How to Change the Wheel Bearings on a Chevrolet S-10by Jeffrey Caldwell
The front wheel bearings on a Chevrolet S-10 pickup are located between the spindle and the hub/brake disc assembly. To access the S-10's front bearings, the brake caliper and wheel and tire assembly must be removed. If you are concerned that your wheel bearings might be faulty, raise the front of the vehicle and place one hand on the front and one hand on the rear of the tire. Shake the tire. If there appears to be excessive free play between the wheel and the steering knuckle, the bearing may need replaced.
Removing the Brake Caliper
Raise the front of the vehicle with an automotive jack. Support with jack stands placed underneath the front frame.
Unscrew the lug nuts on the front wheels using a lug wrench.
Pull both front wheels off the lug studs with your hands and set them out of the way.
Unscrew the two bolts that secure the brake caliper to the caliper mounting bracket, using a socket. Do not unscrew the bolts entirely. You only need to back them out enough to separate the caliper from the mounting bracket.
Lift the brake caliper off the brake disc. Use a plastic wire tie to attach the caliper to the coil spring. Do not put stress on or allow the caliper to hang from the rubber hydraulic hose.
Removing the Brake Disc
Pry the grease cap from the center of the brake rotor using a flat blade screwdriver.
Straighten the cotter pin behind the grease cap, then pull it from the castle nut using a needle nose pliers.
Unscrew the castle nut from the spindle, using a wrench.
Pull the brake disc off the spindle using your hand. Be careful--the outer wheel bearing and washer will come out with the disc.
Clean the spindle using an automotive solvent. Allow to air dry.
Disassembling the Wheel Hub
Pull the outer wheel bearing and washer from the hub assembly, using your finger. The hub assembly is located in the center of the brake disc.
Pry the inner wheel bearing grease seal from the inboard side of the hub, using a flat blade screwdriver.
Pull the inner wheel bearing from the inboard side of the hub, using your finger.
Pry the inner and outer wheel bearing races from the hub using wheel bearing removal tool No. J-29117 or equivalent.
Clean the hub/brake disc assembly with an automotive solvent and allow to air dry.
Packing the Bearings With Grease
Clean the new wheel bearings with an automotive solvent and allow to air dry. (Do not use compressed air to dry the bearings--doing so can damage the bearings.)
Apply a sizable amount of fresh bearing grease to the palm of your hand.
Press the wheel bearing into the grease using your other hand. Be sure to press the grease through to the inside of the bearing.
Rotate the wheel bearing and continue working the grease into the bearing completely.
Reassembling the Wheel Hub
Drive new inner and outer wheel bearing races into the hub, using wheel bearing installation tools J-8092 and J-8850 or equivalent.
Apply a thin film of grease onto both the inner and outer bearing race.
Slide the inner bearing into the inboard side of the hub.
Apply a 1/4-inch layer of grease to the back of the wheel bearing.
Drive the new inner grease seal into the inboard side of the hub using a flat plate, until the seal is flush with the hub.
Installing the Brake Disc
Apply a thin film of bearing grease to the spindle.
Slide the hub/brake disc assembly onto the spindle.
Slide the outer wheel bearing and washer onto the spindle and into the hub.
Screw the castle nut onto the spindle. Tighten to 12 ft. lbs. using a torque wrench, while rotating the brake disc.
Insert a new cotter pin into the castle nut and bend the end, using a needle nose pliers.
Press the grease cap into the hub using a block of wood and a hammer.
Reinstalling the Wheels and Tires
Drop the brake caliper into position in the caliper mounting bracket.
Tighten the bolts that secure the caliper to the mounting bracket using a socket.
Lift the wheel assembly onto the lug studs using your hands.
Screw the lug nuts onto the lug studs and tighten using a lug wrench.
Lower the vehicle.
- You can purchase a cone type bearing grease, that when used in conjunction with a grease gun, can make the process of greasing bearings much easier.
- Always follow the instructions listed in the owner’s manual when lifting and lowering a vehicle. Failure to do so can cause injury or death.
Items you will need
- Automotive jack
- Jack stands
- Lug wrench
- Socket set
- Plastic wire tie
- Flat blade screwdriver
- Needle nose pliers
- Wrench set
- Automotive solvent
- GM wheel bearing removal tool J-29117 or equivalent
- Bearing grease
- GM wheel bearing installation tools J-8092 and J-8850 or equivalent
- Flat plate of wood or steel
- Torque wrench
- Block of wood
- "Chilton's Repair Manual: Chevrolet S-10 GMC, S-15 Pick-Ups, 1982-91"; The Nichols/Chilton Editors; 1991
- "Chevrolet S-10 & GMC S-15 Pick-ups 1982 thru 1993 (Haynes Repair Manual)"; Chilton; 1999
- Tim Boyle/Getty Images News/Getty Images