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Old 12-23-2021, 03:49 PM   #1
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Default Rear wheel bearing replacement WITHOUT a hydraulic press?

I have a 97 King Cab 4x4 and when I pulled the wheel and brake drum yesterday to replace a broken lug stud, I discovered that the right rear wheel bearing sounds pretty toasted when you rotate it by hand. I looked up the replacement procedure in the FSM, but Nissan of course calls for a bunch of special tools. I was able to figure out workarounds for all of the special tools, but it also requires a hydraulic press to press the axle out of the bearing inside the backing plate. Has anyone done this without a press? I was thinking I could pull the axle, remove the locknut from inside the bearing cage, re-mount the whole assembly on the axle tube to anchor it, and then yank the whole axle out of the bearing with a slide hammer. Another idea is to support the backing plate with wood blocks on the ground and take a BFH to the other end of the axle to drive it through. My only concern is wailing on the end of the axle with a hammer. Is that axle shaft tough enough to take a beating?
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Old 12-23-2021, 04:38 PM   #2
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You could do that (not recommended) or just take it a machine shop and have them do it.
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Old 12-23-2021, 04:57 PM   #3
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You could do that (not recommended) or just take it a machine shop and have them do it.
I called the local machine shops, and I felt that their pricing was insane compared to the price of a Harbor Freight press. Obviously the BFH method isn't recommended, but how about the slide hammer method? I actually think it might be worth a shot
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Old 12-23-2021, 06:46 PM   #4
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I could see the slide hammer working to remove the old bearing, but odds are good the inner race will stay on the axle shaft and you'll have to remove it separately.

If you go the BFH route, put a block of wood or something over the end of the axle shaft so you don't damage it. There's a dust seal in between the bearing and the end of the axle shaft you'll want to replace while you're in there. For mine I used a press and it was pretty straightforward. To press the new ones on I used a piece of pipe long enough to fit over the axle shaft.

Last edited by SBJ; 12-24-2021 at 05:40 AM.
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Old 12-23-2021, 06:57 PM   #5
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I could see the slide hammer working to remove the old bearing, but odds are good the inner race will stay on the axle shaft and you'll have to remove it separately.

If you go the BFH route, put a block of wood or something over the end of the axle shaft so you don't damage it. For mine I used a press and it was pretty straightforward. There's a dust seal in between the bearing and the end of the axle shaft you'll want to replace while you're in there. For mine I used a press and it was pretty straightforward. To press the new ones on I used a piece of pipe long enough to fit over the axle shaft.
I definitely planned to use the block of wood if I tried the BFH method. I'm going to give the slide hammer a try, and to remove the old race I'm sure a brass drift and some careful hammering will do the job. I definitely feel more comfortable pulling on the hub end than pressing or hammering on the splined end.
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Old 12-23-2021, 07:07 PM   #6
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For the old race, you can very carefully take a cut off wheel and cut as far into it as you can without cutting into the axle shaft. Then, using a cold chisel and a hammer you should be able to crack the race and it will slide off. Or you can stand the axle shaft up and rotate it while heating the race up with a torch until it expands enough to fall off.

But, you never know. I got lucky with mine and the old races stayed with the bearings when I pressed them out. That usually isn't the case with wheel bearings, though.
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Old 12-23-2021, 11:37 PM   #7
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Update: I tried the slide hammer and wailed on it so much I ended up hurting my shoulder, but still no dice. One of the pressed-in bearing cage bolts sheared off too so now that I'll need to press that out too, it makes sense to spring for a Harbor Freight press and be done with it. Merry Christmas to me!
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Old 12-25-2021, 08:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IrreverentCrawfish View Post
Update: I tried the slide hammer and wailed on it so much I ended up hurting my shoulder, but still no dice. One of the pressed-in bearing cage bolts sheared off too so now that I'll need to press that out too, it makes sense to spring for a Harbor Freight press and be done with it. Merry Christmas to me!
If you keep the Harbor Freight press CLEAN and keep all the packaging nice and neat...sometimes you can USE the tool and then RETURN it. Clean everything up and repackage. They never look inside.

I know this is kind of chintzy, but one year I had to do a clutch job on an 87 and I was poor that Christmas. So I bought a tranny jack from HF and did just what I described. Went back to them clean as a whistle in nice packaging. Got my money back and never heard a whisper about it.

*Disclaimer - This post suggests an action that is possibly, but marginally dishonest.*
Or you could just say it's a Try Before You Buy thing. (*laughs*)

Merry Christmas Nissan fans!
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Old 12-25-2021, 05:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IrreverentCrawfish View Post
Update: I tried the slide hammer and wailed on it so much I ended up hurting my shoulder, but still no dice. One of the pressed-in bearing cage bolts sheared off too so now that I'll need to press that out too, it makes sense to spring for a Harbor Freight press and be done with it. Merry Christmas to me!
I have the 20 ton press from HF and I've used it to replace the wheel bearings in my truck, does the job well. My garage is full of tools that I bought to do jobs rather than pay someone to do it for me. At this point I can just about anything I need to do.

In my experience, worn/bad wheel bearings make noise that can be heard inside the cab when driving, I'm guessing you had the same experience.

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Old 12-26-2021, 01:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VOTS95 View Post
I have the 20 ton press from HF and I've used it to replace the wheel bearings in my truck, does the job well. My garage is full of tools that I bought to do jobs rather than pay someone to do it for me. At this point I can just about anything I need to do.

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^^^This. Tools almost always pay for themselves. On a side note, I used a 12 ton press for mine and it did fine.
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