Why do we have to disassemble to repack wheel bearings?


Old 11-15-12, 11:51 AM
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Location: Arizona
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Why do we have to disassemble to repack wheel bearings?

I have a 92' Ford Ranger XLT with 2.9 V6. I have never understood why they don't have an easier, cheaper way to grease front (or rear) wheel bearings. How about grease fittings, removable plug, or something? But instead you have to pay $200 or whatever to have the brakes taken apart. Usually, I won't spend money on bearing repack till brakes need work. I have never done any brake disassembly. Maybe I should learn now.

Also, on my make model I have never had my rear drum brake wheel bearings repacked. I now have about 320,000 miles with no problem. And no mechanic has ever mentioned it. Is it just not needed on my truck?
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Old 11-15-12, 01:09 PM
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I'm still driving an '89 Izuzu pickup that I bought new, never packed the bearings and at this point never plan to. If the bearings give out before I do, I'll have them replaced.
Old 11-15-12, 02:53 PM
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Packing front wheel bearings isn't all that difficult. I'd suggest getting a repair manual that covers your vehicle. I've never looked but I would assume they'd have a page on packing the wheel bearings, they definitely have one on brakes.

You don't pack the rear bearings, they are lubed from the rear gear oil. I don't know for sure but I don't think front wheel drive has bearings that can be greased.
Old 11-16-12, 07:20 AM
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As mentioned, the time to do a repack on the fronts is when you have it apart already for brakes; that's the frequency I use on the wrecker.
Old 11-16-12, 07:50 AM
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ok, thanks for your responses
Old 11-16-12, 09:32 AM
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My '95 Nissan Hardbody has modular rotors that can be removed from the hubs, but one has to pull the hub off of the spindle in order to do it, unlike most more modern vehicles where simply pulling the caliper will allow the hub to be slid off of the lugs. Contrasted to my '78 Chrysler, where the hub and rotor are one piece.

I was initially very annoyed when I figured this out about the Nissan, but later when changing the rotors, I found a worn wheel bearing and had to change it. So, while it is annoying to have to manually tear the thing apart, clean everything, and grease everything up, it also forces one to inspect the parts and to repair as necessary.

Cars that have sealed hub and bearing assemblies like the Stratus that I had seem to be lighter weight, and even still I had to replace the hub and bearing assemblies. So, for what it's worth, while it's a pain to do it, it's cheaper and easier than replacing the hub and bearing assemblies on FWD vehicles.

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