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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Time for front hub bearings... I know, shocker! Figured I would put up a write up on it since this should be considered routine on W-Body cars. Mine had play in them, but no noise. You can have noise, but no play, or you can have both. To check for hub bearing wear/failure, jack the car up enough to get the tire off the ground. Grab the wheel at 12 and 6 or 3 and 9, like a clock reads, and move the wheel. If you feel movement, watch the brake rotor while shaking the wheel. If the rotor moves, then the hub is beginning to take a dump. If there is no rotor movement, look at the inner and outer tie rods and the ball joint. If you are experiencing the growl at speed, spin the wheel by hand and have one hand on the spring... You will feel the bearing roughness transmitted through the spring. If you can do figure 8s in a parking lot and the noise comes and goes, then that is another way to confirm a hub. I have done a lot of hub bearings on Impalas, Grand Prixs, etc... pretty easy and straight forward.


First things first... This is meant to be a guide and how I did the repair. If you decide to take this on and you mess up your car, don't blame me. If you do not have the tools to do this, you can rent some of them but I recommend buying what you need. If after reading this you still aren't sure if you want to DIY this yourself, then take it to a shop. It is recommended to replace the hub to spindle bolts, 3 per side, since they are torque to yield. I chose not to and simply dabbed some Loctite on them and reused them. It is also recommended to replace the axle nut, 1 per side, when you remove the old nut. My replacement bearings came with new axle nuts. Torque to yield means one time use. Once you remove the bolt, discard it and install a new bolt. Again, I chose to reuse the old bolts. You make your own decision on this. Ask around and it will be a 50/50 split on whether or not it is OK to reuse the old bolts.

Tools needed for this job... 19mm socket for lug nuts, 34mm axle nut socket, 13mm socket for brake caliper bolts, 15mm socket for brake caliper bracket bolts, 13mm deep socket hub to spindle bolts, breaker bar, torque wrench and if you decide to clean your brake caliper brackets and slide pins, then a metal wire brush, clean rag, and brake grease. My 2014 has a hub screw holding the rotor on the hub. I don't recall older W-Body cars having these but I could be wrong. The screw is a T30 torx bit and you will need an impact driver to remove the screw. You can try a torx bit screw driver but more than likely it won't budge and you can end up stripping the head. If that happens you are going to have to do what you have to do to get that screw out. This job is dead in the water if you don't get it out. You don't have to replace the screw, but it needs to come out.

I did this in my driveway on jack stands without air or battery powered tools. Feels funny to type battery power since they are all the rage now. Let's get started. Break the lug nuts loose and jack the car up and get it up securely on jack stands. Once the wheels are off, have someone sit in the car and depress the brake pedal and hold the brakes. Go ahead and remove the axle nuts on both sides.

Once the axle nuts are off, go ahead and remove the brake caliper and brake caliper bracket from the spindle. Just suspend the caliper up out of the way, no need to remove it all together. Once the brakes are removed, time to get the rotor off. If you don't have a hub screw, a couple of light smacks with a hammer are all that is needed. Don't beat the crap out of it unless you are replacing the brakes. If the hub screw is there, get your impact driver and remove the screw.

Now that the brakes are out of the way, time to get the hub out. Unclip the hub wire from the connector attached to brake dust shield. There are 3 bolts that secure the hub to the spindle, and how you want to remove them is up to you. I did not remove a tie rod or strut bolt for more room, but you can if you need to. Grab a 13mm socket and remove the 3 bolts. Turn the assembly to gain more room for your ratchet. Take note of the hub wire and where it comes from behind the hub... The new one must go back the same way. Same with brake shield... It goes back on the same way it came off. Once you have the bolts out, the hub will either come out on its own or it may need some persuasion. Mine fell right out, no need for a hammer. If they are stuck in the spindle, you can take a hammer to it or you can use a hub puller. Don't go overboard with a hammer, a few good blows is all it should need. Be mindful of the threaded end of the axle. When the hub comes free, the brake shield will come with it. Watch the hub connector as it comes thru the spindle... the axle will be in its way and you will need to move the axle in and over slightly to get the hub connector out.

Now that the hub is out, take a clean rag and clean the inside of the spindle where the hub sits. Clean the face of the spindle and clean the brake shield. Simple Green or Super Clean is fine. Next, put a thin layer of grease in the spindle where the hub sits. This will aid in hub removal for the next time you do this job. Yes, it is a W-Body, they will fail again. The dealer quoted me $600 plus dollars to do this job. I spent $66 and 3 hours of my time. You do the math...

Back to the repair... Once you have matched up your old hub assembly to the new assembly, you can put the new hub in place. Remember the brake shield and its orientation along with the hub wire. You will need to finagle the hub, the shield and the connector all into place at almost the same time. Looks harder than it is. Once you have the hub in place, the wire routed and secured right and the shield aligned with the hub, put the 3 bolts back in and start them far enough to hold the hub. Again with the hub bolts... new ones are recommended because they are TTY. I reused my old ones, personal decision. If you reuse the old ones, dab a little blue Loctite on them before installing them. If you went with new ones, then there should be blue or red Loctite on them already. The rest of the job is now reassembly of everything. I got torque specs for the hub bolts, the caliper bracket bolts, and the axle nuts off the forum here. Hub to spindle bolts, 96 ft lbs, caliper bracket bolts, 133 ft lbs and the axle nuts, 155 to 162 ft lbs. The caliper bracket bolts should get some Loctite on them before reinstallation. When you are ready to torque the axle nut, have your helper get in the car and depress the brakes so you can torque it. Obviously, do not torque the axle nut until the brakes are installed and tightened down. Pop the wheels back on, torque the lug nuts to 100 ft lbs in a star pattern and then take it for a ride. Things to consider when doing hub bearings... this would be the best time to replace the brakes since you have to remove everything. If you need to replace an axle shaft, this is the time as well. At a minimum, I would clean the brake caliper brackets and lube the slide pins and metal brake pad clips. Inspect the brake pads and wear patterns to see if any attention is needed. Factor the cost of these items into your budget if you want to replace this stuff while it is apart.

I hope this will help someone that decides to tackle this simple repair. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. If you dispute any of the procedure, feel free to critique it.

Edit - this was done on my 2014 Limited LTZ. Procedure is roughly the same on most GM FWD cars.
 

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