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Toyota Maintenance: 4WD Front-end Maintenance - Bearing Replacement

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Author: Scott Wilson - June, 2000

In the Tear-down section we began disassembling the front end, and removed the wheel bearings. Examine the bearings to see if they are discolored, worn, pitted, rusted, etc. If you find any of the previous the bearing and race need to be replaced.

Toyota (Koyo brand) bearings sell for about $50+/ea (race included) at the Toyota dealer. Timken bearings, available in some auto parts stores and most bearing stores, sell for about $20/ea (bearing and race). Timken bearings are very high quality, and are an excellent choice to replace your original bearings. According to Joe Micciche, who's father worked for and retired from Timken, Koyo actually buys the steel for their bearings from Timken!

Replacing the bearing is very easy... when you reassemble the front end you just pack the new bearings with grease and use them instead of the old bearings. Replacing the bearing races is more difficult. If you have a bearing puller you can use that to remove the bearing races from the wheel hub. If you do not have this tool, you can change the races with a brass bar and hammer.

A Handy Hub Holder

The most difficult part of replacing bearing races is holding the wheel hub in place while you work. I have what I think is a good solution pictured here. I place the wheel hub inside of the wheel, with the wheel placed on the ground.

Reach inside the wheel hub. You will be able to feel two places where you can touch the back of the bearing race. By putting your brass bar on these spots and hitting with a heavy hammer you will be able to drive the bearing race out. In a pinch something else could be used to hit the bearing race, but brass is a preferred material since it is softer than the bearing race, and will not damage the bearing race.

Once the bearing races have been removed, the new races can be pounded into place. Again using the brass bar, pound the new races down into the wheel hub. Be sure the races are seated ALL THE WAY into the hub. The hard work is now over, just use the new bearings when you reassemble the front end.


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