How to Replace a Front Wheel Bearing on a Oldsmobile Cutlass Cieraby William BoyceUpdated November 07, 2017
Items you will need
Front hub spindle remover (tool J-28733)
Halfshaft boot protector (tool J-28712)
Bearing seal installer (tool J-34658)
Wheel bearing grease
Changing the front wheel bearings on an Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera isn't rocket science, but it does require some special tools and reasonable mechanical ability. Signs of needing new front wheel bearings include a noisy front end and a wobble in the steering. Inspect your front end any time you detect these issues. Fix both the right and left bearings at the same time. They are sealed units so if they are worn out your only choice is to replace them.
Remove the Front Wheel Bearing
Jack up your vehicle in a safe, level spot and support it on jackstands. Remove a front wheel with the lug wrench.
Install the boot protector on the inboard-side CV-joint using the halfshaft boot protector (tool J-28712).
Push the drift punch through the caliper and rotor cooling fins. Use the clean rag to clean off any lubricant or dirt from the axle threads.
Remove the nut and washer from the hub and throw away the nut. Take out the drift punch and caliper and hang the caliper using a wire or zap strap.
Disconnect the Automatic Brake System sensor (ABS) from the hub bearing. Remove the knuckle mounting bolts and use the front hub spindle remover tool to separate the halfshaft from the hub bearing.
Remove the bearing assembly, O-ring, bearing shield and bolts.
Install the New Front Wheel Bearing
Look closely at where the new gasket will sit and make sure both the gasket and the mounting surface are perfectly clean. Use the bearing seal installer tool to install the new seal on the inboard side. Apply wheel bearing grease to the edge of the seal.
Connect the ABS sensor and install the new O-ring on the hub bearing.
Install the halfshaft onto the axle shaft making sure the splines are engaged securely.
Install the bearing onto the steering knuckle, followed by the backing plate and retaining bolts. Tighten the retaining bolts to the correct pressure with a torque wrench. Manufacturer's specification for these bolts is 63 foot/lbs. pressure unless your parts supplier says otherwise.
Tightening the New Wheel Bearing
Put the rotor and caliper assembly back in place on the rotor and tighten the mounting bolts to 38 foot/lbs. Install the original washer and new hub nut.
Partially tighten the new hub nut with the torque wrench but just enough to seat the bearing. You may need to use the drift punch again to prevent the hub from rotating as you tighten the nut.
Remove the boot protector and install the front wheel.
Lower the vehicle and tighten the hub nut to 185 foot/lbs.
Any time you are using a torque wrench on after-market parts you must check whether a specification differs from the manufacturer's original specification. New parts commonly have tolerances that differ from the original parts.
Using a torch or hammer to help remove a frozen bearing assembly risks damaging the bearing, axle shaft and parts of the steering assembly.
- "Celebrity/Century/Cutlass Ciera/6000 1982-1996 Repair Manual"; Chilton Automotive Books; 1996
William Boyce started writing professionally in 2009. His work has appeared on FreePress.net and his own blog. Boyce was a registered professional forester in central British Columbia for 24 years. He has a Bachelor of Science in forestry from the University of British Columbia.