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2019 RAV4 Hybrid
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55 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
In an earlier thread I wrote asking about the socket needed to remove the hub nut on my 2008 Highlander Hybrid. Now I have successfully (so far, with one test drive) completed the job I thought it might be useful to others to share my experience.

The first experience is that I thought I was hearing some sort of tire noise - a whirring sound like mud tires on pavement. Reading around I discovered that is the sound of the hub bearing wearing out. Having a long history of doing home-garage car repairs I decided to try it myself.

It was more difficult than I expected, perhaps because I didn't have a step-by-step guide and I was worried about breaking more stuff in my attempt. Fortunately our son is a mechanic, though far away, so I was able to "call a friend" several times.

I decided to spend a little more on the Timken hub. It's still a lot less than the dealer charges, I think. The description says it doesn't come with wheel studs but the one I bought did. Otherwise I would have had to find someone with a serious press to move them from the old hub to the new one.

To make a long story short, the place to start is with that pesky axle nut. It's special but I bought a socket through Amazon here.

To eliminate stress on the CV joints I removed the nut with the parking brake set and with the wheel still on a seated on the ground. (I removed the wheel, removed the decorative center and put the wheel back on.)

Before trying to take off the nut you need to straighten it out where it has been pounded down into the slot in the axle. I just ran a punch down the slot and gave it a few taps until it looked good. The photo above was taken after that procedure.

It may be possible to remove the nut using a long breaker bar. I remembered that my air compressor came with an impact gun so I used that. Like everything here, I left some WD-40 on the threads of the axle for a while before trying to remove the nut. At the highest force setting it took about 10 seconds of pounding with the impact gun before the nut started turning. Of course, after a quarter turn it just whizzed off.

Now things move rapidly for a while. I jacked up the car, removed the wheel, removed the entire brake caliper assembly in one unit (17 mm socket) (of course you hang that up with a bungie cord or something to reduce strain on the brake line), and (IMPORTANT) un-set the parking brake. (The parking brake is actually a complete drum brake assembly inside the brake rotor.)

At this point, before I forgot, I removed the ABS/traction control sensor (10 mm socket, crud makes the unit stick in the hole but a little persuasion gets it out). Things will be moving around and I didn't want the slotted disk hitting the sensor.

The brake disk may come off with only a little persuasion at this point. (Mine didn't at first because I forgot to un-set the parking brake, I must admit...) If you have some trouble you will see a couple threaded holes in the disk, near the wheel studs. They are made to thread in a metric bolt against the hub to push the disk off. I cheated and used a 5/16 bolt and it sort of worked ok.

To make another long story short, the thing to do now is get the axle loose from the hub. It turns out there is enough play to pound the axle in at least a half-inch or so. I tried using a gear puller as shown in this photo and it didn't work at all.


After that didn't work my "call a friend" procedure was to place a nice big punch in the hole in the center of the axle and hit it with a sledge hammer, with increasing force, until in slid in about that half-inch.

Now I removed the bolts holding the hub to the suspension - 17 mm socket through the holes in the hub to remove 4 bolts. This is where I encountered my most serious need for persuasion. Pounding and such ended up presenting me with the hub coming off, still joined to the parking brake assembly. You can see that in this photo.

The surface you are looking at is the back of the brake shield; the wheel studs are facing down. There is a heavy steel backing plate there and the hub sits in that. Now I'm seeing considerable rust and crud but it's in a groove between the backing plate and the hub so I clean it out, fill it with WD-40 and go have lunch.

After lunch I start pounding on the rim of the hub. I also work to get a screwdriver between the hub and the backing plate, near the bolt holes. I don't have a photo of that, in action, but you probably get the idea. Eventually it goes "pop" and then I have this:


Looking at the old I hub I see that I can twist the two halves and see the gap between them get smaller and larger - a sure sign of bearings going bad.

Now I just clean things up and put everything back together with the new hub. I started the axle nut first to sort of hold things together while I put the four hub mounting bolts in. I put a little bit of grease on stuff like the bolt threads and axle splines but I don't know if that matters.

Here you can see a photo where I am tightening up those hub mounting bolts. (Doesn't the new hub look nice and shiny?)


After getting those tight I put the brake disk on, mounted the caliper assembly, set the parking brake and then tightened that troublesome axle nut. Don't forget to use a punch to bend it down (a little) into the slot in the axle.

Don't forget to put the ABS sensor back! I looked in the hole first to make sure I could see the slotted disk in the right place (not that it should be anywhere else).

I got it all together, took it off the jack stand and jack and took it for a test drive. Success!


I'm sure some readers can improve on this procedure. Don't hold back if you see something wrong.
 

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Resident Nutcase
'08 Highlander Limtd
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12,162 Posts
Awesome post, thanks. I'll add this to the DIY sticky.

Since you have a hybrid, did you see anything that looks like it would be a hybrid specific procedure? It looks just like your standard hub replacement, but you'd know better than me. If so I might move this to the 2nd gen HL section.

Thanks!
 

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2019 RAV4 Hybrid
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55 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I would expect it to be identical on the 4 wheel drive non-hybrid. I don't know what year range will be identical.
 

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Resident Nutcase
'08 Highlander Limtd
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12,162 Posts
I took a look through the FSM for the 2nd gen AWD, it looks identical (and that part you used says it will work for both types, I'm going to move this thread to the 2nd gen area and I'll leave a redirect here in the hybrid section :thumbsup:
 

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2011HL
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1,405 Posts
I took a look through the FSM for the 2nd gen AWD, it looks identical (and that part you used says it will work for both types, I'm going to move this thread to the 2nd gen area and I'll leave a redirect here in the hybrid section :thumbsup:
My 2011 H/L has disk brakes.. this writeup looks like it applies to a drum brake system.. but I have never taken that part off so I may be wrong..:facepalm:
 

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2019 RAV4 Hybrid
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55 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Well it's 18 months since I replaced the right-hand rear hub. The left-hand one started making noise a few weeks ago and this one seemed to be getting worse very fast. Maybe it just makes more noise because the weather is cold but it actually gave out a squealing sound a few times so I decided I couldn't even wait for a warm day.

I'm glad I wrote my story of how I did the first because I needed it to refresh my memory.

This time the project took about two and a half hours. Plus an hour or so for the WD-40 to work on the hub-to-backing plate rust.

I seem to have a little parking break rubbing. It seems minor and I'm hoping it will work itself out...
 

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Highlander
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190 Posts
Well it's 18 months since I replaced the right-hand rear hub. The left-hand one started making noise a few weeks ago and this one seemed to be getting worse very fast. Maybe it just makes more noise because the weather is cold but it actually gave out a squealing sound a few times so I decided I couldn't even wait for a warm day.

I'm glad I wrote my story of how I did the first because I needed it to refresh my memory.

This time the project took about two and a half hours. Plus an hour or so for the WD-40 to work on the hub-to-backing plate rust.

I seem to have a little parking break rubbing. It seems minor and I'm hoping it will work itself out...
Hope you were in a warmed garage for this one! Couldn't be any worse time of the year to be doing this kind of wrenching. Thanks for the original writeup.
 

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New PA User
2002 Highlander AWD
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1 Posts
Great Post for sure!
I am now going through the same procedure. My problem is that I cant find the new hub assembly with the bearing attached. Every car parts outlet either doesn't carry the part or the only sells them separately.


Also, your third photo (showing the hub assembly still attached to the backing plate) does not show up in the thread. Is their a reason for this?
 

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VW Jetta
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63 Posts
Did my 2010 Highland SE AWD last night and used this guide for reference, everything was exactly the same.
My car used the 30mm 12-point socket to remove the hub.
One thing - I didn't see any ABS sensor or remove anything else. Maybe it didn't need to be removed and replaced, but I missed that step completely.

I also ordered the Timken bearing as I don't want to risk getting some cheap counterfeit bearing by going cheap
 

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5 Posts
Thank you for such an excellent and helpful write up. I'm doing the same job today on my 08 4wd Highlander. My only "what the crap" is that your pictures aren't loading, otherwise this was very helpful, thank you!
 

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4 Posts
I don't see it mentioned here, what are the torques on:
1. the break caliper bracket bolts
2. the rear hub bolts
3, and the axle nut

thank you
 

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2019 RAV4 Hybrid
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55 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I was hoping someone authoritative would answer so I wouldn't have to embarrass myself. For the caliper and hub bolts I put a "good amount of force" on my 1/2" drive ratchet handle. What do you think, maybe 35 ft lbs? I suspect it should be more than that, like 50 or more. For the axle nut I put much of my weight on an 18" bar handle. So maybe 150 ft lbs? This website (https://fme-cat.com/HubWheelTorqueTableWindow.aspx?a=13440&q=4WD) says 217 ft-lbs. Be sure to stake the nut down!
 

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Donniedt
2012 Highlander Ltd
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6 Posts
I just changed my hub bearing assembly on my 2012 Highlander Ltd yesterday. Thank you for the info. It was a fairly easy job and only took about 1 hour. Bought the parts $50 from Rock Auto and the star nut socket 32mm for $22.
thanks for the great post.

2012 HL.
2002 Camry
2002 Corolla
 
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