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· Registered
33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just read this section off of

Squeeze in the New Wheel Bearing

Freezing the new wheel bearing inside your refrigerator before installation will ease installation. Clean out any residual grease within the steering knuckle hole and coat with some penetrating oil. Pick out a disc from the hub installation tool kit of the same or smaller diameter as the new wheel bearing. This disc will pull against the new bearing and squeeze it in the steering knuckle hole. Identify a bearing cup which the new bearing can fit into, to help guide and keep true the movement of the new bearing into the knuckle. Position a disc of a larger diameter against the outside of the steering knuckle hole. Run the wheel bearing installation/removal bolt (same bolt used for bearing removal) through the disc, the new wheel bearing, the knuckle hole, and the disc butted up against the outside of the hole. Screw on and tighten the two-inch nut on the bolt and check the alignment (V).

I read this somewhere else, but I was wondering - this hack (freezing both races together before installation) seems plausible because the new bearing assembly should be shrunk a few microns, and the assembly could then be installed with a few taps with a rubber mallet. This could in theory eliminate the need for a machine press and could help control installation damage caused by not splitting the bearing races before pressing. BUT! Has anyone actually done this? If so, how did it go??

· イリジウム
15,539 Posts
Don't know about the freezing part, but yes many describe that. Not only for bearings but also for valve guides, bushings, etc.

I think Pep Boys or other local shops can press the old one out and new one in for about $35-40 a pop. Even call the dealer.

With the bearing installer you described, you tighten the forcing screw and that essentially presses the bearing back in. Near the hub you'll have to use the old bearing for additional clearance. The installation force should ONLY be applied to the outer race when installing, otherwise the bearing will be damaged. And when you press the hub back in, the INNER race should be supported, otherwise the bearing will be damaged.

· Senior TN Member
7,590 Posts
You need a cup with at least 5mm depression to clear the inner-race and press on only outer race. If you use one of the flat discs, just remove the inner race first.

As for freezing outer race, it'll work somewhat. Also helps to heat spindle to 300F. Will reduce pressing force needed from 2000 to just 1500-lbs. Another issue is you need to keep the outer race perfectly aligned with spindle while the bearing's going in. Whacking it with malet will be difficult to apply force evenly so it doesn't rock. And unless you're Thor, no way you're gonna be able to generate 1500-lbs of force with rubber mallet.

You also don't want to freeze inner race as it'll make getting the hub through more difficult. If anything, you want to freeze the hub and heat the inner race.

Here's a video of doing it on the car with impact wrench. Note the pressing cup with deep depression.

I did similar operation off the car:
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