Dodge Dakota Front Wheel Bearing Removalby Dan Ferrell
The front wheel bearings on your Dodge Dakota allow the wheels to spin freely on the axle spindle. These sealed bearings may cause noise once they wear out, develop a pit on the races, bends and other damage that interfere with wheel performance. However, the front bearings form a single assembly with the wheel hubs and they should be replaced as a single unit. Fortunately, installing a new assembly is not a difficult process.
Removing the Hub/Bearing Assembly
Before raising the front wheel(s), loosen the half shaft nut using an axle nut socket. Then remove the wheel/tire assembly and the half shaft nut. If your particular Dakota model comes equipped with an Anti-lock Bake System (ABS) sensor, remove the sensor form its bracket and move it aside. Now you are ready to remove the brake caliper and rotor. Make sure to secure the caliper to the coil spring using a piece of heavy wire. Do not let it hanging by the brake line to avoid damage to the brake hose attached to the caliper. With the caliper and rotor out of the way, you have access to the hub/bearing assembly mounting bolts. On some models, you can only access the hub/bearing mounting bolts through the holes in front of the hub/bearing assembly. Rotate the assembly by hand as you loosen and remove the mounting bolts. Once you remove the bolts, you can detach the hub/bearing from the steering knuckle and halfshaft. If the bearing assembly seems stuck to the halfshaft, use a 3 jaw gear puller to remove it.
Installing the New Hub/Bearing Assembly
Spray the wheel assembly with break parts cleaner and a clean, lint-free towel. Do not blow away the brake dust or you may end up inhaling the dust. Many brake linings still in use today contain asbestos, which the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined causes cancer. If the splines on the halfshaft look rusty, apply a coat of wheel bearing grease to the splines, before installing the new assembly. When you are ready to install the new hub/bearing assembly, the vehicle manufacturer suggest using a new hub/bearing spindle nut on 2WD Dakota models. On both 4WD and 2WD models, the spindle nut should be tightened to the torque specified by the car manufacturer using a torque wrench. You can obtain the proper torque for your particular model from your specific vehicle service manual or calling the service department of your local dealer. After installing the new hub/bearing assembly, take your Dakota for a test drive to make sure the hub and brake assemblies are working properly.
- Dodge Durango & Dakota Pick-ups: Durango 2000 thru 2003 Dakota 2000 thru 2004 (Hayne's Automotive Repair Manual)"; Jay Storer and John H. Haynes; 2008
- Modern Automotive Technology; James E. Duffy; 2003
Since 2003 Dan Ferrell has contributed general and consumer-oriented news to television and the Web. His work has appeared in Texas, New Mexico and Miami and on various websites. Ferrell is a certified automation and control technician from the Advanced Technology Center in El Paso, Texas.