Tigger Travels - Family Adventure Journal
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Changing the front wheel bearing on a 2007 Dodge Durango
A Humorous look at the underbelly of a two wheel drive
The front left wheel bearing has been going out on our 2007 Dodge Durango (2 wheel drive). After asking a couple places how much they would charge to do it I called Autozone for a price on the part I needed. It was about $100 cheaper at $189. Three weeks later when I actually placed my order for the part it was only $139.
I have done similar work on a smaller car, my 1972 Pinto, but was not too confident on how to proceed with a larger vehicle. My friend West said I could do it, so I believed him.
Next week, I am driving up to Des Moines to help my nephew Tim and his new wife Dora move to Searcy, Arkansas with our trailor so this was a good time to do it.
I am not a professional. In fact, I am a web site developer. It really is not a tough task, though. If you are pretty adept at fixing stuff, this is a pretty simple task. Today, I sat back and supervised my 14-year-old... he did all the work outside of loosing a couple of tough bolts. Here are the steps I took to get this done on my own and saved $150 in the process.
- Order part at Autozone.
- Go in the next day to pick up part only to find out it was not in yet.
- Be smart and call a couple days later to see if the part is in before driving the 27 mile round trip to find the part is in.
- Pick up the part, hoping it was the correct one!
- Upon arriving home, find a slave-boy to do all the dirty work.
- Before lifting the wheel off the ground, set the park brake and loosen the lug nuts slightly.... a good practice we forgot.
- Lift the Car with a jack. The one that comes with the spare tire is good enough to lift a car, but DO NOT WORK on the car with that jack. We used a couple solid cement blocks topped with a few blocks of oak lying around.
- Place bricks in a useful place right under the wheel strutt. Do not place the metal of the car on the brick as it may scratch the bricks. That is what the wood blocks are for. Use a big enough piece and you have a handy shelf to place loose and spare parts on as you go.
- Remove the wheel in question.
Remove the brake caliper being careful not to hang the caliper on it's own brake line.find a good place to set it without any stress on the rubber brake line. We were able to set it on some of the steering assembly but in the past I have used a piece of coat-hanger wire to hang it out of the way.
Click to enlarge image
That metal plate is backwards... see the big opening on the lower left? That should be on the upper left.
- Turn on car and turn wheel to expose the heads of the bolts referred to in the next step.
- On the inside of the wheel/brake/bearing assembly, there are three bolts that hold the wheel in place; remove them.
- If your bearing will not slide out, carefully hit the back of the bearing as hard as you safely can to knock it out. There is a shock absorber in the way so it does not give much room.
- Catch the heavy brake disk and wheel bearing assembly but be ready.. they are very heavy!
- With the lug bolts resting down on the cement slab, use the big hammer to tap the brake disk free. This is done with a series of gentle taps that work their way around the brake disk. If it does not come free try a jack hammer (not really). Just tap harder each time you go around the circle to knock the disk free. Don't tap the shiny part, though. restrict the taps to the inner edge, probably where the rust is.
- Install the new bearing without the brake disk and tighten all the bolts.
- Run the wire for the Antilock brake system and plug it back in where the old one was plugged in.
- While trying to place the brake disk back on the lug bolts, realize that the thin metal plate on the back side was installed backwards and remove all the bolts, the antilock brake sensor wire and the bearing assembly so you can reinstall everything the right way.
- Realize how silly you are for not looking at the other front wheel to remember how that stupid plate was supposed to go.
- Slide the brake disk back into place. It sits loosely on the new bearing assembly. Just kinda hold it in place while you continue.
- Reassemble the brake assembly.
- Check that all the bolts are tight on the brake assembly AND the bearing assembly.
- Replace the tire and tighten all the lug nuts. Try to jiggle the wheel to make sure they are snug in place. Tighten them as much as you can, the final tightening is done when the tire is back on the ground.
- Once the car is lowered, tighten the lug nuts their final turns.
- Wash your hands, your mother does not want a black steering wheel!
- Test drive and make sure the wheel does not fall off.
Date taken: 2011 06 24 15:50 Friday
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