How to Replace the Front Wheel Bearing on a 2000 Pontiac Grand Amby Jody L. CampbellUpdated November 07, 2017
Items you will need
Tire nut wrench
Two jack stands
Small forked pry tool
Brake pedal prop rod
1/2-inch drive ratchet and spindle nut socket
1/2-inch drive bolt breaker bar with socket set
Penetrating lubricant spray
Axle puller or slide hammer
Brake/parts cleaner spray
Replacement hub bearing assembly
Torque wrench (adjustable)
Torque specifications chart for the Grand Am
The front wheel bearings on the 2000 Pontiac Grand Am are complete sealed wheel bearing and hub assemblies. They do not require servicing and repacking with bearing grease like the older rear-wheel drive cars. The bearings include the hubs, internal sealed bearings, the ABS and speed sensor wires, and a splined center to fit over the spindle of the front drive shaft. While these bearings can last quite a while, when they do fail, you have to replace them instead of servicing them.
Place a tire block behind one of the rear tires and then apply the parking brake on the Grand Am.
Loosen the lug nuts on the front wheel with the faulty bearing using a tire iron. Do not turn the wheel nuts more than a half a turn.
Lift the front end of the Grand Am with a service jack and place a jack stand under each front frame rail.
Turn the ignition key a half click to unlock the steering wheel. This position in the ignition should not illuminate any instrument panel lights or turn on any accessory power sources like the radio or blower motor.
Place the brake pedal prop rod between the driver's seat and the brake pedal. Extend to the rod to depress the brake pedal fully. A helper could also just step on the brake pedal for you instead. Use the ratchet and spindle socket to loosen the spindle nut. Do not remove the nut at this time. Remove the prop rod once the spindle nut is loose.
Remove the wheel nuts and tire assembly and then place the C-clamp over the caliper assembly. Place the top of the clamp on the inner housing of the caliper and the drive of the clamp on the outer brake pad plate. Compress the clamp slowly until there is about a half an inch of free play in the caliper. You do not need to compress the caliper piston fully into its bore.
Disconnect the ABS/speed sensor wire retaining clips and screws (from the wheel hub bearing assembly across the chassis). Use a pry tool to unsnap the plastic clips and then unlock them by hand to release the wire. Disconnect the small retaining screw on the brake hose bracket and then follow the wire up to the upper frame to locate the wire harness plug connection. Unplug the ABS/speed sensor wire from the wire harness.
Turn the steering wheel so the direction of the caliper is protruding from the wheel well and then locate the two caliper anchor bolts. Remove the bolts using the bolt breaker bar and a socket. Remove the caliper and caliper anchor assembly and then hang it onto a caliper hook/hanger to the coil spring (out of the way) to protect the flexible brake hose attached to the caliper.
Remove the brake rotor. If it does not want to come off, spray a copious amount of penetrating lubricant along the mating edges of the rotor and hub assembly. Allow five minutes for the lubricant to penetrate. Use a rubber mallet to strike the rotor plate from behind and turn the rotor a quarter turn between blows until the rotor breaks free from the hub. Remove the rotor.
Remove the spindle nut and the spindle washer and then strike the end of the drive shaft spindle with the rubber mallet until it frees itself from the splines of the hub bearing.
Remove the three hub bearing retaining bolts from the back of the knuckle assembly. Manipulate the steering wheel to access these bolts as needed. Use the bolt breaker bar and a socket to break them free and then switch over to the ratchet once they are loosened.
Spray lubricant on the inside and outside mating surfaces of the knuckle and bearing with penetrating lubricant and wait five minutes for it to penetrate. Use the axle/bearing puller or slide hammer to pull the bearing assembly away from the knuckle. Remove the bearing and the backing plate.
Use the emery cloth to clean the corrosion from the mating surface of the backing plate, the inside hub mating surface of the brake rotor and the hub bearing seat of the knuckle. Manipulate the drive shaft spindle when sanding the bearing seat of the knuckle as needed and then spray brake/parts cleaner spray to wash off the dust.
Align the backing plate holes to the replacement bearing and then place it in the bearing knuckle seat. Be sure to also align the splines of the drive shaft spindle to the splines of the replacement bearing. Push the bearing inward with force until you can reach it with the hub bearing retaining bolts. Align each bolt through the rear of the knuckle and hand thread them into the hub bearing. Use the ratchet to tighten each bolt three turns and then alternate to another bolt. Keep doing this to draw the bearing in evenly until it is seated flush to the knuckle. Use the torque wrench and specifications chart to torque the bolts accordingly.
Replace the remaining components by reversing the removal procedure. Be sure to torque the spindle nut, brake caliper anchor bolts and finally the wheel nuts to proper specifications with the torque wrench and suitable size sockets.
Pump the brake pedal when the Grand Am is back on the ground to extend the compressed piston of the caliper. Remove the tire block, disconnect the parking brake and then test drive for performance.
Jody L. Campbell spent over 15 years as both a manager and an under-car specialist in the automotive repair industry. Prior to that, he managed two different restaurants for over 15 years. Campbell began his professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of his first book.