for part #DAN43379