How to Replace the Wheel Bearings on a 2000 Sunfireby Tim PetruccioUpdated November 07, 2017
Items you will need
1/2-inch-drive breaker bar
M20-1.5 spindle nut socket
1/2-inch-drive ratchet (optional)
1-ton or greater capacity floor jack
2 jack stands
3/8-inch-drive hex head socket set
Small pry bar
Metal coat hanger or metal hook
3/8-inch-drive T55 Torx socket (star shaped)
4-inch or longer, 3/8-inch-drive extension
1 piece 80-grit sandpaper (optional)
1 bottle anti-seize, with applicator brush
1/2-inch-drive female to 3/8-inch-drive male socket adapter
The 2000 Pontiac Sunfire was available in the SE two-door, SE four-door, and GT two-door models. The standard engine in the SE models was a 115-horsepower, 2.2-liter, in-line four-cylinder. The GT was equipped with a 150-horsepower 2.4-liter, in-line four-cylinder engine, which was also an optional engine for the SE models. The wheel bearings on the 2000 Sunfire were an integral part of the wheel hub assembly.
Place wheel chocks behind both rear tires. Remove the wheel covers or center caps from both front wheels. Loosen but do not remove the axle nuts on both CV axles with a 1/2-inch drive breaker bar and an M20-1.5 spindle nut socket.
Loosen the front lug nuts with a tire iron. Raise the front of the Sunfire with a jack. Place jack stands beneath the front subframe members on each side of the engine. Lower the car onto the jack stands. Remove the front lug nuts, then remove the both front wheels from the Sunfire.
Remove the caliper mounting bolts with a 3/8-inch-drive ratchet and a hex head socket. Remove the caliper from the brake assembly, using a small pry bar if needed. Hang the front caliper on the front strut coil spring, using a metal clothes hanger or metal hook. Remove the front rotor and place the rotor out of your work area.
Rotate the axle nut until the outer lip of the nut is flush with the end of the axle. Strike the end of the axle on the nut with a rubber mallet, until the axle pops loose from inside the hub assembly. Do not use a metal or ball peen hammer to strike the axle nut. Push the axle inward with the palm of your hand, to see if it is moving inside the hub assembly.
Insert a T55 Torx socket onto the end of a 3/8-inch-drive extension. Insert the extension through the holes in the hub face to access the hub bearing mounting bolts. Line the Torx bit up with the mounting bolt, then gently tap the outer end of the extension to make sure the bit is properly seated in the head of the bolt. Install a ratchet onto the end of the extension and remove the mounting bolt counterclockwise. Repmove all three mounting bolts.
Remove the hub assembly from the front of the steering knuckle, using a 3- to 5-pound mini-sledge hammer from behind. Hammer the hub bearing from several different angles to separate it from the steering knuckle. Pull the hub off by hand when it is free of the knuckle.
Thoroughly clean the rust from the inside flange of the steering knuckle and the face of the steering knuckle that the hub assembly mounts on. Use a wire brush or 80-grit metal sandpaper to clean the knuckle down to expose shiny metal. Add anti-seize to the face of the knuckle, iwhere the hub is going to be mounted. Add anti-seize to the inside of the knuckle flange that the hub bearing goes through.
Coat the inner splines of your new hub bearing with anti-seize to ease the process of inserting the axle through the new hub. Coat the outer splines of the axle with anti-seize as well. Insert the new hub bearing assembly onto the Sunfire, and hold it in place with one hand. Push the CV axle gently through the new hub bearing from the behind the steering knuckle. Install the axle nut washer and the axle nut with your hand.
Add a 1/2-inch-drive to 3/8-inch-drive adapter onto your 1/2-inch-drive torque wrench. Install the T55 Torx and extension onto one of the mounting bolts. Tighten the mounting bolts to between 60 to 70 foot-pounds of torque.
Install the brake rotor onto the new hub assembly. Turn a single lug nut onto one of the lugs, and spin it until it presses against the face of the rotor. This will hold the rotor during your brake installation. Wrap a towel around the end of your small pry bar. Insert the pry bar end between the two brake pads on the front caliper. Gently pry the inboard brake pad inward to compress the caliper piston slightly. Install the caliper over the rotor and tighten the mounting bolts to 40 foot-pounds with a 1/2-inch drive torque wrench and a hex head socket.
Repeat steps 3 through 11 to complete the hub bearing replacement on the second side of the Sunfire, if applicable. Install the front wheels and snug the lug nuts with a tire iron, in a star pattern. Lower the Sunfire to the ground. Tighten the axle nut(s) to between 140 and 180 foot-pounds of torque, using your torque wrench and the M20-1.5 spindle nut socket. Tighten the front wheel lug nuts, in a star pattern, to 100 foot-pounds.
Pump the brake pedal five to seven times or until it is firm. This will seat the pads back onto the rotors.
It is recommended that you replace both hub bearings at the same time. This will strengthen the integrity of your front-wheel-drive suspension and steering system.
Some auto parts stores have tool loaning programs that allow you to borrow tools with a deposit.
Never raise a vehicle on uneven ground or a slope. Lifting a vehicle on uneven ground can cause jacks and jack stands to collapse.
Tim Petruccio is a professional writer and automotive mechanic. His writing combines more than 20 years of mechanical experience in automotive service, service management, automotive education and business ownership. He assisted in the automotive beta, which launched March 2011.