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How to Replace the Front Wheel Bearing on a 2002 Saturn

by Eric Grosso; Updated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Socket set

  • Automotive jack

  • Jack stands

  • Large pry bar

  • Thick wire

  • Small puller

  • Hammer

  • Punch

  • Needle-nose pliers

  • Tie-rod end cotter pin

  • Lower control arm cotter pin

Replacing the front wheel bearing at the first sign of wear can help avoid future damage to vital suspension components. Backyard mechanics can change the front wheel bearing on a 2002 Saturn in a few hours with the right tools to separate the suspension components. However, the hub must be forced in and out of the steering knuckle with a hydraulic press. Most machines shops will remove and install the bearing hub inside the steering knuckle for a small fee.

Lift the front of the vehicle with a vehicle jack. Place jack stands under the frame rails near the front of the vehicle to secure it.

Remove the lug nuts with a socket wrench and slide the wheel off of the lug nut studs.

Remove the mounting bolts on the top of the brake caliper with a socket wrench. Pivot the brake caliper assembly away from the brake disc and support it with a piece of thick wire. Do not hang the brake caliper assembly by the brake hose.

Pull the brake disc off the drive-axle shaft.

Remove the hub nut and washer on the drive-axle shaft with a socket wrench. Place a large pry bar between the lug studs and wedge the other end under the frame to stop the shaft from turning.

Detach the ABS speed sensor electrical connection from the harness. Unscrew the bolt holding the harness in place with a socket wrench and remove the harness.

Remove the tie-rod end from the steering knuckle. Pull the cotter pin from the end of the stud on the tie-rod. Remove the retaining nut on the end of the stud with a socket wrench. Attach a small puller to the top of the connection between the tie-rod and steering knuckle. Turn the middle of the puller with a socket wrench to detach the tie-rod from the knuckle.

Remove the lower control arm from the steering knuckle. Pull the cotter pin from the end of the stud on the lower control arm. Remove the retaining nut on the end of the stud with a socket wrench.

Place a metal punch against the end of the drive-axle shaft and hit the punch with a hammer to detach the wheel hub from the shaft.

Remove the steering knuckle. Remove the retaining bolts holding the steering knuckle to the bottom of the strut with a socket wrench. Slide the steering knuckle off of the drive-axle shaft.

Grasp the hub retaining ring with needle-nose pliers and remove it from the center of the steering knuckle.

Place the steering knuckle under a hydraulic press and use the press to remove the bearing hub located in the center of the steering knuckle.

Place the new bearing hub into the center of the steering knuckle and use the press to force the hub into the knuckle.

Push the retaining ring into the center of the steering knuckle to secure the bearing hub.

Slide the hub onto the drive-axle shaft. Install the retaining bolts holding the steering knuckle to the bottom of the strut, using a torque wrench. Tighten the bolts to 126 ft.-lbs. of torque.

Connect the lower control arm to the steering knuckle. Place the retaining nut on the end of the control arm and tighten it with a torque wrench to 55 ft.-lbs. Push the new cotter pin through the end of the control arm stud.

Connect the tie-rod to the steering knuckle. Place the retaining nut onto the end of the tie-rod and tighten it with a torque wrench to 33 ft.-lbs. Push the new cotter pin through the end of the tie-rod stud.

Install the ABS speed sensor harness and mounting bolt with a socket wrench. Attach the ABS speed sensor electrical connector to the harness.

Place the hub washer and hub nut onto the drive axle shaft. Tighten the hub nut with a torque wrench. Place a large pry bar between the lug studs and wedge the other end under the frame to stop the shaft from turning. Tighten the hub nut to 145 ft.-lbs.

Slide the brake disc onto the drive-axle shaft.

Remove the brake caliper assembly from the wire. Place the assembly over the brake disc. Install the mounting bolts with a torque wrench and tighten to 63 ft.-lbs.

Remount the wheel on the wheel studs. Screw the lug nuts onto the lug nut studs with a torque wrench. Tighten the lug nuts to 100 ft.-lbs.

Remove the jack stands and lower the vehicle with the automotive jack.

References

About the Author

Eric Grosso has been a journalist since 2002, working as a staff reporter covering government events, school districts, sporting events and entertainment acts. He has been published in "The Vindicator" and "The Jambar" as well as websites including KFFL and Plugged In Online. Grosso holds a Bachelor of Arts in telecommunications and journalism from Youngstown State University.

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