The wheel hub bearing on a GMC, is a wheel bearing that incorporates the wheel studs or hub on the face of the bearing. Wheel hub bearings have been used on trucks and SUVs, such as the Tahoe, Yukon, Jimmy and Sierra. The wheel hub bearing on a two-wheel drive GMC is on the rear of the truck and works along with the CV axle or stub axle. The wheel hub bearing is mounted directly to the rear spindle knuckle.
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Things you need
- Tire iron
- 2-ton or greater capacity jack
- 2-ton or greater capacity jack stand
- 3/8-inch drive ratchet and socket set
- 1/2-inch drive breaker bar
- 1/2-inch drive wheel socket set
- 1/2-inch drive torque wrench
- 1/2-inch drive spindle nut socket (32 to 36mm)
- New wheel hub bearing
- Bearing grease
- 60- to 80-grit metal sandpaper
- Wire brush
- Large rubber mallet
Loosen the lug nuts from the wheel you are removing from the truck. Raise the rear of the GMC with a 2-ton or greater capacity jack. Place a jack stand beneath the lower suspension arm directly behind the wheel you are removing. Remove the wheel lug nuts then remove the rear wheel from the truck.
Loosen the spindle or axle nut from the front of the wheel hug with a 1/2-inch drive breaker bar and spindle nut socket. Turn the nut counterclockwise until the outer edge of the nut aligns flush with the end of the CV axle. Hammer the drive axle end inward with a large rubber mallet until the axle pops free from the wheel bearing. Push the CV axle inward a couple of times to make sure it is loose. The axle may need to be pushed inward to allow access to the wheel bearing bolts on the back of the bearing.
Unscrew the caliper bracket mounting bolts from the rear of the brake assembly with a 3/8-inch drive ratchet and socket. The caliper bracket attaches the brake caliper to the rear spindle knuckle. Remove the bracket bolts by turning them counterclockwise. Remove the entire caliper and bracket assembly from the brake assembly with a small pry bar if necessary. Hang the caliper and bracket with a metal clothes hanger, from either the upper suspension arm or a strut spring.
Pull off the brake rotor from the brake hub. Some rear brake rotors have a drum built in, which contains the emergency brake components within the drum. If the rotor is stuck to the hub area, hit it from behind with the large rubber mallet until it comes free from the brake assembly.
Remove the electrical connector from the back of the wheel hub bearing on the inside of the spindle knuckle. This is a small two-piece connector that can be detached by hand. Remove the three to four hub bearing mounting bolts with the 3/8-inch drive ratchet and socket. Turn the bolts counterclockwise to remove them. When removing the last mounting bolt, hold the hub bearing in your free hand so that it does not simply fall out of the spindle knuckle.
Remove the wheel hub bearing completely from the spindle knuckle. Use the large rubber mallet to hammer the bearing free if necessary. Corrosion can build up between the spindle knuckle and bearing, causing the bearing to lock onto the knuckle. Continue hammering the bearing with the rubber mallet until it comes free from the knuckle. Remove the spindle nut completely from the end of the CV axle. Pull the bearing off of the end of the axle and remove it from the vehicle.
Sand the front face of the spindle knuckle and the inner race of the wheel bearing mounting hole with 60- to 80-grit metal sandpaper. Wire-brush the entire wheel bearing mounting hole on the knuckle to remove the rest of the oxidation and corrosion from the knuckle. Place a generous amount of bearing grease on the front of the spindle knuckle and the inside of the wheel bearing mounting hole. Apply a generous amount of grease onto the inside axle hole on the new wheel bearing.
Slide the new wheel bearing over the outer end of the CV axle. Push the axle forward from the backside of the spindle knuckle to push it through the hub bearing. Pull the wire connector through the spindle knuckle from front to back while simultaneously setting the new hub bearing flush with the spindle knuckle. Start the wheel bearing mounting bolts into the rear of the bearing by hand to temporarily hold the bearing in place. Make sure the wheel sensor wire is completely clear of the rear of the spindle knuckle and CV axle.
Tighten the hub bearing mounting bolts to 133 foot-pounds of torque with a 1/2-inch drive torque wrench and socket. Generously coat the outer end of the CV axle with bearing grease. Install the spindle nut socket onto the axle and tighten the spindle nut to 106 foot-pounds of torque with the 1/2-inch drive torque wrench and socket.
Coat the front face of the wheel hub with a light film of bearing grease. Install the brake rotor onto the wheel hub then install one wheel lug nut by hand to hold the rotor in place. Install the caliper and bracket assembly over the rotor and onto the brake assembly. Install the caliper bracket mounting bolts and tighten them to 96 foot-pounds with the 1/2-inch drive torque wrench and socket. Pump the brake pedal 10 times slowly to reset the caliper tension on the brake assembly.
Connect the two electrical connectors behind the spindle knuckle by simply pushing the connectors together to lock them in place. Remove the single lug nut that you placed onto the rotor face.
Remount the rear wheel onto the GMC after double-checking the torque on every bolt and nut you worked on. Use the 1/2-inch drive torque wrench and socket, along with the torque settings provided above, to double-check your work. Snug the wheel lug nuts with the tire iron. Raise the rear of the GMC with the jack and remove the jack stand from beneath the vehicle. Lower the GMC to the ground. Torque the wheel lug nuts between 85 and 100 foot-pounds with the 1/2-inch drive torque wrench and wheel nut socket.
Tips and warnings
- Never raise a vehicle on uneven ground or a slope to prevent the jack and jack stand from collapsing. Failure to adhere to this warning could result in vehicle damage, personal injury or even death if the vehicle collapses onto you.
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